Eric Johnson Strat Owners - What have you replaced the bridge pick-up with?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by FireBottle, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. FireBottle

    FireBottle Member

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    I, along with many others it seems, have found that the first generation EJ strats' most common - and maybe ONLY - weakness is the bridge pick-up...a bit thin sounding. I think I'm going to replace it with a beefier pup - maybe a Fralin Vintage Hot...anyone else out there switch it out with something that might have a bit more cajones? Did it negatively change the tonal charactaristics - particularly of the jangly bridge/mid position?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  2. Billion81

    Billion81 It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did. Gold Supporting Member

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    No doubt- the bridge takes some getting used to. I kept on using it though and got to really dig how it sounded. I tried a Lollar S in my back-up EJ and hated it. Pulled it out and put the stocks back in. So- I tried but am staying put as this pickup set is actually quite good particularly in a country type set up is it will still buck it just needs some extra gain or boost.

    I felt as you say-that the pickups, particularly the bridge was anemic from a power stand point, but as I said have come to dig it quite a bit.
     
  3. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    To me, I've played 6 EJ's (owned 2) and the guitars themselves have a thinness to the sound. Plinky is how I'd describe them. The pickups, trem and bodies are nice as soon as I put a flatsawn Custom shop all maple neck or an Allparts all maple neck on them, they thickened up a ton and got a fuller tone and looser feel with the exact same set of strings.
     
  4. David Robrecht

    David Robrecht Blue Fire Silver Supporting Member

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    I actually like the bridge pickup in my EJ. :huh Maybe it's just me! :rotflmao Works great clean or dirty. I just roll the tone down to about 8 and all is well.
    Dave
     
  5. dzeitlin

    dzeitlin Member

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    rio grande dirty harry
     
  6. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    It's not just you...

    I also love the sound of the EJ bridge pickup with the tone backed off a bit.

    I've played Strats for 37 years (yikes!) and never used the bridge pickup for rhythm much, until I got the EJ...now it's one of my favourite sounds.
     
  7. hardys

    hardys Member

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    Rio Grande, Muy Grande. Adds some beef and output, but still retains some nice quack when combined with the middle pup.
     
  8. Kelly

    Kelly Member

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  9. rburkard

    rburkard Gold Supporting Member

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    I think the bridge pickup on the EJ strat sounds great.
    Rene
     
  10. Steve73

    Steve73 Member

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    Yeah, I seem to mod everything and I don't think there is anything I want to mod with my EJ. Love it!
     
  11. LReese

    LReese Member

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    I like the bridge PU to be jangly on a Strat - so the stock PU is OK, but I replaced the middle on my EJ with a Duncan Alnico II to fatten up the combo positions a little.
     
  12. strat6866

    strat6866 Member

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    I have changed pups in most of my strats but I leave the EJ alone. I like it for what it is. I have other strats that are beefier and more ballsy. I have tried different pups in other EJs i have owned but my feeling now is that they are just right for this guitar.
     
  13. guitarstan

    guitarstan Member

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    I have owned prolly 5 Strats in the $1K+ price range but only one EJ and almost immediately replaced all the electronics with an upgraded kit including Fralin Vintage Hots. I was happier with the newer electronics however the guitar still sounded weak to me. I think it is worth mentioning that I am and always have been a humbucker kinda guy. I love the sound of a good Strat but find them hard to bond with in comparison to a Lester.

    I ended up selling the EJ and buying a CS Masterbuild Strat with a big fat neck at nearly 3 times the cost of an EJ :huh. Like "buddastrat" stated, bigger necks seem to translate to bigger sound, at least that is my perception. The Masterbuild strat has a bigger stronger sound and works for me, such that I did not bother to replace any of the electronics even tho I have a complete replacement pickguard with the Fralins, pots, caps and switch ready for an easy drop-in. Even so, I still tend to play Les Pauls more than Fenders.
     
  14. heavydutysg135

    heavydutysg135 Supporting Member

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    I replaced the bridge pickup of my EJ with a WCR Godwood...come to think of it all the parts other than the body have been swaped out as well :D

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    Harmonic Design S-90 single coil-size P90
    That pickup ROCKS


    jb
     
  16. FireBottle

    FireBottle Member

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    I've always thought that I would never mod the EJ, but then again I'd never used the bridge pick-up much on a strat...until I put Van Zandt Blues in my SRV strat...balls to the wall, my brothers. I'm still on the fence about changing anything on the EJ, but now that I know how much more versatile a strat can be with a juicier bridge pick-up, I'm curious. That said, last night I was experimenting with different pedals and the tone control, playing the bridge only on the EJ, and I have to admit, it certainly doesn't suck.

    Have any EJ owners compared the newer rosewood board EJ's with the first gen. maple ones? Obviously the fretboard plays a big role in the tone but, other than that, and some cosmetic stuff, the only difference with the electronics is the bridge pick up on the RW version...what that difference is, I don't know...anyone?
     
  17. IIIBOOMERIII

    IIIBOOMERIII Member

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    Are you sure it is still an EJ? :D Nice looking guitar, reminds me of a Charvel!
     
  18. bluesgolfer

    bluesgolfer Member

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    I just stopped playing my EJ. Play it now only occasionally. Like my Rocketfire better.
     
  19. heavydutysg135

    heavydutysg135 Supporting Member

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    Yep, I am sure that the guitar started its life as an EJ signature, everything other than the body was changed including routing the bridge pickup for a humbucker. I have also made a few small changes since this picture was taken. The neck is oiled quarter-sawn maple made with the same specs as custom shop Wayne guitar. Bridge is an original solid brass from the 80's along with the volume knob and strap buttons. The bridge pickup was changed from the Seymour Duncan Custom 5 pictured to a WCR Godwood and the neck pickup was changed from the cool rails pictured to a Barden…I have a WCR single coil to replace the Barden with that I am going to throw in soon. Electronics are WCR, the nut is hard elephant ivory from Bob Colosi, and the tuners are Sperzel locking. It is definately more of a mutt than an EJ now.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2009
  20. alguit

    alguit Member

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    The bridge pickups was one of the selling points for me! I love it; it gets enough traditional strat sound, and rolling off the tone into an overdriven amp thickens it nicely.

    I've done my share of pickup swapping in guitars over the last twenty years, but this is one where I don't see the point (or I would have gotten another type of strat...)
     

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