Fender Player Stratocaster Review – 2021 Overview

| Last Updated: May 8, 2021

Fender released the Player Stratocaster as a new entry-level guitar in the Stratocaster line. The Player Stratocaster features some interesting upgrades compared to the Standard series.

There are more colors to choose from and some upgraded electronics components that still deliver the classic Fender sound you would expect.

Here’s what you need to know about the Player Stratocaster that Fender is currently manufacturing in Mexico.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Equipped with single-coil Stratocaster pickups
  • Comes with a 2-point tremolo bridge
  • Has great onboard sound effects for versatility
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Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Maple Fingerboard - Polar White

PROS

  • Pickups
  • Controls
  • Comfort
  • A Modern Take on a Classic Guitar

CONS

  • Five-Way Switch
  • Single-Coil Pickups

Fender Player Stratocaster Specs

Here are the main specs of the Player Stratocaster:

Type of Guitar: Electric

Body Size and Type: Stratocaster body, 15”

Number and Type of Strings: 6, Fender USA 250L .009-.042 gauges

Tonewood: Alder

Orientation: Right

Neck Size: 9.5” radius

Action: 3/16” hex adjustment

Scale Length: 25.5”

Color: Polar white

Weight: 10 lbs

Pickup Type: Player Series Alnico 5 Strat single-coil bridge, middle, and neck pickups

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Pros

The following features make the Player Strat an interesting upgrade of the Standard series.

Comfort

With the Player series, Fender introduces some upgrades that make the guitar more comfortable. The smooth and rounded edges of the body create a comfortable feel, and the soft and glossy polyester finish is pleasant to touch.

The neck features a modern C-shape with a 9.5” radius. It’s ideal for players with small hands and for playing upper notes. The medium jumbo fret size will help beginners find the right notes every time.

Pickups

The Player Stratocaster features three single-coil pickups. It’s a classic configuration that creates the unique sound of the Stratocaster.

The Player series uses pickups with Alnico 5 magnets. These high-quality magnets are a major upgrade compared to the ceramic magnets you can find on the Standard Stratocaster guitars. The ceramic magnets can create a sound that is a little harsh, but the Alnico 5 magnets eliminate this issue.

The Player Stratocaster features a neck, middle, and bridge pickup. The five-way switch allows you to isolate each pickup or to combine the bridge and middle pickup or the middle and neck pickup.

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Precision Controls

The guitar has a master volume knob and two tone knobs. One of the tone knobs lets you adjust the tone for the bridge pickup. This innovative feature helps you achieve more precise results when using pickups.

A Modern Take on a Classic Guitar

The body shape of the Player Stratocaster includes the curves, cutaways, and horn designs that make the Strat easy to recognize. You will also find the vintage white plate and white control knobs.

Fender introduces some modernity with the color selection. There are classic color options like a sunburst and some retro-inspired colors like buttercream, sage green, or sonic red.

Cons

Even though there are no major drawbacks associated with this guitar, there are a few things to consider.

Five-Way Switch

The position of the configurations on the five-way switch might be a bit unusual for an entry-level guitar. The second position allows you to use the bridge and middle pickup together instead of isolating the second pickup.

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Single-Coil Pickups

Single-coil pickups are what give the Stratocaster its unique sound. The drawback of single-coil pickups is that they are susceptible to interference and can emit a humming sound. You should also know that single-coil pickups generally don’t sound good once you introduce distortion.

What Are the Components of the Fender Player Stratocaster?

The Fender Player Stratocaster delivers a wide tonal range and unique sound thanks to the following components.

Alder Body

The Player Stratocaster uses an alder body to produce a sound that is full and clear. The lows and mids sound amazing, and alder delivers plenty of sustain.

Neck and Fretboard

The maple neck and fretboard feature 22 medium jumbo frets. The 25.5” scale length is standard. The neck has a comfortable C-shape and a 9.5” radius that make the guitar easy to play. You will find that the C-shape of the Player Stratocaster is a little flatter than on older Fender guitars.

Maple is a wood that delivers a lot of sustain and creates a bright tone.

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Hardware

The Player Stratocaster features hardware with a classic nickel and chrome finish. There is a stamped F neck plate to give the guitar a vintage look.

Hardware includes a synchronized tremolo with sturdy steel saddled, sealed tuners, and the five-way pickup switch. The two-point tremolo bridge provides a smooth tremolo effect that makes the instrument more versatile.

Electronics

The neck, middle, and bridge pickups use a focused magnetic field. This magnetic field creates a high-frequency response that results in a clear and responsive effect. The pickups are instrumental to the creation of the hum that characterizes the classic Stratocaster sound.

What Types of Music is the Fender Player Stratocaster Best Suited For?

The Fender Player Stratocaster is a favorite among musicians because of how versatile it is.

Rock, Punk, and Pop

The clear tone and iconic design of the guitar are the perfect combinations for classic rock tunes. The outstanding mid-tones make the guitar versatile enough for punk and pop.

Fender Player Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Blues

The clean sound and low levels of gains of this guitar make it suitable for playing blues. Your sound will stand out in a blues band mix.

Country

The resonance of the maple neck and fretboard is ideal for country music. You can combine the pickups to create a vintage rock sound that will give more attitude to your favorite country songs.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Fender Player Stratocaster Suitable For?

Fender designed the Player Stratocaster as an entry-level guitar for the Stratocaster line. It’s a great guitar for beginners and intermediate players. Advanced guitar players can use this instrument as a practice guitar.

It’s a versatile instrument with a classic sound. It’s easy to play, and the tonal range helps you explore different musical genres. The emphasis on the midrange will enhance your playing and motivate you to keep learning.

The C-shape of the neck and radius is ideal for teens and players with small hands. The 25.5” scale length might be difficult to maneuver for children.

What Makes the Fender Player Stratocaster Stand Out from the Competition?

The Fender Player Stratocaster stands out from the competition because it’s the perfect mix of retro design and modern features.

Fender opted for high-quality magnets to eliminate the sound issues that existed with previous Stratocaster pickups. The result is a guitar with the same classic look and feels but with a superior sound performance.

Fender Stratocaster Types

There are different variations of the Player Stratocaster to Consider

Pickup Configurations

Fender released a Player Stratocaster with a classic SSS configuration. This model features three single-coil pickups.

You can also find an HSS model with a humbucker bridge pickup. The Player HSS model delivers more of a crunchy tone.

The HSH model comes with a bridge and neck humbucker pickup. The tonal difference is more noticeable when you switch between the different pickup configurations, which makes the HSH model more versatile.

Plus Top

There are Player Plus Top models that feature a maple or rosewood top over the alder body. These tops add a little bit of weight to the guitar, but they showcase the beauty of the natural grain of the wood.

Maple and Pau Ferro Fretboards

You can usually choose between maple or a Pau Ferro fretboard when you purchase a Player Stratocaster. Maple gives your sound more bite and delivers a tone that is bright and snappy. Pau Ferro creates a sound that is warm, crisp, and clear.

Floyd Rose Special Bridge

Some Player Stratocaster models feature an upgraded Floyd Rose bridge. This bridge has a locking nut you can use to prevent your guitar from getting out of tune when you use the tremolo.

Comparison Overview

The Fender Stratocaster is a timeless guitar, but it’s not the only iconic electric guitar from Fender and other manufacturers.

Fender Telecaster vs. Stratocaster

The Telecaster is another popular product line from Fender. Telecaster guitars have a unique sound that is easy to recognize.

Both guitars use alder bodies and maple necks. There are a few differences between body shapes. The Stratocaster has two cutaways, including a horn cutaway that gives you access to the upper notes, while the Telecaster body only has one cutaway.

The electronics are different. The Telecaster only uses two pickups, while the Stratocaster features three.

You can find different pickup configurations for both guitars with a mix of single-coil and humbucker pickups. However, classic Telecaster models feature two single-coil pickups.

The design of the bridge pickup is slightly different between the two guitars. The Telecaster has a larger bridge pickup attached to a metal plate to create a more powerful tone compared to the Strat.

Fender Stratocaster vs. Gibson Les Paul

A Gibson Les Paul will typically cost more than a Stratocaster. While the Strat stands out thanks to its bright tone, the Les Paul has a warmer tone. It’s an ideal guitar for blues, jazz, hard rock, and even metal. The Stratocaster is a better choice for rock, pop, punk, folk, or country.

The Stratocaster has a lighter body. The contoured edges emphasize comfort. The Les Paul feels heavier and thicker by comparison. The Les Paul body has a single-cutaway while the Stratocaster has two.

Both guitars allow you to use tremolo, but the Les Paul uses a fixed bridge so your guitar doesn’t get out of tune. The Les Paul has a slightly shorter scale at 24.75,” and it uses neck and bridge humbucker pickups.

Fender Deluxe Players Stratocaster vs. American Standard

Compared to the Deluxe Player Stratocaster, the American Standard costs a little more and features a few improvements.

The body style is similar between the two guitars, and both use the Noiseless N3 single-coil pickups. These pickups deliver a cleaner sound without interferences.

The American Standard features an S1 switch. You can turn this switch on or off to unlock more tonal options, which makes the American Standard a more versatile instrument.

Fender Classic Player 60s Stratocaster vs. American Standard

The Fender Classic Player 60s Stratocaster is a model that reproduces the look and feel of the electric guitars Fender made in the 1960s. It features a vintage tuning system, vintage bridge, ’69 pickups, and a neck with 21 frets. The knobs and switch have an aged look.

The ’69 pickups have a bright sound that is a throwback to surf music from the 60s. The pickups of the American Standard have a more modern sound, and you will be less likely to experience humming with these pickups.

The American Standard also features a different bridge and tuners. The 9.5” neck of the American Standard is slimmer, and the guitar feels a little lighter.

How to Play a Fender Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster is a classic instrument that is easy to play. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid common problems with this guitar:

  1. Use some PFTE tape to wrap the end of your whammy bar. If you use the tremolo effect a lot, you might find that the threads of the whammy bar have become loose. You can protect the threads of the whammy bar and ensure a proper fit in the bridge by adding some PFTE tape.

  2. You can remove the panel in the back of your guitar. Removing this panel gives you access to the strings and allows you to change them quickly if you break a string during a gig.

  3. Three springs in the back of your guitar keep the bridge flush to the body of the instrument. You can install two additional springs to have a greater distance between the bridge and the body of your guitar. This simple trick will prevent your strings from getting out of tune if you break one.

You can find out more about these Stratocaster tricks in the following YouTube video: 

Conclusion

The Fender Player Stratocaster is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate players who are looking for the classic Fender sound. The Player series stands out thanks to its vintage look and modern electronics. We like the upgraded pickups with high-quality magnets, the five-way switch, and the excellent tonal range of the instrument.

People Also Ask

Here are some common questions about the Player Stratocaster.

Is the Fender Player Stratocaster Hard to Play?

No. Features like the slim neck and medium jumbo frets make this guitar easy to play.

How to Care For a Player Stratocaster Guitar

You should keep your Strat in a case to protect it. Dust it when needed and change the strings twice a year.

What is the Best Year For Fender Stratocaster?

If you want to get a classic Stratocaster, the 1962 model is the first generation with a thinner neck that improves the tone of the guitar.

Is the Fender Stratocaster Good For Beginners?

The Fender Stratocaster is an excellent option for beginners. It’s a versatile instrument with a great tone that helps beginners develop an appreciation for playing the guitar.

How Much is a 1957 Fender Stratocaster Worth?

Fender Stratocasters from the 1950s regularly sell for $20,000 to $25,000.

How to Restring a Fender Stratocaster

Remove the strings from the tuning pegs and cut the twisted ends. Open the panel in the back of your guitar and push the string balls out of the bridge before pulling the strings out of the bridge. You can clean the fretboard once you have removed all the strings.

Use the back panels to push the strings through the bridge. Secure them with the string balls and connect them to the tuning pegs.



Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.