Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 9
I play blues and metal, and at the time I was searching for a cheap squire Strat to try and emulate the Strat tone. Instead I got an actual Fender, and this baby has beautiful tone for blues. I run mine through a Fender roc-pro 1000 combo amp with the Boss ME-20 multi effect unit. The bridge pickup has a nice bite to it, but honestly, my favorite setting is the neck and middle position. The guitar gets a nice Hendrix sound in this position. Of course, being Cray's strat, if you put the middle position in, you get his unmistakable tone. I don't get very much pickup hum which is nice cause when I play clean, I want it clean with no outside noise.
Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing for over twelve years, own and have owned many guitars by many major brands. Currently I play a Washburn semi hollow that I traded my epi Les Paul for, and as much as I love the hollow, I am always drawn to this guitar in particular. If this guitar were lost or stolen I would buy it again in a heartbeat. There really is nothing to hate about this guitar if you like strats. I wish it had a tremolo arm, but I plan on getting another guitar with a whammy anyway, so this is a non issue. I played ten or so strats for several hours before settling on this one, and after nearly a year, she has never let me down or made me regret it. I hope this review has been informative enough, if you have any more questions I will gladly answer them in the comments section.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I have yet to play this guitar live anywhere, and yet I can almost guarantee it would stand up to live playing. I am very hard on my gear, because that's just the way I play. In the nearly year that I have had this guitar(and mind you it was seven years old when I got it) nothing has failed on me. I have had the same strap on this Strat for almost a year and it has never come loose. The finish is nice, and it will probably wear off with time as it is just like the finishes of guitars made in the 60s. I would never gig without a backup only because anything can and will happen. Would I gig with this being the only guitar I planned on playing blues on? Yes. The one thing I really hated about the tuners is if you have never had to change strings on a guitar with Vintage style tuners, have fun, it's a pain. Once you get used to it, you can change the strings in just a few minutes. I'm not sure if it is the tuners that have this big of an impact, but even when I play fast and hard, the strings never go out of tune.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
MY biggest gripe with the finish when I got it was the inca silver, which is kinda like a silver sparkle you see on old corvettes from time to time. I have since gotten over the color tho. I bought this used and despite never wanting to buy used guitars again(i got hosed a few years ago with an ibanez) this Strat is set up remarkably. Whoever had it before selling it to sam ash took very good care of her, and either had a nice set up done before hand, or sam ash did a nice one before I found it. The action is decently low which I like. This Strat is a combination of Robert's 57 and 64 strats, and as such, if you want to change the action, you have to take the pickguard off to get to the screw to comtrol the truss rod (isn't it nice how they do it these days?) Other than not being able to easily access the truss rod I would have given this a ten for the action and finish alone, as such, I can only give it an 8.
Features — 8
My Robert Cray Strat was made in Mexico in 2003, which from my research, was the first year this particular model was released. Made as a more affordable version to the American Cray custom shop strat, this thing plays like an American model. It has 21 medium frets, three Vintage style single coil pickups, bolt on neck(what Fender isn't?) a five way selector switch, and the usual two tone one volume pot. It is a string-thru body with Vintage style tuners.