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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / "Special Edition" Vintage Player Stratocaster



No Accordians
Aug 31st, 2003 09:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just bought a "Special Edition" Vintage Player Stratocaster this week for $549 from a local dealer. Available from Musicians friend for $699. Two colors available, Sonic Blue and Aztec Gold. I got the blue, lighter than Daphne, darker than Sky Blue.

This guitar is basically an upgraded MIM 60's Classic. Beautiful rosewood slab board, no skunk-stripe like a real early 60's. Three-ply parchment guard and knobs. Vintage bridge and saddles (American hardware). "Special Edition" decal on back of headstock. Slotted vintage- appearing tuners, but staggered, one string tree. The neck is a very comfortable "C" shape with a beautiful vintage appearing finish. The fretboard radius is 9.5" with medium jumbo frets. All of the vintage "vibe" with modern ease of playing!

Electronics include Texas Special pickups, reverse wound middle. Special tone circuit - second tone knob controls middle AND bridge pickups.

This Strat is an incredible value.(I also own a Custom Shop Set Neck Strat, '52 VR Tele, '57 VR Strat and "Special Edition" 60's Classic Rosewood Tele, among others).

So how does it play? It rivals the best that Fender has to offer! Very comfortable and fast neck / action, versatile electronics, fantastic pickups. I play it through a '59 RI Bassman, a '63 Vibrolux (brownface), and a Pro Junior. Have not found a bad combination - sounds great clean and "dirtied-up" with a variety of pedals. This guitar is another "home run" for Fender - try one!

Contributing Member

Valparaiso, FL

The Beatles: They're real good people.®
Sep 1st, 2003 11:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ditto to everything docfox said. My VP Strat is a keeper!

Contributing Member


Strats don't lie
Nov 24th, 2003 01:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

I own a vintage player, 60s, in sonic blue. After trying about half a dozen of them I finally found one that met my expectations. One had a neck pocket gap, another sounded a little brittle, others just had nickpicking flaws.

It's like any other line of guitars, with some dogs and some diamonds and some in between. I think the reviews here can be just a bit too praising and I feel compelled to point out that just because it's a Fender doesn't mean it's a holy grail. None of them were terrible, and most of them were good, but you'll be happier if you look for an exceptional one.

I found the TSpecials to be a bit muddy and low-fi compared to what I replaced them with, VanZandt Blues. Note that the Tspecials in this guitar don't have the Custom Shop sticker on the back of them, for whatever that's worth.

The finish on this guitar is fantastic and this one has a chunky "C" neck that I have fallen in love with. The fret work was not stellar, but that's ok, the neck fit in the pocket perfectly and that flatter radius is very useful when soloing.

This guitar does have a nice amount of sustain, and I think that might have something to do with the staggared tuners. It is structurally rock solid, with no deadspots on the board and no problems keeping in tune. The cavities were nicely shielded with shielding paint. And all of the harware is solid US stuff, not the cheaper Mexi hardware. The pots and switches are U.S. as well. Comes with a gig bag.

It doesn't sound as complex and sweet as my 62RI, but is close.

I got mine for $599, though the shop I bought it from was asking the $699 MF price. I refused to pay that amount, because for just a little more I could have gotten a new or used US strat.

(This message was last edited by Shorelineman at 01:30 PM, Nov 24th, 2003)



Nov 24th, 2003 04:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Bought mine off the rack at a local shop. FWIW, workmanship & finish were pretty close to perfect. It's a little heavier than my Custom Shop Strat and my '57 RI, but all in all a great guitar for the price (I think $600 is about right). I find the Texas Specials to be a good match for my rig.

Contributing Member

Gilbert, AZ, USA

I ain't namin' names.
Apr 22nd, 2004 08:00 PM   Edit   Profile  

Alright, I'm three weeks into ownership of my Sonic Blue 60s VP, bought from Guitar Trader for $549. Gorgeous guitar, with almost everything that I would put on a custom-made Strat. I bought the VP in part because of how much I like the Classic 60s, which I had planned to sell, even posted in the classifieds, but will keep as a backup. So in the three weeks that I've had the VP I've set it up as I like it. The action was high, and there was a little too much neck relief, but I've gotten it dialed down and it is wonderful to play. I even like the Texas Specials more than I'd expected to. I'd had them in a previous Strat, grown dissatisfied, and so I thought I'd be replacing them in the VP. I don't think so. At the right height they do everything that I want them to. I said before that it had almost everything. The only thing I'd change is to make the truss rod access at the neck, but that's a quibble rather than a complaint. This guitar is, for my tastes, Fender's best blend of vintage and modern features. Amazing what $550 can buy you. Wish there was a Vintage Player Telecaster (the Muddy comes close, but I'd like a Maple fretboard); I'd buy it in a heartbeat.


usa texas

Sep 16th, 2004 05:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Where are the Mexican made left handed 50's and 60's classic series strats and tele's?

Contributing Member


Jan 21st, 2007 11:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

I recently ordered a Classic 60's Strat and received a Vintage Player 60's Aztec Gold Special Edition instead. I guess that the sales person didn't notice the difference! Here's my thoughts on this interesting model.

I am old Strat player so the 9.5 radius fingerboard feels weird, but it's a nice Strat.

I let the strings down to make a truss rod adjustment and man I really dig those staggered tuners! What a great idea. They should help with tuning stability during the Surf Medley!

Five way switches also bug me. But these pickups produce so much quack in pos. two and four that I am going to try to tough it out and learn a new trick. I also like the tone control wiring that has the bridge pickup prewired to the tone control. This is a common mod for vintage Strats so it's nice to have it that way.

The finish is nice. The frets are little larger size than vintage and were polished exactly the way you'd expect an intermediate level instrument to be. No complaints.

The tone is nice and the pickups and electronics seem to be good quality for the price. No complaints.

I wanted an inexpensive vintage style Strat and ended up with a "Special Edition" with some customized features. So life is good.

(This message was last edited by hank at 11:12 AM, Jan 21st, 2007)


usa, miami

Feb 3rd, 2007 10:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

i think you made out really well, hank. you got so much more guitar for the money. nothing against the mim classics, which are very nice guitars, all of the hardware and materials on the vp edition are usa. the necks on the vps are just killer, and you'll come to love that flatter radius and bigger frets.

matter of fact, fender has just released a 'hot rod' vintage strat that is pretty much modeled off the vp, but with thin nitro finish and all the upscale accomodations.




Mar 5th, 2008 10:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ditto what talkinstrat said

I was gassing for the Hot Rod 62 until I played it and found it to be exactly like my VP strat. So what did I do, I bought a Oly White HR body with the nitro paint and put it on the VP strat. I a/b'd em and there isn't much difference, the necks are almost identical (besides the finish). Mine was actually a little fatter than the HR. I also think the texas specials in these are staggered differntley. It's by far my #1 and it sounds amazing after adjusting the pickups.

Contributing Member

Brookfield, IL

Nov 30th, 2008 08:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

These were way cool when they were out. Great base for modding out your pickups - neck and hardware are awesome! That is the one that got away for me...



Sep 29th, 2010 03:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here it is, over 7 years since the first post, and I just scored one of these today.

Thanks to all who participated in this post as it helped to determine what kind of Strat it was before I purchased it.

I got an aztec gold one for $499 after some haggling. It's in mint condition except for a missing rear spring cover. It's the best playing Strat I have encountered and I've been looking for one for about a year and a half. It's my first Strat. I've played a Les Paul for 25 years, but have always coveted the single coil tone of the Strat.

This particular Special Edition Vintage Player Strat, as described in this thread, is quite rare today from what I've learned. I feel very lucky to have found one.

If you find yourself on this page and are trying to decide whether or not to buy one (assuming you're lucky enough to find a used one), get up and go get it! A fair price is anywhere between $400 and $600, depending on condition and whether or not you get a hard case.

Contributing Member

Hawkeye Country

Thread crapping is unbecoming
Apr 15th, 2013 07:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've got one of the first special edition versions that I bought new way back when....Sonic Blue.

I didn't like the color at first, but the guitar is so endearing that I've grown to really like sonic blue!

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / "Special Edition" Vintage Player Stratocaster

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