Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 11/09/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Fender: Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster
A sonically "strong persuader," the Robert Cray Stratocaster guitar captures Cray's trademark tone and vibe.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Features: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (2) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.2
Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster Reviewed by: mjones1992, on november 09, 2012
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 850

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: I bought this guitar on a trip to New York City in '09. According to the Fender website, the Robert Cray Strat was first introduced in 2003. It's a Mexican Strat, but for the longest time I just assumed that it was an American Strat because I didn't think there was any way in hell that a Mexican Strat could be THAT good. It's got 21 Medium Jumbo frets with a "60's C-Shaped" maple neck. The body's made of Alder and has a sexy tobacco burst on it (It also comes in silver and violet). It comes equipped with 3 Vintage Single-coil pickups. It's got a 5-position pickup blade, a volume knob, and tone controls for the middle and neck pickups. The bridge is a Vintage Fender string-thru body hardtail, and the tuners are also Vintage Fender tuners. The thing that really caught my attention though, was the rosewood fingerboard. I hate playing on maple fingerboards, but I love the sound of a Strat. I guess the only downside is the plastic volume and tone-control knobs, but those are easily replaceable. // 9

Sound: I play a lot of Modern/Garage Rock, as well as Blues and Classic Rock, which the guitar handles great. I used it for live shows when I was in Jazz Band, and it always surprised me how well it sounded compared to my old ESP that I used during rehearsal. I play it though an Orange Crush 30R, usually with a little reverb and close to or as much overdrive as my amp'll pump out, although the guitar still sounds fantastic running through a clean amp. I usually play though the neck pickup or the bridge pickup, but hardly ever any of the other three settings, although they sound great if you're trying to play something that sounds really "Strat-ey" (i.e. the rhythm in Another Brick in the Wall pt 2). The single-coil pickups make the rhythms come out pretty clean compared to the muddy sound of the double humbuckers in my old guitar, and it handles leads pretty well. I guess the best way to describe the sound is more of a smoother sound. I don't think I'd try to play metal with it, although Iron Maiden seems to do a fine job of using Strats in metal music. I just think that you might have trouble getting the right punch for metal music with it, but I could be wrong. Another thing to mention is that the pickups hum if you get even remotely close to the amp. It goes away while you play though, so you just have to remember to either turn the volume down or mute the strings while you're not playing. Really not that big of a deal, but I figured I'd mention it. When I first got the guitar, I was afraid I was going to miss my Humbuckers, but after playing this for a little over a year, I could care less. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I'm pretty sure the guitar was sitting in Sam Ash for quite awhile before I bought it. The strings were pretty old, and there was a lot of dead skin crusted on the fretboard. And I don't know whether it was the factory or Sam Ash, but when I got the guitar, it smelled like cat piss, which, to put it lightly, was a pretty gross. Other than that, the guitar was perfect. It plays really well. I never get hung up when I get to the higher frets like I do when I play my friend's Gibsons. The guitar was set up pretty well too, which was probably done by the guy in the store, but it was a nice plus not having to adjust the action when I bought it. // 8

Reliability & Durability: So far the guitar hasn't given me any problems. My two previous guitars had pickups that shorted out, input jacks that came loose, knobs that came off, etc etc. I haven't had a single problem with this one. It's survived numerous shows, as well as numerous drops and numerous clunks into walls and the like. Basically all that kind of stuff that makes you gasp when you do it. The strap comes undone sometimes, but it only seems to happen if I have the strap twisted over on itself, so it's just another one of those things that's completely avoidable if you pay attention. I'd definitely use it in a show with no backup. I don't know why, but the strings never want to snap. I went nearly a year without changing them, finally doing so just because they were really dirty and I wanted to know what it sounded like with new strings. I usually go through a set of strings in a month, month and a half. Also, the guitar's got a poly finish, so you don't need to worry about it wearing down that much. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall impression? Great guitar. I usually buy a guitar and say: "Yeah, this ones good, but I can't wait till I can afford (insert slightly more expensive guitar here)." Not the case with this one. I'd have no problem having this be my guitar for the next 10, 15 years. When I went to Sam Ash, I had the option of spending another couple hundred dollars, and I really tried to find something more expensive. I played a good 20 guitars that day, but in the end I went with this one. When I first started playing guitar, I always wanted to have a Gibson Les Paul, but if I had to choose between this guitar and any other electric guitar I've ever played, I'd go with this one. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8.2
Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster Reviewed by: Finn666, on november 09, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: 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

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear