Fender American Standard Strat vs Professional

Cthulhu

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So I know the Professional replaced the Standard a couple of years ago, but I’m curious if anyone has any first hand experience between both. Would like to know if it’s all good to go ahead and get a Professional or just hold out for a good Standard find.

Thoughts, feelings?
 

Vinsanitizer

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I tried to reply, but as I'm going through the models and pricing I realize that, once again, Fender (like Gibson) is having so many models to choose from that it's confusing. That said, I'd gander you're looking in the realm of the:

Professional II: $1,500 (USA)
Performer: $1,200 - $1,250 (Unknown)
Vintera: $950 - $1,050 (Mexican)
Player: $750 - $800 (Mexican, probably the replacement for the 'American Special' series)

2021 Strat Models per Fender website (direct link):

upload_2021-4-2_3-11-7.png

I have a Vintera 50's Modified:
Good sounding & playing guitar, cool 50's color. I like mine, but find it overpriced, needs after-purchase cleanup, you can do better.
A better price would be ($850, or $1K with a hard case)

I also have the American Professional II:
Excellent build quality, this is what I would buy for gigging or recording IF the Performer models didn't cut it for me.
Acceptable price, but the max I'd pay for a Fender guitar.

Personal comments, tips, notes to self:
  • I'll never buy another Fender with the truss nut at the heel of the neck.
  • I'll never buy another Fender that doesn't have the Micro-Tilt adjustment via the neck plate.
  • Never buy any guitar without checking to make sure the truss rod works easily and is not maxed out either way. If any of these conditions exist, pass on that guitar.
  • Look at the entire guitar "under a microscope" before you buy, or you may be in for some cleanup. Check: nut slot heights, bridge height & setup (could indicate issues with the neck angle), look at the guitar from the front and check the total alignment left-right from the bridge all the way up to the tuners.
  • Make sure the E strings aren't too close to the edge of the fretboard.
  • When you get a new Fender guitar home, tighten every screw and bolt including the hex bolts on the tuners (do not over-tighten).
  • Even check the "Fender" logo alignment, you'll see some that are crooked or the 'F' is too far left toward the nut, which I think looks bad.
  • If you buy it, make sure it comes with the wrench(es), vibrato bar black tension spring and make sure the vibrato bar fits (occasionally they send the wrong bar and it doesn't fit).
If you have doubts or questions about anything, ask the right sales person to do a setup before you buy it. That way you won't take a mess home or have to spend an afternoon doing cleanup work at home.
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Cthulhu

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Thanks Vin! Yes, I’m looking at the Pro II and may pull the trigger based on your positive experience with it. Also, couldn’t agree more on the e string/fretboard edge. Infuriating!
 

crossroadsnyc

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Too many options for me (same can be said for Gibson and many other brands). Trying to figure it out on a website? Forget it. I think any future guitar purchases I do will be done the old school way, which is hands on at the shop. At least that's what I tell myself (I'm sure I'll buckle at some point).
 

Dogs of Doom

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Personal comments, tips, notes to self:
  • I'll never buy another Fender with the truss nut at the heel of the neck.
.
they've got that little wheelie thing now, at the heel of the neck...

am-elite-feature-4-sub-1-desktop.jpg
 

Vinsanitizer

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Thanks Vin! Yes, I’m looking at the Pro II and may pull the trigger based on your positive experience with it. Also, couldn’t agree more on the e string/fretboard edge. Infuriating!
In that case I'll give you some more detail on my Pro II.

full

  • It's really an excellent build quality Strat, but I still advise to check all the aforementioned items I listed above.
  • If you have selected one you like and you want to buy it, I cannot stress enough: test the vibrato bar! This bar is the "pop-in" type. It has no spring and it does not screw into the bridge as on other models, it simply "pops" in and out. When these are set up properly they are superior. When they are not set up properly, it will be a nightmare for you and a waste of an afternoon, as you will need to take all the strings off, remove the back springs, take the bridge out, make adjustments and test, retest, etc. until the bar pops in neither too tightly or loosely. Otherwise, you're better off having the shop repair person do this work for you. Most are set up well from the factory.
  • The volume control is great, in that, it is "zero resistance". Meaning, that as you roll the volume down it retains the same amount of treble and never gets dark as with typical models. This is really great, and you'll appreciate it when you roll it down and find your tone is still clear, yet only your gain is getting lowered at the amp.
  • The pickups are VERY clear and they are on the hot side. The SSS model isn't for Metal out of the box, but the bridge pickup can do a useable lead tone when you traditionally lower the Treble control to 6 or 7. Otherwise, if you need high gain tones for Metal, you'll likely be better off with the HSS version.
  • The lower Treble control only works on the bridge pickup (good), but is the "push-push" type. When pushed in, it adds the neck pickup to switch positions 1 & 2, for two more tones.
  • The neck is a "deep C" profile: it's a bit on the fat side, but it's very comfortable to play. I like this neck profile a lot from Fender, and am glad to see them moving away from the D profile (which was good, but this is better). The fretboard edges are very nicely rolled.
  • Comes with a great hard-shell case. The one pictured is not the one, that's a tweed case I had laying around, and I saved over $100 by not buying the case that comes with the guitar.
CONS (no product is without them):
  • At this price I feel it should come with locking tuners.
  • The pickups, being so clear and on the hot side, can be rather noisy with moderate gains.
  • Dammit, nothing's perfect.
 
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jcm800gridlock

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I’ve owned both model Stratocaster’s at the same time. An American Professional (original version) Stratocaster in Olympic White and a black American Standard Stratocaster.

I loved the look, fit, and finish on my American Professional. A really comfortable neck but it seemed a little different from my many previously owned American Standard’s. I wasn’t a fan of the American Professional’s V-Mod pickups and I prefer the medium jumbo frets on an American Standard over the tall narrow frets on the American Professional. The Professional had the nicest-darkest Rosewood neck of any guitar that I owned.

I sold the Professional to help finance a vintage ‘70’s Stratocaster purchase. I regret selling my American Professional Stratocaster, because I sold the ‘70’s Stratocaster go about six months later. I’m sure that I would have quickly gotten use to the the neck on the Professional. I also lowered the pickup height on the Professional, and the V-Mod pickup’s tone improved.

I recently purchased another American Standard Stratocaster. The Olympic White on this guitar seems to be yellowing already (guitar in the second photo). I’ve owned many American Standard’s over the years, I guess that I’m more familiar with the necks on the Standard’s. I think that Standard’s fretboard maybe a little wider than the Professional’s. My 2012 American Standard has stock Fat 50’s which I definitely prefer over the Professional’s V-Mods.

I did end up with another American Professional guitar, this time a Telecaster. I primarily bought the guitar for the color, but I do really like the guitar, and think that it is a keeper Telecaster.

EFBB2448-DA07-4820-ADC3-3202729EED8C.jpeg
80FEEB7D-8BC9-4389-853D-39EFE08719D0.jpeg
418BAC0D-86D5-48FD-8E4E-93EA446FE021.jpeg
 
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Sg-ocaster

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Not a comparison but IMO strats are weird animals. Id just play a bunch till one feels right, new, used or whatever. I had a standard I loved(had to sell) and it was great. Played others that just sucked. Seems like with all the economic BS in the last few years, all these companies changed a few details and the series names, marketed them as "ALL NEW" to cover up the fact that they had to jack the prices up on the same old thing to keep profits up.
 

Cthulhu

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Awesome, guys. Thanks! Just the type of feedback I was hoping for. Still thinking the Pro is the way to go.

Now to decide on the fretboard: To maple, or to rosewood...
 

Vinsanitizer

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Not a comparison but IMO strats are weird animals. Id just play a bunch till one feels right, new, used or whatever. I had a standard I loved(had to sell) and it was great. Played others that just sucked. Seems like with all the economic BS in the last few years, all these companies changed a few details and the series names, marketed them as "ALL NEW" to cover up the fact that they had to jack the prices up on the same old thing to keep profits up.
Yes.
 

EL 34

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Doesn't the pro have a compound radius neck? That's a good thing.
 

Vinsanitizer

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Doesn't the pro have a compound radius neck? That's a good thing.

Custom Shop-influenced neck
The Deep-C neck profile that you'll find on the Fender American Professional Stratocaster solidbody electric guitar is a slight upgrade from the Fender American neck players have been in love with for years. By adding a touch more roundness to the back contour, the Deep-C carve fits your hand perfectly while never inhibiting your technique. And your fingers will immediately notice how much control they have on the fretboard's narrow-tall frets. For good reason, this fret wire is the most requested size at the Fender Custom Shop.
 

EL 34

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Pardon me. The American Elite series has the compound radius.
 

Vinsanitizer

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Custom Shop-influenced neck
The Deep-C neck profile that you'll find on the Fender American Professional Stratocaster solidbody electric guitar is a slight upgrade from the Fender American neck players have been in love with for years. By adding a touch more roundness to the back contour, the Deep-C carve fits your hand perfectly while never inhibiting your technique. And your fingers will immediately notice how much control they have on the fretboard's narrow-tall frets. For good reason, this fret wire is the most requested size at the Fender Custom Shop.

By the way, I agree with this. The neck on my new Pro II is much more facilitating than the so-called thinner necks that used to get hailed for speed. Maybe if your a Dough Aldrich-type player where you never see the guy's thumb off the back of the neck, but most of us are better than his kind anyway.

My R8's got a big fatty too:

full

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