Fender and Steve Lacy team up for the People Pleaser Stratocaster – a unique, hot-wired Strat with onboard fuzz

The Fender Steve Lacy People Pleaser Stratocaster has an onboard fuzz circuit
(Image credit: Fender)

Fender and Steve Lacy of The Internet have put their heads together for a Fender Stratocaster unlike any other. 

Okay, from a distance, the People Pleaser looks conventional enough, maybe even vintage inspired. The core elements are totally on-brand, with a solid alder body, a bolt-on maple neck that’s carved into a Deep C profile, and a 2-point synchronized tremolo inspired by designs of yore. 

But zoom in closer in these pictures and – better still – listen to it in action in the demo video below, and it’s clear that this electric guitar is anything but conventional. The People Pleaser is like a 3-Color Sunburst Strat from the other side of the looking glass. 

There is its finish for a start, an all-new signature Chaos Burst that was developed especially for Lacy. There are also with custom dice inlays at the 12th fret, while a custom stamped neck plate and a blue and green chequered pattern back plate add to the hot-rodded look.

Then you plug it in and put it through a guitar amp; that when its true radicalism reveals itself, because Lacy’s People Pleaser has an onboard fuzz circuit that will give players “aggressive distorted tones for howling chords and solos” at the touch of an S1 switch. 

This is a genius move. It's something different. Typically, when we see an S1 switch on a Strat – such as the American Ultra models – it adds the neck pickup to any position on the five-way blade selector.

Fuzz, however, is a game changer, and it speaks to the eclecticism in Lacy’s R&B sound. Fender’s tasting notes for the Steve Lacy Chaos Fuzz circuit promise “crystal-clear high ends, throaty mids, and taut deep lows.”

You might already have spotted this guitar in the wild. Lacy has played in on SNL and at the Grammys. Lacy, whose first guitar was a Squier Strat says he has gone “full circle” with this guitar.

“This guitar means so much to me,” he said. “The People Pleaser Strat, in a nutshell, is my dream guitar as a kid when I first started playing and my dream guitar as the guitarist I am today. An ode to the old classic design that Fender is known for with all the new specs that make a guitar feel like home. I hope everyone gets to experience the feeling of this guitar. I’m excited to see what people make with it.”

The People Pleaser is off a piece with the Player Plus series; it comes with a trio of Noiseless single-coil Strat pickups and is available at a working pro, serious amateur price ticket. It will set you back £1,299 in the UK, $1,399 in the US, and for that you also get a vintage-style hardshell guitar case. 

Other features include a 9.5” radius maple fingerboard with narrow tall frets, and of course the traditional Big F 25.5” scale length. For more details, 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.