The Fender Player Stratocaster is where you start when you want a “real” Fender. But are they still the top choice these days? Let’s take a look at reviews from all around the web, as well as our own two cents!
Fender Player Stratocaster: Still The Best Value?
Over the years, the “Made In Mexico” Fender guitars have been looked at as the best value for a genuine Fender. Guitarists have always flocked to the MIM Fenders as “workhorse guitars” that are great for the stage and studio. In fact, many players will tell you that there is not that big of a difference between an American Standard and a Mexican Made Fender.
The thing about this big myth of “American VS MIM” is that it DOES have some truth behind it. The two factories are right next to each other, and they often share the same parts (Bodies, necks, hardware). When I say that the Mexican factory is close, I mean by a few miles. So the question has always been “Should I buy a MIM, or a USA?”. I mean, a Stratocaster is a modular instrument, it was designed to be that way. It was made to be easy to repair, affordable for musicians, and it became iconic for these reasons. A Stratocaster is a simple guitar, construction-wise.
Over the years I have owned both, and my favorite Fender guitars have almost all been MIM. The Fender Player Stratocaster replaced the “Standard” MIM series only by name. The quality that we all know is still there. In fact, there are some upgraded features like the synthetic bone nut that make the Player Series better than the older MIM Standards. So is it still worth it to buy the Fender Player Stratocaster? I think so, and the rest of the internet seems to agree with me.
The Fender Player Stratocaster didn’t just change its name from “Standard”. There were tons of upgrades with the Player Series. You got better pickups, a two point trem, better nut, and more color options. These were usually the first things that people changed about the MIM Standard Series, so it saves you money in the long run! The complete overhaul of the Mexican line was a big move for Fender, but it was a long time coming.
It is not a coincidence either that after the change, Fender had record breaking sales. Now of course this also had a lot to do with lockdowns, but the sales figures actually started before the pandemic. So Fender was on its way to a record breaking year before lockdowns even began. I think this is a “perfect storm” scenario for Fender. Other than lockdowns, more people are learning guitar now. The guitar is a popular instrument, and Fender is a household name.
The few times that I have sprung for a USA Fender, I didn’t feel like it was worth the price. Yes, a few features are nicer. But sometimes I feel like you’re just paying for the “USA” stamp on the neck. The Player Series solved most of the QC issues that Fender had with the MIM lineup. So these days, I almost always recommend a Player Series over the USA counterpart. Believe me, I professionally toured a $400 MIM Stratocaster for YEARS, and it never let me down.
So is the Fender Player Stratocaster still worth it in 2022? I think it is still a great buy for anyone wanting the entry-level Fender that has tons of features to offer. The Player Series is still the workhorse guitar that will be great for playing shows, studio work, and even beginners. But don’t just trust my word. The internet is full of praise for The Player Series Stratocaster.
Fender Player Stratocaster Specs:
- Series: Player
- Body Material: Alder
- Body Finish: Gloss Polyester
- Neck: Maple, Modern “C”
- Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Finish on Back, Gloss Urethane Finish on Front
- Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5” Radius (241 mm)
- Frets: 22, Medium Jumbo
- Position Inlays: Black Dots
- Nut (Material/Width): Synthetic Bone, 1.650” (42 mm)
- Tuning Machines: Standard Cast/Sealed
- Scale Length: 25.5” (648 mm)
- Bridge: Fender Two-Point With Bent Steel Saddles
- Pickups: Fender Alnico V
- Controls: Volume, Tone, Tone (Bridge Controlled Tone)
- Hardware Finish: Nickel/Chrome
Fender Player Stratocaster Reviews
Is The Fender Player Stratocaster Worth It?
Even with the recent price hike, I would say that it is still 100% worth the price. The Fender Player Stratocaster has everything you could possibly want in a Strat. The look and sound is absolutely iconic, and I agree with the reviews that say it plays way beyond the budget price tag. The Player Series offers upgrades galore over the previous “Standard” series that it replaced. Fender is bigger, and better than ever.
You often hear the same thing about the budget-friendly Squier line, and those are great beginner guitars, for sure. But make no mistake, the Fender Player Stratocaster is a “real” Strat, and these guitars are played on pro-level stages every night, all over the world. I have rarely seen a professional studio without at least one good MIM Stratocaster on the guitar rack, and that tells you something.
So it doesn’t really matter if you are a bare-bones beginner, or a seasoned pro. I think the Fender Player Stratocaster is worth the price, and the new models are leaps and bounds better than what we had 20 years ago. The Player Plus series is an even better deal, and you get a flatter fretboard and locking tuners. The entire Player Series is a great buy for anyone that wants an authentic Fender, without shelling out $1500 for a USA model. Make no mistake, this is a pro-level instrument that has sold well for over 60 years for a good reason!
This Limited-Edition Player Series Stratocaster puts all of the classic features of the Strat at your fingertips while adding a modern edge, plus a bridge position humbucker for a little more rock-and-roll attitude. With a beautifully flamed maple top over a solid alder body, a 22-fret maple fingerboard with a contemporary 9.5" radius for easy bending and an updated 2-point fulcrum tremolo bridge, the Player Series Stratocaster Plus Top is primed and ready to carry you along your musical voyage.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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