Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (14 votes)
Fender: Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster
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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.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    thejester
    i feel like the first reviewer has never seen or heard robert cray. probably the cleanest blues player out there in terms of tone. no breakup whatsoever. to the first reviewer, of course the robert cray strat wont cover metal well like iron maiden. yes they use strats but they arent with these pickups, they are using much much hotter pickups, i believe hotrails by seymour duncans. to the second reviewer glad you are very happy and sounds like you got a good guitar. what pickups are in it?
    mjones1992
    @thejester I do know who Robert Cray is Great guitarist, although I didn't purchase the guitar because it was Robert Cray's. I was trying to give prospective buyers an impression of what genres they could pull off with the guitar.
    mjones1992
    It's cool man. I see where you're coming from, so I figured I'd clarify. I suppose I could have at least mentioned him in the review lol. I put that in the review because most of the UGers I see are metal guitarists, and I wouldn't want someone to dish out an upwards of $800 on a guitar that wouldn't be able to play their genre very well.
    rv_phoenix
    I'm really surprised such a wonderful instrument gets only an overall 8,7 (with an 8,2 as the latest update), while crappy brands like Behringer, Dimavery, Harley Benton or Stagg get 9s and 10s. This means that reviewers of this instrument knew what they were talking about, when writing their lines. And this certitude is enhanced by the choice of their instrument: Robert Cray is a special guitar player, so his guitar is special too. Someone who chooses it knows at least what's good...
    Jj795
    I never heard of this player before...I'd like to thank you for educating me. Hes a great player.
    Finn666
    thejester wrote: i feel like the first reviewer has never seen or heard robert cray. probably the cleanest blues player out there in terms of tone. no breakup whatsoever. to the first reviewer, of course the robert cray strat wont cover metal well like iron maiden. yes they use strats but they arent with these pickups, they are using much much hotter pickups, i believe hotrails by seymour duncans. to the second reviewer glad you are very happy and sounds like you got a good guitar. what pickups are in it?
    The pickups in the guitar are "Vintage custom shop" single coils, as far as I can tell they are similar to what robert uses in his guitars, since i have no problem replicating his exact sound.
    Powerage74
    I am a Tele player so would love a through body hardtail strat with Robert Cray vintage singles. Obviously what is great about his playing and sound is the vocal, expressive tone he gets from his strat, what a great player. Albert collins was a great influence on him and you can hear it in his style as they both play organ like bursts of very soulfull riffs. Thanks to the reviewers fro you balanced comment and marks! I would love to try this strat out.