Fender has announced the latest evolution in its best-selling Player Series and it arrives in a number of eye-catching new finishes, with upgraded specs presenting a premium contemporary feel.
The Player Plus Series takes a future-forward approach to some of Fender's most-popular electric guitar and bass guitar designs, and comprises a Stratocaster, an HSS Strat, a Telecaster, Nashville Telecaster, an Active Precision Bass, and four and five-string versions of its the Jazz Bass.
The first thing you might notice about the new Player Plus instruments are the finishes. It's always a treat when Fender get the paints out and play around with the finishes. Here we have bold gradient bursts such as Tequila Sunrise, Belair Blue and Silver Smoke joined by super-cool metallic sparkle finishes in Cosmic Jade and Opal Spark.
There are nods to Fender's past here, too, with Aged Candy Apple Red (as featured on the Telecaster pictured below), Olympic White and Butterscotch Blonde proving the classics don't go out of style.
But once you get past the finishes, you'll notice that Fender has substantively updated the spec here, presenting a pro-quality instrument that retails around the £/$1,000 mark.
Fender has rolled out New Noiseless pickups across the series. The guitars come equipped with locking tuners, while a new fingerboard radius of 12" presents a flatter, more high-performance proposition.
Rolled fingerboard edges – the sort of thing we are used to seeing on high-end US Fenders – come as standard, and there are some imaginative updates to the control circuits allowing for a wider range of tones.
Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products, said that the Player Plus Series looked to build on the success of the Player Series, which has sold over 400,000 instruments since its launch in 2018, and has become Fender's most popular line. The Player Plus offers a more upscale design that is inspired by the needs of today's guitar players.
“When we first launched the Player Series in 2018, we set a new standard for what an entry-point Fender could be,“ said Norvell. “The Player Plus series offers a next-level playing experience to help a new generation share their passion and distinct perspective.
“The newly-voiced Noiseless pickups and rolled edges of the neck deliver the power and precision modern artists demand. With the Electric new gradient burst finishes, we’ve delivered a visually-striking line of performance instruments that exemplify Fender’s ethos: honouring our past while looking to the future.”
Let's take a closer look at the models below...
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster
The Fender Stratocaster has always been the guitar of options, all kinds of colours, and all kinds of sounds for all kinds of playing styles. And the Player Plus Series Strat is no different.
Here is is presented in a choice of 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic Pearl, Aged Candy Apple Red, Tequila Sunrise, and Opal Spark finishes. The red-to-yellow Tequila Sunrise burst is one for the ages – we'd love to tackle a Dire Straits covers set with that.
Fender has augmented the standard Strat control circuit with a push-pull function on the tone pot to allow you to add the neck single-coil pickup to positions one and two on the five-way pickup selector.
Elsewhere you have got 22 medium jumbo frets, a 2-point tremolo system and a Modern “C” Player Plus Strat neck shape.
The Player Plus Stratocaster retails for £939 / $999 / €1,049.
Player Plus HSS Stratocaster
The HSS Stratocaster reprises much of the spec of the Stratocaster but pairs the middle and neck position single-coil pickups with a high-output Player Plus humbucker at the bridge.
Again, there's some fun to be had with the control circuit. This time a push/pull function splits the humbucker.
The HSS Stratocaster is offered in 3-Color Sunburst, Belair Blue, Cosmic Jade, and Silverburst finishes, and retails for £979 / $1,029 / €1,099.
Player Plus Telecaster
The Player Plus Telecaster's control circuit allows you to engage both its pickups in series via a push/pull function on the tone control. It, too, has an updated neck profile, and features a satin-smooth Modern “C” Player Plus Tele neck.
Elsewhere you'll find a modern six-saddle Tele bridge – always a good sign for the intonation pedants out there – with its block-steel saddles adding a little extra zip on the treble and most likely a little more sustain, too.
Fender is offering the Player Plus Telecaster in 3-Color Sunburst, Cosmic Jade, Silver Smoke, and Aged Candy Apple Red finishes, and it retails for £939 / $999 / €1,049.
Player Plus Nashville Telecaster
The Nashville Telecaster is always a favourite just because it can pretty much handle any musical task you can throw at it. The Player Plus Nashville Tele might just be the most versatile Tele yet....
It has the same Noiseless Telecaster single-coil pairing as the regular Player Plus Tele but also features a Strat pickup in the middle position. There is also a push/pull function on the tone control that adds the neck pickup to positions one and two on the pickup selector.
It looks might fine in Aged Candy Apple Red but you can also get it in 3-Color Sunburst, Butterscotch Blonde and Opal Spark. The Nashville Player Plus Telecaster is priced £979 / $1,029 / €1,099.
Player Plus Active Precision Bass
The Player Plus Active Precision Bass comes equipped with a PJ set of a Player Plus Noiseless Jazz Bass/Player Plus Precision pickups which are controlled by an active three-band EQ. You can also toggle between active and passive modes.
Its four-saddle HiMass bridge should enhance sustain while the modern “C” neck and 12" fingerboard radius should make it super playable.
Finish options include Silver Smoke, Cosmic Jade, 3-Color Sunburst and Olympic Pearl. The Player Plus Active Precision Bass is priced £1,069 / $1,049 / €1,199.
Player Plus Active Jazz Bass
Offered in 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic Pearl, Belair Blue, and Aged Candy Apple Red, the Player Plus Jazz Bass is equipped with a set of Noiseless Jazz pickups and an active preamp with a three-band EQ.
As with the Player Plus P-Bass, you can toggle between active and passive modes, and the iconic offset bass shares the Modern C profile neck and four-saddle HiMass bridge.
The Player Plus Jazz Bass is priced £1,069 / $1,099 / €1,199.
Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V
The Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V is spec'd as above but comes with a five-saddle HiMass bridge and some different finish options.
You can choose from 3-Tone Sunburst, Cosmic Jade, Opal Spark, and Tequila Sunrise. This five-string Jazz Bass will set you back £1,159 / $1,149 / €1,299.
- The Fender Player Plus Series is available now. See Fender for more details.