The Best Fender Stratocaster…EVER!

What’s the best Fender Stratocaster ever? That’s a difficult question – and a question of this type don’t usually have just one answer…probably we’ll hear as many different answers as there are guitarists out there, since it’s a matter of personal taste.

However…if we had to pick one guitar to be chosen as “The Best Fender Stratocaster Ever”, a very strong contender would have to be the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster.

Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster

Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster

The Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster is based on a ’57 Strat, which seems to have been a vintage year for strats, and actually the Fender American Vintage 57 could also be considered one of the best strats around. In fact, the  maple neck strat seems to be a favourite amongst many of the greatest guitarists: just check the Fender Buddy Guy Stratocaster or Eric Clapton Stratocaster, for instance. And, of course, the ’68 Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock had maple neck, too! Another great strat is the Fender Classic Player 50s Stratocaster.

In short, the ultimate Stratocaster will have to be a maple neck one…and the Eric Johnson model fits the bill. Most people who’ve played it seem to agree that it’s a fantastic guitar, the best guitar they ever played, Stratocaster or otherwise. To check prices and available finishes, view the Eric Johnson Strats Here.

After over 10 years of painstaking research and design, the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster Electric Guitar has finally arrived. Designed with Eric by Custom Shop guru Michael Frank-Braun, this beauty is based on a ’57, and combines the best of vintage design with modern electronics technology.

The ’57-style, 2-piece alder body has an ultrathin, Custom Shop-quality nitrocellulose lacquer finish that results in better resonance. Johnson opted for a one-piece, quartersawn maple neck with a 12″ radius that’s finished with a thin-skinned glossy lacquer and vintage tint. 19 prototype pickups were created before Johnson found the tone he was looking for. The Custom Shop-modified single coils use a new wire material and winding technique for the magnets giving them a unique sound. Johnson and Braun also included one of Eric’s most famous Strat modifications by wiring the tone controls to the neck and bridge pickups, instead of the standard neck/middle tone configuration of most Strats.

Eric Johnson and his Stratocaster

Eric Johnson and his Stratocaster

This guitar offers tonal perfection thanks to the discerning ear of one of the best players to ever pick up an axe. And it’s pleasing to the eye as well, with its large arm contour, ’57-style pickguard and shallow pickup cavities, plus thin headstock with vintage staggered tuners that eliminate the need for a string tree. Unbelievable Custom Shop-like quality in a production axe.

Thanks Fender, this one was well worth the wait!


  • ’57-style, 2-piece alder body
  • Body cavities true to ’57 specs
  • One-piece, quartersawn plain maple neck
  • Thinner, vintage-style headstock
  • 12″ radius American Series-style frets
  • Staggered vintage machine heads eliminate string tree
  • Thin neck cap
  • Bone nut
  • Custom Shop-modified single-coil pickups
  • Master volume, neck tone, and bridge tone controls
  • Vintage tremolo with silver painted block
  • ’57-style string recess
  • Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish




~ by dolphinblog on July 7, 2008.

7 Responses to “The Best Fender Stratocaster…EVER!”

  1. 56 custom shop relic gets my vote, its a hard question but if i can only have one strat, i think thats it.

  2. My vote is for a real 1966 (not a reissue).

    The neck is a thick, heavy chunk of maple with a big headstock so there’s plenty of maple for tone and sustain. The Rosewood is just a thin layer on top, so it just gives the right softness to the touch of the fretboard without really being like a typical ‘Rosewood fretboard’ guitar. Maple fretboard Fenders, while sounding great, feel like stiff marble slabs under my fingers. I don’t like that much resistance in the touch.

    Bonus points with a reverse neck, so it’s strung the opposite. Having the low E long on the top seems to help the guitar overall to sustain almost like a Les Paul, but with the tone of a beefy Strat. Great for controlled feedback and personal expression.

  3. my vote goes out to the Lonestar. my 50th anniversary model is just incredible. it has the power of the pearly gates in the bridge, with texas specials in the mid and neck positions. I can make this guitar play anything and it seems to overpower most variations of statocaster I have personally owned or played….. even custom shoppe models. if this is a debate on the best strat, than shouldn’t it have a humbucker? some things cannot be performed very well on just singles, and we all know that mini-buckers and even hotrails and all other attempts to slim down a humbucker do not stack up in side by side comparison. also, Lonestars have both rosewood or maple fretboards making them more ideal for either player. did I mention that I only credit the original AM Lonestars not the foreign quality cutters. the frets may be the only downside to these incarnations of the greatest guitar ever, being nearly microscopic in size. with a good set-up, mine has never let me down and can play anything from page to pantera. kudo’s fender, please give these locking tuners next time.

  4. I have an EJ Strat, love this guitar so much. Is there a link that can identify year nade by the serial #. Mine is a EJ107XX.

    Thnx JB

  5. Hard question…..I agree with the humbucker point. You need the extra warmth/extended tone that the hum. offers to cover some musical styles. I do have an Ash strat with a JB Jr and it pretends to sound like a fullsize pup very well.
    Id say my LAS or Aerodyne are close to the best Ive played for versatility and playability.
    If you want a “jack of all trades”…there are a few that I wouldnt mind having.
    Rock and roll

  6. have you tried an 80s japanese strat ? i have had many usa strats and this wipes the floor with all of them and all for around 400 quid. really !!!!

  7. i have to go with the 66′ too…..something about the bigger headstock and thin rosewood veneer neck that makes these guitars really sing…..i have played a lot of pre cbs strats and have to say my 66′ beat them all out….

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