Fender Player vs American Professional II Electric Guitars


There are many different versions of the Fender Strat, Tele and Jazzmaster, two of the most popular being the Fender Player and Fender American Professional II. In this article, I’ll explain the differences between each series so you can decide if the guitars in the American Professional II line-up is worth the extra money for you.

Contents:

  • Fender Player vs American Professional II Series Overview
    • Pickups and Tone
    • Look and Feel
    • The Similarities
  • Player Plus Series
  • Comparing Specific Models
    • Stratocaster
    • Telecaster
    • Jazzmaster

Fender Player vs American Professional II Series Overview

Fender American Professional II guitars have upgraded features compared to Player series guitars including extra switching, rolled fingerboard edges, a sculpted neck heel, moulded case and bone nut. Player series guitars are made in Mexico, whereas American Professional II series guitars are made in the USA.

Here is a table highlighting the key differences between Fender Player and American Professional guitars.

FeatureFender PlayerFender American Professional II
BodyAlderAlder/ Pine
FretboardMaple/ Pau FerroMaple/ Rosewood
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Fret SizeMedium JumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
Nut Width1.65”1.685”
PickupsPlayer Series Alnico VV-Mod II
Sculpted Neck HeelNoYes
Case/ Bag IncludedNoYes
Made InMexicoAmerica
Average Price (USA)$850-$900$1700-$1800
Average Price (UK)£720-£750£1800-£1950
Fender Player vs American Professional II Series

Which Guitars are Available?

Both the Player and American Professional II series have Stratocasters, Telecasters and Jazzmasters available. Only the Fender Player series has Mustang and Jaguar models available. Here is a table outlining which models and pickup configurations are available and whether they come in left or right-handed versions.

ModelFender PlayerFender American Professional II
Stratocaster (SSS)Right and Left-HandRight and Left-Hand
Stratocaster (HSS)Right-Hand OnlyRight-Hand Only
Telecaster (SS)Right and Left-HandRight and Left-Hand
Telecaster (HH)Right-Hand OnlyRight-Hand Only
JazzmasterRight-Hand OnlyRight and Left-Hand
MustangRight-Hand OnlyNot Available
JaguarRight-Hand OnlyNot Available
Guitars available in the Fender Player and American Professional II series

Pickups and Tone

Guitars in the American Professional II series have V-Mod II pickups whereas Player series guitars have Player Series Alnico V pickups. The V-Mod II American Pro II pickups sound fuller and warmer in comparison to the Player series pickups which sound a touch brighter and thinner. However, the differences are incredibly subtle.

Look and Feel

The American Professional II series offers notable upgrades including a sculpted neck heel and rolled fingerboard edges which makes it feel more premium compared to the Player series guitars.

You get a deep C neck on the American Pro II models which is thicker than the modern C neck found on the Player series models. Also, you get different fret wiring which affects the feel of the fretboard:

  • Player series: medium jumbo frets (0.106″ x 0.036″)
  • American Professional II series: narrow tall frets (0.090″ x 0.055″)

The guitars are also available in different model-specific color options.

The Similarities

Here is a list of the similarities between Strats, Teles and Jazzmasters in the Fender Player and American Professional II series.

  • Maple necks
  • Satin neck finish
  • Alder bodies (except the American Pro II Roasted Pine color option)
  • Satin neck finish
  • Gloss body finish
  • 25.5″ scale, 9.5″ fretboard radius and 22 frets
  • Dot inlays
  • Fender USA 9-Gauge Strings
  • Standard Sized Headstock
  • Chrome/ Nickel Hardware

Player Plus Series

Fender make two main variants of the Player series models:

  • Player Plus
  • Plus Top

Plus Top models have the same features as the standard Player series models, the difference between the two is cosmetic. Player Plus Top guitars have a more premium maple cap unlike the regular Player guitars which just have an alder body and are roughly $50-$100 more expensive, or £50-£75 in the UK.

Player Plus models have some upgraded features including noiseless pickups, extra switching, rolled fingerboard edges, locking tuners and a gig bag.

If you want to learn more about the Player Plus series, check out my article comparing Fender Player and Player Plus guitars.

Comparing Specific Models

There are also some model specific differences between guitars in the Player and American Professional II series. In these next sections I’ll be comparing the series for the following models individually:

  • Stratocaster
  • Telecaster
  • Jazzmaster

Stratocaster

The Fender Player Stratocaster has a modern C neck with medium jumbo frets whereas the American Professional II Strat has a deep C neck with narrow tall frets. The American Pro II version has a 1.685″ bone nut whereas the Player version has a 1.65″ synthetic bone nut.

Both guitars have a 2-point tremolo with bent steel saddles, however the American Pro II has a pop-in tremolo and the Player has a screw-in tremolo which can be more difficult to set up.

On both guitars you get a 5-way pickup selector and 2 x tone and 1 x volume controls, however on the American Pro II you also get a push/ pull tone pot which on the SSS version allows you to activate either the bridge and neck pickup together (without the middle) or all three pickups at the same time and on the HSS version, it coil splits the humbucker pickup. 

Here is a table outlining the differences between the Fender Player and Fender American Professional II Stratocaster models.

FeaturePlayer StratocasterAmerican Professional II Stratocaster
BodyAlderAlder/ Pine
FretboardMaple/ Pau FerroMaple/ Rosewood
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Fret SizeMedium JumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
Nut Width1.65”1.685”
PickupsPlayer Series Alnico VV-Mod II
Push/ Pull Tone PotNoYes
TremoloScrew-InPop-In
Tuning MachinesStandard CastStandard Cast/ Sealed Staggered
Sculpted Neck HeelNoYes
Case/ Bag IncludedNoYes
Color OptionsBlack
Polar White
Sunburst
Buttercream
Tidepool
Capri
Orange Silver
3-Color Sunburst
Olympic White
Mystic Surf Green
Miami Blue
Mercury
Dark Night
Roasted Pine
Black
Sienna Sunburst
Fender Player vs American Professional II Stratocaster

The American Professional II Stratocaster has a slightly warmer tone with more mid-range emphasis compared to the Player Stratocaster which has a thinner and brighter tone. The differences are incredibly subtle though. Check out this YouTube video to hear a direct comparison.

Telecaster

The Fender American Professional II Telecaster has a deep C neck, narrow tall frets and 1.685″ bone nut whereas the Fender Player Telecaster has a modern C neck, medium jumbo frets and a 1.65″ synthetic bone nut.

The American Pro II has an upgraded bridge, sculpted neck heel and rolled fingerboard edges and comes with a hard case whereas the Player does not include any case/ gig bag. You also get some extra switching options on the American Pro II version. The push/ pull tone pot on the SS model activates a series mode to fatten up the tone and on the HH version it coil taps the humbuckers.

The American Pro II has the iconic 3-saddle bridge whereas the Player has a more modern 6-saddle bridge. Check out my article comparing the 3-saddle and 6-saddle Telecaster bridge to learn about the pros and cons of each design.

Here is a table outlining the differences between the Fender Player and Fender American Professional II Telecaster models.

FeaturePlayer TelecasterAmerican Professional II Telecaster
BodyAlderAlder/ Pine
FretboardMaple/ Pau FerroMaple/ Rosewood
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Fret SizeMedium JumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
Nut Width1.65”1.685”
PickupsPlayer Series Alnico VV-Mod II
Push/ Pull Tone PotNoYes
Bridge6-Saddle String-Through3-Saddle String-Through
SaddlesBlock SteelCompensated Brass Bullet
Tuning MachinesStandard CastStandard Cast/ Sealed Staggered
Sculpted Neck HeelNoYes
Case/ Bag IncludedNoYes
Color OptionsButterscotch Blonde
Black Tidepool
Polar White
Capri Orange
Sunburst
3-Color Sunburst
Olympic White
Mystic Surf Green
Mercury
Dark Night
Black
Miami Blue
Sienna Sunburst
Butterscotch Blonde
Roasted Pine
Fender Player vs American Professional II Telecaster

The American Professional II and Player series Telecasters have very similar tones, however the Player series sounds slightly thinner in comparison to the American Pro II version which has more mid-range emphasis.

Check out this YouTube video to hear both guitars played black to back. The Player series model is in Butterscotch Blonde and the American Pro II model is in Capri Blue.

Jazzmaster

The Player series Jazzmaster has two humbucker pickups which sound warmer and fuller in comparison to the bright single coil pickups on the American Professional II Jazzmaster. On the Player model you’ll get a simple 3-way pickup selector and single tone and volume controls. However, on the American Professional II you’ll get the iconic rhythm/ lead circuit and a push/ pull tone pot making it by far the most versatile guitar out of the two.

The Player series has a modern C neck with medium jumbo frets and a 1.65″ synthetic bone nut whilst the American Pro II has a deep C neck with narrow tall frets and a 1.685″ bone nut. You’ll also find an upgraded tremolo bridge, rolled fingerboard edges and contoured neck heel on the American Pro II version, and the inclusion of a moulded case.

Here is a table outlining the differences between the Fender Player and Fender American Professional II Jazzmaster models.

FeaturePlayer JazzmasterAmerican Professional II Jazzmaster
Pickup ConfigurationHHSS
FretboardPau FerroRosewood
Neck ShapeModern CDeep C
Fret SizeMedium JumboNarrow Tall
Nut MaterialSynthetic BoneBone
Nut Width1.65”1.685”
PickupsPlayer Series Alnico IIV-Mod II
Rhythm/ Lead CircuitNoYes
Bridge6-Saddle Vintage-Style w/ Floating Tail PiecePanorama™ Tremolo System
Tuning MachinesStandard CastStandard Cast/ Sealed Staggered
Pickguard3-Ply4-Ply
Sculpted Neck HeelNoYes
Case/ Bag IncludedNoYes
Color OptionsButtercream
Polar White
Capri Orange
3-Color Sunburst
Lake Placid Blue
3 Color Sunburst
Mercury
Dark Night
Mystic Surf Green
Fender Player vs 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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