Fender� Deluxe Player's Strat�
The right price, the right features, and made to be
By Neal Saunders
Fender offers a huge array of Stratocaster� guitars.
Standard Strats, American Strats, American Deluxe Strats, Custom Shop Strats,
Signature Strats, Fat Strats and Super Fat Strats with humbuckers, and a host
of specialty Strats with variations in woods, finishes, and vibe. When a guy
like me who loves this guitar above all others goes to pick one out, he can
get lost in the choices. It's the kid-in-the-candy-store syndrome. As soon as
you settle on one, another catches your eye. So many Strats have irresistible
appeal, how do you choose just one?
Well, I'm here to answer that question for any of you caught in this quandary;
the answer is the new
Deluxe Player's Strat. This new version of what formerly was called the
Super Strat has a set of features, a quality, and a price that when taken
collectively add up to the perfect choice for many Strat-loving guitarists.
Appealingly low price
Price is often what separates us from that Custom Shop Strat we so desire.
Hardhearted reality says you just can't afford one, son; so you compromise,
and the new
Deluxe Player's Strat offers a compromise that you can feel really good
about. First of all, it's affordable�a good-sized notch under the American
Series Strats with which it shares important features. And as I'll proceed to
explain, the price is its biggest difference between the made-in-Mexico Deluxe
Strat and its American Series counterparts.
Fender's Mexico Shop has been turning out great guitars.
Just as the shop is just over the border in Ensenada (almost in the U.S.), so
are the guitars pretty darn close to those made in America. I didn't make a
one-to-one comparison, but I think if you didn't know better you'd believe it
was an American judging from its look and feel. More than that, the
Deluxe Player Strat has features here-to-fore only found in its
Pleasing to the eye
Deluxe Player I checked out was a beauty with a sapphire blue finish,
beautifully applied and transparent so that the grain of the ash body shows
through. With its tortoise pickguard, gold hardware, and a rosewood fretboard,
it's a looker. The gold hardware especially sets off everything nicely. It
gives this Strat a classy vibe that is in perfect keeping with the way it
The quality of the fret and fingerboard finish work
rivals that found on the American Strat series instruments and shows a lot of
attention to detail. The rosewood is tight-grained, smooth as glass, and the
edges are softened with just the right amount of rounding off. The C-shape
neck, medium-jumbo frets, and 12"-radius fingerboard make it easy on hands and
fingers. If you're planning to rock all night, this guitar will let you finish
that fifth set with your hands in good shape.
There's nothing more discouraging than having to take
your brand-new guitar in to the shop to be set up. Straight out of the
shipping box, I found that the
Deluxe Player's Strat I received was gig ready. The action was set quite
low, which I happen to like, but there was enough clearance so that buzzing
frets were a non-issue.
It also has a vintage-style tremolo with a beefy bridge
block that translates into more sustain and fewer broken strings. The tuners
are really high quality, too�smooth and sure.
Vintage Noiseless� pickups
Probably the most exciting feature on this Strat is its pickups. They are the
Vintage Noiseless models that until now have only been available on
American-made instruments�in the Clapton and Beck signature models, for
instance. They're cool because they give you classic Strat tone without any
I found them absolutely silent, even with the volume
cranked on the guitar and the amp dialed up. The noise of the standard Fender
single coils was about the only rap against the older Strats, but with the
Noiseless you get unadulterated Fender single-coil sound and they operate as
quietly as the best humbuckers.
This guitar has standard five-way switching but with an added wrinkle. Between
the tone knobs is a simple push button. This system was first introduced in
the Super Strat model and now here. What it essentially does is kick in the
bridge pickup when the blade selector is in position 4 or 5. On a standard
Strat with five-way switching, you never have all three pickups active at the
same time. Nor can you have the neck and bridge pickups on at the same time on
a regular Strat. With the push button, you can get both of these
configurations, which brings the total up to seven possible pickup
combinations. It's an instantaneous way to kick in some extra edge or to fill
out your sound.
It is easy to see why Fender calls it a "player's" Strat.
All its features are aimed at a showtime look on a workhorse instrument that
is easy to play, responsive, and loaded with tonal possibilities. It's a
guitar built for the working guitarist and priced for him or her, too. If
you've been wanting a quality Strat, here's one you can easily afford.
- Ash body
- Maple neck
- Maple or rosewood fretboard
- 12" fretboard radius
- 21 medium-jumbo frets
- 4-ply brown shell pickguard
- Gold hardware
- Vintage-style bridge (string-thru)
- Equipped for Bullet� strings
- Vintage-style tuning machines
- 3 Vintage Noiseless� Strat� pickups
- 5-way pickup switch
- Push button on/off switch for activating bridge
- 2 extra pickup configurations not available on
- Transparent finishes
- Deluxe gig bag