Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Review & Prices

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Review
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  • From Fender's 2018 Fender Alternative series
  • Made in China
  • 6 strings
  • 25.3"'' scale
  • 11.81" Fretboard Radius
  • Laminated Spruce top
  • Laminated Basswood back
  • Laminated Basswood sides
  • Nato neck
  • Walnut fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Fender FE-A2 Preamp (Preamp/Active)
  • Laminated Hardwood bridge
  • Acoustic C Shape Set neck
  • 20 Medium frets
  • Die-Cast Sealed tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 72
Sound 80
Build quality 65
Value for money 87
Overall Score 72
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Electronics
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No High-Quality Nut
  • Low-Quality Material Saddle
  • Laminated Top Wood
  • Laminated Side Wood
  • Laminated Back Wood
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $440, which means that the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought is around 55% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in China.

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Videos

Fender FA-125ce | Review
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Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought meets 3 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's not recommended for complete beginners. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Soft Strings
  • Locking tuners

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's 25.3" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Scale Length Comparison
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale, but slightly shorter than what's commonly found in acoustic guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, strings will feel stiff and more difficult to bend, but the tone will feel brighter. It will also be less likely to produce fret buzzing and rattling when strumming hard.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Neck Profile
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought has a 11.81" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's fretboard radius compared to others

The main advantage of an 11.81-inches fretboard radius guitar is that it provides more room for the fingers to move around on the fretboard. This can be especially helpful for players with large hands or who want to use wide vibrato techniques. Additionally, the increased radius can make string bends easier to execute.

A disadvantage of this type of guitar is that it can be more difficult to control when playing at high speeds; some players may find that their hands “slide off” the fretboard more easily. Additionally, guitars with a larger radius may require higher action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) in order to avoid buzzing sounds when fretted notes are played.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.3'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
11.81'' Fretboard Radius
24.72'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.68'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.512'' Scale Length
D Neck Profile
1.75'' Nut Width
14.96'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Nut Width
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Nut Width

The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought has a nut width of 43mm (1.693''). This is within the most common range of nut widths for a 6-string guitar. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought Fret Size Comparison
Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 70
Solo Playability 75
Playability 72

Tone Analysis

The type of wood and even the shape of the body will have a lot of influence in the final tone of an acoustic guitar. Here's we'll talk about what kind of tone you can expect from its specs.

Wood

Spruce wood pattern used for guitar building
Spruce Top
Basswood wood pattern used for guitar building
Basswood Back, Sides
Nato wood pattern used for guitar building
Nato Neck
Walnut wood pattern used for guitar building
Walnut Fretboard

Spruce Top: This wood has a light color with tight grain patterns. It's very stiff but relatively light. It's known for producing a well-rounded tone with a broad dynamic range.

Basswood Back and Sides: This is a soft type of wood that is very light and easy to work with. It's cheaper than many other kinds of wood used for guitar building, but it doesn't mean it's low quality. In terms of sound, it accentuates the mid-range, which matches the frequencies that a Humbucker produces.

Nato Neck: This wood is also known as Eastern Mahogany because it's very similar to Mahogany, although it is cheaper.

Walnut Fretboard: It's a hard wood with a chocolate color that is often used to give an elegant finish. Since it's quite expensive and rare, it's mostly used for guitar tops.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fender. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Sound Score

Sustain 70
Versatility 85
Tuning Stability 65
Sound 80

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought is made in China. So you can expect lower build quality when compared to others made in Korea, Japan or the United States. Guitars made in this country are meant for mass production, which translates into less attention to detail and quality control. This doesn't mean the product is made poorly at all. Chinese products have a bad reputation since long ago, but they've definitely improved a lot the last few years.

Bridge

Laminated Hardwood: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought has a Plastic nut. This is a low-quality nut that you might want to consider upgrading soon. Bone and TUSQ nuts are the best for guitars with a fixed or simple tremolo bridge.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 85
Quality Control 55
Build Quality 65

All Specs

Fender FA-125CE Dreadnought
General
Brand: Fender
Year: 2018
Configuration:
Strings: 6
Made in: China
Series: Fender Alternative
Colors: Natural
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Hollowbody
Body Material: Laminated Spruce
Bridge: Laminated Hardwood
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Die-Cast Sealed
Fretboard: Walnut
Neck Material: Nato
Decoration: White Dot
Scale Size: 25.3"
Shape: Acoustic C Shape
Frets: 20 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 11.81"
Nut: Plastic
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs:
Volume Controls: 0
Tone Controls: 0
Bridge Pickup: Fender FE-A2 Preamp (Preamp / Active)

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1 user reviews:

useche.dani profile picture
useche.dani
29/09/23 16:15:09

This guitar is absolutely stunning – it's the first thing that catches everyone's eye when I walk onto the stage for a gig. If you're a fan of a big, enveloping sound, this guitar delivers. However, it's worth noting that its substantial body can make it a bit challenging to play.