BRAND NEW Fender Player II Series! Check out the ENTIRE RANGE

Published on 09 July 2024

8 minutes

 

How do you follow up one of the most successful guitar ranges ever?

That’s what the Fender execs must’ve been thinking in regard to the phenomenally popular Player Series. Was it time for a refresh? Did the range even require it? 

Resoundingly, yes! This new Player II Series is extrmely impressive. Read on to get the fully skinny!

 

Contents

The New Player II Series

What’s New?

Stratocasters

Telecasters

Chambered Strats & Teles

Offsets

Basses

When are These Released?

 

The New Player II Series

The Player Series was a huge smash, but as you’ll see in this blog, the brand new Player II series is much more than just a refresh of the line. There are some very interesting changes here, and I’m not just talking about the gorgeous new finishes!

The Player II Series is being released in three staggered stages throughout 2024, but I’ll look at the entire range in this blog today. For everything you need to know on the Fender Player II Series, read on! 

 

What’s New?

So, since the Player series was already pretty excellent, what’s been changed? Thankfully, not too much, though there are significant tweaks across the board. I’ll get to model specifics in a second, but here’s the general spec that applies to the whole line:

  • Alder Body (apart from Chambered models, which I’ll get to soon!)
  • Modern C neck profile
  • Maple or Rosewood fingerboards
  • Rolled fingerboard edges
  • Alnico V pickups (anico II for humbuckers)
  • Brand new colours: Hialeah Yellow, Aquatone Blue, Birch Green & Coral Red

So the big thing here is the return of rosewood as a fingerboard option. The CITES situation with rosewood (it became listed as a rare timber for some time but is not currently regarded as such) has been resolved so it’s a more plentiful timber again.

The biggest change to the actual lineup is the addition of a more traditional Mustang (the previous Player Mustang was a different proposition altogether) and a Mustang bass, which was not previously available in the Player range.

 

Stratocasters

It will come as no surprise to learn that the most popular guitar design ever is represented well in the Player II series. In addition to the classic SSS (three single coils) Stratocaster, the HSS model (with a bridge humbucker) returns, though Fender have dropped the HSH configuration from the new lineup. Given that one of the Stratocaster’s most often-used sounds is the neck single coil, I feel that this isn’t too surprising a move.

The Strat is the litmus test for any Fender range, and the last Player model was really quite excellent, so the changes to this new model are pretty subtle. Apart from the new colours, it’s the return of rosewood and the rolled fingerboard edges that are the main points to take away here.

There are some lovely details though, such as the black pickguards with the Polar White finish and the aged plastic parts in the Black, Sunburst, Aquatone Blue and Coral Red models. How nice is the Coral Red colour?!

 

Telecasters

The Player II Telecaster is available in both traditional SS and HH (two humbuckers) varieties. All of the features I mentioned with the Strat apply here too, including colour options. Interestingly, there’s no Butterscotch Blonde finish unless you opt for the chambered model (see below!), but those other awesome new finishes are all over these new Teles!

The Player II Telecaster HH sports a pair of alnico humbuckers, a popular choice for Tele players which will deliver a stronger tone that’s obviously quite unlike the standard twang of a Tele.

 

Chambered Strats & Teles

This is a pretty big departure! Fender are offering within the Player II range a number of Chambered Stratocasters and Chambered Telecasters. Choose between chambered Ash and Mahogany (each with their own finish options, including a very cool transparent White Blonde) and with the Strats, you can have either the standard three single coils (SSS) or again, a humbucker-equipped HSS model. 

What does all this chambering mean, though? Well, it means that the bodies have had sections hollowed out and then sealed up, so it’s almost like having a semi-hollow guitar but without any visible signs such as f-holes. In practical terms, this means a far lighter guitar for one thing. If you have back problems (or just enjoy flinging your guitar around your body at gigs) then the lighter a guitar is, the better.

Tonally, you’ll enjoy more resonance with these bodies, and perhaps a slightly softer attack, depending on what type of sound you’ve dialled in. The woods are different for a start, and in my opinion, that will contribute somewhat to a different sound, before you even get to their semi-hollow nature.

 Aside from the bodies and colour options (bursts and transparent colours are the game here), the specs follow those of the guitar models we’ve already seen.

This vibe is something Fender have never offered at this price point, so it’s well worth investigation by interested parties!

 

Offsets

There’s change afoot in the offset world, and I have a feeling that most guitarists will be quite accepting of these! Original Player series offsets were quite a departure from historical examples, and whilst this new Player II series isn’t about historical accuracy, you can see that some popular changes have been made.

The Player II Jazzmaster switches out the somewhat anachronistic humbuckers of the previous iteration in favour of proper Jazzmaster single coil pickups, made - as with the other pickups in this range - with alnico V magnets.

The idiosyncratic Jazzmaster bridge is here too, but what still isn’t is the dual lead/rhythm circuit, presumably in keeping with the ‘ready for action in any genre’ vibe that the Player series seems to have been aiming at.

The same is true of the Player II Jaguar, which now has two Jaguar single coil pickups instead of the HS setup from the previous version. Interestingly, Fender have used both alnico V and alnico II pickups in the Jaguar, proving that these instruments are being designed with thought and deliberation. It’s not just a case of the same hardware being chucked in throughout the whole range, and that’s great to see. Companies often take this (acceptable enough) route, so Fender are adding considerable value here by being more specific.

The Mustang - is this guise at least - is a new addition to the Player Series. Previously, a model was available with P90 pickups, but this Player II Mustang sticks a little closer to how most Fender fans would prefer to see a Mustang. This means you get two slanted single coil pickups, the metal control panel (with the correct knobs!) and a 24” scale length.

What isn’t present are the slider controls or the wild Mustang whammy bar, but again, that seems to be in keeping with the Ethos of the Player II series: after all, these are essentially entry points for the Fender brand, and there’s always a Vintera range for greater historical ‘accuracy’, if that’s what you’re after!

 

Basses

You’d expect to see a Precision bass and a Jazz bass in this new lineup, and you’d be correct! Available in the new mix of existing favourite colours and exciting new ones, these two basses are what they should be: bedrock foundations for the Fender bass catalogue. These two basses are a perfect mix of timeless historical vibes (correct shapes and pickup configurations) alongside the types of specs that will make them appeal to the largest cross-section of players: modern C shaped neck profiles, a 9.5” fingerboard radius with rolled fingerboard edges and Alnico V pickups for a clear, distinctive sound.

There are interesting details, such as how the Coral Red P-Bass has a black pickguard and the equivalent Coral Red Jazz bass has a white one! It’s further evidence that Fender aren’t phoning it in: they are treating this affordable-yet-essential range with due care and imagination.

For the first time in the Player Series, there is now a Mustang bass! The Fender Player II Mustang Bass is a potent package indeed, featuring a shorter 30” scale and a versatile ‘PJ’ pickup combination. PJ refers to Precision and Jazz, since there’s a pickup from each bass model included here. Available in 5 lovely finishes and a choice or maple or rosewood fingerboards, this is sure to be a big hit!

 

When are These Released?

What a great update, eh? The Player Series was already excellent, and this fresh new take is better still. It’s a home run for Fender! But when are they released?

As mentioned, Fender will actually be staggering the release throughout 2024. Here’s how it roughly spans out:

  • Initial launch (July) : Stratocaster (SSS & HSS), Telecaster, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass
  • Group 2 (August): Telecaster HH, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Mustang, Mustang Bass
  • Group 3 (October): Chambered models, left-handed models.

It’s going to be Fender season, by the looks of things! The Player II range ticks so many boxes, and really ups the game for all guitars at this price range. Make sure you get your favourite models pre-ordered, because these will be popular!

 

Click to View the Fender Player II Series Guitars & Basses




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Ray

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I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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