Fender Player HSH with Pau Ferro Fingerboard: Best Stratocaster for Blues

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  February 5, 2023

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There’s nothing quite like a good blues solo. But to get that specific sound and tone, you need a great guitar. 

If you’re on the hunt for a Stratocaster that delivers, you need to consider the Fender Player model.

But not just any model – go for the Player HSH pickup configuration with the snappier Pau Ferro fretboard.

The Best Stratocaster for Blues- Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard is the best for blues because of its great tone and feel. The neck feels great, and the humbucker gives you lots of tonal variety. It also has bent-steel saddles and a tremolo bridge, so you can really do it all. 

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard has a bright and snappy sound and is a great choice for blues and rock.

Keep reading to see my full review and why I prefer this specific configuration over the other Fender Player models for blues. 

Best for:

  • more sustain
  • great intonation
  • HSH pickup configuration

Falls short:

  • Tremolo falls out
  • Bent-steel saddles are sensitive

Not bothered by the blues but looking for a Stratocaster? This is the ultimate top 10 Stratocasters currently available

What is the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard?

So you’ve heard about the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. 

Well, let me break it down for you. This guitar is made in Mexico and comes in three colors: yellow, gray, and sunburst burst. 

It has a two-point synchronized tremolo with bent steel saddles, a standard cast/sealed pau ferro neck, and a white dot modern C neck.

It also has a synthetic bone nut width, volume and tone controls, and three pickups: a Fender Player Series Alnico 2 Humbucking, a Fender Player Series Alnico 5 Strat Single-Coil, and a Fender Player Series Alnico 2 Humbucking.

The “HSH” designation refers to the pickup configuration of the guitar, which features two humbucking pickups and a single-coil pickup, and the “Pau Ferro” fingerboard is a type of wood used for the guitar’s fingerboard known for its warm tone and stability. 

This particular model is part of Fender’s Player series, which offers a range of affordable yet high-quality electric guitars for players of all levels.

The Fender Player guitars are very playable, and that makes them ideal for blues, where you need to play fast licks and shuffles. 

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard is a versatile electric guitar that can be used for a variety of musical styles, including blues.

This interesting combination of humbucking and single-coil pickups provides a range of tone options, allowing players to produce warm and rich blues sounds as well as other styles. 

The Pau Ferro fingerboard adds to the tonal characteristics of the guitar and helps produce a warm, clear, and well-balanced sound. 

Additionally, the Stratocaster’s classic design and playability make it a popular choice among blues guitarists, and its versatility allows players to easily switch between different styles of music.

Best stratocaster for blues

FenderPlayer HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard has a bright and snappy sound and is a great choice for blues and rock.

Product image

Buying guide

Tonewood & sound

Alder is a classic tonewood for electric guitars, and it provides a bright and snappy sound.

The Pau Ferro fingerboard adds to this bright tone by providing clarity and balance.

Some other Fender guitars have an ash body which provides a fuller and warmer tone, but these Player series instruments usually have an alder body.

Alder is a good tonewood because it is lightweight, resonant, and produces a bright sound.

Overall, the sound is suitable for blues because it has clarity, warmth, and sustain.


The traditional Stratocaster guitar, including the Player has the classic 3 single coil SSS pickups.

This is a very versatile configuration because it provides bright highs, warm mids, and tight lows.

The HSH model takes the classic setup and adds a humbucker in the bridge position, giving you more sustain and a wider range of tones.

While you can technically use the SSS configuration for blues, too, I recommend this HSH configuration because it gives you a lot more tonal options.

As a blues player, you want as much versatility as possible.

Having humbuckers is a great upgrade for a blues guitar because it makes the instrument sound more powerful compared to the single coils.

Tremolo & Bridge

The Player Strat has the classic 6-screw tremolo bridge, which is perfect for blues because you can easily bend the strings to create vibrato and other effects.

The bent-steel saddles also add to the sustain and provide a smooth playing experience.


The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard has all the standard Fender hardware, including die-cast tuners and a 3-way pickup selector switch.

The tuners are reliable and stay in tune easily, and the 3-way switch allows you to select between the humbucker, single-coil pickup, or both.

Some guitars also have locking tuners which help the instrument stay in tune.

Also read: Locking tuners vs locking nuts vs regular non locking tuners


Most modern Fender Strats have a “C-shaped” neck, which is a bit thicker than the traditional “V-shaped” neck.

This is good because it offers more stability and support for your hand while playing.

Also, look at the way the neck is joined to the body. The Player has a bolt-on neck joint which makes the guitar a bit cheaper, but it’s still sturdy and durable.

Generally, more expensive guitars can have a set-thru neck which gives more sustain and resonance.


The Pau Ferro fingerboard also adds to the overall playability of the guitar. It is comfortable to play and provides a smooth playing experience.

Pau Ferro is now used as an alternative to rosewood because it’s more sustainable.

It has the same tonal characteristics as rosewood, but it’s a bit heavier, so it adds more sustain to the sound.

The fretboard radius is usually 9.5″, which is good for blues because it allows you to bend the strings easily.

Where it’s made

When it comes to guitars, the country of origin can tell you a lot about the quality of the instrument.

Generally, the more expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some countries that are gaining a great reputation for producing good quality guitars at a lower price, such as Mexico.

In fact, Mexican-made Fenders are excellent in terms of value because they sound great and don’t break the bank.

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is made in Mexico, which is a great choice for those looking for a good price-quality relationship.

Best stratocaster for blues- Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard full

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What makes the Fender Player HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard good for blues?

Now I’m giving you the lowdown on this guitar – here’s my full review and what I really think of it.

This stunning instrument is the perfect combination of classic Fender style and modern features.

The HSH pickup configuration gives you a wide range of tones to choose from, while the Pau Ferro fingerboard adds a smooth, mellow feel to your playing. 

The lightweight alder body ensures that you can play for hours without getting tired. The classic Stratocaster shape is instantly recognizable, and the black finish gives it a sleek, modern look.


  • type: solidbody
  • body wood: alder
  • neck: maple
  • neck profile: C-shape
  • neck radius: 9.5”
  • neck construction: bolt-on
  • fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • frets: 22
  • pickups: 2 humbuckers & 1 single coil
  • scale length: 25.5”
  • finish: silver
  • bridge: 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles
  • truss rod: standard
  • nut material: synthetic bone

Playability & tone

The main reason the Player HSH with Pau Ferro fretboard stands out as a great Strat for blues is its playability.

The C-shaped neck makes it comfortable to play with, and the bolt-on joint adds stability.

This guitar is incredibly easy to hold for long periods of time due to its lightweight and rounded body.

When it comes to electric guitars, the wood used doesn’t have a huge impact on the final tone. Instead, the hardware – particularly the pickups – is the most important factor.

Let’s take a look at the wood used in the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH:

  • Alder body – Fender’s lightweight wood of choice, it offers a balanced tone with a slight emphasis on the upper midrange.
  • Maple neck – This heavy, strong wood is popular for necks, bodies, and tops due to its light color, resistance, and beautiful patterns. It highlights the mid and high frequencies.
  • Pau Ferro fretboard – This dark brown wood is often used for fretboards. It has a high density and a warm tone with a fast attack.

The Pau Ferro fretboard is smooth and responsive, while the tremolo bridge allows you to bend strings and create effects easily.

As you solo and create blues licks, you’ll appreciate the balance and sustain that the Pau Ferro fretboard brings to the instrument.

The body is constructed from alder, while the neck is made from maple. This guitar’s sound is particularly warm and full thanks to the Pau Ferro fingerboard.

Since this guitar is made of an alder body, you can expect a bright tone with good sustain and clarity. 

Other players are impressed with the tone and sound of the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard, too, and I want to note that this guitar has a well-balanced and versatile sound that is suitable for blues.

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH has a 25.5″ scale length, which is the same as a regular Stratocaster. 

This means that the strings will be a bit further apart, giving you a brighter tone and lower action. But, it also means that it can be harder to play, especially if you have smaller hands. 

Whether you’re playing clean blues licks or going for a more distorted and crunchy sound, the Player Strat has you covered.

Pickup configuration

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Fender.

That means you can expect well-built pickups with great sound that won’t need an upgrade any time soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderate level of hot output – not the overwhelming output of active pickups often used in metal.

This guitar is equipped with a novel HSH pickup configuration, which consists of two humbucker pickups and a single-coil pickup in the bridge position.

The versatile HSH pickups give you access to the warmth of humbuckers as well as the bright single-coil sound.

The two humbuckers in the neck and middle positions provide a smooth and rich blues tone, while the single-coil bridge pickup adds clarity and brightness.

Compared to other Strats with the SSS pickups, the HSH configuration on this model gives you access to a wider range of tones.

Build quality

Player Strats are made in Mexico, but that doesn’t diminish their quality. Also, the price is a bit lower than that of similar Stratocasters. 

The overall build quality of this guitar is very good – there are some small imperfections, especially on the hardware you might notice.

Other than that, though, the instrument is sturdy, well made, and comes with a few nice shiny finishes. 

The nut is one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. 

A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and is comfortable to play.

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH has a Synthetic Bone nut, which is a great choice for those looking for a high-quality, consistent nut that resembles the tone produced by bone.


The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH guitar features a pau ferro fretboard on its neck.

Pau ferro, also known as Morado, is a dense and hardwood species native to South America, often used as a substitute for rosewood in the manufacture of musical instruments. 

It provides a smooth, durable, and stable surface for the frets and contributes to the guitar’s overall tone.

It’s possible that the Pau Ferro frets will sound the same as the traditional rosewood frets.

The use of pau ferro fretboards has become increasingly popular in recent years due to concerns over the sustainability and availability of rosewood. 

Overall, the pau ferro fretboard on the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard guitar offers good playability and a warm, balanced tone, making it a popular choice among guitarists.

This guitar also comes with 22 frets.

A 22-fret guitar neck is commonly considered good for blues music as it provides a range of notes that can accommodate the musical style. 

Blues typically involves a lot of lead playing and improvisation, and the extra frets on a 22-fret neck allow for more room to play higher notes and create more complex solos. 

Additionally, blues music often involves bending strings to create expressive and soulful sounds, and the longer neck with more frets provides more options for string bending.


The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH comes with a 2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with Bent Steel Saddles. 

Two-point tremolo and bent steel saddles are standard features on this model. Better sustain and intonation are the results of this upgrade.

This type of bridge allows you to change the pitch of the notes by pulling the bridge with the attached bar, giving you more versatility. 

However, since the bridge is not fixed to the guitar body, you’ll need to use more force when bending the strings. 

This means you’ll need to increase the distance of your bends to reach the same tension (note) compared to a fixed bridge.

One concern I have is that the tremolo could come loose at times, requiring you to tighten the screws again. It seems to be lacking the high quality that other models are known for. 

I also want to note that the Fender Player Stratocaster includes an in-built distortion circuit for edgier playing.


Both lead and rhythm players will appreciate the C-shaped neck.

This neck profile is comfortable for playing, and it’s quite stable with the help of the bolt-on joint.

The advantage of a bolt-on neck is that it makes the guitar cheaper while still being reliable and sturdy.

It’s also easy to travel with, and you can easily swap out the neck if you damage it or upgrade it later on.

The fretboard radius is 9.5″, which makes it easy to bend strings and play blues licks.

Best stratocaster for blues

Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard

Product image
Tone score
Best for
  • more sustain
  • great intonation
  • HSH pickup configuration
Falls short
  • tremolo pops out

What others are saying

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is a great guitar for any level of player.

It has a classic look and feel, with modern features that make it a great choice for any style of music.

It has great sound quality and is built to last. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this guitar is sure to please.

But here’s what the guys at guitarworld.com are saying:

“From the moment you pick it up, it’s apparent it’s a particularly well-made and set-up instrument that sounds as good as it looks. I used to pay hundreds of dollars to swap pickups and electronics, change the pickguard, install bigger fret-wire and so on, but here, the guitar has just about every upgraded modification most players desire at a fraction of the cost.”

The features and configuration is pretty spot on, and that makes it a great value guitar.

Some players on Amazon are a bit critical of the string buzz you initially get, but it can be fixed with some graphite. 

Others are complaining that there are minor cracks where the neck meets the body, but this can be a common occurrence with Fender Stratocasters.

But most reviews appreciate that this guitar stays in tune even after extensive heavy whammy bombs. It’s generally a good-sounding guitar with a nice pickup configuration for blues.

Who is the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard for?

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard is an electric guitar designed for intermediate to advanced players who are looking for a versatile instrument with a modern touch. 

This model features a Pau Ferro fingerboard, HSH pickup configuration, and a classic Stratocaster body style, making it suitable for a wide range of musical genres, from blues to metal.

So, you’re wondering, then, why is this guitar so good for blues?

It’s a good choice for blues players for several reasons:

  1. Versatile sound: The HSH pickup configuration provides a range of tonal options, allowing players to switch between vintage bluesy sounds and modern, high-gain tones.
  2. Fast and comfortable neck: The Pau Ferro fingerboard offers a smooth playing experience, and the neck is comfortable to play, making it easy to navigate blues progressions and solos.
  3. Classic Stratocaster design: The classic Stratocaster body shape is synonymous with blues music and has been used by countless blues legends over the years.
  4. Reliability: Fender is a well-established brand known for building high-quality instruments, so the Player Stratocaster HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard will likely provide reliable performance for blues players.

Who is the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH not for?

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard may not be the best choice for some players, such as:

  1. Beginners: This guitar may be too advanced for players who are just starting out, as it requires a certain level of skill to fully appreciate its features and capabilities (find out what Stratocaster is best for beginners here)
  2. Players with specific tonal requirements: While the HSH pickup configuration provides a wide range of tonal options, it may not meet the specific needs of some players who require a more specialized sound.
  3. Those who prefer non-Stratocaster designs: The classic Stratocaster design may not be to everyone’s taste and some players may prefer a different style of electric guitar.

Overall, the Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is not a “one size fits all” instrument, and players should consider their own needs and preferences before purchasing it.


Fender Player Stratocaster HSH vs traditional blues guitars

This Fender Player HSH is not actually a typical blues guitar, nor was it designed specifically for blues.

It’s still a Stratocaster, but when it comes to blues guitar, Fender Stratocasters are the go-to choice for many players. 

With its iconic shape, versatile sound, and smooth playability, the Stratocaster is the perfect instrument for blues music

But there are some differences between a blues guitar and other Stratocasters.

For starters, blues guitars tend to have a thicker neck than other Stratocasters. This makes it easier to bend strings and play blues licks.

They also feature heavier gauge strings, which give them a thicker, more powerful sound. 

And they usually come with a humbucker pickup, which adds more warmth and depth to the tone.

Now, this Player Strat has the humbuckers but doesn’t have the thicker strings – this can influence the overall sound you’re going for.

However, if you’re not willing to spend on a blues-style guitar, a Strat like this one is still great. 

Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard vs The American Ultra Strat

When it comes to electric guitars, Fender’s Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard and the American Ultra Strat are two of the most popular models.

But what’s the difference between them? Let’s take a closer look.

The Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard has a sleek, modern look and feel.

It’s made with a Pau Ferro fingerboard and a two-point tremolo bridge for a smooth, comfortable playing experience. 

The pickups are designed to provide a wide range of tones, from clean and bright to heavy and distorted.

Plus, the neck is thinner than the American Ultra Strat, making it easier to play.

On the other hand, the American Ultra Strat has a classic, vintage look and feel. It’s made with an alder body and a maple neck for a warm, rich sound. 

The pickups are designed to give you a wide range of tones, from clean and bright to heavy and distorted.

Plus, the neck is thicker than the Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard, giving it a more substantial feel.

So, if you’re looking for a modern, sleek guitar with a thinner neck for easy playing, the Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard is the way to go.

But if you want a classic, vintage look and feel with a thicker neck for a more substantial feel, the American Ultra Strat is the one for you.

Also, I have to mention the American Ultra is a more expensive instrument, and it’s preferred by professional musicians. 

Best premium stratocaster

FenderAmerican Ultra

The American Ultra is the Fender Stratocaster most pro players prefer because of its versatility and quality pickups.

Product image

Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard vs Squier Stratocaster

When it comes to electric guitars, Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard and Squier Stratocaster are two of the most popular models. 

But what makes them different? Let’s take a closer look.

The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH with Pau Ferro fingerboard and the Squier Stratocaster are both electric guitars based on the classic Stratocaster design, but they have some key differences:


The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is generally more expensive than the Squier Stratocaster, as it is a higher-end model with more premium materials and features.


The Fender Player Stratocaster HSH is made with higher-quality materials and has tighter tolerances, resulting in a more premium feel and better overall performance.

Pickup configuration

The Fender Player Stratocaster has an HSH pickup configuration, which stands for Humbucker, Single-coil, Humbucker.

It refers to the combination of a humbucker pickup (typically providing a thicker, warmer tone) in the bridge position and two single-coil pickups (generally brighter and twangier) in the neck and middle positions. 

The Squier Stratocaster, on the other hand, typically has a traditional SSS pickup configuration, meaning three single-coil pickups.

The difference in pickup configuration results in a different tonal character between the two instruments, with the HSH offering more tonal versatility and a wider range of sounds.

Best budget stratocaster & best for beginners

Squier by FenderAffinity Series

The Affinity Series Stratocaster is perfect for beginners or those who want a versatile guitar that won’t break the bank.

Product image


What to look for when buying a guitar for Blues?

When buying a guitar for blues, you want to look for an instrument that will inspire you and make you want to practice more. 

An electric guitar is usually the best choice for blues, as it has a narrower neck and easier-to-press strings. 

Plus, with an amplifier, you can adjust the volume to whatever you need. Look for a guitar with a rich sound and good playability, and you’ll be ready to rock the blues!

What makes Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard a good guitar?

Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard is one of the best guitars out there. It’s got an alder body and a pau ferro fingerboard that makes it super easy to play. 

Plus, the HSH configuration of Alnico 5 pickups gives you two different guitar sounds in one guitar.

It’s got a beautiful cream finish and great electronics, so you know you’re getting a top-notch instrument. 

What is a blues guitar?

The blues is a genre of music that has been around for centuries.

It is a style of music that has been heavily influenced by African-American culture and is often characterized by its melancholic sound. 

One of the most iconic instruments used in blues music is the guitar.

A blues guitar is a type of guitar that is commonly used to play blues music.

Blues music is characterized by a distinctive sound that often incorporates elements of American folk music, gospel, and R&B, and is typically played in a 12-bar chord progression.

A blues guitar sound is typically characterized by a warm and soulful tone, often achieved through the use of a hollow-body or semi-hollow-body electric guitar. 

This type of guitar typically has a rich, resonant sound that is produced by the vibration of the guitar body, which amplifies the sound of the strings. 

The tone can be further shaped by the player’s technique, such as fingerpicking, sliding, and bending the strings, as well as through the use of effects such as distortion, reverb, and vibrato. 

The sound of a blues guitar can range from smooth and mellow to raw and aggressive, depending on the player’s style and the context of the music.


If you’re looking for a great guitar to start your blues journey, the Fender Player HSH Pau Ferro Fingerboard is a great choice!

It’s comfortable, lightweight, and has a great scale length that will give you the perfect sound for blues. 

Plus, it’s got locking tuners, so you won’t have to worry about your strings going out of tune. 

This is the kind of guitar you can learn to play blues on, or if you’re already an experienced player, you can really play those solos and chord progressions. 

The simplicity of its gameplay is the primary reason why blues musicians adore it. The music is great, and the animation is smooth.

The bluesy tones and sound really grab me. This is the guitar for you if you want to rock out to some electric blues.

Read next: 5 Best Solid State Amps For Blues reviewed

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

Check me out on Youtube where I try out all of this gear:

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