While price-wise it may not be a great beginner guitar, it is an easy guitar to play. The neck pickup is pure sonic butter with its glassy chime and slightly scooped midrange, and sounds absolutely fantastic both clean and overdriven. But splitting these pickups gave rise to some cool tones. The latest guitar news, reviews and features delivered to your inbox. GuitarPlayer is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Time to remind ourselves of just 20 of his countless great guitar moments. It's a collaboration with keyboard player David Garfield. #tdi_163_933 .td-doubleSlider-2 .td-item1 { background: url(https://guitar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Fender-Player-Lead-III-Controls-53@1707x1140.jpg) 0 0 no-repeat; But if you want to get your Fender on but in your own way (and in a way that maybe not everyone else is doing), take a look at the Leads. In terms of the pickups, we’re in familiar territory once again, at least with the Lead II, whose pickups are both fitted at a dynamic slant and are the same alnico V units you’ll find in the Player Stratocaster. Let’s get some context. The esteemed Dr. May once told me that what he liked about the out-of-phase tones on his Red Special was that the tone was “pure harmonic, with almost no fundamental.” Which is what you get when you hit the Lead II’s phase switch. © The Lead II used two single-coils, the Lead I featured one humbucker, and the Lead III … background: url(https://guitar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Fender-Player-Lead-III-Pickups-54@1707x1140.jpg) 0 0 no-repeat; I loved what they did to the Victoria’s front end, and into the Kemper I could make this guitar do almost anything. Players who want a slightly smaller Strat-style body with conventional pickup options might very well find this guitar is their jam. Today's best Fender Player Lead II and Fender Player Lead III deals, We check over 130 million products every day for the best prices. “Clean tones are brisk and characterful, with lots of slappy attitude when you dig in”, That’s a decent selection of tones from a solidly built pair of instruments, with a few quirks but no deal-breaking flaws. Fender has largely played things straight with its latest not-exactly-classic reissues, keeping the core specs of the Lead II and Lead III models much as they were 38 years ago. The Lead II's tones might not be for everyone. Posted September 21, 2008 This is at my local store:1980 Fender Lead II all original (except for the the case).It plays great and looks good.Just a few scratches but overall it looks pretty clean.$550 is the lowest they will go.Think it's worth it? Please refresh the page and try again. Gear historians may remember Steve Morse in the original ads for the Lead series. Yesterday and Today album, or Queen’s Innuendo, or Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door.It might not be your favorite thing they’ve ever done, but it’s really good and holds up far better after all these years than we might have thought back in the day. Coming in just under the £600 mark, we get the Lead II, which looks uncannily like the 1979 original, right down to the blocky headstock logo and cramped pickup switches, and the Lead III, with the same coil-split-equipped twin-humbucker configuration as its 1982 ancestor. To say Fender has been embracing its past of late is somewhat laughable. The clean stuff is nice too but there’s a surprise in store when we activate the coil-split on either pickup: the lower mids thin out as expected but not in a way that leaves the guitar sounding in any way underpowered. Compared to other guitars on the same setting on a variety of amps, the others have a higher and some have a twangy sound - not condusive for someone serious about guitar sound. © 2020 Guitar.com is a member of the media division of BandLab Technologies. Continuing our journey through the guitar styles of the legendary Three Kings, this time it’s the turn of Flying V-toting blue icon Albert. But when we think of Fender’s most noteworthy guitars, we obviously think about the Strat and Tele, making it easy to overlook or outright dismiss variations on those themes. By checking the boxes you agree to receive the following from us via e-mail. The hardtail bridge and string-through design add to that feel and sound. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the new Fender Leads are easy, straight-down-the-middle players. There’s a fair amount of phasey complexity on the bridge pickup, but even more in the middle position – a setting that, remember, Fender’s three-pickup icon doesn’t normally support. This is where the Lead II really excels as a Strat-Tele hybrid, combining the breezy freshness of the former with the chiming sweetness of the latter. Fender has largely played things straight with its latest not-exactly-classic reissues, keeping the core specs of the Lead II and Lead III models much as they were 38 years ago. Yesterday and Today album, or Queen’s Innuendo, or Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? This is a very lively guitar, with a comfy C-shaped neck and a resonant alder body. I dialed in both amps for more lows and less highs and dug in. The neck pickup can do the SRV/Jimi Strat thing, but not exactly. The satin-finished ‘medium C’ necks and medium-jumbo frets are gently welcoming to all, especially with their .009-.042 strings, and both our test guitars are set up with novice-friendly low actions. Between 1979 and the launch of Fender Japan in 1982, the Leads filled a simple niche at the low end of the company’s all-American six-string range: they were no-frills axes for the post-punk era, combining Stratocaster stylings with the simplicity of the Telecaster. That I can relate to. background: url(https://guitar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Fender-Player-Lead-II-Bridge-49@1707x1140.jpg) 0 0 no-repeat; Get the latest news, reviews and product advice straight to your inbox. }. But lesser-known styles such as these are fair game when it comes to having fun … You still get the easy playability that the comfy neck and 9.5-inch radius afford you, plus two toggles for pickup selection and coil splitting. Purple patch: the Lead III in deep Purple Metallic. Shocked, I tried again and quickly moved the phase switch back and forth, hearing the harmonics jump up and down in octaves. Receive news and offers from our other brands? The middle position is where you really get the otherness of the Lead II. Playable, wallet-friendly and available in a variety of eye-catching finishes, the Lead II and Lead III are two very charming variations on a theme, that deserve a bit more attention at the second time of asking. But if a badass like Steve could dig it enough to be in an ad for it, there must be something there. (I personally would have liked a Jake E. Lee–approved slant in the opposite direction.). New kid on the block: the blocky headstock logo is a replica of the 1979 original. 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