Hands-on demo: Fender Lead II and III could well be the '70s reissues you never knew you wanted

Ask a broad selection of guitarists if they remember the Fender Lead and our guess is that few will recall this solid-body mesh of strat-like curves and hardtail electric guitar

Well, the folks at Fender's Corona HQ hadn't and have seen fit to revitalise this once moth-balled model from the late-70s, which we're hastened to add, was only in production for three years. That's not even as long as the first three instalments of a certain genre-defining space opera.

Choosing to launch only the II and III versions (we're not sure what's happening with the I), Fender has brought back what is essentially a leaner alternative to the Stratocaster and as such could prove quite popular.

Pitched as not so much a reissue than a reimagining, the Leads are planted in Fender's Player series and despite appearing at the lower end of maker's spectrum, we found that both guitars are very different beasts, both offering much tonal variety.

Bringing back the same phase shift option in the II and the coil-split option in the III, these new editions feel very light and rather easy to play altogether. And coming in an array of finishes, it is no wonder that Fender is pinning much of its marketing on the two colourways we have here: Neon Green (Lead II) and Purple Metallic (Lead III) - choices, choices.

Keep your eyes peeled for the full review, which will be up on these very pages soon.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.

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