At Namm 2020, Fender announced the launch of two brand new, and long-awaited signature series Fender Stratocasters. The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster and Tom Morello’s “Soul Power” Stratocaster. These two exciting new signature models are very exciting for us Strat lovers as these two players have great guitar tones at their disposal.
Many of us have sat down and listened to that magic tone on Cliffs of Dover. Fender has finally come forward with a production version of Eric Johnson’s 1954 Stratocaster that he used on this track and we’re so excited to see it come out.
Virginia is the latest addition to the Fender Artist Signature Series and belongs to the Fender Stories Collection.
Fender are offering two really cool versions of this guitar, a Custom Shop model which will be built by master builder, Carlos Lopez, which will contain every bit of detail as the original, and a production run made at the Corona Production line which will be similarly spec’d up.
The custom shop model, as you can imagine has no expense spared. This model will have a V Profile neck, AAAA flamed maple neck and a 21-fret maple fretboard. The finish will be lightly checked to match the age and will be loaded with hand would pickups in the neck and middle positions as well as Eric’s favourite DiMarzio HS2 in the bridge. The finish looks incredible in the photos that Fender has put out so far and we can’t wait to see one in the flesh, though they are super limited edition.
There will also be a production run made at the Corona Production line which will be similarly spec’d with a soft V neck, 12” radius and a 21-fret maple fretboard. The Corona version will also contain the HS2 in the bridge position but will have Fender ‘57/62 Strat single coil pickups in the neck and middle positions. The production run would make a fantastic allrounder guitar for someone looking for a versatile Strat that can do just a little bit more.
Both guitars will be made from a sassafras body which is a rare wood that shares tonal characteristics with swamp ash. We’re excited to see these land in store, maybe we’ll be able to get those Dover tones ourselves!
Tom Morello is a name that you may associate with crazy sounds, groovy riffs and political messages. The former Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist has teamed up with Fender to release a signature run of his Soul Power Stratocaster that he used heavily in his Audioslave days. This is the guitar that was seen in the Like A Stone video.
The Soul Power is an alder bodied guitar with a deep C profile neck. The rosewood fingerboard is a compound radius starting at 9.5” and going to a flatter “14 at the high end of the fretboard for those speedy, shred inspired guitar runs. As someone who gigs Stratocasters regularly, this is an exciting spec list. The guitar has all the modern playability that a working guitarist needs, with a few of those extra Morello tweaks that will just be so much fun to play with. The body is loaded with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail in the bridge position and two of Fender’s own noiseless pickups in the middle and neck positions, there won’t be many tones we can’t get with this guitar, the HSS pickup combination is a classic for versatility.
One thing that makes this guitar stand out from other signature Stratocasters is the addition of a Floyd Rose tremolo for those crazy divebombs and the lower horn is adorned with Morello’s favourite killswitch for those crazy DJ effect moments he is known so well for. The killswitch is going to provide hours of endless fun, especially when combined with some whammy bar tricks.
The body is finished in black with a matching black headstock front and a chrome pickguard just like Morello’s original version. Chrome and black is a combination that is just calling out to be used on stage!