Eric Johnson Stratocaster review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (144 votes)
Fender: Eric Johnson Stratocaster

Price paid: $ 1600

Purchased from: from a local dealer

Sound — 9
Plug it in and you've got a Strat that's dripping with sustain, and a truly ear-pleasing variety of traditional yet somehow unique singlecoil Stratocaster tones. Between the three modified Custom Shop pickups, and that extra-thin Nitro finish, this thing is a veritable tone machine. In fact, one of Johnson's customizations, the re-wiring of the middle pickup tone control over to the bridge pickup, is one of those long-standing mods that really should at least be an option on Strats coming straight from Fender, there is very little downside to this tweak (how many of you spend time fiddling with the tone control of your middle pickup) and the upside is a truly useable third pickup, with a darker, more punchy tone. Another highlight of the EJ Strat is it's gorgeous, Vintage-tinted, Nitro-finished neck, now I'll come right out and say that I'm not a big personal fan of the EJ's soft V shape profile (it simply doesn't fit right in my hands) but I know plenty of folks Who love it, and my own preference for a Vintage C profile in no way diminishes the high quality and extreme playability of this neck. I've read user reviews that complained of an annoying stickiness to the neck, usually attributed to the Nitrocellulose finish, but I experienced none of this myself. And while Fender's own specs mention only maple in describing the neck material, the guitar I played boasted a beautiful flame pattern across the back of the neck and into the headstock. When it comes to the fretboard, the Eric Johnson Strocaster steps right into modern territory, while the rest of the instrument exudes a thoroughly retro feel, the flat 12 radius fretboard makes for truly fast and accurate bends, and allows for what is arguably the lowest action I've come across on an otherwise Vintage-style Strat. Once again, if you're a fan of Fender's early, and much rounder 7.25 neck radius (like me) you may not take a liking to the EJ Strat's downright flat fingerboard (we're squarely into Les Paul territory here) but it's really just a matter of preference. This beauty absolutely excels at fast fret work. Oh yeah, and forget those skinny, finger-eating Vintage wires the EJ is armed with 21 incredibly comfortable Medium Jumbo frets, the kind of modification you will find on the Vintage instruments of many a serious player. Rounding it all out, the Eric Johnson Stratocaster is just plain good to look at. All four of it's available finishes, 2-color Sunburst, Black, Candy Apple Red, and White Blonde, are lovely, traditional Strat colors. But on top of that, the EJ's extra-thin Nitrocellulose finish is going to age like a fine bottle of wine, getting more complex, unique, and personal to the player as time goes by.

Overall Impression — 10
I usually play heavy metal and even though it's not much of a metal guitar, it still does the job for me. I've been playin it for 3 months now and believe me if it was stolen I would have bought another one. There isn't just one feature I like, all of it's features together make it simply one of the best guitars ever made.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is one of the most reliable guitars I've ever bought. I've been playing guitars for over 5 years and this is the one I really fell in love with. You can really rely on it. It wont break or crack no matter what and this is something I really like about it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
This guitar is beautifuly made. It sounds great, it looks great, I mean what else do want from a guitar like this. it's worth the price, you simply can't buy anything better in this price range. The guitar has no faults but if yours does, do contact your dealer. Do keep in mind that it's not exactly a high quality guitar made for pros, it's just an ordinary production guitar but can compete with costum pro guitars.

Features — 10
This guitar was made in January 2005. It has 21 highly polished frets and three specially designed Eric Jonson pickups. The guitar also sports Fender's Thin Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish, and is available in two-color Sunburst (shown here) black, candy apple red, and white blonde.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought this guitar for like 1000 dollars. Axe sounds great, the best i've ever heard, even better than my friend fender from 70's, guitar is build well, it keeps in tone great. But to be honest - neck is not comfortable for me. I dont like V profile, also I think its not a guitar for people with short fingers, also i hate lacquer on the neck. It was kinda slowing down my fingers. For that prize i would buy John Mayer strat.
    Nice guitar! Having a wider neck radius than the standard 9.5" on most Strats (I have a USDeluxe w/a C-R neck 9.5-14") allows for much deeper bends, which you need w/a 25.5" scale neck. I also love that it comes w/real single coils, too, instead of those sweet but very weak N3 noiseless PUPs that came on my Deluxe (and which I had to replace, unfortunately, Fender!). Finally, an angled headstock, too, so no string trees? Why don't you do this with all guitars, Fender? My Deluxe has a roller-nut and 3 small, 3 large post locking tuners, & I don't use any string trees, but I'd prefer a graph-tech nut & angled headstock.
    I got one used for 1000 bucks...blonde and I slapped a mint pickguard on it...looks great and plays like a dream...and the sound? amazing...I was going to get a '62RI and then a friend with vastly more experience turned me on to these...I'm glad he did. This is one of the nicest guitars I've ever played.