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Does Fender play it too safe with American Professional Stratocaster colors?


Short answer: Yes. But there's a reason for it.

What was known as the Fender American Standard Stratocaster was retired a while back and is now the American Professional Stratocaster. But even before the Standard became the Professional, something I've noticed ever since I started playing guitar is Fender always plays it safe with color offerings on this particular model.

When I say they play it safe, I'm specifically talking about the fact that none of the 8 colors offered are loud or daring, and few would be considered classic colors.

Here are the 8 colors currently offered:

  1. 3-Color Sunburst
  2. Antique Olive
  3. Black
  4. Candy Apple Red
  5. Natural
  6. Olympic White
  7. Sienna Sunburst
  8. Sonic Gray

Of the 8, the classic colors are 3-Color Sunburst, Black, Candy Apple Red and Olympic White.

The color that pops the most visually is Sienna Sunburst.

The "color" that pops the least is Natural for those that like the coffee table look.

This leaves Antique Olive and Sonic Gray. Both of these are best described as muted colors. They don't pop and have almost zero wow-factor to them.

Lake Placid Blue? Nope. Fiesta Red? Nope. Surf Green? Nope. Sonic Blue? Nope. Daphne Blue? Nope.

Every color you would want to see offered on the American Professional isn't there.

But why?

Someone or a team at Fender decided that for their modern Stratocaster model offering, all colors offered should be those that are guaranteed to move based on two factors. First, offer colors that have the highest likelihood of selling. Second, offer colors that say "this is our modern model".

It's the first factor that matters more than the second.

Lake Placid Blue, while awesome, isn't offered on the Professional because it doesn't sell as well as 3-Color Sunburst does.

Black is offered because there are many Strat players that really like a classic black Strat (including yours truly). As I've said elsewhere, the only reason Fender even makes a modern American black Strat is because it always sells.

Modern colors I wish Fender would bring back

It's unlikely the classic colors like Fiesta Red and Surf Green will be seen on the Professional because those are "too vintage". What's offered on the Professional has to be both modern and move the guitar.

Here are a few, all of which are colors Fender have used before in one form or another:

Dakota Red. This is a darker non-metallic red. Usually seen on vintage Mustang guitars. This would work nicely as a modern color.

Midnight Blue. Is it blue? Is it purple? That's the trick of Midnight Blue because it's both. This was a '90s era Fender modern color and it really pops.

Lucerne Aqua Firemist. This color also really pops. Sorta/kinda like a Lake Placid Blue. I've only seen this on the Eric Johnson Stratocaster. This would work very well on the Professional.

Graffiti Yellow. The best modern yellow Fender ever had. Safe to say it's very unlikely this will ever appear as a color option for the Professional because the color is a bit on the loud side, but it's definitely a modern and not classic color.

I'd be happy just to see Dakota Red or Midnight Blue.

Published 2020 Jan 2

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