You are currently viewing 5 Best Fender Guitars in 2024: Tyler’s Top Picks

Last Updated on March 16, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

You know what? According to this thing we are running, Fender is the best electric guitar brand. And there’s no arguing that they have amazing guitars in their lineup. Here, we have filtered the cream of the crop for you. And the #1 choice is so good that the writer of this piece and the founder of this website decided to spend their hard-earned money to buy one for themselves.

Displays Tyler Connaghan - guitar player and writer

Author: Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster.

Expertise: music industry, producing, acoustic & electric guitars, songwriting

Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies, Music Industry

photo reveals owner of guitaristnextdoor.com

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).


Best Overall – Fender American Performer Stratocaster

Reviewer: Tyler Connaghan

Sound
Playability
Overall Quality
Value For Money

Summary

Pros 
-Incredible playability
-Tonal versatility
-The action feels great right out of the box

Cons
-Vintage saddles might not be everyone’s cup of tea
-Synthetic bone nut is cheap for this price

Who is this guitar for?
The American Fender Stratocaster is the perfect guitar for anyone who wants a classic, high-quality, and versatile instrument that they can grow with.

>Read the full review of this Fender Strat here<

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4.9

*Consider all links in this post to be affiliate links. If you purchase, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission. It helps us to keep the lights on, thanks! 🙂

Check GND Sound Demo:

No talking.
Is this really The Best Fender, what do you think?
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The Next Best:

It’s not the goal, but will happen once you are truly a great player.

Best for Intermediate Players – Fender Player Telecaster

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros

  • Classic Telecaster look and feel
  • Solid playability and intonation
  • Best Fender electric guitar for beginners and intermediate players

Cons

  • Telecaster purists might not like the included six-saddle bridge
  • Although a budget model, synthetic bone nut still feels cheap

Who is this guitar for?

I’d highly recommend the Fender Player Telecaster for players who have already developed some level of skill and want to move up to a better-sounding, more reliable instrument.

 

Best Premium – Fender American Ultra Stratocaster

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Some of the best components and hardware in the Fender lineup
  • Beautifully present tone
  • Improved body contour for easier access to the higher frets
  • Best-sounding Fender electric guitar money can buy

Cons

  • Very expensive

Who is this guitar for?

If you’re someone who values impeccable build quality, tonal flexibility, and outstanding playability, along with exceptional features like the S-1 switching system and Ultra Noiseless pickups, it’s one of the best high-end electric guitars around.

Best Budget – Fender Player Mustang 90 (Works for Small Hands Too)

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Distinct tone with the P-90 single-coil pickups
  • C-shaped neck profile provides comfortable playability
  • Gorgeous vintage aesthetics
  • Greatest Fender for the money

Cons

  • Some players might miss out on the versatility of the traditional HSS pickup configuration.
  • Although a budget model, synthetic bone nut still feels cheap

Who is this guitar for?

This guitar is great for indie guitarists looking for a distinct tone and vintage aesthetics, whether for alternative rhythm playing or heavy-hitting chords.

Best Vintage Sound – Fender American Professional II Telecaster

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Our Overall Rating

Summary

Pros 

  • Top-of-the-line build quality and craftsmanship
  • Incorporates modern features like the V-Mod II pickups and treble-bleed circuit
  • Effortless playability 

Cons

  • Does not come with locking tuning machines, which I would have liked for the price

Who is this guitar for?

The Pro II Tele might just be the best Fender electric guitar for Telecaster enthusiasts who want a versatile, modern take on a classic.

Compare The Key Specs

ModelPrice Range ($-$$$$)Body StyleNeckFretboardBodywoodsNut WidthNut MaterialBridgeScale-LengthPickupsControlsOur Rating
Best Overall – Fender American Performer$$$$StratocasterMaple
22 Jumbo frets.
Rosewood fingerboard. 9.5″ radius
Alder1.685″Synthetic Bone nut6-saddle Vintage-style Synchronized Tremolo25.5″3 x Yosemite Strat Single-coil1 x master volume

1 x tone (neck/middle push/pull neck addition)

1 x tone (bridge)

5-way blade pickup switch
4.9
Best for Intermediate Players – Fender Player Telecaster$$$TelecasterMaple22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Maple fingerboard. 9.5″ radius
Alder1.650″Synthetic Bone nut6-Saddle String-through Body Tele Bridge with Block Steel Saddles25.5″
2 x Player Series Alnico V Tele Single-coil
1 x master volume

1 x master tone

3-way blade pickup switch
4.7
Best Premium – Fender American Ultra Stratocaster$$$$$StratocasterMaple22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Maple fingerboard (different fingerboard options available). 10″-14″ compound radius
Alder1.685″Bone nut2-Point Fender Deluxe Synchronized Tremolo Bridge25.5″3 x Ultra Noiseless Vintage Strat Single-coil1 x master volume (with S-1 switch)

2 x tone

5-way blade pickup switch
5
Best Budget – Fender Player Mustang 90 (Works for Small Hands Too)$$MustangMaple
22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Pau Ferro fingerboard. 9.5″ radius
Alder1.650″Synthetic Bone nut6-Saddle Strings-through body Strat Hardtail Bridge with Bent Steel Saddles24″2 x Mustang P-90 Single-coil1 x master volume

1 x master tone

3-way toggle pickup switch
4.6
Best Vintage Sound – Fender American Professional II Telecaster$$$$$TelecasterMaple22 Narrow Tall frets.
Maple fingerboard. 9.5″ radius
Alder1.685″Bone nut3-Saddle Top-load String-through body Bridge with Brass Bullet Saddles25.5″2 x V-Mod II Tele Single-coil1 x master volume

1 x master tone (push/pull series)

3-way blade pickup switch
4.9

Our Reviews of The Top 5

Keep These 3 Key Things In Mind When Choosing:

Listen to sound samples, compare the pickup configurations, and test the guitar if possible to get the right-sounding instrument for you.

Pay attention to the neck shape and nut width, and test the guitar if possible. Also, note that a good setup goes a long way.

In general, Fenders offer great build quality, but still, be sure to fully inspect the guitar you are purchasing or have purchased.

Why are Fender Guitars so expensive?

How Did We Choose These Guitars?

Of course, the brand has great historical significance, and each model is iconic in its own right. However, there were a few things I thought extremely important to consider beyond the three key points above.

  • For starters, I considered timelessness. For example, the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster are two timeless designs that have played an influential role in shaping music history and haven’t changed much since their inception. 
  • I also wanted to consider both tonal versatility and playability, as these factors greatly impact how wide of an appeal a guitar will have in the overall market.
  • I also considered craftsmanship and build quality. Fenders are high-quality instruments, though some stand the test of time and deliver better performance than others. 
  • Lastly, I relied on my own experience of playing dozens and dozens of Fenders over to years.

My treasure, Fender American Performer Stratocaster:

Displays rugged Fender Stratocaster of the author Tyler Connaghan
My 2017 Fender American Performer Stratocaster that was relic’d by a company called East Glove Customs.

Most electric guitars we recommend are run through tests like these:

  • We check electronics.
  • We inspect the guitar carefully to get a good idea of the finish and built quality of the guitar.
  • We inspect the fretwork and edges of the fretboard to make sure there are no sharp edges.
  • We run the guitar usually through BOSS Katana 50 MK2 and test clean, crunch, and distorted tones with lead and rhythm playing.
  • We use different playing styles to get a good feel for the playability. We use fingerpicking, sweep picking, riffs from different genres, shredding, tapping, chord playing, etc.
  • We test all the possible pickup combinations and use different Volume and Tone settings from the guitar.
  • We measure and weight the guitar.
  • We test the guitar with drop tunings.

Learn more about GND’s testing and reviewing processes here.

Best Overall – Fender American Performer

Displays headstock of a Fender American Performer Stratocaster
Headstock of a Fender American Performer Stratocaster.

Specs

Body StyleStratocaster
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple
Neck ShapeModern C
Fretboard22 Jumbo frets.
Rosewood fingerboard. 9.5″ radius.
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone nut
Nut Width1.685″
Pickups3 x Yosemite Strat Single-coil
Controls1 x master volume
1 x tone (neck/middle push/pull neck addition),
1 x tone (bridge)
5-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
Bridge6-saddle Vintage-style Synchronized Tremolo
TunersFender Classic Gear Tuners

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster, an all-time favorite, epitomizes the classic Stratocaster legacy. This Strat remains a popular choice for its blend of tradition and modernity.

Its appearance is stunning, with a satin polyurethane finish and a sleek one-piece maple neck. The fretwork is meticulously crafted, ensuring a superb playing experience from the start. Its Modern C neck profile and Yosemite single-coil pickups offer comfort and versatile sound, efficiently reducing the single-coil hum.

Equipped with a reliable six-point tremolo system, it maintains tuning stability flawlessly. This Stratocaster is a perfect blend of professional quality and practical versatility, ideal for both studio and live performances.

In this video, I highlight 3 must-know Stratocaster tones in 1 minute, using Fender American Performer Stratocaster:

Summary

ProsCons
Incredible playabilityVintage saddles might not be everyone’s cup of tea
Tonal versatilitySynthetic bone nut is cheap for this price
The action feels great right out of the box

What Others Are Saying:

“I have 4 American Strats. This guitar is just amazing, the Yosemites pickups sounds hot with good bite and well balanced. The neck feels great and easy to play. Recommended 110%.”

Who Is This For?

The American Fender Stratocaster is the perfect guitar for anyone who wants a classic, high-quality, and versatile instrument that they can grow with.

Who This is NOT For?

If you’re an absolute beginner, I would recommend learning on something a bit less expensive.

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Best for Intermediate Players – Fender Player Telecaster

Specs

Body StyleTelecaster
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple
Neck ShapeModern C
Fretboard22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Maple fingerboard. 9.5″ radius.
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone nut
Nut Width1.650″
Pickups2 x Player Series Alnico V Tele Single-coil
Controls1 x master volume
1 x master tone
3-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
Bridge6-Saddle String-through Body Tele Bridge with Block Steel Saddles
TunersStandard Sealed Die-cast tuners

Upgrading from a Squier? The Fender Player Telecaster is a superb choice. Part of the Player series, it boasts a sleek one-piece maple neck and fretboard, available in various finishes like the eye-catching Sunburst.

The modern C neck profile caters to fast playing and comfort, even during extended sessions. Right out of the box, its intonation impresses, contrasting many budget guitars. Featuring a traditional two-pickup setup with a distinct Telecaster twang at the bridge and warm tones at the neck, it’s slightly less diverse than a Strat but excels in its own right.

Check these articles too:

Enhanced by Standard Die Cast Sealed Fender tuners, its tuning stability is remarkable. The synthetic bone nut, finely crafted, further enhances its intonation quality.

How this guitar sounds:

Tone Check: Fender Player Series Telecaster

Summary

ProsCons
Classic Telecaster look and feelTelecaster purists might not like the included six-saddle bridge
Solid playability and intonationAlthough a budget model, synthetic bone nut still feels cheap
Great electric guitar for beginners and intermediate players

What Others Are Saying:

“I purchased this Tele due to my undying love of Fender instruments, I could have bought the more expensive model but after receiving the Player version I don’t see how it be improved. Finish is impeccable, excellent play-ability and superior tone.”

Who Is This For?

I’d highly recommend the Fender Player Telecaster for players who have already developed some level of skill and want to move up to a better-sounding, more reliable instrument.

Who This is NOT For?

This guitar is not the best choice for metal or heavy rock players who enjoy playing with high-gain amps and pedals.

Stratocaster vs Telecaster? Which is best for you?

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Best Premium – Fender American Ultra Stratocaster

Specs

Body StyleStratocaster
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple
Neck ShapeModern D
Fretboard22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Maple fingerboard (different fingerboard options available). 10″-14″ compound radius.
Nut MaterialBone nut
Nut Width1.685″
Pickups3 x Ultra Noiseless Vintage Strat Single-coil
Controls1 x master volume (with S-1 switch)
2 x tone
5-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
Bridge2-Point Fender Deluxe Synchronized Tremolo Bridge
TunersFender Deluxe Die-cast Sealed Locking Tuners

The American Ultra Stratocaster, while resembling a classic Fender Strat, boasts high-end components for those seeking a luxury guitar. It stands out with unique color options like Plasma Burst, Mocha Burst, and Texas Tea, offering a distinct aesthetic.

The comfortable playing experience is enhanced by its “Modern D” neck profile, rolled fingerboard edges, and a tapered neck heel for easy access to higher frets. Its 22 medium jumbo frets and compound radius fingerboard aid precision in soloing.

Notably, it features Ultra Noiseless Vintage pickups for Strat versatility without the hum, and an S-1 switch adds warmth and depth. The premium sealed locking tuners ensure stable tuning even during aggressive play.

How this guitar sounds:

American Ultra Stratocaster | American Ultra Series | Fender

Summary 

ProsCons
Some of the best components and hardware in the Fender lineupVery expensive
Beautifully present tone
Improved body contour for easier access to the higher frets
Best-sounding Fender electric guitar money can buy

What Others Are Saying:

“I got one of these a year ago and it has become one of my favorite guitars. The roasted maple neck is fantastic. It is one of the best necks I have ever played. Sounds great. Plays great. Looks great. My older boutique strat sits in the closet most of the time now. For the money this guitar plays and feels like a guitar twice the price. Can’t recommend this highly enough.”

Who Is This For?

If you’re someone that values impeccable build quality, tonal flexibility, and outstanding playability, along with exceptional features like the S-1 switching system and Ultra Noiseless pickups, it’s one of the best high-end electric guitars around.

Who This is NOT For?

The Fender American Ultra Stratocaster would not be the best choice for a beginner or casual player on a budget.

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Best Budget – Fender Player Mustang 90 (Works for Small Hands Too)

Specs

Body StyleMustang
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple
Neck ShapeC
Fretboard22 Medium Jumbo frets.
Pau Ferro fingerboard. 9.5″ radius.
Nut MaterialSynthetic Bone nut
Nut Width1.650″
Pickups2 x Mustang P-90 Single-coil
Controls1 x master volume
1 x master tone
3-way toggle pickup switch
Scale-Length24″
Bridge6-Saddle Strings-through body Strat Hardtail Bridge with Bent Steel Saddles
TunersStandard Die-cast Sealed Tuners

The Fender Player Mustang 90, while not the cheapest, offers excellent value as a “budget” guitar with top-notch Fender sound and playability. It modernizes a classic with vintage style and versatile features. Its offset body and pearloid pickguards reflect 60s Mustang charm.

With a balanced tone from its alder body and smooth playability courtesy of its C-shaped maple neck and Pau Ferro fretboard, it stands out. The P-90 single-coil pickups provide a mid-range punch, perfect for various genres.

Reliable hardware ensures solid intonation and tuning stability. Overall, it’s a stylish, versatile guitar ideal for both seasoned players and beginners.

Read the full review of Fender Mustang P90.

How this guitar sounds:

the Fender Player Mustang 90 – full review and demo

Summary

Pros Cons
Distinct tone with the P-90 single-coil pickupsSome players might miss out on the versatility of the traditional HSS pickup configuration
C-shaped neck profile provides comfortable playabilityAlthough a budget model, synthetic bone nut still feels cheap
Gorgeous vintage aesthetics
Excellent guitar for the money

What Others Are Saying:

I love this guitar. The P-90’s sound unique in my collection being slightly thicker sounding than my single coil guitars and perhaps more articulate than my humbucking guitars. They take gain very well too. 

Who Is This For?

This guitar is great for indie guitarists looking for a distinct tone and vintage aesthetics, whether for alternative rhythm playing or heavy-hitting chords.

Who This is NOT For?

I wouldn’t recommend this for traditional Stratocaster or Telecaster fans, as the pickup configuration is a bit less versatile. 

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Best Vintage Sound – Fender American Professional II Telecaster

Specs

Body StyleTelecaster
Body WoodAlder
NeckMaple
Neck ShapeDeep C
Fretboard22 Narrow Tall frets.
Maple fingerboard. 9.5″ radius.
Nut MaterialBone nut
Nut Width1.685″
Pickups2 x V-Mod II Tele Single-coil
Controls1 x master volume
1 x master tone (push/push series)
3-way blade pickup switch
Scale-Length25.5″
Bridge3-Saddle Top-load String-through body Bridge with Brass Bullet Saddles
TunersFender Standard Die-cast Tuners

The Fender American Professional II Telecaster, a staple in Fender’s lineup, maintains the classic Telecaster design while integrating modern features. Crafted from either alder or roasted pine, it offers a balanced tone and great aesthetics.

The deep C-shape satin-finished neck ensures smooth playability. It’s equipped with new V-Mod II pickups, delivering a versatile tonal range from crisp articulation to balanced, versatile sounds, enhanced by the treble-bleed circuit for consistent tone control.

With a two-point synchronized tremolo bridge and reliable tuning machines, this guitar suits any musical style and is a preferred choice for modern playing.

How this guitar sounds:

Exploring The American Professional II Telecaster

Summary

ProsCons
Top-of-the-line build quality and craftsmanshipDoes not come with locking tuning machines, which I would have liked for the price 
Incorporates modern features like the V-Mod II pickups and treble-bleed circuit
Effortless playability 

What Others Are Saying:

I have to say the Pro II tele is a fantastic specimen from the smooth neck to the V-mod pickups to the push-pull tone knob, saddle and bridge upgrade and spectacular dark knight finish let alone the tones Fender left no stone unturned. 

Who Is This For?

The Pro II Tele might just be the best electric guitar for Telecaster enthusiasts who want a versatile, modern take on a Fender classic.

Who This is NOT For?

If you’re a high-gain or heavy-metal player, I’d look elsewhere. 

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Runner-Ups That Just Missed The Top 5


Buyer’s Guide

The Fender Range Explained

  • Fender American Ultra Series – When it comes to top-tier Fender models, look no further than the American Ultra series. From Strats to Teles, all the guitars in the American Ultra range are tailored to professional musicians who need the most out of their instruments. Expect to find features like advanced pickup switching options, compound radius fingerboards, and Noiseless pickups.
  • Fender American Professional II Series – Just a step down from the American Ultra range is the American Professional II range. You pretty much get the same level of craftsmanship with slightly varying features, such as the comfortable Deep C neck profiles and V-Mod II pickups.
  • Fender American Performer Series – In my opinion, the Fender American Performer series is one of the best ranges all around. All of these guitars are made with quality American-made components and the Yosemite pickups are some of my favorites
  • Fender Player Series – If you’re an intermediate player looking to upgrade your entry-level guitar, take a look at the Fender Player series. You get a more affordable price point with high-end materials like your standard synthetic bone nut and clean position inlays.
  • Squier Series – The Squier series is the budget-friendly younger brother of Fender, perfect for beginners or budget-conscious players. 

American vs Mexican Fenders: Which Are Better?


How to Choose The Right Fender Electric Guitar For You

Body Styles

displays Stratocaster electric guitar bodyshape
  • Stratocaster: The Icon of Versatility The Fender Stratocaster’s double cut-away design is instantly recognizable. It’s versatile in tone, making it a favorite across various music genres.
  • Telecaster: The Rock and Country Staple The Telecaster’s single cutaway design is cherished for its unique twang, loved by rock and country musicians.
  • Mustang: Compact Comfort The Mustang stands out with its shorter scale length, ideal for younger players or those with smaller hands.
  • Jazzmaster and Jaguar: Indie Favorites These models, known for their offset bodies, are popular in indie and surf rock for their distinctive jangly tones.

Woods

How tonewoods should affect the sound of hollow body guitars under $1000

Wood Choices and Their Impact Fender guitars use pine, ash, or alder, each influencing the sound. Alder is known for balance and light weight, ash for brightness and sustain, and pine for a smoother mid-range and lighter weight.

Pickups

image reveals How different electric guitar pickups sound

Here are your Fender electric pickup options

  • Single-Coil Pickups: Offer brightness and clarity but can be noisy.
  • Humbucker Pickups: Powerful, eliminating unwanted hum.
  • Noiseless Pickups: Single-coil tone without the noise.
  • Texas Special Pickups: Grittier output for a punchy tone.

Neck Profiles

This graph reveals most common guitar neck shapes
  • C-Shape: Comfortable and balanced, suitable for various styles.
  • D-Shape: Fuller feel, as seen in the American Ultra Stratocaster.
  • V-Shape and U-Shape: Additional support and substantial feel, preferred in vintage models.

Budget Considerations

  • Squier Series: Ideal for beginners or budget-conscious players.
  • American Performer and Player Series: Great for intermediate players.
  • American Professional and Ultra Series: Premium craftsmanship for professionals.

Choosing Based on Skill Level

  • Beginners: Look for easy playability and comfort.
  • Intermediate Players: Seek versatility and improved electronics.
  • Advanced Players: Opt for high-end playability and craftsmanship.

Testing Tips Visit a music store to try different Fenders. Check comfort, sound, response to pedals, and seek expert advice for the best fit.

Tyler Connaghan

Tyler Connaghan is a guitarist, singer, producer, composer & engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Tyler has been playing the guitar since 2007. In between writing for guitar publications, he produces music for film and television. His favorite axe is his custom Pelham Blue Fender Stratocaster. You can connect with Tyler on LinkedIn or just email him.
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Google Benim İşletmem Yorum Satın Al

Thnx for share.. Very best post. Ty.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jon Gill

I like my Tele,I’m a vocalist not much a guitarist,so I need help and this guitar provided it.At first,the high E kept popping out of the slot. I finally filed it and now works great. This guitar is easy for me to play and versatile.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Jon and thanks for commenting! Awesome that you got things sorted out with your Tele! What exact model is it?

Antonio

The public are voting with their wallet and Jazzmasters are having an unprecedented renaissance, so I’m surprised not to see one listed here, especially given there are two strats, teo teles and interestingly a mustang. Go figure.

Teemu Suomala

Hi Antonio and thanks for commenting! I love Jazzmasters, Mustangs, and Jaguars. But I think that Strats and Teles serve the most players the best when it comes to Fenders

Teemu Suomala

I couldn’t agree with Tyler more on number 1 here.
I have been recently tried to get my hands on one, but no stores in Finland currently have the Fender American Performer Stratocaster SSS in stock…
If someone wants to spend less, I wouldn’t shy away from Fender Player Strats…they sound and play great!

Last edited 4 months ago by Teemu Suomala
Justin Thomas

Was never much of a Strat person. Still, that Performer does look like it hits the perfect balance of price and specification.

I’d probably end up with the Player Tele, but I’d want to play a bunch before settling down with one. Need to have “that” moment with the guitar.

Justin Thomas

Oooh, but you mention the Thinline in the runners up…now, that’s made a bit of a problem for me.

Teemu Suomala

Fender Jim Adkins JA-90 Telecaster is a cool one. But it’s a bit pricey, it’s made in Indonesia. That being said. the quality could still be great, I just mean that since it’s cheaper to manufacture, it could cost a little bit less IMO.

Justin Thomas

Never going to discount an Indonesian made guitar. My PRS SE is the most at home that I have felt on a PRS ever. I have been lucky enough to play some American made PRS too, yet the Indo SE I have is just perfect.