Skip to main content

Eric Johnson and Fender are developing a Stratocaster with onboard overdrive

Eric Johnson
(Image credit: Eric Johnson / Instagram)

Today in Fender Stratocaster news: Eric Johnson has revealed he is working on a prototype Strat with the Big F that augments the massively popular electric guitar design with onboard overdrive.

That’s right, Fender is putting the shampoo and the conditioner in one bottle, potentially clearing space on your pedalboard for one more stompbox – yes, we know you’ve already made that very calculation – and making the perennially versatile Stratocaster that bit more versatile.

As Johnson explains, before demoing the Daphne Blue prototype in his very nice kitchen – which we all know is the best room in the house for playing – the distortion is activated via an S-1 style button on the master volume pot, with a trio of sliders mounted on the pickguard for Volume, Drive and Tone. 

It’s a tantalizing prospect. The mere presence of sliders and the promise of on-tap overdrive is guaranteed to send players of a certain stripe panting with anticipation.

With Fender presently on a hot-streak when it comes to guitar effects pedal design, why not indeed look to place one of those circuits into a guitar? It makes perfect sense. Joe Bonamassa agrees – “Awesome!” he commented.

Of course, Johnson has form in the renovating-classic-designs arena – back in 2018, he partnered with Fender for its first custom-chambered semi-hollow Stratocaster Thinline.

You can keep abreast of Mr Johnson's latest movements – Stratocaster-related and otherwise – over on Instagram

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.