Introducing the Fender Player Plus Range
In 2018, Fender retired the Mexican Standard Series and replaced it with the Player Series as their entry level guitar range. This range is still Mexican made, and like the Standard series that came before consists of more basic and uniform components. For example the Player Jazzmaster comes equipped with dual humbuckers, rather than the wide-range single coil pickups you would normally find on this kind of guitar.Today, Fender are launching their newest line of guitars: The Player Plus Series. As they’re all new and shiny, we thought they were probably worth talking about!
What’s In a Name?
Well, in this instance it kind of gives you all you need to know. It’s a Player Series guitar – so still a Mexican-made instrument – but they’ve added more, and this is kind of across the board. These guitars come with upgraded hardware, such as Hi Mass bridges or locking tuners, noiseless Player Plus pick-ups and even a Deluxe gig bag. If I were to draw a comparison from their current line up in terms of spec, the closest would be the Pro II or maybe even Ultra series, but made in Mexico rather than the USA. I realise that’s a little convoluted, so let’s take it model by model and see how they compare to the standard Player guitars and basses.
As it’s been around the longest, it seems only appropriate that this is where we begin. The Player Plus Telecaster comes in two different variations: a standard Telecaster and a Nashville model.
Player Plus Telecaster
Let’s take it from the top, literally. The Player Plus Telecaster replaces the standard tuners on the Player Tele with short post Deluxe Cast Sealed Locking tuners. From here, we jump to the electrics, where this new Telecaster has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. As well as sporting 2 Player Plus noiseless pickups, it also has a Push/Pull tone control for switching between a series and parallel configuration. Finally, the Player Telecaster comes in a couple of new finishes, and they are pretty out there! You can have it in Silver Smoke (shown below), Cosmic Jade, a Sunburst (for the real thrill seekers) and Aged Candy Apple Red.
Player Plus Nashville Telecaster
So everything we just said about the Nashville’s simpler sibling is also true of the Nashville, with just a couple of notable exceptions. Firstly, it’s got a Strat-style noiseless Player Plus pick-up in the middle position (making it a Nashville). Secondly, the Push/Pull tone knob is no longer for series and parallel, but instead allows you to turn the neck pickup on and off when in positions 1 and 2 on the pickup selector. And finally: different finishes!We still have the Aged Candy Apple Red (shown below) and a Sunburst, but we now also have Butterscotch Blonde and Opal Spark.
Player Plus Stratocaster
Similar to the Telecaster, we have two different variations of Stratocaster, although nothing quite as outlandish as the Nashville. In this instance we have a triple single-coil version and an HSS humbucker-in-the-bridge style Strat.
Player Plus SSS StratocasterOnce again we’ve got the locking tuners and the noiseless pick-ups and, as it’s a Strat, a 2 point Tremolo bridge. This guitar also features a Push/Pull tone pot, which in this version of the Strat works exactly the same as the Nashville Tele, allowing you to add in the neck pick-up to positions 1 and 2 on the pick-up selector.Again, we have a couple of different finishes. The Aged Candy Apple Red, Sunburst and Opal Spark are all options on this Strat, but you can also have Olympic Pearl and Tequila Sunrise (pictured below).
Player Plus HSS StratocasterAt the risk of repeating myself… Locking tuners, 2 point tremolo, noiseless single coil, noiseless single coil, noiseless Humbucker! (oooooo) and this time our push/pull knob is a coil split. Finish-wise, we have the Sunburst and Cosmic Jade again, this time joined by Silverburst and Belair Blue (pictured below).
Player Plus Precision Bass
Say it five times fast, I dare you! Then say “Powered by a Player Plus PJ pickup set”. I’ve tried and I genuinely can’t do it. So many P’s! Anyway, no locking tuners on this one because… well it’s a bass, but you do get a Fender HiMass bridge for a bit of extra “thrum”. For electronics we have a Player Plus noiseless P-bass pickup in the middle and a Jazz Bass one from the same range in the bridge position. With regards to the Player Plus P-Bass controls, we have a master volume and there the similarities to its more affordable sibling end. In place of a tone control we have a treble boost/cut, mid boost/cut and a bass boost/cut. There’s also a blend knob to allow you to balance your tone between the 2 pick-ups and an active/passive mini toggle switch, for when you really want to give it the beans! (“Give it the beans”? What am I talking about?)For finishes, the P-Bass comes in Sunburst, Silver Smoke, Olympic Pearl and Cosmic Jade (Pictured below).
Player Plus Jazz Bass
Last but by no means least we have the Jazz Bass. In terms of spec, please see the P-Bass, but we’ve got a Jazz Bass pickup in the middle instead of a P-Bass pick-up. This pains me if I’m honest, as it is my humble opinion that a Jazz Bass with PJ pickups would be the absolute king of all Fenders, and it never seems to make it into their line up, but I digress…This bass comes in Aged Candy Apple Red, Sunburst, Belair Blue and Olympic Pearl (Pictured).
It’s also available as a 5-String where we can choose from Sunburst, Cosmic Jade, Opal Spark and Tequila Sunrise. I’m starting to think Fender might have a real surplus of Sunburst paint just kicking around the place…So there we have it: the new Fender line. If the spec is anything to go by, these look set to be absolute giant-slayers, so if you are willing to overlook the fact that they’re not US-built (and I’d highly recommend this, and that you particularly overlook it for anything in the Aged Candy Apple Red), they are definitely going to be worth your consideration. And – who knows? – maybe if I’m good and keep passive-aggressively hinting in these blog posts, they might even make a Jazz Bass with a PJ set up. A boy can dream.