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Eric Johnson Strat?


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Ok, The music instrument "wholesaler," "Musician's Friend" is now selling a strat that Eric Johnson (whoever that is) and Michael Frank-Braun (what a name) have created in collaboration with each other, so I've read.

Now, In the review in the Musician's Friend catalog, Edward Paul (again, Who?) address what seems to be a keeper; giving examples like how it was researched for good sound down to the screws (does that even matter?). Among other things is the paintjob, one peice neck, wiring for the tone knobs the control the neck and bridge pickups instead of the neck and middle, and several other things, some of which sound insane (at least when yu say it makes it sound better). Can anyone who has read this review tell me whether or not any of the makes a real difference, and also what other thing have significant effects on the overall tone and playablitly of a guitar or bass.

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the wiring, the paint, the neck, and some of the others will have a measureable impact on tone. By measureable, I mean that there is a difference, even though you probably don't notice. I tend to think of things like this in the analogy of olympic sports, like how every new innovation will shave off 1/10,000,000,000th of a second. It's a measureable differemce, but when its that close, the only ones who care are the guy buying the widget, and the guy making it. Everyone else just goes "hey, cool".

As far as Eric Johnson goes, Look for the song "Cliffs of Dover". Eric's what happens when you blend Joe Satriani and Steve Vai with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. Phenomenal player from Austin TX. If you can find a clip of his performance on Austin City Limits, I highly reccomend it. If you want, let me know and I'll email you one.

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Eric Johnson is a talented guy, but he's known for being kind of a git when it comes to his tone.

He'll agonize over his tone for hours (right down to the battery in his stomp box) and in the end, it's not even always that great. I find he has real hit-or-miss tone, and he'd be better served by getting rid of his effects rig. :D

Excellent model of using wide intervals to make a melody more lively, though! I'm quite impressed by him, but even after buying Ah Via Musicom, I could never really "warm up" to him in terms of just enjoying listening to him.

Will the screws matter to tone? Not a chance in hell.

Greg

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first off, i can't beleive you don't know who eric johnson is... i mean... holly crap!!!!!!!!! any moderate guitar player that owns, wants to own, or has had a strat, should know who he is..... man... *shakes head*

anyways, yes, this guitar should have noticable differences between your stock replica or american standard strat. As Zero metioned, they're small, but i for one am glad that he came out with a signature guitar, as long as it keeps up to his specs, i've long wanted that guitar i saw on the austin city limits video. with all the different strat lines offered by fender, and mod's eric does, it was hard to come close before.

Edited by krazyderek
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First off, yes I agree that lacquer thickness, one-piece maple neck construction, and some of the other things make it different from a "regular" production strat. At times I've been as detail oriented as anyone (except him maybe) That being said, what a load of crap that "article" was. And I've always been repulsed by their "reviews" that are just infomercials. The amount of lies in those things is criminal.

And all this time, I've just been sitting by, ignoring EJ's egomaniacal rants, dismissing them for what they were. Then it dawned on me, what a jerk! Making the rest of the world jump through hoops just because he thinks his music is so important that it needs 5 hours of battery and cable testing, and pedal positioning on the floor, etc. I started thinking about that producer, and engineer. Then I started thinking about everyone around him that has to deal with his "gifts". Man, if you can't do it in 1/2 hour and just play, you have a problem. He should see someone, because the problem isn't that his ears are too smart, its that he thinks he's better than everyone else. And I've heard his tone. Whatever he's doing isn't worth the time. Heck I think Cliffs of Dover could be done on a Pod. I'm not saying he doesn't get good tones, or that he's not a top notch player. I recognize his place among our best. But quite frankly, I'd be more interested in that guitar if it didn't have his name on it, because buying it says "I care about the same things he cares about" and that's just not true.

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Ok, with all this said, What would you suggest for me to put into my own creation. What I want is to sell them, and since i dont have or want the abilitly to be in the mass production market, I'll go the specialty market route. Which means, It has to be EXTREMELY playable, sound like it came from God himself, and have looks to match.

I've been thinking (for a strat style axe) ash body, with the highest possible gloss finish (maybe nitrocellulose?), I may use the Eric Johnson neck thing (slight V at the top the becomes very C at near the end) maybe one tone knob controlling the bridge pickup and the other for both the middle and neck pickup. Maybe a humbucker at the bridge. Ebony fret board. White pearloid pickguard. Vintage oval tuners (I've always prefered those). Vintage string tree. bone or brass nut. quilted or flamed maple headstock veneer, Oops, I'm drooling!

Anyway, suggestions are appreciated. And PatientZero, my email is a_spears724@email.com

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Ok, with all this said, What would you suggest for me to put into my own creation. What I want is to sell them, and since i dont have or want the abilitly to be in the mass production market, I'll go the specialty market route. Which means, It has to be EXTREMELY playable, sound like it came from God himself, and have looks to match.

Simple as that?

I suggest you build it like you want, then go to a crossroads at midnight and let the old black man waiting there tune it for you. With this method you can also use plywood since the wood quality doesn't matter in this case... :D

I know a very good luthier in Italy and when it comes to "vintage tone" pickups, he suggests voodoo ones (no pun intended), or if you cannot get them, Lindy Fralin ones. Personally I haven't tried them but I trust his experience. You may want to try them.

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First off, yes I agree that lacquer thickness, one-piece maple neck construction, and some of the other things make it different from a "regular" production strat. At times I've been as detail oriented as anyone (except him maybe) That being said, what a load of crap that "article" was. And I've always been repulsed by their "reviews" that are just infomercials. The amount of lies in those things is criminal.

And all this time, I've just been sitting by, ignoring EJ's egomaniacal rants, dismissing them for what they were. Then it dawned on me, what a jerk! Making the rest of the world jump through hoops just because he thinks his music is so important that it needs 5 hours of battery and cable testing, and pedal positioning on the floor, etc. I started thinking about that producer, and engineer. Then I started thinking about everyone around him that has to deal with his "gifts". Man, if you can't do it in 1/2 hour and just play, you have a problem. He should see someone, because the problem isn't that his ears are too smart, its that he thinks he's better than everyone else.  And I've heard his tone. Whatever he's doing isn't worth the time. Heck I think Cliffs of Dover could be done on a Pod. I'm not saying he doesn't get good tones, or that he's not a top notch player. I recognize his place among our best. But quite frankly, I'd be more interested in that guitar if it didn't have his name on it, because buying it says "I care about the same things he cares about" and that's just not true.

:D

My wife, who works in the mental health field, thinks he could possibly be borderline autisitic.

Ever see "Rainman"?

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Ok, with all this said, What would you suggest for me to put into my own creation. What I want is to sell them, and since i dont have or want the abilitly to be in the mass production market, I'll go the specialty market route. Which means, It has to be EXTREMELY playable, sound like it came from God himself, and have looks to match.

I've been thinking (for a strat style axe) ash body, with the highest possible gloss finish (maybe nitrocellulose?), I may use the Eric Johnson neck thing (slight V at the top the becomes very C at near the end) maybe one tone knob controlling the bridge pickup and the other for both the middle and neck pickup. Maybe a humbucker at the bridge. Ebony fret board. White pearloid pickguard. Vintage oval tuners (I've always prefered those). Vintage string tree. bone or brass nut. quilted or flamed maple headstock veneer, Oops, I'm drooling!

Anyway, suggestions are appreciated. And PatientZero, my email is a_spears724@email.com

Everything that's been tossed around here affects tone in one way or another. If you can hear it, great. If not, no big deal.

But if you're going to build for sale, you probably ought to be able to measure these differences. Like everyone else, high end buyers may or may not know what they're hearing, but they know what they like.

And no offense, but if you have no idea who Eric Johnson is, I ain't buying a strat from you.

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The custom pickups and control configuration are going to be responsible for the biggest differences in tone between an American Series and the EJ Signature. The trem, paint, and pickup cavity mods are going to have the least impact.

What I thought was interesting is how the EJ Strat has a 12 inch radius with the modern medium-jumbo frets. Looks like EJ was looking to get some better playability compared to his old '54-'57 Strats.

Fluke, if you want some free advice, don't go into the custom Strat business. A few months ago you started posting about buying Saga kits, painting them, and selling them for hundreds of dollars even though you knew nothing about guitar construction. I seriously doubt you have the skills or know-how to create custom guitars that are anywhere near the level of a Braun or a Suhr. Take a look at the Polls section where Stew is having trouble selling his custom Strats--and he even knows what he's doing!

Build a few guitars first and see if you really have the skills. Then build a few more and see if you're getting better, first.

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EJ Autistic?? I could see that I guess.. He's a human guitar machine. I've never heard a player so precise. He is an absolute freak about tone, signal chain, amps, pretty much everything. The highest level of perfectionist.. I love his stuff but it's hard to classify.. People call him texas blues but he fits much more into the class of vai and satriani to me.. he's so precise and there's not much "raw" about him like with Stevie Ray.. Or much bluesy for that matter..

Fluke.. the advice here is good.. Build first out of passion.. for yourself. If you're good at it, cultivate it and explore making a career out of it. I don't know of any major builder that just woke up one day and said "i want to build a guitar and make a living out of it" The best luthiers do it because they love it. If they didn't get a cent they would still build.

Your other types of builders are the former guitar tech like Suhr, Pensa, Sadowsky, and a whole host of others that all had years and years of guitar repair, building experience and industry contacts under their belt before they hung out their shingle as luthiers. Those tend to be the ones doing clones.

There is a place for strat and gibson clones. In the bass world, exotic, multi-lam instruments are widely accepted. In the guitar arena, not so much. In my experience, the studios don't like them. Session guys won't buy them because they can't use them. You take your 5000 dollar custom guitar into the studio and it's got so much "character" that the engineer can't get a good mix, he'll hand you a strat or a paul and make you do it over. So there's nothing wrong with the strat clone idea, it's actually quite sound.. but it takes patience and a lot of experience before you'll make any kind of money at it.

If your only intention of building is for personal happiness, you'll never be discouraged. If your intent is profit, you can count on being discouraged.

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Actually, I know most everything (within reason) when it comes to what goes into a guitar and what tools for what jobs etc (over educated, under skilled) . The only thing I dont know a whole lot about is more complex wiring situations. The saga thing was about getting skills and enjoying pseudo-luthiery, and I was going to try to make a buck in doing so.

I understand how one could assume that all I want to do is make money. But, I have been interest in guitar building for quite a while, And I know I can't possible accomidate all the guitars I want to build. This isnt like I'm going to be building [X amount] of guitars a week and sell each for [X amount] of dollars. Also, I do need extra money one the side. But think of it this way, If I wasn't interested in the actual building of them, I wouldn't even think about trying to make some $ off them. I thought this could be a profitable and enjoyable hobby.

The idea that was presented to me was to negotiate with a music store, so to setup my instruments in a small corner of their store, and they would make whatever percent of every one of my guitars sold. But as I said, they must be of very good quality, or noone would touch them.

What I would like, on the other hand, is any suggestion you all (y'all) would care to give about wiring, wood selection, p-ups etc. And what are some exotic looking woods? (eye catching)

Yes...... I am an idiot.

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If it's a relationship with a music store you are cultivating.. just use their connections to get you bodies and necks from allparts. They are actually very high quality. If you have no tools or experience, you're better off buying pre made parts as long as you are sure of the quality. however, if you have the tools and experience, you can make a body and neck for <50 bucks whereas you'll pay allparts 110 per body and 75 or so for the neck wholesale. But to start out and if it's a semi-planned business venture, quality comes first. Get premade stuff (not saga kits, they suck) but premade stuff that you trust. Then you build some customer confidence. Offer a reasonable cost made in USA guitar and you could do ok for some extra $$$.

Follow that link above though and spend a few weeks searching and researching. Premade bodies and necks solve only 2 of your problems. You have to know how to finish, setup, wire, carve and shape nuts, fret level/dress/etc.. it's not something you just jump into and have immediate success.

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for suggestions, on wood selection, especially some eye grabbing woods, check ou the GOTM history, there have been some excellent species displayed in that, also check out the threads with the entries.. some of them weren't even winners.

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Why should they give you a corner of valuable shop space when you have no product to showcase? Why would they sell your product when they can either get the real deal from FCS or Suhr or use the space to sell more cheapo Austins, Samicks, and Epis?

The point I think everyone's trying to make is that if you want to do this, it must become a part of your soul. Boutique builders don't just wake up one morning and say, "Well, I know how to use these power tools, and I'm pretty sure I know everything about building guitars, so I'm going to go build a guitar and sell it for $3000". It's going to take you years to get to the point where you can build a consistently reliable and high-quality instrument.

I hate to say it, but I'm beginning to smell a troll. These posts just seem too out of sorts to be real.

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Seriously guys, I have to come to EJ's defense a little, I met and got to hang out with the guy about 12 years ago in Memphis (a relative was driving his tour bus), and honestly he's a really friendly guy. He is obssesive/compulsive, and has said as much on a few occaisions, but he did take a few hours to sit and talk with a 15 year old kid (not to mention passing on a few little licks played on MY guitar). To tell you the truth, I honestly believe that HE can hear the difference some of the minute details make. He genuinely believes he can anyway.

On another note, "go to a crossroads at midnight and let the old black man waiting there tune it for you." Does that work at an intersction? There's an intersection right by my house, but the only old black guy I've ever seen there at midnight was my neighbor, and he was going to the AM/PM for a beer. Besides, I don't think he knows how to tune a guitar.

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whichever way you go i think building strat clones is about the most limiting thing you can do in terms of guitar building

sure there are variations on the theme but if i ever buy a strat style guitar it will be a fender

i think "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" sums it up well

i understand that strat style gats are probably the best selling guitars

but if i were to pay good money for an obscure handmade guitar i sure as hell wouldnt want it to look like every other guitar even if it had exotic wood, pickups, etc.

all that said i still do like strats style gats

i have dreams about building/selling my own guitars one day in the same way as you want to( i just dont blurt them out and look silly)

but i want to have more unique shapes, construction, etc

i think alot of the reason people opt for botique gats is their uniqueness

thats my thoughts any ways :D

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Its too bad that the market has been corralled by Fender, Gibson, and other established companys, stamping out from low to high end guitars. Making them is one thing, but to sell them even for a marginal profit at times can take a LOT more effort. Your work has to be flawless, unique and made from quality materials. And then you need to find someone who is interested in shelling out for a guitar that DOESN'T say Gibson or Fender on the headstock. A good guitar should be able to sell itself...if put in the right hands. :D

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On another note,  "go to a crossroads at midnight and let the old black man waiting there tune it for you." Does that work at an intersction? There's an intersection right by my house, but the only old black guy I've ever seen there at midnight was my neighbor, and he was going to the AM/PM for a beer. Besides, I don't think he knows how to tune a guitar.

Nooooo... I finally found out where the right crossroads is! Woohooo! Thank you PatientZero! Expect me anytime to show up in your neighbourhood at midnight... Your neighbour is the devil!!!

Robert Johnson's Legend

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On another note,  "go to a crossroads at midnight and let the old black man waiting there tune it for you." Does that work at an intersction? There's an intersection right by my house, but the only old black guy I've ever seen there at midnight was my neighbor, and he was going to the AM/PM for a beer. Besides, I don't think he knows how to tune a guitar.

Nooooo... I finally found out where the right crossroads is! Woohooo! Thank you PatientZero! Expect me anytime to show up in your neighbourhood at midnight... Your neighbour is the devil!!!

Robert Johnson's Legend

"Legend is that while waiting for an overdue train in Tutwiler, Mississippi, in 1903 that (W.C. Handy) heard an itinerant bluesman playing slide guitar and singing about "going where the Southern cross the Dog," referring to the junction of the Southern and Yazoo and Mississippi Valley railroads farther south near Moorhead. Handy called it "the weirdest music I had ever heard.""

http://www.history-of-rock.com/bluestwo.htm

Sorry, back to the topic.

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Seriously guys, I have to come to EJ's defense a little, I met and got to hang out with the guy about 12 years ago in Memphis (a relative was driving his tour bus), and honestly he's a really friendly guy. He is obssesive/compulsive, and has said as much on a few occaisions, but he did take a few hours to sit and talk with a 15 year old kid (not to mention passing on a few little licks played on MY guitar). To tell you the truth, I honestly believe that HE can hear the difference some of the minute details make. He genuinely believes he can anyway.

On another note,  "go to a crossroads at midnight and let the old black man waiting there tune it for you." Does that work at an intersction? There's an intersection right by my house, but the only old black guy I've ever seen there at midnight was my neighbor, and he was going to the AM/PM for a beer. Besides, I don't think he knows how to tune a guitar.

Oh i don't doubt for a minute that EJ can hear all this stuff, and i've never heard anything but great things about him as a person.. It's just surreal to witness that level of human perfection in something. Almost abnormal. I don't think anyone was bashing EJ too much. Maybe the first post.. I'm a fan though, he amazes me. And that he does all that on a strat..

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whichever way you go i think building strat clones is about the most limiting thing you can do in terms of guitar building

sure there are variations on the theme but if i ever buy a strat style guitar it will be a fender

i think "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" sums it up well

i understand that strat style gats are probably the best selling guitars

but if i were to pay good money for an obscure handmade guitar i sure as hell wouldnt want it to look like every other guitar even if it had exotic wood, pickups, etc.

all that said i still do like strats style gats

i have dreams about building/selling my own guitars one day in the same way as you want to( i just dont blurt them out and look silly)

but i want to have more unique shapes, construction, etc

i think alot of the reason people opt for botique gats is their uniqueness

thats my thoughts any ways :D

How do you account for the soaring sales of Suhr, Tom Anderson, Sadowsky, Grosh, DeTemple?? Guitarists tend to be traditionalists.. moreso than bassists.. That's why the top dogs in boutique bass building are all originals.. tobias, thompson, f-bass, etc.. Bassists are much more accepting of a beautiful instrument regardless of the name or look.

The driving force, i believe, behind the clone market is that the quality of fender and gibson is gone way down hill. If you're going to spend 1000 dollars on a strat that you're going to have to mod the hell out of to be happy with it, why not just spend 1500-2000 on a custom strat that you know is of the highest quality.. New les pauls list for 3-5000 easily and the ones I have played are horrible. Maybe they just weren't set up right but if you work in a music store, you'll see all kinds of F & G guitars come in with runs, sanding marks, atrocious setups, etc..

Big company guitars are not generally built by luthiers.. They are built on an assembly line by people who most likely don't know the first thing about the guitar. They just know how to screw on a bridge, or solder some pots.. whatever their little part of the process is. So you can't totally knock the clone market. I would argue that it's easier to break in and make a living building clones than with your original. At least the luthiers I know that make a living at it went the clone route. They can build a better strat than fender can and people will pay for it. And generally the les paul / prs fans are the ones that will buy the set neck boutique guitars.. McNaught, McInturff, JET, etc..

I would say most people buy boutique because of a quality expectation.. not out of rebellion and wanting something unique. Some do.. but the majority are folks that know what they want, have the means to get it, and won't settle for production line garbage.

The bottom line is for the builder to build what they love and seek perfection in that.

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"How do you account for the soaring sales of Suhr, Tom Anderson, Sadowsky, Grosh, DeTemple?? "

i dont. ive only ever heard of them on this site.

"Guitarists tend to be traditionalists.. moreso than bassists.. That's why the top dogs in boutique bass building are all originals.. tobias, thompson, f-bass, etc.. Bassists are much more accepting of a beautiful instrument regardless of the name or look."

maybe im suposed to be a bassist then, "because i can accept a beautiful instrument regardless of looks" whatever that means

"The bottom line is for the builder to build what they love and seek perfection in that."

damn right, each man to his own

i dont mean to sound so patronising just a difference of opinions i guess :D

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Hello boys 'killa here. This string leads me to a topic I've wanted to delve into for some time now. Fender and Gibson, both top guitar manufacturers, sell a number of different types of each of their top models. Why I ask myself?. There must be at least a dozen models of the Strat not including Squire, and nearly as many LP's. The clone builders included use mostly known pickups with all the same tonality, same wood spieces, same hardware same old same. Why not just offer a standard Strat or Tele and a Custom Shop Special with all that stuff as options. Same for Gibson, limit the prices to a moderate number and revolutionize the retail business. Do we really need so many like choices of the same old dog????? :D

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