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Ah via Stratocaster: Fender replicates Eric Johnson's iconic 1954 ‘Virginia’ Strat

We previewed Fender’s new Eric Johnson ‘Virginia’ Stratocaster last month, and now the company has officially released the electric guitar with a full list of impressive specs and details.

The new model recreates Johnson’s 1954 ‘Virginia’ Strat, used on his landmark albums Tones and Ah Via Musicom. It’s the first entry in Fender’s Stories Collection, which, according to the company, celebrates modified Fender guitars that shaped history’s most iconic music and the details that made them unique.

The Virginia is available both as a limited-edition Custom Shop offering (50 worldwide) and on the Fender Corona production line. Features include a two-piece offset seam sassafrass body, nitrocellulose lacquer finish and custom wiring.

Said Johnson, “Fender and I talked about doing a reissue of my ’54 ‘Virginia’ for the Stories Collection and I wanted to try it in sassafras, like my original.

“When I got the prototype from Fender, it had the tone I had been looking for since my original guitar. It has a particular smooth sustained tone but as you turn it up, it has gain like a little violin.”  

The production line ‘Virginia’ boasts a one-piece 4A flame maple neck and maple fingerboard. Pickups are Original '57/'62 Single-Coil Strats in the neck and middle positions and a DiMarzio HS-2 at the bridge.

Other features include a six-saddle American vintage synchronized tremolo, vintage-style tuners, nickel/chrome hardware and a one-ply eggshell pickguard.

The Custom Shop ‘Virginia,’ constructed by Fender Master Builder Carlos Lopez, adds in a flamed maple neck and AAAA flame maple fingerboard, as well as a six-saddle Custom Shop EJ synchronized tremolo with high "E" Graph Tech string saver saddle.

Alongside the HS-2 at the bridge, the Custom Shop ‘Virginia’ features a pair of hand-wound EJ Virginia pickups in the neck and middle positions.

Both guitars come in 2-Color Sunburst, with the Custom Shop version featuring a Deluxe Closet Classic finish package with a lightly-checked lacquer finish matched to Closet Classic hardware.

The Fender Custom Shop Eric Johnson ‘Virginia’ Strat is available for $9,000, while the Stories Collection Eric Johnson 1954 ‘Virginia’ model is offered for $2,499.99. 

For more information, head to Fender (opens in new tab) and Fender Custom Shop (opens in new tab).

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.