Fender Roasted Neck Players! (Updated for February 2023)

Published on 06 February 2023


Fender’s Player Series has proven to be a stratospherically popular range of guitars.

The most affordable collection to bear that immortal Fender logo on the headstock, the Player Series has delivered probably the best intro to this brand that we’ve ever seen. Genuinely good enough in terms of quality, sound and feel to take into the studio and onto the stage, the Player series has placed a genuine Fender Strat or Tele within the reach of all guitarists, without any painful or obvious compromises.

The range has been available for a couple of years now, and really sets the ‘standard’ for Mexican-made Fender guitars. What could be done to improve them? Not much, frankly, but we did put out thinking caps on and come up with a few special upgrades for a limited run at the tail end of 2020... followed by some brand new models for 2023!

Special, Limited Edition Upgrades

Occasionally, we are able to draw up a design for a variation of models that Fender already offer, and have them build a short run of special guitars. Some designs are so well-recieved that they beget another short run, while others are made for one run only. Either way, it makes the whole thing more of an event! The models you see in this blog post have proven themselves to be a massive hit, so we're delighted to share the news that Fender have agreed to build some more! But what are they?

The concept is a simpple one: Player Series Strats and Teles with Custom Shop pickups and Roasted Maple necks! Fender loved the idea and quickly set about bringing our concepts to life in Ensenada, Mexico. The initial run flew out of our doors, and it's not difficult to understand why! The Player Series pickups were already a major upgrade on what came before them, but these top-end Custom Shop pickups are the business! More on them in a second, but first, the Roasted - or torrefied - Maple necks...


Torrefaction Explained

So, you’ll have heard the term torrefaction floating around for a few years now, right? It’s a process that has really taken off in guitar circles, and it pops up on these new Fender guitarguitar Exclusive guitars in the form of the Roasted Neck that each model has.


So, what does torrefaction even mean? Well, it’s a similar process to baking, really. The timbers are put into an oxygen-free environment and subjected to extremely high temperatures. This not only dries out all of the moisture from the wood, but also changes its physical properties and molecular structure. In the end, the timber emerges lighter, stronger and more durable than before, all great properties for any guitar neck!

It all started off when tone boffins realised that the reason why antique acoustic guitars sounded so good was because the timbers had been drying out and resonating for a century! Torrefaction is a method to achieve largely the same end through different means. The by-product – the gorgeous deep caramel colour of the wood – is a bonus in terms of instrument making!

In practice, the neck of each of these Fender guitarguitar Exclusive Player Roasted Maple guitars is stronger and much more resistant to atmospheric & temperature changes. They look gorgeous, they feel amazing and they are much more durable than standard guitar necks. Worth investing a little more in? We think so!


Custom Shop pickups

One of the things we thought Fender really upped their game with on the Player Series was the use of good-sounding alnico II pickups. Pickups are a critical component in the overall sound and response of a guitar, as we all know. An average guitar with great pickups is almost always a better experience than a great guitar with average pickups.

So, how about a great guitar with great pickups? That was our thinking! We spec’d up two sets of genuine Fender Custom Shop pickups to go on these beauties. The Tele gets a set of Custom Shop Nocaster pickups, for some proper bite and grit, just the way we always want a Tele to sound! For the Strat, we felt like it was important to really nail that chime and bloom of a beautiful, classic-era Strat rather than an overwound, hot sound. If players want that, there are plenty of models on our site that will definitely suit you! We wanted the twang, so we went for Custom Shop Fat 50s pickups. They have more body than vintage examples, but this is matched with a good dose of the classic Strat snap! These are some of our all-time favourite Stratocaster pickups, and so there was really never going to be any other pickups but these! They sound phenomenal.


BRAND NEW: Fender Roasted Player Strats for 2023!

Fresh for February 2023 are two new takes on the roasted strat theme, and we LOVE these two! First up is a sensational looking Black Player Strat with a Gold Anodized Pickguard! How awesome does this look?

We colour matched this pairing with some vintage white plastic parts to offer something really quite unique and yet super-tasteful. The roasted neck really adds to the visual power of this guitar, and its modern C carve - as with the others - is a profile that every player can get on with. For pickups, we’re sticking with those excellent Custom Shop Fat 50s single coils, because we see them as being an excellent all-round upgrade on what are already very nice pickups. It’s a matter of incremental details with any pickup, but we think you’ll hear the extra difference straight away, not to mention once you’ve used them to record.

Our other new FSR Exclusive is an Olympic White Strat. This time, we’ve paired the body with a tortoiseshell-coloured pickguard for that cool two-tone look. The white of the finish is actually different to what you normally get on a Player Strat, too: this is Olympic White, as opposed to Polar White. To our eyes, the Olympic White colour has more cream in it, though it’s still very much ‘white’ as opposed to blonde or whatever. What it does do is give this guitar a more vintage appearance, as well as blending well with the caramel hues of the roasted maple neck. As mentioned, a deeply contrasting tortoise pickguard helps give this strat a very cool and distinct look of its own.

These two new models are exclusive to us here at guitarguitar, and offer pretty excellent value for money compared with regular Player Strats. As we’ve always said, the Fender Player Strat has always been excellent, so these tweaks are more about making the instruments even more special and eye-catching. The biggest problem is deciding which to choose!


Exclusive to guitarguitar

Fender have made these gorgeous instruments for us only: you will find them for sale nowhere else in the EU! FSR guitars are, by their nature, limited in availability, so make sure you don't miss out on these special combinations fo colours and features! The Player Series is already gold for most guitar players looking for a good value, road-worthy Fender guitar, and these few major upgrades push these exclusive models up into the ‘essential’ category, regardless of what you already own!

We genuinely think these Fenders are better than anything else at this price point. Click through now to avoid those crushing feelings of disappointment: get yours now!


Click to View our Fender guitarguitar Exclusive & FSR Guitars


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