Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Review & Prices

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Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Review
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  • From Fender's 2021 Player Plus series
  • Made in Mexico
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Player Plus Humbucking (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Bridge pickup: Player Plus Humbucking (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Block Saddles bridge
  • Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Deluxe Cast/Sealed Locking (all short posts) tuners
  • Weight between 7.9lbs (3.6kgs) and 8.4lbs (3.8kgs)
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Fender's 2021 Player Plus series
  • Made in Mexico
  • 6 strings
  • 25.5"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Pau Ferro fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Player Plus Humbucking (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Bridge pickup: Player Plus Humbucking (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Middle pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 5-way Switch
  • 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Block Saddles bridge
  • Modern C Bolt-On neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Deluxe Cast/Sealed Locking (all short posts) tuners
  • Weight between 7.9lbs (3.6kgs) and 8.4lbs (3.8kgs)
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 80
Build quality 67
Value for money 73
Overall Score 73
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS
  • Locking Tuners
  • Synthetic Bone Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Tremolo
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • Made in Mexico
  • No Expensive Woods
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Videos

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS | Henny Hendrexz First Impressions
The Color = Unique | The Tone = ??? | 2021 Fender Player Plus HSS Stratocaster HSS Belair Blue
Fender Player Plus...is It Really Worth the "Upgrade?"
NEW Fender Player Plus HSS Stratocaster - Playing Only Demo!
The All-New Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS
More Videos

Price: is the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $1100, which means that the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS is within the average price asked for this kind of guitar. This takes into account all guitars of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Tremolo bridge that are made in Mexico.

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Your feedback

Not all guitars are created equal, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the guitar you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our visitors who have played this guitar say. If you've played it before, help others by voting for your experience below.

Weight

Vote
Heavy
0
Slightly heavy
0
Lightweight
1
Very lightweight
0

Tuning stability

Vote
Won't stay in tune
0
Sightly unstable
0
Not bad
0
Holds tune well
1
Won't get out of tune
0

Neck speed (thickness)

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Chunky
0
Slightly chunky
0
Balanced
12
Fast
2
Herman Li fast
1

Neck access to high frets

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Very Hard
0
Hard
0
Normal
0
Easy
1
Very Easy
0

Neck profile shape

Vote
Baseball / U
0
V
0
Asymmetrical
0
C
15
D
0

Fret edges

Vote
Very sharp
0
Slightly sharp
0
Smooth
0

Pickups noise

Vote
Noiseless
1
Slightly Noisy
0
Noisy
0

Pickups power

Vote
Clean
0
Slightly Hot
0
Hot
0

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Is The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Easy to Play?

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. 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.

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS'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

How Lightweight is it?

We found that the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS weighs between 7.9lbs (3.6kgs) and 8.4lbs (3.8kgs). This was recorded from some online retailers that publish the weight of the guitars they sell.

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 Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's 25.5" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Scale Length Comparison
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the same scale length used in Stratocaster guitars, and it's one of the main reasons they have such a bright sound. It's considered a long scale when compared to most non-baritone guitars.

Since the distance between bridge and nut is relatively long, you'll need to give the strings more tension to get them in tune. This higher tension will allow for a couple of things. First, you can get a lower action (get the strings closer to the fretboard) because the strings won't 'wiggle' too much when pluck and won't cause fret buzz. This can allow you to use lower tunings without increasing your string gauge, and it will make it easier to press down the strings fast.

However, the frets will also have a wider separation between each other, which can make it harder to play, especially if you got small hands. The higher tension will also make the strings feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Neck Profile
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS'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.

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's neck thickness is approximately 0.82'' (20.8mm) at the first fret, and 0.87'' (22.1mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official Fender website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

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 guitars 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 Player Plus Stratocaster HSS has a 12" fingerboard radius. Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.685'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.675'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
Soft V to C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
9.5'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
25.5'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.654'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Nut Width
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Nut Width

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS has a nut width of 42.8mm (1.685''). This size is also known as 1 11/16'' and it's the most common size. 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

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

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 guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Fret Size Comparison
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS'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 Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 70
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

Does the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood Used in the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Maple wood pattern used for guitar building
Maple Neck
Pau Ferro wood pattern used for guitar building
Pau Ferro Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Maple Neck: This is one of the most popular types of wood used in all kinds of guitars. It's heavy, strong and compact, which makes it great for necks. However, it's also used for fretboards, bodies and tops due to its light color, resistance and beautiful patterns. When it comes to tone, it highlights the mid and high frequencies.

Pau Ferro Fretboard: It's a beautiful wood used mainly for fretboards. It has a high density and looks very similar to Rosewood with its straight grains and dark brown color. According to Fender, it has a warm tone with a fast attack.

More guitars made with the same wood:

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.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's configuration is HSS. If you play a lot with humbuckers in the bridge position, but would also love to have pristine cleans, this is a great configuration to have. The bridge humbucker will give you tons of output for playing distorted rhythm parts, while the single coils will give you a lot of tone options.

More guitars with the same pickups

22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Player Plus Humbucking Bridge Pickup
Player Plus Noiseless Strat Middle Pickup
Player Plus Noiseless Strat Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Tremolo Bridge
Player Plus Noiseless Strat Bridge Pickup
Player Plus Noiseless Strat Middle Pickup
Player Plus Noiseless Strat Neck Pickup

Versatility

It gives you a good amount of tone options with its 5-way switch. You can use it to choose at least 5 different pickup combinations.

It has a Coil Split option. It allows you to 'split' or turn off pickup coils to get even more tones in combination with the pickup selector. When used with humbucker pickups, it'll reduce the output and increase their clarity, turning them essentially into single-coil pickups.

More guitars with the same mods:

Diagram

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS pickups switch selector and push knobs diagram
Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS's switch options

What music genre is the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with HSS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 83
Tuning Stability 75
Sound 80

How well is the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Built?

Where is the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Made?

Knowing where the guitar 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 guitars 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 Player Plus Stratocaster HSS is made in Mexico. This is the country that some American brands choose for building really good, but cheaper guitars. You can expect a guitar that offers a good price-quality relationship, although they don't get the same quality control as the ones built in Japan or the United States.

More guitars made in Mexico

Bridge

2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Block Saddles: This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, which gives you better versatility. Also, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, the bridge will move as you bend the strings. So you'll have to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge. This allows you to perform smoother bends but will also make you slower. Finally, remember that this type of bridge requires a bit more maintenance than fixed ones, especially when changing strings.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

More guitars with locking tuners:

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 the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS has a Synthetic Bone nut. One of the best nuts you can have is a Bone nut thanks to their rich tonality and resistance. The problem is that they're a natural material, so different bone nuts will have inconsistent tonal properties. In other words, one bone nut might not sound as well as the other even when they're made from the same piece. Synthetic bone helps with this by giving you a high-quality, consistent nut that resembles the tone produced by bone.

More guitars with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

More guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 75
Build Quality 67

Most Popular Comparisons With The Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS

Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS Specs

General
Brand: Fender
Year: 2021
Configuration: HSS
Strings: 6
Made in: Mexico
Series: Player Plus
Colors: Sunburst, Blue, Green, Gray Burst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Block Saddles
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Deluxe Cast/Sealed Locking (all short posts)
Fretboard: Pau Ferro
Neck Material: Maple
Decoration: White Pearloid Dot
Scale Size: 25.5"
Shape: Modern C
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.82'' (20.8mm) - 12th Fret: 0.87'' (22.1mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 42.8mm (1.685'')
Electronics
Switch: 5 Way
Knobs: Bell
Pickup Mods: Coil Split
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Player Plus Humbucking (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Player Plus Noiseless Strat (Single Coil / Passive)

User Reviews of the Fender Player Plus Stratocaster HSS

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