Eric Johnson Strat - 2005 vs 2016

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by fatbagg, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. fatbagg

    fatbagg Member

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    Just wondering how they went along as the years.

    I’m about to buy one, and was wondering if they changed or got better/worse as the years went? Not the thin line, his original, and then if I could get some quick thoughts on what you have.
     
  2. iamdavea

    iamdavea Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't think that Fender still maintains a weight limit on the EJ, as they did when they were introduced. Eric stipulated that the guitars be under a certain weight. I don't think that's the case any longer--I see many for sale now that are over 8 lbs. I had a few sunbursts EJs many years ago; all under the 2,000 mark on the serial number. I never could get along with the pickups--very plinky sounding.
     
  3. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    The EJ is a nice guitar. They still put too much lacquer on the neck. The frets are covered in it. It would be much better if they just did a satin finish. Also the burst model has a splattery finish. Not very attractive close up. They seem to have a stiff feel to them as well. Not sure what that is about.
     
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  4. Shnook

    Shnook Member

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    A friend of mine has an early EJ Strat. I’ve played it a few times and I’ve enjoyed that one. The two newer ones I’ve tried out had crazy thick lacquer on the neck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guitar with that much lacquer as those two. Not my thing at all. Felt like a completely different guitar compared to my buddies earlier version.
     
  5. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Supporting Member

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    I owned two. Sold the first, parted out the second. Both were early models, 2005 and 2008, respectively.

    I do think that the EJ is Fender’s best production guitar. A sensible mix of vintage style with a few modern improvements. Ultimately it was close but no cigar for me. I ended up building a partscaster that is exactly what I wanted.

    The 2008 was a CAR with so many bubbles in the finish that I can’t understand how it ever escaped the factory that way. In general I find USA Fender nitro finishes to be poorer quality than I find acceptable in an $1,800 guitar.

    The pickups are OK, but can’t compare to Fralins. Fralins are just so dynamic and responsive. I felt the EJs were very one dimensional, but decent. Just not stellar.

    You can get as good or better quality from Warmoth for the same or less money. But of course it won’t have “Fender” on the headstock.
     
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  6. briwinters

    briwinters Member

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    I’ve got a first year EJ with a maple fingerboard, bought it right when it came out. I also bought a first year EJ with a rosewood fingerboard that I sold about a year ago. Both super resonant guitars acoustically (especially the maple fingerboard one). I sold the rosewood one because there was a ghost in the electronics no tech could ever sort out so I never trusted it to gig with.

    The necks on any EJ are the make or break if you are going to buy. In my experience the lacquer on the neck gets less sticky with a lot of playtime. What really can be brutal is the stiffness of the quartersawn cut neck. ESPECIALLY on my maple EJ. Super stable neck for sure,...it still plays in tune up and down the neck with no setup ever in the 14 years I’ve owned it. But man, does my left hand feel beat up after getting a workout playing that thing. You want to play the hell out of it because it sounds so inspiring but you pay a price for it. I’m probably selling it and using the money for something more practical for me soon. But now after wring this think I’ll go hurt my hand on it for a while
     
  7. fatbagg

    fatbagg Member

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    I see plenty of them pop up around $1200, that seems crazy good to me.
     
  8. Atmospheric

    Atmospheric Supporting Member

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    Yeah, my $1,800 number was new street. I think they might be $1,950 at the moment. I agree. I think it's a lot of guitar for $1,200 used. Heck, I see them down in the $800 occasionally on CL.

    My last one, after dropping in Fralins, did me solid until it was time to refret it. I really wanted larger SS frets. I was faced with a $400 refret on a guitar that was close to what I wanted but not exactly what I wanted (the terrible bubbly finish on the body just drove me nuts, even though I was probably the only one who could see it). So I started parting it out.

    First, I got a Warmoth roasted alder body in trans red. Then when push came to shove with the neck, I sold it as well while the frets still had some meat on them. I replaced that with a Warmoth vintage modern compound radius quarter sawn maple with SS frets. I still do use the bridge, trem block and strap buttons from the EJ. And honestly, I'm into this partscaster for $1,600. I don't necessarily recommend others do what I did. But I'm very happy with that guitar at the moment.
     
  9. Derek Revell

    Derek Revell Member

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    Own a 2014 EJ. Bought used in near mint for 1200.Great strat...try before you buy if possible.Mine is light and high quality,perfect neck pocket,very good fretwork but Fender isn't known for high consisitency...played a few that weren't quite so good...neck was very sticky at first but not a problem anymore,could use less finish on the neck tho...fat neck,good pickups,very stable neck.Stiffness is mostly a setup issue,mine isn't any stiffer than any other strat set up similarly...hope you find one that suits you...play the hell out of it...they get better with age...
     
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  10. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    Wow, the EJ has been out for a good while? Time, she flies! :)
     
  11. fatbagg

    fatbagg Member

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    For the 1200-1400 range is there a better strat used?
     

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