“Blending the timeless essence of history with the spirit of the modern musician”: Fender is starting the Stratocaster’s 70th anniversary celebrations early, with souped-up Player and American Professional II models and the return of a beloved finish

A group of 70th Anniversary Fender Stratocasters
(Image credit: Fender)

Next year will be a momentous year for Fender, which will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of its iconic Stratocaster electric guitar.

But, clearly keen to kick off the birthday celebrations as soon as possible, the Big F has given itself a head start, previewing 2024 by dropping what has been promised to be the first wave of many celebratory six-strings.

Aside from the all-new 70th Anniversary Player and 70th Anniversary American Professional II models, it’s a fairly tame release from Fender, but one that will no doubt please traditionalists: a limited-edition finish – one that pays homage to the first-ever Strats from 1954 – has been added to those aforementioned Strat families.

That’s right: 2-Color Sunburst – in both maple and rosewood/pau ferro fretboard iterations (depending on the specific model) – has been added to both the Player and American Professional II lines.

Like we say, it’s not a groundbreaking release, but remember, this is only the beginning of the Strat celebrations – “the 70th Anniversary celebration is planned to extend throughout 2024,” says Fender – and the arrival of 'Anniversary 2-Color Sunburst' is a nice place to start. 

Fender 70th Anniversary Player Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

But it is the specific 70th Anniversary models that really steal the show here, and the Nebula Noir-finished Player iteration that specifically piques our interest.

The uniquely finished guitar certainly fits into the camp of anniversary models that cater to “progressive players seeking cutting-edge features,” pairing the space-y black colorway with black-covered single-coils and a white pearloid pickguard.

Contemporary stealth aesthetics aside, it’s a fairly standard Player model with some notable upgrades, boasting an alder body, modern C maple neck, and a more premium 9.5”-radius rosewood fingerboard with rolled edges.

Fender 70th Anniversary Player Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

Elsewhere, there's a two-point tremolo, ClassicGear tuners, a bone nut, and a 70th anniversary neck plate, as well as a trio of Pure Vintage ‘59 single-coils wired to the standard Strat control layout.

The $999 Player model is joined by a more premium, more conventionally styled $1,999 American Professional II Strat, which flaunts a Comet Burst colorway, an alder body with a flame maple top, a deep C maple neck, and a 9.5”-radius, 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with rolled edges.

Fender 70th Anniversary American Professional II Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

Some other souped-up specs include an upgraded two-point tremolo with a cold-rolled steel block, 70th anniversary V-Mod II single-coils, and an expanded control layout that comprises a push-push switch on the second tone control that adds two unique pickup configurations not normally found on a Strat.

This model also flashes a sculpted neck heel, short post locking tuners and a four-ply tortoiseshell pickguard.

Fender 70th Anniversary American Professional II Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

As mentioned, a pair of standard Player and American Professional II models have also been released in a ‘50s-flavored 2-Color Sunburst finish.

The former is available in pau ferro and maple fingerboard iterations, but otherwise stays faithful to the Player platform thanks to its gloss alder body, a modern C maple neck, and a 9.5” ‘board radius.

Its spec sheet also has room for Player Series single-coils and a two-point tremolo with bent-steel saddles. Both the maple and pau ferro variants are priced at $799.

2-Color Sunburst has also been added to the American Professional II Strats, whose highlights include V-Mod II pickups, a sculpted neck heel, and an upgraded two-point tremolo bridge. The Deep C neck comes topped with either maple or rosewood fingerboards, with both flashing rolled edges.

The 2-Color Sunburst American Professional II Strat is available now for $1,699.

To find out more, head over to Fender.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.