Fender American Performer vs Professional: The Differences


If you’re looking for an American-made Fender guitar then the Performer and Professional ranges are the most affordable options to look at. In this article, I’ll be comparing the American Performer and Professional II ranges of the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster so you know which series is best for you.

The Quick Answer

The main differences between the Fender American Performer and American Professional guitars are the neck profile and pickups. American Professional II guitars have thicker necks and higher output pickups giving them a more modern tone compared to the American Performer guitars.

The American Professional series is approximately $300 (or £400 in the UK) more expensive than the American Performer series of guitars, but does include a number of upgrades such as:

  • Sculpted neck heel (all models)
  • Additional switching options (on the Tele and Jazzmaster models)
  • Bone nut (instead of synthetic bone on all models)
  • Tremolo system improvements (on Strat and Jazzmaster models)
  • Hard-Shell Case (instead of a soft gig-bag with all models)

Which Models are Available?

The Fender American Performer range only includes right-handed versions of the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster, whereas the American Professional II range includes left-handed versions as well. Only the American Performer range includes the Mustang shape.

Here is a table showing all the models (and pickup configurations) available at the time of writing in the American Performer and Professional II series. RH = right handed version, LH = left-handed version.

Model and PickupsPerformer AvailableProfessional II Available
Stratocaster SSSRHRH and LH
Stratocaster HSSRHRH
Telecaster SSRHRH and LH
Telecaster HHNoneRH
Telecaster SHRHNone
JazzmasterRHRH and LH
MustangRHNone

Contents

  • Stratocaster Models
  • Telecaster Models
  • Jazzmaster Models

American Performer vs Professional Stratocaster

The Fender American Professional II Stratocaster has upgraded features a sculpted neck heel and bone nut. The American Performer has a thinner neck profile and has more of a vintage tone compared to the higher-output pickups in the American Professional II.

The American Professional has a 2-point tremolo whereas the American Performer has a 6-point tremolo. Check out my comparison between 2 and 6 point tremolos to learn more.

The American Professional II Strat is around $300 more expensive than the American Performer Strat, however the Professional II does come with a hard-shell case compared to the Performer’s soft-case.

Here is a table comparing the specifications of the American Performer and American Professional II Stratocaster models.

FeatureAmerican Performer StratAmerican Professional II Strat
Body WoodAlderAlder/ Pine
Body FinishSatinGloss
PickupsYosemiteV-Mod II
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Sculpted Neck HeelNoYes
Fret SizeJumboNarrow Tall
Fretboard FinishSatinSatin
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
Bridge6-Saddle Vintage-Style Synchronised Tremolo2-Point Synchronized Tremolo
TremoloScrew-InPop-In
Pickguard3-Ply4-Ply
HeadstockOversizedStandard
Gig BagSoft-ShellHard-Case
Left Hand AvailableNoYes
Colors (SSS)Honeyburst
Arctic White
Satin Lake Placid Blue
3-Color Sunburst
Olympic White
Mystic Surf Green
Miami Blue
Mercury
Dark Night
Roasted Pine
Black
Sienna Sunburst
Colors (HSS)Aubergine
3-Color Sunburst
Black
Satin Surf Green
3-Color Sunburst
Olympic White
Mystic Surf Green
Miami Blue
Mercury
Dark Night
Roasted Pine
Sienna Sunburst
Fender American Performer vs American Professional II Stratocaster

American Performer Stratocaster

American Professional II Stratocaster

Images link to Amazon

Here are links to the different models on Amazon so you can check the current prices:

Here is a table showing the similarities between the Fender American Performer and Professional II Stratocaster.

FeatureSpecification
Pickup Selector5-Way
Controls2 x Tone, 1 x Vol
Push/ Pull ToneYes
Neck WoodMaple
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.5”
Fret Number22
Fretboard FinishSatin
Fingerboard Radius9.5”
Nut Width1.685”
InlaysWhite/ Black Dot
String Gauge9
FretboardMaple/ Rosewood
Similarities between the Fender American Performer and American Professional II Stratocaster

Considering other Stratocasters? Check out my complete guide to the different Stratocaster models to make sure you get the best option.

American Performer vs Professional Telecaster

The Fender American Professional II Telecaster has upgraded features such as a sculpted neck joint, push/ pull tone pot, hard shell case, and higher output pickups compared to the American Performer Telecaster. The Performer Telecaster has a thinner neck compared to the Professional II Telecaster.

Here is a table comparing the specifications of the American Performer and American Professional II Telecaster models.

FeatureAmerican Performer TeleAmerican Professional II Tele
Body MaterialAlderAlder/ Pine
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Sculpted Neck JointNoYes
Fretboard MaterialMapleMaple/ Rosewood
Fret SizeJumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
InlaysBlack DotWhite/ Black Dot
PickupsYosemiteV-Mod II
Push/ Pull ToneNoYes
Bridge3-Saddle Vintage Style3-Saddle Top Load/ String-Through
Pickguard1-Ply3-Ply
Control StyleKnurled Flat-TopKnurled Dome
Switch StyleBarrelBlack
Gig BagSoft-ShellHard-Case
Left-Hand AvailableNoYes
ColorsHoneyburst
Satin Sonic Blue
Vintage White
3-Color Sunburst
Olympic White
Mystic Surf Green
Mercury
Dark Night
Black
Miami Blue
Sienna Sunburst
Butterscotch Blonde
Roasted Pine
Fender American Performer vs American Professional II Telecaster

American Performer Telecaster

American Professional II Telecaster

Images link to Amazon

Here are links to the different models on Amazon so you can check the current prices:

Here is a table showing the similarities between the Fender American Performer and Professional II Telecaster.

FeatureSpecification
Body FinishGloss
Neck MaterialMaple
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.5″
Fingerboard Radius9.5”
Fret Number22
Fret SizeJumbo
Nut Width1.685”
Pickup Selector3-Way
Controls1 x Tone, 1 x Vol
Hardware FinishNickel/ Chrome
String Gauge9
Similarities between the Fender American Performer and American Professional II Telecaster

American Performer vs Professional Jazzmaster

The Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster has higher-output and more modern sounding pickups and additional switching options compared to the American Performer Jazzmaster. The American Performer Jazzmaster has a slimmer neck profile compared to the Professional II.

Here is a table comparing the specifications of the American Performer and American Professional II Jazzmaster models.

FeatureAmerican Performer JazzmasterAmerican Professional II Jazzmaster
Body FinishSatin/ GlossGloss
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Sculpted Neck JointNoYes
Fretboard MaterialRosewoodMaple/ Rosewood
Fret SizeJumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
InlaysWhite DotWhite/ Black Dot
PickupsYosemiteV-Mod II
Rhythm/ Lead CircuitNoYes
Pickup Selector3-Way3-Way
Controls1 x Tone, 1 x Vol2 x Tone, 2 x Vol
Push/ Pull ToneNoYes
Bridge6-Saddle Vintage Synchronised Tremolo9.5” Radius Panorma Tremolo
Pickguard4-Ply3-Ply
Control StyleWhiteAged White
Switch StyleWhiteAged White
Gig BagSoft-ShellHard-Case
Left-Hand AvailableNoYes
ColorsLake Placid Blue
3 Color Sunburst
Vintage White
Lake Placid Blue
3 Color Sunburst
Mercury
Dark Night
Mystic Surf Green
Fender American Performer vs American Professional II Jazzmaster

American Performer Jazzmaster

American Professional II Jazzmaster

Images link to Amazon

Here are links to the different models on Amazon so you can check the current prices:

Here is a table showing the similarities between the Fender American Performer and Professional II Jazzmaster.

FeatureSpecification
Body MaterialAlder
Neck MaterialMaple
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.5”
Fingerboard Radius9.5”
Fret Number22
Nut Width1.685”
Hardware FinishNickel/ Chrome
String Gauge9
Similarities between the Fender American Performer and American Professional II Jazzmaster

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Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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