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Fender is by far one of the most iconic guitar companies in the last century of modern music. Their instruments and amplifiers have been hailed as some of the best to ever grace the industry.
In fact, many of their instruments’ designs have been copied time and again by other companies.
Looking for a Fender guitar for your own collection? You’ve come to the right place, as this article will outline some of the best Fenders available today.
Player Plus Meteora HH – Best Overall
Many of the guitars available on Fender’s product line are steeped heavily in tradition. However, the Player Plus Meteora HH is one of the newest guitars that Fender has brought to the lineup.
In some ways, this guitar has a sort of retro look and feel but has a distinct modern grace. If you’re looking for a guitar, this is the one that will truly be the unique instrument in your collection.
The Player Plus Meteora HH has an offset body design. You could think of this as a modernized Jazzmaster or Jaguar design.
Its body is made of Alder and has comfort contours on the front and back for an ergonomic playing experience. The guitar also has a gloss polyester finish and comes in the color varieties of:
- Cosmic jade
- 3-tone sunburst
- Belair blue
Maple is used to construct the guitar’s neck, which has a 25.5” scale length and a modern C-shape contour.
Pau Ferro is used for the Player Plus Meteora HH’s fretboard. This has a 12” radius, with 22 frets outlined by white Pearloid dot inlays.
For pickups, the guitar is stocked with a pair of Fireball humbuckers. These will give you the thick and pristine tones you would expect from humbucker pickups.
To make the most of this, the guitar has a 3-way switch as well as a volume and two tone knobs. The volume knob doubles as an S-1 coil-split switch, turning the humbuckers into single-coil pickups.
This guitar also features a 2-point synchronized tremolo system with brushed block saddles. Locking tuners help to give the guitar more tuning stability when using the tremolo.
The nut is made of synthetic bone.
Included with the purchase of the Player Plus Meteora HH is a gig bag.
What’s So Great About The Player Plus Meteora HH?
Fender is not known for taking risks when it comes to new guitar designs. If you look at their product line, you’ll see a cast of usual suspects.
The Player Plus Meteora HH is perhaps the newest body design that Fender has made an attempt with. As it was unveiled in 2018, it is applaudable that Fender should make it a full-scale production guitar.
Is it sacrilegious to name the Player Plus Meteora HH the best overall? Sure, it might be, and everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions.
However, guitarists need to give credit where credit is due. There really are not any new guitar designs hitting the market from any company, let alone Fender.
All too often, we see the same S-style and T-style guitars, reproduced time and time again, ad nauseum. It’s a refreshing breath of fresh air to see this guitar, even if you don’t like the design right away.
The Player Plus Meteora HH is unique, not only in its body design, but in the small details, too. In some ways, you could think of this as the perfect blending of tradition meeting modernization.
For instance, Fender has embraced locking tuners here to provide more tuning stability with the tremolo. Synchronized tremolos can be quite cumbersome for guitarists, especially when traditional tuners are used.
Similarly, it’s not often we see a Fender with humbucker pickups as the base pickups. They take it a step further to add a coil-splitter, furthering the tonal versatility of this guitar.
Aside from that, all of the traditional Fender build specs are here. You’ll still have a modular design, a C-shaped neck at a 25.5” scale length, comfort contours, and more.
Item Weight: 9.5 pounds
Package Dimensions: 50 x 18 x 7 inches
Stories Collection Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster – Best Premium
Are you looking for one of the best Stratocasters that money can buy? Be sure to check out the Fender Stories Collection Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster.
This Stratocaster is a reproduction of one of Eric Johnson’s most famous Stratocasters. You can be sure Fender has been faithful in this production, right down to the smallest details.
The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster features a body made from 2 pieces of Sassafras. It also has a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish and comes in a 2-tone sunburst color.
Both the Sassafras and the nitrocellulose lacquer are unique to the 1954 run of Stratocasters. Sassafras is said to have a very pronounced tonal range without any muddiness.
The neck of this guitar is made from 1 piece of Maple. It has a 25.5” scale length, and a soft V contour.
Maple is also used as the guitar’s fretboard material, featuring a 12” radius with 21 frets and black dot inlays.
This guitar is stocked with a pair of Original ’57/’62 Strat single-coils in the neck and middle positions. At the bridge, a DiMarzio HS-2 single-coil is added.
In true Stratocaster style, you’ll have a 5-way selector switch, as well as a master volume and 2 tone knobs.
A vintage-style tremolo with a 6-saddle bridge is also featured on the “Virginia” Strat. In addition to this are vintage-style tuners and a plastic nut.
Included with the purchase of this guitar is a hardshell case. However, at this price, you would seriously hope that this would be included.
It would certainly be a gut-wrenching experience to have this guitar shipped in a box without a case!
What’s So Great About The Stories Collection Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster?
You might be wondering what is so special about this Stratocaster. Wouldn’t a more inexpensive Stratocaster be a better practical purchase?
Sure, if you’re thinking this, your thinking wouldn’t be off the mark. However, this guitar is really only for a select few who can afford it.
In fact, even if you could afford it, you probably wouldn’t use it for gigs at your local bar. This “Virginia” Strat is definitely a collection piece for someone that enjoys collecting guitars.
Eric Johnson Stratocasters have been known to be some of the best-playing Stratocasters on the market. I’ve owned one myself in the past (the Thinline model) and I can attest to their quality.
With these Strats, every spec and detail is built according to Eric Johnson’s preferences. Keep in mind, this is the guy who can tell a difference in sound between different batteries powering pedals.
The “Virginia” Strat is more akin to a full-scale reproduction of a 1954 Stratocaster. Outside of this guitar, you aren’t going to find a Sassafras body with a nitrocellulose finish.
Even the pickups themselves have been wired according to the old production methods. These aren’t going to be your typical run-of-the-mill pickups by any means.
If you’ve ever wanted the opportunity to own a 1954 Stratocaster, the “Virginia” reproduction is a worthwhile endeavor. It’s actually quite unique compared to the typical Ash bodies found in this time period.
Again, it’s not for everyone. But, for those who can afford it, this is going to be a luxurious experience.
If you’re hanging this on a wall, be sure the foam padding is safe for the nitrocellulose lacquer finish. It’d be unfortunate if your guitar was damaged by displaying it.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 45 x 16 x 6 inches
Player Duo-Sonic HS – Best Budget
This guitar has an offset body design that is very similar to the famed Fender Mustang. Its body is made of Alder with a gloss polyester finish and comes in a variety of colors including:
- Crimson red transparent
- Ice blue metallic
- Sienna sunburst
The neck is made from Maple and has a shortened scale length of 24”. This neck will feel comfortable and familiar thanks to its traditional C-shape contour.
Maple is also used as the Player Duo-Sonic HS’s fretboard material. It has the traditional 9.5” Fender radius, with 22 frets outlined by black dot inlays.
For pickups, this guitar features a Duo-Sonic single-coil in the neck and a Duo-Sonic humbucker at the bridge. You’ll be able to achieve the best of both pickup worlds here with these pickup choices.
In some ways, the pickups on the Player Duo-Sonic HS have a sort of retro sound to them. This guitar can certainly emulate iconic 1950s and 60s tones without any issue but is suited for modern music, too.
A 3-way switch, as well as a master volume and tone knob, are provided here. The tone knob has a coil-split to split the humbucker into single-coil pickups for further versatility.
This guitar has a synthetic bone nut, die-cast sealed tuners, and a string-through-body hardtail Stratocaster bridge. The bridge has a 6-string saddle with bent steel saddles.
What’s So Great About The Player Duo-Sonic HS?
Typically, the Duo-Sonic is not a guitar that tends to receive the spotlight. However, the Player Duo-Sonic HS has a few points to it that make it such a standout guitar.
First and foremost, the shortened scale length makes this guitar a perfect candidate for those with small hands. The distance between frets will be noticeably smaller compared to a 25.5” scale length guitar.
As such, you’ll have an easier time playing this neck, even if you don’t struggle with fret distances. The strings themselves will feel much more pliable, rather than stiff, lending to an easier playing experience.
Furthermore, the neck has a satin finish, as opposed to a lacquer or gloss finish. You won’t have to deal with the neck gumming up and causing speed issues.
Also, the Player Duo-Sonic HS is incredibly versatile in terms of its tonal range. You’ll have access to that iconic Fender chime, to a warm humbucker sound, and everything in between.
This primes the Player Duo-Sonic HS to be applicable for nearly any type of music (aside from metal). You’ll have beefiness where you need it, and be able to elevate your licks as well.
The included coil-split on the tone knob is very much a welcomed feature. This means you won’t be limited to just a humbucker at the bridge.
Let’s not forget that the Player Duo-Sonic HS is a guitar that just reeks of cool aesthetic. Even the traditional Stratocasters and Telecasters cannot touch how cool this guitar looks.
You can be sure you’ll have a blast with this fun, little guitar strapped up on your shoulder. Others will definitely be a little envious and will probably secretly want one for themselves.
Item Weight: 7 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 5.2 x 4.5 inches
American Professional II Telecaster
You might wonder how Fender can continue to keep releasing models of their mainstay traditional guitars. Are these instruments worth it, and is there anything different about them?
The Fender American Professional II Telecaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is the perfect proof of modernizing tradition. This guitar has upgrades in all of the areas that a player could desire.
Telecasters are traditionally solid-body guitars. This one is no different, featuring a Roasted Pine body with a gloss polyurethane finish.
The neck is made of Maple, with a 25.5” scale length and a Deep C contour. This contour is a newer design implemented to allow for more comfort when playing for long periods of time.
You’ll have the option of different fretboard materials (and body colors) with the American Professional II Telecaster. These options include:
- Butterscotch blonde (Maple)
- 3 color sunburst (Maple, Rosewood)
- Black (Maple)
- Miami blue (Maple)
- Roasted Pine (Maple)
- Sienna sunburst (Maple)
- Dark night (Rosewood)
- Mercury (Rosewood)
- Mystic surf green (Rosewood)
- Olympic white (Rosewood)
The fretboard itself has a 9.5” radius with 22 narrow-tall frets outlined by dot inlays.
For pickups, this guitar sports a pair of V-Mod II Tele single-coil pickups. These were designed by Tim Shaw to provide a wider tonal range.
You’ll be able to control your tone with a 3-way switch and a master volume and tone knob. This tone knob allows you to roll back the treble so that you can retain certain tones without piercing highs.
Other upgrades include a 3-saddle bridge comprised of brass bullet saddles. The bridge is also top-loading as well and string-through, allowing for player preference.
A hardshell case comes included with the American Professional II Telecaster.
Item Weight: 9 pounds
Package Dimensions: 44 x 18 x 6 inches
Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster
Jazzmasters are a guitar from Fender’s catalog that has a certain, distinct charm. It seems as if people either absolutely love them or are completely indifferent to them.
If you’ve ever wanted a Jazzmaster for yourself, there are actually quite a few available on the market. However, the Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is an especially beautiful specimen.
Troy Van Leeuwen has played guitar in bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and A Perfect Circle. However, you need not be a fan of these bands to fully enjoy this guitar.
This guitar is made from Alder and comes with a gloss polyester finish. The neck is made from Maple and has a C-shape contour and a 25.5” scale length.
There are 2 color choices with this guitar, which dictate the fretboard material as well.
These choices include:
- Copper age with maple fretboard
- Oxblood with bound rosewood
The fretboard itself has a radius of 7.25” and features 21 vintage-style frets. Each is adorned in block inlays, although the rosewood fretboard’s inlays are made of Pearloid.
For pickups, the Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster features a pair of Pure Vintage ’65 Jazzmaster single-coil pickups.
In true Jazzmaster style, this has both the lead and rhythm circuits. However, the rhythm circuit now has a toggle switch instead of a standard 2-way slide switch.
The lead circuit has a 3-way switch. Each circuit has its own master volume and tone controls.
Another upgrade with this guitar is the Nickel-plated brass Mustang saddle. You’ll also get a Jazzmaster bridge and a locking tremolo.
Also included with the Troy Van Leeuwen Jazzmaster is a hardshell case.
Item Weight: 24 pounds
Package Dimensions: 50 x 18 x 7 inches
Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang
Are you somebody that absolutely worships Kurt Cobain in terms of musical aesthetic? Or, perhaps you’re searching for a very unique guitar to call your own?
Construction-wise, the Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang is made of Alder and has a gloss polyurethane finish. It comes in 2 different color options, including:
- Fiesta red
- Sonic blue
The neck is constructed from Maple and has a shortened scale length of 24”, with a slim C contour. Small-handed players and those who enjoy a short-scale experience will absolutely love the feel of this neck.
Rosewood is used for the Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang’s fretboard. This fretboard has a 7.25” radius, with 22 vintage-style frets outlined by dot inlays.
For pickups, this guitar features a Jag-Stang single-coil at the neck and a Jag-Stang humbucker at the bridge. These will provide that single-coil chime and crunch that Cobain’s tone is known for.
What’s unique about this guitar is that it has a pair of 3-way slide switches. One is for pickup selection, and the other is to make the pickups in or out of phase.
A master volume and tone knob are also provided for further tonal control.
Additionally, the Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang comes equipped with a Mustang tremolo system. The bridge itself features a 6-string saddle design.
Elsewhere on the guitar are vintage-style tuners as well as a synthetic bone nut.
You’ll also be pleased to know that the Kurt Cobain Jag-Stang comes equipped with an included gig bag.
Item Weight: 13.3 pounds
Package Dimensions: 41.9 x 15.7 x 4.5 inches
Vintera ‘60s Jaguar
Typically, Squier is known for producing vintage-style guitars from Fender’s past glory days. However, Fender’s Vintera series also aims at providing a true vintage experience.
This guitar has a body made from Alder with a gloss polyester finish. It comes in a variety of different color options, including:
- Ocean turquoise
- 3-color sunburst
The neck is made from Maple and has a 24” scale length with a Modern C-shape contour. This makes the guitar a worthwhile choice for those with smaller fingers and hands.
Pau Ferro is used for the guitar’s fretboard material. It has a radius of 7.25” and 22 medium-jumbo frets outlined by white dot inlays.
For pickups, the Vintera ‘60s Jaguar has a pair of vintage-style Jaguar single-coil pickups. These are built to emulate the same tonal quality as the original Jaguar models.
As is true with the traditional Jaguars, this model features all of the switches and thumbwheels. You’ll get 2 thumbwheels for blending, a kill switch, 2 on/off pickup switches, and a choke switch.
In addition to this, you’ll have a master volume and tone knob to further shape the tone to your liking.
The Vintera ‘60s Jaguar comes equipped with a vintage-style floating tremolo and a Jaguar bridge. It also has a synthetic bone nut and vintage-style tuners to complete the guitar’s look.
Topping it all off, the Vintera ‘60s Jaguar comes with a gig bag. This makes the guitar ready for gigs right out of the box.
Item Weight: 11 pounds
Package Dimensions: 33.3 x 15.5 x 4.5 inches
Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Deluxe
The Telecaster Deluxe is a very popular Telecaster model that typically features humbuckers and a large pickguard. These models, especially the original 1970s models, have been highly revered by guitarists for decades.
Fortunately, Fender has begun to make a faithful reproduction of these original models. The Fender Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Deluxe (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is perfect if you’ve wanted a vintage model.
This guitar is made of Alder and has a gloss polyurethane finish. It comes in a variety of colors, including:
- Vintage blonde
- 3-color sunburst
The neck is crafted from Maple to have a 25.5” scale length and a thin C-shaped contour. You’ll find this to be comfortable and easy to play, especially when playing fast licks.
Maple is also used as the guitar’s fretboard. This has a traditional 9.5” Fender radius with 21 vintage-style frets outlined by black dot inlays.
For pickups, the Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Deluxe is stocked with a pair of Fender Wide Range humbuckers. These will give you that beefy twang sound that Telecaster Deluxe models are known for.
A 3-way selector switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs are provided for further tonal control.
Like traditional Telecasters, this has a string-through-body design. However, one upgrade on this model is that it features a Stratocaster bridge with a 6-string saddle.
Elsewhere on this guitar is a synthetic bone nut and vintage-style tuners. The large and iconic pickguard is also featured with this Telecaster Deluxe model, completing its look.
A gig bag also comes included with the Vintera ‘70s Telecaster Deluxe.
Overall, this is definitely a worthwhile purchase if you’ve been yearning for an authentic vintage Telecaster Deluxe experience.
Item Weight: 10 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.5 x 15.4 x 4.5 inches
We’ve made it this far in the list, and you’re probably wondering where all the Stratocasters are. Well, no need to worry, because we’ve included one that is well worth your time.
The Fender Player Stratocaster (see price on Amazon or Sweetwater) is truly built with the performer in mind. As such, it comes in a variety of options so you can customize your guitar without paying custom shop prices.
This Stratocaster’s body is made of Alder and has a gloss polyurethane finish. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of color and fretboard options, including:
- 3-tone sunburst (Maple or Pau Ferro)
- Black (Maple or Pau Ferro)
- Buttercream (Maple)
- Capri orange (Maple)
- Tidepool (Maple)
- Polar white (Maple or Pau Ferro)
- Silver (Pau Ferro)
- Seafoam green (Roasted Maple)
The neck itself is crafted from Maple and has a 25.5” scale length with a C-shape contour. This should feel pretty similar to other Fender guitars as it is fairly standard.
No matter your fretboard choice, it will have a 9.5” radius with 22 frets and dot inlays. The extra fret is a modern upgrade from the 21-fretted vintage instruments.
For pickups, the Player Stratocaster is stocked with 3 Player Series Alnico V Strat single-coil pickups. A 5-way switch, a volume, and a pair of tone knobs allow you to dial in those iconic Strat tones.
This Player Stratocaster also comes equipped with a 2-point synchronized tremolo. The bridge itself has a 6-string saddle with bent steel saddles.
Elsewhere on the guitar are die-cast sealed tuners and a synthetic bone nut.
Overall, this is a pretty standard Stratocaster by most measurements. However, the modern upgrades will go a long way to provide a convenient playing experience.
Item Weight: 10.25 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 15.2 x 4.4 inches
History Of Fender As A Company
Fender got its start in the 1940s when Leo Fender was working in an amplifier repair shop. Leo began to build his own amplifiers sometime in the mid-to-late 1940s.
However, Fender’s legacy really started with the introduction of the Telecaster (Broadcaster) and the Precision bass. These two instruments were some of the best-selling solid-body guitar instruments of their time.
Eventually, Fender introduced more models, such as the Stratocaster, in 1954. Fender continually revolutionized the guitar industry, creating a new standard benchmark along the way.
Today, Fender remains one of the most famous and recognizable guitar companies in the industry. You can easily identify their instruments in some of the most famous music to ever be recorded.
Top Fender Guitars For The Money, Final Thoughts
Fender guitars will likely continue to be a very popular choice for guitarists. While many of their instruments were designed decades ago, they remain some of the most timeless and versatile designs.
If you’ve ever wanted a Fender for yourself, be sure to try some of these included on this list. Each has its own distinct character and it does take some time to find one that matches your personality.