In the pantheon of legendary Stratocaster players, Eric Johnson has more than carved out a place for himself. And with the introduction of the Fender Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster signature model, he is taking the instrument to new sonic territories. With the guitar's historic shape, Eric's preferred neck carve, and the man's signature single-coil pickups all accounted for, they're attached to a semi-hollow alder body. This construction not only removes weight, but it also allows the guitar to sing with a new level of resonance and air. If you want to play what EJ plays, the Fender Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster is it.
When Eric Johnson talks tone, people listen. So it's no surprise that his move to semi-hollowbody Stratocasters is perking up some ears here at Music Experience. This Strat's alder body boasts hollow cavities on both the treble and bass side with a solid toneblock running from neck to end pin down the middle. If you've ever experienced the top-end detail and woody character semi-hollowbody construction adds to your tone, you'll understand what this instrument is capable of. And it's all completed with an elegant-looking F-hole along the guitar's bass side.
Eric Johnson possesses some of the most awe-inducing clean and driven electric guitar tones out there. It's his ceaseless quest to perfect that sound that has led Fender to release his signature set of three single-coil pickups. Special care was taken to reproduce the exact output and sweet tone Johnson is after, utilizing a mix of Alnico 3 and Alnico 5 staggered magnets. And the Eric Johnson Strat Pickup Set boasts a hotter bridge pickup to ensure you enjoy a balanced signal across all the pickup switching positions.
Eric and the team at Fender spent a lot of time crafting a neck that would offer the best of vintage feel with modern playability. Your fretting hand will cradle the all-maple neck's '57 Soft-V profile that offers enough wood for excellent sustain and comfort, while also allowing the fleet-fingered passages Johnson is known for. The fingerboard has been planed to a flat-ish 12" radius, which encourages wide bends without the fear of fretting out. Finally, like the guitar's body, the neck is finished in a vintage-correct nitrocellulose lacquer that will age gracefully.
Bringing to life the vision of one of the most respected guitarists in the world, the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline is the perfect marriage between a semi-hollow body and a traditional Stratocaster. Johnson is famous in guitar circles for questing for his ideal tone—liquid and articulate, it perfectly complements the playing style that earned his place in the modern guitar pantheon. In 2015 he approached us to co-design a lightweight, resonant instrument that combines the tones of his favorite semi-hollowbody guitars and his Stratocaster. Two years later, we hit the formula for tonal nirvana with the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline.
We tested many configurations before Johnson settled on the lightweight capped alder body. With custom chambers and traditional Strat contours this guitar looks as good as it plays.
The nitrocellulose lacquer finish not only lets the body breathe with its true tonal character, it also ages and wears in a distinctively personal way.
Fender's R&D engineers worked closely with Johnson to craft the perfect pickups for his uniquely articulate sound. Carefully blending our legacy with EJ's discerning sonic tastes, these Stratocaster pickups are a key element of his tone.
The thick “Soft V”-shaped neck slightly smooths the sharpness of a “V” profile, rounding it out so it’s more comfortable for rhythm and lead playing.
Not only do these tuning machines have a cool vintage look, they also create optimal string break angle at the nut, removing the need for string trees.
Matching Johnson’s own specs, his signature Stratocaster has no tremolo cavity cover on the back and no screw holes for one.
Eric Johnson has long been known as a consummate tone-seeker. The Texas guitarist began playing at a young age, influenced by not only the rock ferocity of Jimi Hendrix and the bluesy soul of Albert King, but also such diverse artists as Chet Atkins and the Beatles. By the time Johnson was in his mid-teens, he had forged a style all his own. With uncanny feel, incredibly sensitive ear and a symbiotic relationship with his guitar, it was a liquid, articulate and incomparable sound instantly recognizable as “EJ’s.” Over the years, a big part of that equation has been a traditional Fender Stratocaster, which Johnson would use on such hits as “Cliffs of Dover” and “Manhattan.” Still, as he continued to tour and create new musical masterpieces, Johnson was recently looking to expand his palette.
Enter the Eric Johnson Signature Stratocaster Thinline. A perfect marriage between a semi-hollow body and traditional Stratocaster, this new namesake model is a lightweight, resonant instrument that has already opened Johnson’s tone to more possibilities. “What I noticed about a semi-hollow body guitar is as you're playing it, it's almost like there's a give and take of the resonation,” the Grammy Award winner said. “You play the note, it comes out, and then it kind of resonates back into the guitar through the chambers. As you're playing, you feel this fluxing of energy where it inhales and exhales.” Johnson initially approached Fender in 2015 with the idea of adding an F hole to his beloved Strat to add some of the vibe he gets from his favorite semi-hollow body guitars. To his trained ear, there was a delicate balance between the alder body being too solid and too hollow. One direction might be too biting for his discerning taste, while the other might be too warm. But after months of collaboration with Fender, EJ was quite pleased with the outcome.
“There's kind of an energy feedback thing that happens from that little bit of hollow bodies,” he said. “So we experimented with trying to find just the right amount of solid wood through the middle. It would still kind of give you that punch and that midrange that a solid body does, but leave enough of that regeneration to when you play it. You can feel that.” In addition to the custom chambers in the body, EJ’s Stratocaster Thinline also boasts his signature single-coil Stratocaster pickups, a custom “Soft V”-shaped neck, no rear tremolo cover and a breathable nitrocellulose lacquer finish. To Johnson, everything comes together in his signature Stratocaster Thinline—the next step in his never-ending tone quest. “The Strat's been around a long time, and it is such an icon of an instrument,” he said.
|Number of Strings||6|
|Body Finish||Gloss Nitrocellulose Lacquer|
|Neck Shape||'57 Soft V|
|Fingerboard Inlay||Black Dots|
|Number of Frets||21, Medium Jumbo|
|Bridge/Tailpiece||6-saddle Vintage-style Synchronized Tremolo|
|Neck Pickup||Specially Voiced Eric Johnson Single-coil|
|Middle Pickup||Specially Voiced Eric Johnson Single-coil|
|Bridge Pickup||Specially Voiced Eric Johnson Single-coil|
|Controls||1 x volume, 2 x tone (neck, bridge), 5-way blade pickup switch|
|Strings||Fender USA, NPS, .010-.046|
|Case Included||Custom Hardshell case|
|Manufacturer Part Number||0113602741|