Fender unveils epic expansion of Player and Player Plus guitars and basses, with classic colours and more left-handed options

Fender Spring 2023 release
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender has unveiled a refreshed and replenished range of electric guitars and bass guitars for its Spring 2023 drop, offering vintage finish options for its mid-priced Player Series, expanding its Player Plus Series with more left-handed models – and with a few more official announcements, too.

Those official announcements include the limited edition Gold Foil Collection, which brings that garage rock retro kitsch vibe back in style via some of Fender’s most-famous designs, and of course the news that the Princeton Reverb has joined the Tone Master series, offering a lightweight and digital version of the legendary combo amp.

We have known about these for some time so let’s jump to the new looks for the Player Series, and here Fender is giving its top-selling contemporary line back a makeover, offering Candy Apple Red and Sea Foam Green versions of its Stratocaster, HSS Strat, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar and Jaguar Bass.

All the specs remain the same: think Modern C shaped maple necks, all satin smooth and topped with 9.5” radius maple or pau ferro fingerboards, alder bodies finished in gloss, modern-voiced Player Series Alnico pickups, and an F-stamped neck plate. 

While the Player Series is very much for today’s player, the current lineup features more traditional body shapes to keep the budget-conscious purist happy – if such a thing were possible. They are all 22-fret guitars, the basses have 20 frets.

The Telecaster has a six saddles, making it a little easier on the intonation, with those string-through block saddles adding “a bit of zing to your tone”. Your new finish option for 2023 is Candy Apple Red, with a maple fingerboard.

The Stratocasters are equipped with 2-point tremolo units that have been engineered for a smoother feel and better tuning stability. Go for the HSS Strat if you prize versatility above all, with this setup offering the warmth and power of humbucker heat at the bridge and single-coil spank at the neck and middle positions. But then the Strat is pretty darn versatile, too. 

Either way, Fender is now offering these in Sea Foam Green with maple ‘boards, and Candy Apple Red with pau ferro – psst! The limited edition Neon Green Strat with ebony fingerboard is still on the market, if you’re looking for something more ‘80s than ‘60s.

A trip to Planet Offset offers a change of pace with both the Jaguar and the Jazzmaster outfitted with vintage-style six-saddle floating tremolos. The Jaguar has an Alnico III humbucker at the bridge, an Alnico II Jaguar single-coil at the neck, and its shorter 24” scale makes it a more approachable proposition for players who have hitherto felt offsets a little too bulky.

The Jazzmaster might have a more stripped-down control setup compared to its forebears and siblings in the US line, but with its pair of Alnico II humbuckers equipped with a push/pull pot for splitting the coils, it should cover a lot of ground tonally. And it certainly wears that Candy Apple Red finishes well. 

As for the basses, well, you’ve got the compact Jag Bass in Candy Apple Red with pau ferro fingerboard, or Sea Foam Green with maple. The Jazz Bass is offered in left and right-handed versions in Candy Apple Red with pau ferro fingerboards, or Sea Foam Green with… You guessed it, a maple ‘board.

Those with a few extra quid in the budget might want to upscale to the Player Plus Series, where you’ll get such pro-quality appointments as rolled-edge fingerboards, noiseless pickups, and some radical gradient burst finishes with names like Belair Blue and Tequila Sunrise. That radicalism is extended to the fingerboard radius, with these all at 12”, and definitely a subtle difference on a Fender instrument.

The first Player Plus 2023 model that catches out eye is the Nashville Telecaster in Sienna Sunburst and maple fingerboard. With it’s traditional Tele pickup duo augmented by a Strat pickup in the middle, it’s a jack of all trades tone-wise, and looks the bee’s knees with that stain picking out the grain of the alder body.

We also have a Strat in Sienna Sunburst, and a Meteora resplendent in a new-but-old Fiesta Red finish, and a Fireball humbucker pairing that is 100 per cent high-voltage rock ’n’ roll.

The Player Plus Series also welcomes an expansion of its left-handed options. It is an evergreen complaint that southpaw players get the short end of the stick. This might go some way to redress that, with the Player Plus Strat LH models now including 3-Color Sunburst and Olympic Pearl with maple fingerboards, Tequila Sunrise with pau ferro. 

Bassists have not been left out in this refresh either. Of course, the 3-band active EQ, the neck profiles, the builds are all the same, with more classic body shapes, noiseless pickups, Hi-Mass bridges with chrome-plated zinc saddles, open-gear tuners.

What’s different is you can now get the Player Plus Precision and Jazz Bass V in Fiesta Red with pau ferro fingerboards, while the regular four-string Player Jazz Bass has a new Sienna Sunburst and maple fingerboard look.

Left-handed finish options now comprise the Player Plus Precision Bass in Belair Blue and 3-Color Sunburst.

Prices for these new models are as follows.

  • Player Stratocaster (left and right-handed): £759 / $849
  • Player Stratocaster HSS: £779 / $879
  • Player Telecaster: £759 / $849
  • Player Jaguar: £779 / $879
  • Player Jazzmaster: £779 / $879
  • Player Jaguar Bass: £859 / $849
  • Player Jazz Bass (left and right-handed): £859 / $849
  • Player Plus Stratocaster (left and right-handed): £959 / $1,099
  • Player Plus Meteora: £999 / $1,149
  • Player Plus Precision Bass LH: £1,099 / $1,149
  • Player Plus Nashville Telecaster: £979 / $1,129
  • Player Plus Jazz Bass V: £1,179 / $1,249
  • Player Plus Jazz Bass: £1,099 / $1,199
  • Player Plus Precision Bass: £1,099 / $1,149

For more information, head over to Fender.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.