It looks like Fender and Eric Johnson have collaborated on another signature guitar, the Stories Collection Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster:
The Fender Stories Collection pays tribute to legendary musicians, their beloved modified Fender electric guitars and the extraordinary music they created together.
Eric Johnson already had his 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster® when he recorded Tones* and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom**, groundbreaking albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. To this day, Eric continues to release brilliant music, tour constantly and is, to the electric guitar community, a savant and widely followed tastemaker. In 2020, for the first time, Eric’s 1954 Virginia Stratocaster will be replicated by both Fender Custom Shop and the Fender Corona Production line in limited numbers. With its rare rift/quartersawn sassafras body, lacquer finish, custom wiring and more, the Eric Johnson 1954 Virginia Stratocaster will thrill players and collectors alike with its distinctive look and exceptional tone.
I did not know that apparently some of the early Stratocasters in 1954 were made with sassafras, according to Fender Master Builder Michael Stevens. I’m not that familiar with sassafras as a tone wood, but Fender claims it has a “silky tone with focused midrange.”
In at least some of his Strats, Johnson mods the bridge pickup with a DiMarzio HS2, which Fender have included with this model. The neck and middle are 57/62 Fender pickups, so I’ll be curious to hear how they balance. The HS2 is a stacked humbucker, but only the top coil is active in these guitars.
Many people like the signature Eric Johnson pickups that have come in his previous signature models, I wasn’t a fan in the EJ rosewood model that I used to own. Maybe I’ll like the new pickup combination better?