In 1988 renowned tone savant Eric Johnson made his debut on Austin City Limits, delivering an electrifying performance that ultimately catapulted “Cliffs of Dover” to #5 on the Billboard Top 100. “Virginia”, a rare, modified, sassafras-bodied 1954 Stratocaster (named after a label found inside the pickup routes) powered this career-defining moment. He also wielded it during the recording of the groundbreaking Tones and Ah Via Musicom albums that made him a star beyond guitarist circles.
Limited to 50 instruments worldwide and Masterbuilt by Carlos Lopez, the Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster is a 1:1 replica of this magnificent instrument, one that could only be born in the Dream Factory—the Fender Custom Shop. Every intricacy of Johnson’s original was reproduced in painstaking detail by Lopez. From the single Graph Tech® String Saver saddle on the high E to the flat washer on the output jack and specially cut nut, he left no stone unturned in his quest—even going so far as to match the actual pot values and removing one spring from the rear cavity.
Featuring a Deluxe Closet Classic finish package, this guitar wears a lightly checked lacquer finish, matched to Closet Classic hardware, giving it a well-loved, slightly aged look. The offset-seam, two-piece body is crafted from tight-grained sassafrass, which adds a “round” note to the instrument’s voice. The AAAA flame maple neck features a “V”-shaped profile that comfortably fills the hand and hosts a 12”-radius maple fingerboard with 21 jumbo frets. Custom, hand-wound “Virginia” neck and middle pickups, matched to a fat-sounding DiMarzio HS2 humbucking bridge pickup powers this guitar’s voice. This trio of pickups are connected by custom wiring and a 5-way pickup switch which places the pickup pair in-phase in switch position two and out-of-phase in position four, unlocking his singing, violin-like tone for you to enjoy.
Other features include single-ply Eggshell pickguard, vintage-style EJ synchronized tremolo assembly, vintage-style tuning machines, American Vintage string tree with nylon spacer and as a special touch, a piece of masking tape inside the control route labelled “Virginia”. Includes custom pure nickel string set for vintage-informed tone, deluxe hardshell case, strap and Certificate of Authenticity.