The official Eric Johnson Strat Appreciation Thread

Dr. Tweedbucket

Deluxe model available !!!11
Messages
48,335
To me, they seem to be on the level of the Fender custom shop offerings and are an amazing guitar for the money.

I have two of them and really want to trim things down and sell one, but I love both of them. I like the features as in the quarter sawn, V profile neck and 12" radius, the specific EJ approved pups, the staggered tuners with no string tree and the 2 piece Alder lacquer painted body. Mine are the earlier maple neck style with maple slab fretboards. One is a two color burst and the other a blackie. Each guitar has it's unique tone ... a little bit different EQ if you will.... but both very resonant and fun to play.

What are the favorite EJ strats that you've played or own / owned?
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,179
HA! I just put mine down. I don't think I have tried better than mine. Mine is supposed to be from an early good run. I was stiff, but I put on 9's. Mine is not V, its a nice round back. Best guitar at the price point for sure.I'd have to jump to custom shop to see improvements. EJ is Fenders best kept secret. Might be going soon.
 

jrjones

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,841
Best strat I've ever got my hands on. Had to sell it for something because it didn't fit what I needed for an old job, but if I ever buy another strat it's without question what I'll get. Mine was the aqua Lucerne firemist with rosewood board.
 

Pedal Dan

The Island of Misfit Pedals
Messages
11,772
I never played one, but they sound great.

What's the fretboard radius?
 

shovelhead82

Member
Messages
1,077
My EJ has a maple neck & black body. It is actually a partscaster. I purchased the EJ neck on Ebay and a year later , the EJ body. This was back a few years when the prices of EJ parts were more reasonable.

The bridge & saddles are Calaham, Acme Guitar white pearl pickguard w/ vintage Fender 1960 neck, 1975 mid , 1978 Mighty Mite bridge pickup.

Had it set up by my local repair guy. Stays in tune and plays great. I love the neck profile. The 12" radius took a little bit getting used to. My other Strats are 7.25" and 9.5". I have owned the pickups since the 70's and they sound good in this guitar.
 

guitz

Member
Messages
3,341
I tried the baby blue one with the neck binding at GC and wanted it so bad, bent and fretted notes were just effortless with sparkling , present and lively straty tones in all positions. Alas, I did not have the $1.6k and now it's gone :cry:
 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
I've had my black maple neck EJ for a little over 3 years now. I put a mint-green 3-ply pickguard on it, it's the only mod I've made to it.

I've a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. It's super lite weight and the most resonant body-neck of any strat I've ever played, hit an open chord and it tickles the belly.

Super stratty chimey pups. I use every position to great effect. Quacks like a duck and does indeed lean towards the hi-fi side of things. As such it's GREAT for big pedal boards and guys who are into lots of effects.

Because of the 12" radius I can get the action super low for a strat. But IT IS a stiff player, so I went custom gauge 9.5-11.5-16-24-34-46 to help ameliorate the issue.

The biggest knock (and the 'hate' part) for me is the stupid thick f&cking lacquer on the neck/fretboard. WHY in god's name did EJ decide on this feature and combine it with small frets? HORRIBLE COMBO for playability. As soon as my hands start getting sweaty or even a little moist from long hours of playing, it's like moving rubber soles on a gym floor.

I scraped the lacquer away from the sides of the frets, 'cause when I first got it, the frets were like BURIED in lacquer. Helped a little, but NEVER AGAIN will I buy a guitar with a nitro lacquered fretboard (unless like it's appropriately relic'd maybe), LESSON LEARNED.

Overall the good outweighs the bad and it's definitely worth keeping to me, but it's a play for a few hours here and there type of guitar, NO CHANCE of it being my number 1 strat any time soon, I don't even gig with it. Maybe with age the nitro will wear away and some day the playability will open up... I hope anyways.
 

BUTTISLAND

Member
Messages
2,853
I Used to owned a CAR Maple neck EJ strat, phenomenal guitar. I can get almost any strat tone out of it. I played and owned it for a long time and did lots of gig with it, played it so much that the one ply pickguard start to warp. This was an issue, because it moves the pickup closer to the strings.
Finally replaced the pickguard with A thicker one ply replica by callaham. The finish start flaking as well near the elbow cut. Just one issue i have with the guitar was the neck laquer was too thick,

Up until one day, My then GF Bought me a rosewood neck EJ strat in that torquise/blue color. Had to let go the CAR since the rosewood board has a more sentimental value to me.

The only electronic mod i have done to both strat was replacing the volume knob to a 300K CTS pot. it brighten the EJ set pickups a lot and makes it more chimey and punchy.
Still own the Strat until now, I also end up Sanding the finish from the back of the neck. To make it play much much faster and smoother.
and replaced the saddles and the spring with raw vintage hardware. Not for tone, but because the stock saddle start developing burr that keep cutting off the strings it sitting on.

I have the strat set up with .011 nickle wound set. Great strat.
 

duaneallen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,077
I just got the Turquoise RW one for Christmas. I've been wanting to get one forever and found a great deal on a used one so I gave it a shot. Opened it for the first time Christmas morning and was blown away instantly. My main Strat for the past 10 has been a Suhr. I have always wanted a second Strat to complement the Suhr, and have bought and sold several over the years. None of them could hang with the Suhr, so I let them go. This EJ one is fantastic. Very light and resonant, and plays like butter. I, like many, have also felt that the maple neck ones play stiff for some reason. I'll bet that its because of the thick lacquer on the fretboard. I have noticed this on EVERY maple one that I have played. The few other rosewood ones that I have tried have all played much smoother and slinkier to me. The neck shape is amazing, and bending is a breeze. I wasn't sure what I would think about the pickups, but I LOVE them. Very 60s sounding to me. Lots of chime in the highs, and a nice punch to the low end notes. Each position just has that classic strat chime. Mine does need a setup though, but once its done, I can tell that I am going to be very happy with it. I agree with others that it plays and feels like a custom shop. The only difference is there in no relicing, which I prefer any way. I don't think that you can get a better production Strat for what these go for, especially used!
 

duaneallen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,077
I've had my black maple neck EJ for a little over 3 years now. I put a mint-green 3-ply pickguard on it, it's the only mod I've made to it.

I've a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. It's super lite weight and the most resonant body-neck of any strat I've ever played, hit an open chord and it tickles the belly.

Super stratty chimey pups. I use every position to great effect. Quacks like a duck and does indeed lean towards the hi-fi side of things. As such it's GREAT for big pedal boards and guys who are into lots of effects.

Because of the 12" radius I can get the action super low for a strat. But IT IS a stiff player, so I went custom gauge 9.5-11.5-16-24-34-46 to help ameliorate the issue.

The biggest knock (and the 'hate' part) for me is the stupid thick f&cking lacquer on the neck/fretboard. WHY in god's name did EJ decide on this feature and combine it with small frets? HORRIBLE COMBO for playability. As soon as my hands start getting sweaty or even a little moist from long hours of playing, it's like moving rubber soles on a gym floor.

I scraped the lacquer away from the sides of the frets, 'cause when I first got it, the frets were like BURIED in lacquer. Helped a little, but NEVER AGAIN will I buy a guitar with a nitro lacquered fretboard (unless like it's appropriately relic'd maybe), LESSON LEARNED.

Overall the good outweighs the bad and it's definitely worth keeping to me, but it's a play for a few hours here and there type of guitar, NO CHANCE of it being my number 1 strat any time soon, I don't even gig with it. Maybe with age the nitro will wear away and some day the playability will open up... I hope anyways.
Get a Rosewood one!
 

Neon Trotsky

Member
Messages
630
Get a Rosewood one!

The light blue like you have with the white binding, in terms of looks is pure eye sex imo. BUT, I already have two rosewood fb strats now - a '62 reissue Hot Rod (sherwood green, BIG fat neck) and a Custom Shop '63 reissue (sonic blue) which I just bought over the summer. I now have six electric guitars in total, three of them strats, so no more rosewood fb strats for me for a good while lol.

Funny thing is back when I bought the CS from my local GC, they did have one of the light blue EJ strats on the wall, which I played that day. It was between that or the CS strat. The EJ was/is a great guitar, but it couldn't hang with the CS (of course it was over $1500 cheaper though so probably a much better value).
 
Messages
4
I own a 2005 WBlonde EJ, which is great! Increadible tone, lightweight, very resonant...sounds like a 57´strat. Never played other ones. I´ve already played some CS and they are very similar.
 

blong

Member
Messages
2,688
I love mine. I think it's a '12, tobacco burst, all original, great guitar. It's another flavor of strat, and I like all 31 flavors (or however many there are).
 

JayRobIBZ

Member
Messages
417
I have a 2TSB maple. It is pretty fantastic. Definitely the best Strat I personally have played. In my perfect world the guitar would have 6105 frets, but I get along with it just fine the way it is.

I would really like to have a rosewood board version with 60's style pickups. Please EJ... give me an unbound board olympic white strat with that beautiful neck profile and the best 60's style pickups you can find.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that mine came with tremolo arm/block issues. The threaded portion of the arm was bent and it appears the threading of the block wasn't done quite right, either. It works well enough with an old bar I had lying around. I didn't even think about sending it in for a replacement because the guitar its self is top notch in every other way. Eventually it will have a Callaham bridge.
 
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Gnarlly

Member
Messages
2,864
Had a blonde with "pumpkin" maple neck years ago. Felt great, lightweight, fantastic wood, hardware and craftsmanship. Pickups were nice but not mind-blowing. But after years of owning it, the nitro neck never seemed to fully cure and was also sticky to play. Plus it was always stiffer/harder to play than my other strats (shorter frets? quartersawn neck? different head stock cut for staggered tuners? tremolo block? who knows why . . .). Sold it and haven't looked back.
 

JayRobIBZ

Member
Messages
417
Had a blonde with "pumpkin" maple neck years ago. Felt great, lightweight, fantastic wood, hardware and craftsmanship. Pickups were nice but not mind-blowing. But after years of owning it, the nitro neck never seemed to fully cure and was also sticky to play. Plus it was always stiffer/harder to play than my other strats (shorter frets? quartersawn neck? different head stock cut for staggered tuners? tremolo block? who knows why . . .). Sold it and haven't looked back.

The neck on mine can be a little sticky but it seems to work into a playable state after a few minutes. This WOULD be concerning to me, but I also have a 2011 '69 Thinline AVRI which had an even stickier neck when I first got it. Today it is perfect.
 

paulvcarter

Member
Messages
2,691
I feel I should love them but I haven't connected to one in a store yet. I love the bound version, very classy.
 

paulvcarter

Member
Messages
2,691
The neck on mine can be a little sticky but it seems to work into a playable state after a few minutes. This WOULD be concerning to me, but I also have a 2011 '69 Thinline AVRI which had an even stickier neck when I first got it. Today it is perfect.


Sandpaper the neck with 1200 grit, tape off the top and bottom first. Sanding the neck will make it play faster and feel like an old friend.
 

Roe

Member
Messages
8,752
I got a 2006 maple EJ. It sounds good but the neck was stiff and sticky. I've used a little steel wool and got it refreted with 57110Ss and setup with light strings (NYXL 9-11.5-15-22-30-40) and three springs. I won't sell it now. the playability is finally good and the sound is much the same as it was, perhaps a little better
 

JayRobIBZ

Member
Messages
417
Sandpaper the neck with 1200 grit, tape off the top and bottom first. Sanding the neck will make it play faster and feel like an old friend.
I have spent lots of time with steel wool buffing it out. But, I may try sandpaper.
 
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