NAMM 2020: New Fender artist models including Tom Morello Soul Power guitar!

I can’t be the only one who has utterly craved a production version of Tom Morello’s ‘Soul Power’ Strat as used in Audioslave, right? Or a replica of Eric Johnson’s legendary ’54 Stratocaster named Virginia. And Slipknot’s Jim Root is a man of great taste when it comes to designing new guitars with Fender. So read on!


Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster® – The First Model Added to Fender’s Stories Collection – Jim Root Jazzmaster® V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster® Debut at Winter NAMM 2020

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced three new additions to its Artist Signature Series electrics offering – the Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster, Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster – all debuting at Winter NAMM 2020 in Anaheim, Calif. Developed with rock, blues and heavy metal players in mind, these all-new Artist Signature Series models add performance-ready features and stylistic touches hand-selected by some of the industry’s most iconic players – from Grammy®-winner Eric Johnson and Slipknot guitarist Jim Root to Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello. 

For the first time, Fender has replicated and released Eric Johnson’s beloved ’54 “Virginia” Stratocaster, the instrument he used to record hit song “Cliffs of Dover,” the Tones record (1987 Grammy® nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom (1991 Grammy® for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. Built in Corona, California, this extremely limited-edition model combines extraordinary history and exceptional tone. Its rare sassafras body, custom switching and special set-up will thrill players and collectors by showcasing its unique silky tone and distinct fine grain appearance. The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster will be the first model in Fender’s all-new Stories Collection, a celebration of the guitars that shaped history’s most iconic music and the details that made them unique. 

Both beautiful and beastly, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 is the fifth Fender artist signature model for Slipknot guitarist Jim Root; it features active humbucking pickups, a 12″ radius, jumbo frets ideal for heavy playing styles, an ebony fingerboard, block inlays and striking white finish that makes the guitar stand out on stage. Fender worked hand-in-hand with Root to deliver crushing detuned tone with an all-new bold look, culminating in a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style.

The Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster is based on the modified Designer Series Strat, which Morello used during his time in Audioslave. Featuring an alder slab body with binding, a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker and two Fender Noiseless™ pickups, this Strat delivers powerful and unique effects from gentle rhythms to screaming feedback, chaotic stutters and more.

“We are excited to continue to work with such legendary players to help share their story through music,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Whether it is their first Artist Signature model, or fifth, we continue Fender’s legacy by helping artists showcase the versatility of our instruments. Each Artist Signature model that we reveal at Winter NAMM this year will showcase a variety of exceptional, legendary tones that made music history.” 

Product Details: 

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster – $4,999 (Launching February 2020) joins the Fender Stories Collection. 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, Johnson’s 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will be replicated by both Fender Custom Shop and the Fender Corona Production line in limited numbers. With its rare 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. 

Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) delivers detuned tone with a bold new look. Fender worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style—right down to its signature Daemonum™ open-coil EMG® active pickups, shred-worthy 12” radius fingerboard with jumbo frets, sparse control layout and more. The Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 dispenses with frivolities such as a vibrato, rhythm circuit and tone control. Only crucial essentials remain: a volume control, a 3-way switch and a hardtail bridge. Featuring a mahogany slab body for pronounced lows and mids, brilliant Polar White satin finish, maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, this powerful machine delivers brutal tone with a striking new look.

Tom Morello Stratocaster – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) is based on the modified Designer Series Strat used during his time in Audioslave and features an alder slab body with binding and a Deep “C”-shape maple neck with 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include: a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system; Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker; two Fender Noiseless™ pickups in the neck and middle positions; a chrome pickguard; kill-switch toggle; locking tuners; matching painted headcap and iconic “Soul Power” body decal, and a black Fender case.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Artist Signature models and access product descriptions here; images can be found here.  

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face now shipping

Aah, the Fuzz Face. They look great, they sound great, they’re entertainingly unpredictable, the transistors used in the originals seemed to be different depending on the day of the week they were made on, and they sometimes just flat out stopped working if they got too hot. Eric Johnson swears by them, and with the help of Dunlop’s Jeorge Tripps he’s created his ultimate Fuzz Face.

Dunlop Proudly Presents The Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face


Dunlop® is proud to announce the release of the Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face®.

No one cares more about tone than Eric Johnson, and his choice for getting sweet, singing lead tones is the Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face.

EJ worked closely with Fuzz Face guru Jeorge Tripps to create his signature pedal. It is inspired by EJ’s prized personal Fuzz Faces and is built to his incredibly strict specifications, featuring hand-selected BC183 silicon transistors (for higher gain), custom repro ’68-’69 knobs, and a vintage-style hammertone finish. The result: a beautifully dynamic, expressive, and powerful pedal.

Read More …

REVIEW: Jim Dunlop Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III

The Jim Dunlop Jazz III has been my pick of choice for longer than I care to think about. I’ve always loved its control, its precision and its tone. And also, even though they’re tiny, they’re easy to spot if you drop one. Eric Johnson is also a longtime Jazz III fan, and the Jim Dunlop Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III is based on a favourite pick from his collection. Dunlop actually laser-scanned it to mimic the unique wear pattern of the pick. They’ve also replaced the traditional “JD” logo with a raised “JIM DUNLOP U.S.A.” which spreads the grip patten out further around the surface of the pick. On the other side it reads “ERIC JOHNSON TX” and this too provides a different feel to the surface.

Hold up any two regular Jazz IIIs. You’ll notice a small amount of variation from one to the next. The Johnson picks are made to very closely follow the profile of the original ‘master pick’ Johnson provided, so there’s more consistency from one to the next.

Compared to a regular Jazz III, the grip of this pick is indeed more positive. Because the raised sections are more spread out and evenly spaced, it feels like the gripping area of the pick is wider, and I find that this in turn provides more control because it gives you a better grasp on the pick. The smoother surface is great for super-fast playing techniques such as alternate, economy and circular picking. Circular picking in particular really benefits from the smoother taper of the pick point. The attack may feel a bit bolder with a regular Jazz III, but the sound is smoother and more dynamically even with the Eric Johnson version. The treble attack seems slightly less snappy, which might take a little getting used to depending on what kind of sound you prefer, but I quite like it and I’m thinking of switching over permanently because the Johnson version of the Jazz III seems to get out of your way that little bit more, opening up the lines of communication between player and string just that little bit more.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]CLICK HERE to buy the Jim Dunlop 47EJ3N Eric Johnson Jazz III 6Pk Player Pack from[/geo-out]

NAMM 2010: Fender G-DEC 3 with artist-created backing tracks

There’s a soft spot in my twisted black heart for the original Fender G-DEC. When I was teaching at World of Music I used one of these pretty regularly (unless one of the other teachers nicked it for their room when I wasn’t looking) and I wrote more than a few riffs while inspired by its tones. In fact, I have a song with a working title of ‘Hit the Dec’ which came about from recording a rhythm guitar loop over one of the G-Dec’s drum patterns.

Now the dear little G-DEC has grown up. Check out the G-DEC 3. Of special interest to me is the impressive list of players that have provided backing tracks. Eric Johnson, Phil Collen, Charlie and Frank from Anthrax, Dweezil Zappa, Brad Paisley, Hatebreed, Nils Lofgren, Joe from Fallout Boy, Rev. Horton Heat, Keith Urban… awesome. I can’t wait to try this one out at NAMM.

Fender Introduces New G-DEC® 3 Amp

Create, connect and configure with new generation of groundbreaking practice/recording amp, with presets and loops by top artists

Fender introduces the next step in the ongoing evolution of its acclaimed G-DEC (Guitar Digital Entertainment Center) amp series, the G-DEC 3. Available in 30-watt and 15-watt versions, the G-DEC 3 takes an exciting leap forward in technology and content, with easy computer connectivity and with many of its 100 presets and audio performance loops created by the world’s top artists and session aces.
The G-DEC 3’s wealth of backing tracks consist not of generic presets and loops, but rather a stylistically diverse sonic smorgasbord of tracks created specially for Fender by top rock, blues, metal and country artists and session players. These include Eric Johnson, Charlie Benante and Frank Bello (Anthrax), Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Joe Trohman (Fall Out Boy), Brad Paisley, Dweezil Zappa, Jim “Rev. Horton Heat” Heath, Keith Urban, Hatebreed, Nils Lofgren, Gary Hoey, Crooked X, Strung Out and many others.

Consequently, the G-DEC 3 can be easily configured as an “all rock,” “all metal,” “all blues,” “all country,” etc., amp personally tailored to the user’s own musical tastes.

The G-DEC 3 also includes the exclusive Fender FUSE™ software interface, which lets the amp connect to a computer as easily as a digital camera, without need for any special adaptors or hardware. Fender FUSE lets the user download and upload backing tracks, edit performance parameters and swap files with a worldwide community of players.

Other versatile G-DEC 3 features include:

· Digital amp and effects models that let the user create a personalized arsenal of guitar tones suited to every style of playing.
· Onboard mp3 and wav file storage and playback.

· Ableton® Live Lite 8 Fender Edition studio-quality recording and editing software.

· AmpliTube® Fender LE modeling software, which recreates classic Fender amp tones and delivers ultra-realistic speaker, mic and effects models.
· Multi-function SD card slot for unlimited storage of presets and audio content.
· Rugged Fender Special Design speaker (plus high-frequency tweeter on 30-watt model).

· Onboard phrase sampler with overdub and export functions.

· Onboard chromatic tuner.


NAMM 2009: New Fender Eric Johnson Strat

It seems Eric Johnson isn’t content with designing one of the best Strat variations ever (by my humble opinion) in his namesake Fender model. He’s gone and done it again. While the first model was somewhat 50s-inspired, this new one takes a few cues from 60s Strats, at least in terms of the 3-ply pickguard and rosewood fretboard.

Colour options are Dakota Red, Tropical Turquoise, Medium Palomino Metallic and Lucerne Aqua Firemist.

Most of the other features are similar to the existing model: Extra Smooth Neck to Headstock Volute, Special Neckplate with Engraved EJ and Kokopelli, 1957 Style Body Cavities, Countersunk Holes in Pickguard for Pickup Mounting Screws, Pearloid Dot Inlay Position Markers, Height Staggered Vintage Style Tuners which Eliminate the Need for String Trees, Vintage Tremolo with Silver Painted Block and ‘57 Style String Recess (No Paint Between Base Plate and Block), 3-Ply 8-Hole Parchment Pickguard, 5 Tremolo Springs and No Back Tremolo Cover Plate.

CLICK HERE to buy the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster (original maple fretboard version).

CLICK HERE to see Fender Eric Johnson Stratocasters on eBay.

NEWS: Christmas gift ideas for guitarists

According to feedback from some I Heart Guitar readers, not everyone who reads the site plays guitar: some just like guitar-based music and are into the interviews and reviews and stuff. I guess in a way this post is dedicated to them, provided there’s a guitarist on their Christmas shopping list. Here are some goodies which are bound to fulfill two key criteria: a) stuff a stocking, and b) guilt the receiver into letting you have the last slice of turkey/tofurkey at Christmas dinner, hehe.

MXR M-102 Dyna Comp Compressor Pedal Standard

One of the coolest compressors known to man, the MXR Dyna Comp is not the pedal to stomp on if you want a clean guitar to sound like a crisp FM radio. But if you’re after soupy funk, swampy blues, snappy soul, or those singing, silky David Gilmour tones, you can’t go past this little red monster. It’s also quite inexpensive, yet very sturdy and roadworthy. You could probably use it to hammer in a nail, or crack a home intruder over the head and keep him down for the count until your biker mates arrive to finish the job. I have one of these on my pedal board and it’s my secret weapon. Well, that and my magic amulet.

This elegantly simple device from the mind of Eddie Van Halen attaches to the low E string saddle on a Floyd Rose-style bridge (at least, if it’s set to divebomb-only mode, either due to the design of the bridge cavity rout or some kind of aftermarket blocking method). Flip the lever and you’re instantly in drop D tuning. Now you don’t need to change guitars to crank out ‘Unchained.’  Eddie claims that you could have 6 of them on a guitar and drop the whole dang thing down a whole step. Unfortunately it’s not recommended for fully floating bridges, so that rules out all of my Floyd-equipped axes.

Dunlop Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III Guitar Pick 6-Pack

Believe it or not, these picks from Jim Dunlop are paintstakingly modelled on a specific favourite red Jazz III pick from Eric Johnson’s personal collection. They feature a more refined and smoother tip, are more flexible than a standard Dunlop Jazz III, and have a matte finish with raised logos for grip. There have been signature picks before (I’m quite fond of Ibanez’s Paul Gilbert picks), but not quite like this. Will this start a trend? Will we see picks replicating the teeth-marks of Eddie Van Halen, or the pick scrapes of CC Deville?

Marshall MS-4 Micro Stack Standard

There are quite a few mini amps on the market, but this has gotta be my favourite. There is, of course, nothing cooler than a Marshall stack, and you could probably talk yourself into buying 8 or so of these so you could have a mini Yngwie amp rig on your desk. Think about it: 4 dry amps in the middle, and 2 either side, each pair with its own delay signal. Ok, maybe that’s just me, but at the very least you could chuck one of these and a travel guitar in your backpack for a picnic. Or you could have a bitchen Barbie concert in your doll house. 

D’Andrea Guitar Care Kit Standard

I know, I know, cleaning your guitar isn’t the most glamorous of ways to pass one’s time, but I’ve received these kits as Christmas presents every few years since I was in my early teens and they’re always very useful. So unless the guitarist you’re buying it for is an utter jerk, this is a gift that will be greatly appreciated. Just make sure you’re not in the room if they use the string cleaner and polishing cloth, cos you risk being exposed to the dreaded fingers-on-the-blackboard sound. Urk.