Eric Johnson Strat Discrepancies??

Anthony Gring

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,026
After reading the reviews and specs. on these guitars which were quite favorable, I've been wanting to play one. In the last two weeks I've had the chance to play two- They were both different and hence my question. WHY were they different? Is it Fender QC or are they modifying the specs. w/ each production run? I first played a red one w/ a low ser. # EJ0000xx. The neck was as spec'd: maple V to C shape w/ fairly flat radius ( 12''?). It was supposed to be quartersawn but I couldn't tell. Is there a visual way to confirm this? The pups did NOT have staggered polepieces and were kind of shiny/chromy looking. In short, the neck felt really great but the tone of the guitar was not superior. I compared it to my SRV Strat that has Suhr V60's in it as well as a few other higher end Strats off the rack. I left thinking great neck, very so-so tone. The other I tried was in a different store in a different town. It was a sunburst w/ a more current ser. # EJ00xxxx. This guitar had a completely different neck: same flatter radius but All C shape. No V to C at all. Also no evidence/flame of a quartersawn neck. The pups on this one WERE staggered and had the dark grey brushed steel look to them. This guitar played OK but I much preferred the neck on the red one. The pups on the sunburst however absolutely killed. I was really blown away. I should state that I played the red EJ through a Fender Tone-King set clean and the burst EJ through a Mesa Lone Star 1X12 combo also set clean. I compared the burst EJ with a new John Mayer, SRV, and Am. Std. The EJ just killed all of them. It had the best Strat tone I think I've ever heard in each of the five positions. I didn't compare it to my SRV Strat but I'm sure it would've smoked it as well. So--- Where is the EJ Strat that has the red ones neck and the burst ones tone ?? I thought a " Signature " model guitar is supposed to have the same specs on EACH one. Can anyone shed any light on this? Owners-- Do you have the V to C neck as well as the Staggered pups w/ dark grey polepieces on your EJ ? thanks for your help.
 

tillerusa

Member
Messages
48
I've played maybe a half-dozen of the EJs (none were red though) and my experience was nearly the exact opposite of yours. The consistency from guitar to guitar surprised me, especially for a Fender production run instrument. I'm not sure what would account for the differences in the instruments you played although I never looked at the serial numbers on the guitars I played so it's possible that they were all from the same run (although they were played at different times in different places). AFAIK the instrument specs have been the same since production began, but somebody on TGP may be able to correct me on that.

As far as a quater-sawn neck goes, you should be able to see the grain running across the neck rather than with it. It sometimes gives it that pseudo-flame, but not always.
 

Rama

Member
Messages
1,903
I have two...one of the firsts and a very recent one. They are so close in every way that it is unbelievable.

I like em so much that I bought a backup.

I set one up with more neck relief just to have a different feel.
 

Thelonius

Member
Messages
290
I would just note the neckplate numbers can be a bit deceptive as there was a serial number error early on so there are a good number of ones floating around you might think are late models that are actually early ones.
 

Mark Kane

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,768
I've played 5 and they were the most consistant production guitars I've ever seen.
 

axpro

Member
Messages
628
Same here, very stable, all the ones I've tried have been bang on the same!

Dave Mc
 

KLB

Member
Messages
3,044
The pups did NOT have staggered polepieces and were kind of shiny/chromy looking.

The correct stock pickups should have staggered polepieces like the Sunburst version you played. It appears either Fender messed up on this guitar, or the dealer swapped them out?
 

scuff

Member
Messages
550
Hi.

I played one here in Montreal, all white, definatly no V neck, all C sounded really good but not the most confortable neck, maybe too heavy lacquered.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,691
The ones I played were very consistent. It was almost like the same guitar. I actually was hoping for more variety as I wasn't into the first one.
 

rickc007

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,904
Originally posted by buddastrat
The ones I played were very consistent. It was almost like the same guitar. I actually was hoping for more variety as I wasn't into the first one.
Some guitar stores, I won't mention there name...
yup, you're correct....THAT one, have been known to
swap pups

I was playing several custom shop guitars at one
store of this franchise, and noted a very different
sound. Salesman gave me the wink wink, and said
don't take that one, pups were switched with Samarian

pretty Cheezy, then again, someone may like the tone
better.

Luckily for me, there is a HIGHLY reputable dealer
in my area, so if I want authentic....
 

jaclo

Member
Messages
300
You have to be carefull I guess. Someone could easily buy one, swap out the pups, and return it. I once was checking out Antiquity pups at Guitar Center, and noticed they were new and shiny not aged, the salesman didn't seem to care when I mentioned it. That's why I insist on factory boxed merchandise when it comes to guitars if buying from the chain stores.
 

thelionsden

Member
Messages
918
To check the neck to see if it is 1/4 sawn, look at the end of the headstock..1/4 sawn will have the grain pretty much up and down, perpendicular to the width of the headstock, flat sawn grain parallel to or across the width of the headstock..


1/4

IIIIIIIIIIIIII
 

Desperado

Vertex Effects, Inc.
Messages
1,551
I've owned 2, one in 2-color sunburst, the other in black. Both were fairly consistent in the feel and tone. The pickups on one were much noisier than the other, I think becuase of the person who wired it. I reconnected some of the solder points and everything seemed okay after. I also agree that the neck was a bit different on both. One had a much more defined V-neck, while the other was more along the lines of a C-neck. My only problem with the guitar was the heavy lacquer on the neck. Some of my older Strat's, although they are nitro, have become more like a satin over time and not very sticky. The EJ neck is very sticky, and the fretboard seems even worse, especially with old strings. I though about sanding it down some to reduce the stickiness, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Sold them both.

Desperado
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,691
tillerusa said:
I've played maybe a half-dozen of the EJs (none were red though) and my experience was nearly the exact opposite of yours. The consistency from guitar to guitar surprised me, especially for a Fender production run instrument. I'm not sure what would account for the differences in the instruments you played although I never looked at the serial numbers on the guitars I played so it's possible that they were all from the same run (although they were played at different times in different places). AFAIK the instrument specs have been the same since production began, but somebody on TGP may be able to correct me on that.

As far as a quater-sawn neck goes, you should be able to see the grain running across the neck rather than with it. It sometimes gives it that pseudo-flame, but not always.
My experience as well. Those guitars are very consistent.
 

Hipster Dofus

Member
Messages
2,331
Mark Kane said:
I've played 5 and they were the most consistant production guitars I've ever seen.
I have played 4 or 5 against mine. The only real diff is the tone. Otherwise they all felt very close.
 

59Bassman

Plank Cranker
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,049
I've played about a half dozen of them. Two have been absolute standouts. The rest have been OK but not nearly as "vibey" as the two I mention. For whatever reason, both of the great ones were sunburst.

One of the two has already sold; I'm just trying to mentally justify buying the other one...
 

stratlad

Member
Messages
517
My EJ is sunburst. Pickups are awesome. The neck is quartersawn but if there is a "V" there it's not super noticeable - it's primarily a "C" neck. Great guitar and it's resurrected my interest in strats.
 

KeithC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,338
Mine's a white/blonde and a SOFT V for sure. The pups musta been changed out because they should be staggered.

It still continues to be my favorite Strat for many reasons.

The only bad thing is the single ply guard does tend to warp a bit but not a big deal.
The neck is sticky especially on outdoor gigs for me here in OK. But over time it has gotten much better.
From what I have heard they are pretty darn consistent but there is bound to be small differences from wood to assembly.
 




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