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rct HBD NGD EJRW


rct

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Long story, bear with me, I'll try to be brief.

 

Strats and me locked in a violent love hate since 1972. My current Highway One has been my strat for 12 years now, three times longer than any other, and quite a few periods in life that I just didn't have a strat at all.

 

Along came the EJRW. I don't care for signature guitars. But this one had a bound neck, which Fedner just doesn't do all that often. Early on I played two, both far from here while out traveling, neither a color I would want, neither that remarkable, they suffered from storeitis. Another one out at the Factory in 2013, and it was just unbelievable good, just the way I knew this thing should be. Too much money from them directly, way too much, and it wasn't quite the right color. Over the last couple of years I've given up, and then seeing that they were discontinued I completely wrote it off, just figured it wasn't meant to be.

 

For my 55th she wants to go to Harry Potter down there at Universal in Orlando. The new section has been open a while now and we really wanted to see it. A week at the Hard Rock Hotel would be very fitting a guy my age, our second week in that hotel. The whole thing just way awesome super cool, really had a great time and want to be back there right now.

 

So Saturday the 30th she wants to go to Georges for my birthday, a store we always say we'll go to. Long time ago they had one over in Disney world but they basically sold list price plus tax, so it didn't last too long. We have a couple Georges up here, I don't think I've ever bought from them. But anyway, we went to Georges. Nothing I had to have, noodled around for an hour probably on a couple different Epis and a pair of PRS SE, nothing dramatic, nothing I had to have. So as we are going she says the local Sam Ash isn't far, so off we go!

 

Sam Ash has a Tropical Turquoise EJRW hanging up. I say to her "I really shouldn't do this" and I ask for it. No tags on it, reasonably well set up, every thing it is supposed to be. I spent a half hour with it in a couple of amps. On the back was a lot of small markings from probably a Sharpie. Somebody got blue indelible on it, and short of buffing it out it wasn't going anywhere. So I asked the kid that was hovering if they had the case and stuff, and if they did we would have to talk about this because of the ink. He gets manager over who agrees it is a problem and they aren't sure what they are going to do about it and he is at the computer figuring out what is a price that will make me happy...Oh! We have another Tropical Turquoise in the box!

 

Out it comes, kid and I unbox it. Absolutely flawless. Absolutely perfectly set up. Every single damn thing one of these should be, better than the one out at the factory. I plugged it in for thirty seconds per 5 way setting, time enough to wind volume and tones up and down. Get some gain on it and blaze through some arpeggiated shredified molten metal doom riffage and thundering death chordage.

 

Without a blink we took it!

 

Couple of the front, in the case like people do:

 

Front%20in%20case%202.jpg

Front%20in%20case%203.jpg

 

The back, no trem plate because EJ says that is better. 5 springs is nice, but I haven't even put the bar on and I'm not sure if I will:

 

Back%20in%20case%201.jpg

Back%20in%20case%202.jpg

 

The unopened goodie bag, curly cable, ash tray cover, strap that I guess EJ likes. I opened it, I haven't tried the cable yet but I will one of these days. I'm sure it is the secret to his uber schweet tone:

 

Goodies%201.jpg

 

Somebody asked what kind of pickups. Well, they did manage to scrawl EJ on them with a sparkly sharpy, but other than that no markings. Supposed to be EJs special voicing and only on this guitar:

 

Pickups%201.jpg

Pickups%202.jpg

 

So hows it sound? you ask. Oh man. You ever have a strat that just has one good pickup and the other is crap? Like, all of them maybe? You get a great neck sound out of it and the back pickup sounds like crap, thin, no guts, no oomph. You have to set your amp to only one way to get the back pickup sounding even half decent and you can't use your amp for anything but a strat bridge once you get it set, but you can't use a strat bridge for all of any song unless you enjoy nausea and hating guitars. Sucks.

 

So, with all the strat pickups I've ever had in life, which is a crapload, here's a set from them guys that is actually completely useable. I can't believe it. How is it that only EJ gets this and the rest of us can suck it? I use a Princeton Recording amp and a pair to 12s in a Fender cabinet. I use a few things over in the rack in the loop, delay/reverb/chorus and stuff from TCElectronics, and I have Boss GT 100. So I can get anything I want, make any guitar sound like almost anything. Mostly I like the Princeton pretty much dimed, attenuated to wherever is good, some of the onboard overdrive and a bit of compression, and some reverb. From there to mid way on the volume for typical clean guitar sounds from strats and teles and les pauls etc. Nothing fancy.

 

Neck pickup makes exactly the "glass" sound that Vaughn made pop, but the back, bridge pickup remains useful, thick, girthy, meaty. I'm working on my blues opus, 6 minutes of 12 bars that will hopefully end my entire lifetime of playing "the blues" because they bore me. This song though, this one had to be recorded, so I'm muscling through it. I fired it up and used the EJ for while, blasting around the pertinent parts and oh man it is good. Really good. Like, where have you been all my career? good.

 

So for sound, this thing is just outstanding for me, I love it.

 

It has a neck plate serial number and EJs little kopaepakelly guy or whatever.

 

It has staggered machines. I don't know the exact value of that, I've never had any major string tree issue I couldn't resolve myself and quickly, but hey, if EJ says they are better they must be, right?:

 

staggered%20machines%201.jpg

staggered%20machines%202.jpg

 

When a strat comes home with me it gets the middle pickup taken out, tone pots disconnected, Dunlop straplocks, grover six-on-a-side minis, and a white pearl pickguard, all before I even figure out which two pickups I will put in it. So naturally she asks what I'm going to do to it, and I say nothing. I put a pair of Dunlops on it and that is all I'm doing. Even the 5 way will stay, and I never use them. I normally put 9s on everything, but this one I went out of my way to get what they had on it, it plays that good.

 

How does it play? you ask. Oh. Man. That effing neck is exactly the to die for effing neck I knew it was when the thing is set up well. Effortless for a Fender, for sure. Makes my tele an outright struggle to get through a song on. That bound neck is something them guys should offer on every guitar, I'd have an EJRW tele if they would make one.

 

So, I figured I'd end up wondering what I'm going to do with my other strat. I am. I am also wondering what I'm going to do with my other dozen guitars!

 

I have wanted this thing for a very long time now, and when I pick it up I still can't believe it, two weeks and probably 12 or so hours of bashing at it later I just can't believe it. They have restored my faith in them, after our factory tour I wasn't sure they could make an appointment much less a great guitar but man can they.

 

To be fair, I only know of one song by the guy, that great sound check jam he turned into a hit. The times I've talked to him out at Philly Phall he was just a great guy all around, really nice, and he did tell a group of us in the mid 2000s that "...my next guitar will be just beautiful...", so that was a couple years before these came out and he wasn't kidding. We used to bicker at each other on usenet when the whole rubber bands on stomp boxes and no paint on the trem plate and all that other stuff were making him a tone legend and I did my share of poking at him, and he poking at me. But it was all in good fun. So, for the record, YES, I did wail away through most of that song and it was just fun. He would not approve of the liberties I took with it but that's too bad EJ, suck it!

 

Go out and get one if you want one. Well worth the money and for me the slowness with which I move on such acquisitions. It must have been meant to be after all.

 

My assistant apprentice luthiers approve also:

 

Prudence%20and%20Ichabod%20and%20EJ%201.jpg

 

rct

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Always enjoy reading blow by blow accounts how the hunt has lead us to "the one!"

 

Not really a Strat guy (I do have a 2TSB partscaster I'm partial to tho), but like the look of your new acquisition. Dunno why, but it reminds me of the two Mal Evans scored for George & John back in '65 or '66 (those were Daphne Blue tho, not Turquoise). Beautiful guitar in any case.

 

Thanks for posting...

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HNGD to you rct!!!

 

What a beautiful Strat. Love the finish and the grain on the headstock too!!!! [thumbup]

 

Is the Trop. Tuqu. blue darker than the Sonic Blue? When I look at photo's of them, depending on the lighting the Sonic looks either the same or like a "powder blue" so I didn't know which was darker.

 

Aster

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.

Wow. . . I can't believe it.

 

Mark this day - RCT has gone all in. . . He's like . . . gushing. . . No mods! . Well, except the strap locks.

 

Great to see you head over heals for a purchase and faith restored. Very happy for you.

 

Congrats. . . B)

 

 

.

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Get some gain on it and blaze through some arpeggiated shredified molten metal doom riffage and thundering death chordage

 

This cracked me up! [lol] Great review though. Beautiful guitar! Hopefully you will be happy together for a long time.

 

Seems like the tuners are not only staggered but locking (based on the lack of wraps around them) which are a must have for Strats with tremolo, IMHO - even if you only use it a bit.

 

Overall looks like you had a good trip to Florida. [thumbup]

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Seems like the tuners are not only staggered but locking (based on the lack of wraps around them)

 

No, I put those on there, I've put strings on like that since mid 70's, when The Knot was in Guitar Player. I don't know how to wind a string.

 

rct

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Get some gain on it and blaze through some arpeggiated shredified molten metal doom riffage and thundering death chordage.

 

 

 

A lot of reading and photos to wade through. But that one sentence ( not counting all the great photos) made it all worth it. [thumbup]

 

 

Congratz and enjoy.

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A very HNGD, rct. You deserve it!

Lovely beast it is, too.

 

[thumbup]

 

Looking forward to the 6-minute version...

 

EDIT : I didn't know anything about the details of the EJRW so googled it.

Very interesting reading as regards the vol/tone workings and it helps to explain some of of rct's observations in the tonal department;

" ...(it features) a tone control on the bridge single-coil.....bring in the tone control on that bridge pickup – back it down to halfway or even further and pile on the overdrive – and Eric's 'violin' tones emerge already fully formed. It makes for a completely different Strat experience. Clean, all of the settings seem to provide exaggerated versions of the expected sounds, but get used to using the neck and bridge pickup tone controls and you'll never go back. Even though you'll need to re-learn how to use a Strat to some extent, we can heartily recommend it."

 

As if rct's OP wasn't already enough to give us all GAS here's the full article from which the above quote was culled;

http://www.musicradar.com/reviews/guitars/fender-eric-johnson-stratocaster-rw-199093#null

 

Pip.

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That is one beautiful strat, man.

Love it.

I've always played and loved Fenders. I understand some don't for a variety of reasons but to me the beauty in them is directly related to their simplicity. That and the fact that if you like a certain pickup or neck radius etc. its easily available.

 

Enjoy!

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congrats rct, a beauty of a strat for sure.

 

incidentally, my 2014 standard strat has the staggered tuning heads as well, no clue if it makes a difference, my Tele and my 96 strat do not have them, but they hold tune just fine (I use 10s)

 

enjoy the honey moon, this one sounds like it will last a real long time.

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You weren't. But that's a good thing - great story, and guitar. Are those Maine Coons?

 

They are! Broadsway Maine Coons, red(orange) brother is Ichabod in the background, Silver Tortie Tri sister is Prudence in the foreground. Their uncle named Red was 8th Maine Coon in the world! Judd Hirsch and a couple other celebs from Noo Yawk have cousins to ours. The breeder has since moved to the Carolinas and is breeding only two litters a year now. I love those cats with everything I got, ten years now and it is hard to believe.

 

rct

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As I said before, I'm not particularly a Strat fan, but this one definitely gives me GAS

 

Love your review and the cat picture! And Princeton recording you say? Cool amp

 

Seriously is. I had a moment a couple years ago and had to can all the gigging stuff, it was just weighing me down. Prosonic, DSL 50, buncha cabs, couple other amps. The Princeton Recording was a gift from Mrs after I moved my studio to the basement of doom, she figured it had Recording right in the name so it must be good right??!! It is good, it's the only one I kept, I let the rest go.

 

rct

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EDIT : I didn't know anything about the details of the EJRW so googled it.

Very interesting reading as regards the vol/tone workings and it helps to explain some of of rct's observations in the tonal department;

" ...(it features) a tone control on the bridge single-coil.....bring in the tone control on that bridge pickup – back it down to halfway or even further and pile on the overdrive – and Eric's 'violin' tones emerge already fully formed. It makes for a completely different Strat experience. Clean, all of the settings seem to provide exaggerated versions of the expected sounds, but get used to using the neck and bridge pickup tone controls and you'll never go back. Even though you'll need to re-learn how to use a Strat to some extent, we can heartily recommend it."

 

Indeed. I thought everybody was tone potting their back pickups in the 70's, but I guess it went away.

 

I've seen him play the song about the cliffs right near where all you guys live, once on an old sunburst strat and once on an old 335, both times a clinic type setting, him at a guitar show doing some things, posing for pictures, that stuff.

 

He used the back pickup exclusively on the 335.

 

On the old strat he used the back and mid way between back and middle, like we used to do in the old days, but I suspect somebody put a 5 way in that old strat. And he fiddled with the bottom tone pot a lot. He had some sort of Matchless I think I remember for the strat one, and at least two pedals in front. Out came Cliffs sounds, perfectly.

 

With a couple of Boss GT-100 patches and the back pickup tone rolled half off I can indeed knock off those sounds.

 

The guy can play, I can't knock that off.

 

rct

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Well you better have some more congrats..... [biggrin][thumbup] [thumbup]

 

I'd like one - I love his playing and effortless fluency above the 12th fret.....

 

 

Your longest post ever? [smile]

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