Question about solidbody Eric Johnson Stratocaster: new vs older

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by thunderbyrd, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky
    a friend of mine has a new solidbody eric Johnson strat and I spent some time playing it the other day and I REALLY liked it. much more than I expected to. so i'm trying to sell some gear so I can get one.

    so I've been shopping around. they are listed for $1949 new, but I've seen used ones at GC for about $1300, which brings me to my query. are the solidbody EJ's made now any different from the ones they made the first few years?

    the reason i'm asking is that when the EJ's first came out, I picked up a few of them in shops and they always felt very stiff, very difficult to chord. I did not like them and wasn't interested in them. but the one I played the other day felt great. I think I could have played it all day long without any problem. it just seemed so different from what I felt before.

    I don't know what to think about the "stiffness" I thought I felt before. was it just an illusion on my part?

    I know, someone must say "go and play them" and of course you are right, but the guitars at the $1300ish range are at GC's all over the country, not near me. I can have them bring one to my nearby store - but if I don't like it, I ain't buying it, so I don't really want to do that.


    there's also another issue. i'm usually a rosewood fretboard guy. the rosewood EJ has binding around the neck. I think the Lucerne aqua firemist is really nice looking - almost LPB - but binding on a strat??? this is not proper orthodoxy! this not how Rory Gallagher did it!

    so I wonder how hard it would be to either get used to it or to completely ignore it. because I am, like many others here, completely neurotic about some things.
     
    awasson likes this.
  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    8,862
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    I like bound necks usually, but on a Strat, the downside is when it's time for refret, it's more difficult and more expensive...
    Not sure what to say about the "stiffness". It may just be one guitar vs another. that's an issue with buying any guitar on line, they seem to be "the sum of all parts" and one may be different than another.
     
  3. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,613
    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Location:
    San Antone
    I don't think I've ever played a bad EJ of any year. They're always very easy playing and great sounding guitars. Regarding the "stiffness" you felt before, could it be maybe you've just improved as a player making things like chording easier?

    A bound strat will grow on you.
     
  4. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky
    yes, it is likely that my hand has gotten stronger. all these hours have to amount to something, I guess.
     
  5. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,283
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Location:
    omaha
    I think maybe the quartersawn necks, combined with a unrefined slightly high factory nut, usually makes for a stiff feeling strat. I've thought the EJ's are a bit stiff for the most part too.
    that's not to say that a lot of practice won't make any guitar you pick up, feel better...the player is the one truly important factor regarding all things about all guitars.
     
  6. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    5,362
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Athens-GREECE
    The only thing that will make a guitar stiff is its SET UP.
    There's no inherent guitar stiffness whatsoever.
    So buy ANY strat,set he up right and it will play like butter.
     
    Iago, gitold and awasson like this.
  7. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    6,419
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Location:
    central ky
    I will say that, for right now, the EJ is as close to an "ultimate" strat as I've ever played. IMHO. the custom shop strats seem much less desirable to me now.
     
    awasson likes this.
  8. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,283
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    Location:
    omaha
  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    71,356
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    I have an older one, a sunburst/maple 2008.
    I love it!
    I really like the rosewood version, too.
    I may get one.
    My only quibble with newer EJs is that they seem generally heavier.
     
    awasson likes this.
  10. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    5,355
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I’ve got a 2013 model. I love it. It feels as stiff or supple as my other Strats. I like rosewood boards but my EJ Strat has the one piece quartersawn Maple. Love it. This guitar has cured my gas for Strats. If it was stolen, I would go out and get another without hesitation but other than that, I’m not looking for another Strat. For me, it is the one Strat to rule them all.
     
  11. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,502
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    I really dig the colors and the binding on the rosewood ones, but the neck on them is way too fat for my small hands, and I dig some chunky necks. I don't recall the maple neck one that my friend had having such a fat neck, 'cause I really liked his.
     
  12. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    5,355
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Doug, if I recall correctly, like me, you’ve got a Classic Player 60’s Strat in your collection. In comparison, I don’t find the one piece maple Eric Johnson neck as wide in my hand as my CP 60’s neck. I’ve admired the bound rosewood necks but I have never played one so they may well indeed be wider. The CP 60’s neck is about as wide a neck as I can comfortably play on a Strat.
     
  13. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,502
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    I don't make a distinction between width and depth on a neck. I only know if it feels too chunky or not to me. I've never really noticed if it's because it's too wide or too deep or both. I would agree that the CP60s is about the limit for me, and that the Eric Johnson maple neck felt smaller than it, but the rosewood one that I tried seemed to be both wider and deeper from what I recall. I have both the Am Pro, which they call a "deep C" and an Am Performer, and they both feel more comfortable to me than the CP 60s, which I recently sold BTW, along with a few others, as I'm thinning the herd so to speak.
     
    awasson likes this.
  14. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    5,355
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Yes, I sort of play by feel and don't typically look at the specs but I found it interesting that the CP60's neck and the EJ neck have the same big 12" radius but the EJ neck feels so much more compact. I do like the look of that bound rosewood neck they have on the rosewood board models. I'll have to find one and give it a try.

    I understand the desire to thin the herd a bit. Since I got the Eric Johnson Strat, I find I'm not playing the CP60's much, even though its such a great guitar. There are a couple of others that I'll be letting go of as well.
     
  15. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,502
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Besides the CP 60s I've sold my Player Strat, my Deluxe Roadhouse with Texas Specials, my Chinese made Squier CV 60s Strat and CVC Tele, and all my Epiphones (LP Custom, ES339, Wildkat, and LP Special I with P90s), but I've recently aquired three Squiers, a CV 60s Mustang, CV 70s Strat, and Contemporary Tele HH. So, I'm keeping those three Squiers, along with my Japanese maple neck Fernandes LE2 Strat (my only maple neck besides the HH Tele), and my Am Pro and Am Performer Strats with rosewood boards.
     
  16. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    5,355
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    That's quite a purge. I kind of figured you'd be keeping that Am Pro and the Performer. I'm surprised that you let go of the Player though. I remember when you got it. I thought you even preferred it to the Am Pro. Squier is making some really great guitars. I played a Squier Mustang with P90's recently and it was amazing. What a great time to be playing guitars!
     
  17. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,502
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    I only liked the Player more because I wasn't in love with the modern sounding V-Mod pickups in the Pro. After replacing them with some vintage spec staggered Alnico 5s, then the Pro became right up there with the Performer as one of my two favorite Strats that I've ever owned. And the Player was a grest sounding and great playing guitar, but I wasn't playing it much anymore, because I just liked the Pro and Performer, and even the CV 70s Strat, more. I've decided that I'm not a big fan of PF boards. It feels too hard under my fingers, and I prefer rosewood and the Indian Laurel that Squier uses. I've noticed that the new improved Epi line just introduced at NAMM also are using laurel now.
     
    Thinliner and awasson like this.
  18. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Carlsbad, Ca
    I have a standard EJ Strat from around 2018. Aside from the pickups and body material, there doesn't look like there's that much difference between this Virginia Strat and the standard EJ Strat. The neck profiles and frets seem identical.. I'm thinking of just swapping in a Dimarzio HS-2 pickup in my standard EJ Strat and be 99% of the way there, for all practical purposes
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.