If you've ever run across a Fender Lead at a swap meet or vintage guitar store, it has doubtless left an impression. These slimmed-down Strat alternatives from the late '70s and early '80s are still sought out today thanks to their hot-rodded tones, distinct visuals, and slinky playability — not to mention some high-profile users such as Bono and Clapton. The Player Series proudly reintroduces the Lead II back into the Fender fray with vintage-correct electronics and performance player upgrades (Modern "C" neck profile and 9.5" fingerboard radius) where it counts. The Lead II's more memorable features include a hardtail 6-saddle bridge, favored by rockers who prioritize tuning stability over arm vibrato, and the formidable dual-pickup electronics package. The Lead II's offset Alnico V Strat single-coils supply a wide range of blues, rock, and indie guitar tones, made all the more diverse by a phase-reverse toggle to elicit those Brian May in-between voicings. A classic Fender Lead II decal and vintage–correct "F" heel plate and tuners round out this throwback original.
The Player Series Lead II is a prime example of what Fender does best. From its hardware and finishes to its pots and pickups, the Lead II is a stunning reproduction of everything that made the original so collectible. Updates include a contoured Modern "C" maple neck with 22 medium-jumbo frets and a modern 9.5" fingerboard radius. This means greater playability for all sorts of playing styles, from leads to chords. The Lead II's classic finish options are flawless and period correct. And we at Guitar World feel the Neon Green option is a proper spiritual successor to this much-ado'd classic lineup.
Like the original, the Player Series Lead II nets you two slant single-coil Strat pickups to cover a wide range of musical styles. These are built with Alnico V elements to unearth a chunky, scooped, and modern response. A simple 3-way toggle and speedy master volume and tone knobs supply fast access to your favorite sounds.
Throaty Brian May leads and funky scratch tones are yours when you flip the Lead II to position two and engage the phase-reverse toggle. This useful trick cancels out some of the fullness of the pickups, which can help certain parts blend better into a mix.