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60 DAYS OF STRAT: There was little wrong with the Classic Player Stratocaster even before Fender gave it the 60th Anniversary treatment.
With its great build quality, value and vibe, we loved the 9.5-inch radius 'board, medium-jumbo frets, American Vintage Strat pickups and tuneful two-post vibrato with stamped-steel saddles.
In fact, it's hard to know how Fender could improve on such a winning formula, but improvements there are. These include an ash body, vintage-style locking tuners, gold anodised pickguard and backplate, commemorative neckplate and headstock medallion, gold hardware and gloss nitrocellulose finish.
That final detail should tell tone hounds that this Classic Player occupies a loftier space than its already illustrious predecessor. It comes in Desert Sand finish that gives off an ultra-cool 'surf ' aura, with its gold anodised aluminium plate and tinted plastic parts.
Mexican build quality rarely disappoints. In fact, it's impossible to find a flaw of any kind throughout this guitar's construction or finish.
In the hand, the Classic Player's gently V-shaped neck is neither too thin nor too fat. Strung with 0.010-gauge strings, which actually feel lighter, the action was perfect for almost any style and one could noodle on it all day.
To test the guitar, we went through our house AC15 with no outboard trickery, so any differences belong to the instrument itself. Generally speaking, the Classic Player is quite dark; its tones are fat and 'rounded'. It also accepts overdrive beautifully, and thickens further as a result. There's no need to change these pickups: so no 'pimping' costs further down the line!
Fender has put thought into the balance of features, materials, hardware and electrics and come up with a superb guitar. Priced and styled to capture hearts, the Classic Player is a peach. It looks wonderful, its vintage-meets-modern neck won't offend a soul, and its big, fat tones make it the blues-rocker's new best friend.