By Jim Fusco:
Today, I’d like to discuss my Fender Deluxe Player’s Stratocaster! I wanted this guitar after playing my brother’s exact same model (just different colors). I couldn’t believe how nice it was to play his guitar. The string action was low and it just felt so “fast” to play. It was like it played itself! The only thing I didn’t like was the “tinny” sound coming from the single-coil pickups, but we both know how to get the correct sound nowadays- get a great tube amp! So, I decided I wanted my first Strat- a Deluxe Player’s Strat!
This model has a couple of unique features. Cosmetically, it features gold hardware that you don’t find on a normal Stratocaster. It also has Vintage Noiseless pickups, which appear on the much more expensive Eric Clapton model. The guitar also has a button on the front that activates two new pickup combinations, allowing you to use all three pickups at once. Unfortunately, though, these other pickup combinations don’t sound that good at all So, they’re not especially useful.
My blue version of the guitar came with a dark brown burled walnut-looking pickguard. That looks great on my brother’s honey blonde Strat, but not so great on a dark blue one. I don’t know what they were thinking with that thing… Anyway, my wife bought me an awesome cream/white pearl pickguard that made it look amazing! Problem was that stupid button I mentioned earlier. I had to drill a hole for it in the new pickguard and mount the housing for it on the back of the guard. It was such a project- no glue I had would hold it in the right spot! It took a few days, but I finally found a solution. Oh, and also notice the upgraded volume and tone knobs that match the gold hardware that my brother Mike got me. They also go to 11- just like in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap”!
These Deluxe Player’s Stratocasters are made in Mexico. I know some people think less of these guitars, but I can say first-hand that there is almost no difference at all. The metal pieces are fabricated in the Corona, CA plant (my brother and I took a tour) and the workers…well, even in the US plant, they’re still of Mexican descent! So, if you have a Mexican guy making it in Mexico or in California- what’s really the difference? These people all do great work- the quality and craftsmanship on both the Mexican-made and American-made Strats is impressive. I just can’t justify the cost of having a guitar made literally a 4-hour drive down the road out of the same materials and probably by people in the same families!
A couple years ago, my parents got me a great present- a tuner that’s built-in to the guitar! It’s called N-Tune and it requires tapping-in to the current electronics and putting a tuning ring under the volume knob. The volume knob then turns into a pull-knob that activates the tuner. It’s so convenient and always fascinates people.
I used the Strat almost exclusively on my 2012 album, “Those Around Us”. It’s so versatile and sounds great clean or distorted. Plus, it plays very nicely with my Fender Blues Jr. amp. It’s also the only single-coil guitar I have (other than the P-90s, but that has its own sound) so now it will fill a very important space of my overall sound. I think this Stratocaster is one I’ll have for a very, very long time!