Eric Johnson Strat Discrepancies??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Anthony Gring, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Anthony Gring

    Anthony Gring Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Carpinteria, CA.
    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.
  2. tillerusa

    tillerusa Member

    Nov 3, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    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.
  3. Rama

    Rama Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    I have 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.
  4. Thelonius

    Thelonius Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    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.
  5. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Fort Pierce
    I've played 5 and they were the most consistant production guitars I've ever seen.
  6. axpro

    axpro Member

    Nov 9, 2005
    Southern Ontario Canada
    Same here, very stable, all the ones I've tried have been bang on the same!

    Dave Mc
  7. KLB

    KLB Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    West of the Sun, East of the Moon
    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?
  8. scuff

    scuff Member

    Jun 29, 2002

    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.
  9. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    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.
  10. rickc007

    rickc007 Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2005
    Austin, TX
    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

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

    jaclo Member

    Jul 5, 2004
    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.
  12. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Somewhere near the Rock and Roll "Hole of Flames"
    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..


  13. Desperado

    Desperado Vertex Effects, Inc.

    Oct 15, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    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.

  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    My experience as well. Those guitars are very consistent.
  15. mybusinessmy

    mybusinessmy Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    I prefer the Mayer Strat, which is why I bought it. I am not a fan of Maple necks, so there you go, lol.
  16. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

    Mar 24, 2002
    Fort Wayne
    I have played 4 or 5 against mine. The only real diff is the tone. Otherwise they all felt very close.
  17. 59Bassman

    59Bassman Plank Cranker Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2004
    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...
  18. stratlad

    stratlad Member

    Feb 5, 2005
    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.
  19. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    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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