• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

2 Strats - Help Me Decide!

jklotz

Member
Messages
3,886
I picked up a used Eric Johnson maple board strat at GC the other day. It's a pristine 2 tone burst 2006 model with case & candy. After a setup, it's just a fantastic guitar.One of those that will set up as low as you want to go without a hint of buzzing. If they told me it was NOS, I'd have believed it. Even the case looks brans new.

Everything about it is perfect for me - love the nitro finish, the great neck profile, 1/4 sawn neck, vintage tremolo, pickups sound good, it's fairly light weight, the nitro is not sticky anymore (being an o6'...) . It's pretty much all I could ask for in a strat, Except 1 thing - it's really stiff. I do a lot of bending, and this thing jus so stiff - 10's feel like 12's on this guitar. And the frets are a little smallish feeling for me, but not terrible.

Then I found a new John Mayer rosewood board at another shop. Plays like butta! I guess my hands just like those larger frets and 9.5" radius. 10's feel like 9's on this thing. Pickups sound awesome too. Plus I'd save about $100 if I go with the Mayer.

The EJ has so much going for it: Nitro finish, perfect neck shape, weight, extremely stable tuning even with tremolo. Frets are polished, fit and finish are like custom shop, sounds killer - It's just a great guitar by and measurement.

The Mayer feels like a thick coated poly guitar - it's heavier, the neck shape is not nearly as good as the EJ, fit and finish are not even close. But it plays like a dream and those pickups sound better then the EJ for what I do.

So what do you think? Keep trying to learn to love the EJ, or go for a lesser guitar that works better for my hands? I can only afford 1, plenty of time to return the EJ if I decide to. Help me out there please. :dunno

Talk about 3rd world problems....
 

axeplayer

Member
Messages
447
I'm no expert but I personally would not purchase a guitar with the intention of trying to love it. When I bought my tele I was looking for a strat but once I played the tele I just knew.
Good luck with your decision. And keep looking cause ya never know.
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,894
Putting 9s on the EJ and trying it out seems incredibly easy and risk-free. Or go with a mixed light top/heavy bottom set.

P.S. I'm pretty sure you meant "first world problems".
 

UncleStric

Member
Messages
49
The way I see it, you answered yourself there... I think playability and sound are most important, so I'd obviously go for the JM. A nice finish, light weight etc. are nice additions, but they're pointless if the guitar sounds wrong for what you're doing and isn't a joy to play. The only thing I'd weigh is how important the neck shape is.

The EJ has so much going for it: Nitro finish, perfect neck shape, weight, extremely stable tuning even with tremolo. Frets are polished, fit and finish are like custom shop, sounds killer - It's just a great guitar by and measurement.

The Mayer feels like a thick coated poly guitar - it's heavier, the neck shape is not nearly as good as the EJ, fit and finish are not even close. But it plays like a dream and those pickups sound better then the EJ for what I do.
 

detroiter711

Member
Messages
894
You may want to consider changing out the Trem block on the EJ. The block on these have the ball end of the strings set very close to the bottom of the block and consequently there is a very long string pull. This contributes to the added tension on this model. I think there are a couple of threads on this.
 

handtrix

Member
Messages
2,365
It could be just in the metallurgic's. Why don't you set up a deal with that first shop so you can tweak that EJ with your preferred strings. Set up the bridge and claw with the spring tension you're accustomed to for your technique. Find out how many springs feel best or purchase different spring tension or gauge.
 

omfg51

Member
Messages
2,915
I'm no expert but I personally would not purchase a guitar with the intention of trying to love it. When I bought my tele I was looking for a strat but once I played the tele I just knew.
Good luck with your decision. And keep looking cause ya never know.

This.
 
Messages
23,963
This is what I have been saying about these batches of Erics with their fat quartersawn necks, and that is they are all over the place.

Sometimes they're kinda normal, but sometimes there's no compliance at all in the neck - just rigid, with both the truss rod AND the direction of the wood grain preventing motion along the same axis.

Let someone who doesn't bend have this Eric Johnson.
 

Dunzie

Member
Messages
1,625
Man, it should COME to you which one calls you. Take that Mayer home with you - I'm sure the store will let you take it for a night to compare. Play 'em both back to back to back to back for a couple hours. Play at medium and even high volume. Spend time going back and forth both necks. Run through your effects or amp channels and settings till you get a real good feel for both. Inevitably, one will put a bigger smile on your face. Forget what you paid for each, forget what pushes your buttons looking at them. PLAY THEM and one will speak to you in the end, guaranteed.

PS. If not, keep 'em both.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,216
If you love the Mayer, I'd get it.

I much prefer the EJ, but that's my preference. Also, setting it up with low action and lighter strings will take away a lot of the things that are awesome about it. I've tried mine that way, and it just works better with a higher action, pickups set low, and (for me) 10s.
 

megawzrd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,357
Go with the one that inspires you to play more. By that I mean concentrate on the feel between the two. Specs come later (...only to help you narrow down what feels right to you in future puchases imo).
 

jklotz

Member
Messages
3,886
Thanks for the input guys. I have seemed to suffer a significant loss of tone going to 9's in the past with other guitars, but I'll go get some and see what I think of them on this thing. Who know's?

Interestingly enough, I'm not a Mayer or a Johnson fan, although I have respect for anybody who can make a living playing music.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me it's an easy formula. Most folks seem to like strats with the neck profile of the EJ (a chunky C), 9.5" radius, 6105's and a 1.650 nut. Why is it so difficult to find a guitar with these specs without going custom shop? I realize some people like the skinny necks that come on the standards/Amer standards, etc, but everybody I know that has a few years experience prefers those specs. Why just not make all the "standard" models like that?
 
Messages
23,963
Interestingly enough, I'm not a Mayer or a Johnson fan, although I have respect for anybody who can make a living playing music.

Yeah; if I like a guitar, I'm not going to be discouraged unless they put some clown like Michael Jackson's name on the guitar. As long as the guy is for real, doesn't matter really that much whose name is on there.

I know what you mean about finding a nice neck section on a non CS Strat. I'd played a couple EJs I really liked but they were list price or nearly so. Then 6 months or more later, GC had a bunch of EJs at $ 999 so I went store to store; played everything I could find and the available ones were all unhappy ones. I almost bought a red one in Tucson that was kinda nice - but I was tired and the salesman was distracting me - I let it get away. I thought I'd find another but next thing I knew, there wasn't much left to pick over. And that's the story of how I formed my opinions about these.
 

Roxy

Member
Messages
206
I'd get the Mayer Strat. That's a really nice guitar . Only reason is I've never played a Johnson Strat. :aok
 

rhinocaster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,085
I've had both and I found that the Mayer sounded better to me and played better. The Johnson looked better, felt better and actually felt more like a CS Strat.

I had trouble seeing the side position markers on the Mayer under stage lights, but I could live with that. The sound and playability trumped the aesthetic superiority that I felt from the Johnson.

I'm also a gig bag guy and I really like the InCase bag the Mayer comes with.

Both great guitars but I prefer the Mayer. :)
 

Stratburst70

Member
Messages
6,110
I own an EJ Strat (black w. maple neck) and I love it. I don't mind the stiffness since I consider it a good workout for my fingers. I'm not letting go of this guitar anytime soon!

That said, go with the guitar that excites you more. If that means the Mayer, so be it.
 

megawzrd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,357
I could be wrong, but it seems to me it's an easy formula. Most folks seem to like strats with the neck profile of the EJ (a chunky C), 9.5" radius, 6105's and a 1.650 nut. Why is it so difficult to find a guitar with these specs without going custom shop? I realize some people like the skinny necks that come on the standards/Amer standards, etc, but everybody I know that has a few years experience prefers those specs. Why just not make all the "standard" models like that?

Um I think EJs are soft V, 12", 6105? The soft v is what didn't fit for me.

I feel the same about larger necks though. I'd bet however that chunky c preference is in the minority. 54 thin skin and 62 vrh come to mind. Chunky/large C, 6105, 9.5". Check, check and check
 

Glowing Tubes

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,620
I hear many EJs are a bit stiff. Seems a little playing with the trem springs and setup would make a huge difference with that though.

Good luck with your search. Which one sounds better to you all other things being equal?
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom