Eric Johnson Working With Fender on New Stratocaster With Built-in Overdrive, This Is What It Sounds Like

Legendary guitar master Eric Johnson shared a new video on social media, revealing that he’s working on a new instrument model with Fender. As reported by Guitar World, Johnson showcased a Fender Stratocaster guitar bearing a Daphne Blue finish and what appears to be the company’s S-1 switch.

The idea of a guitar with an integrated distortion effect circuitry isn’t a new concept. However, Johnson’s Daphne Blue Strat prototype keeps things simple and to the point. Along with the S-1 switch within the volume pot, we have three additional controls on the Strat’s treble-side horn. Johnson describes these as three “switches” for volume, distortion, and tone. However, by the looks of it, they appear to be sliders.

Johnson explained:

“The whole idea is not necessarily to take a place of a regular guitar. But it’s nice to have a guitar if you’re home so you can work overdrive technique, whether as your rhythm technique through an amp that’s just super low-level, if you don’t have a pedalboard, or you’re not taking all that stuff around.”

As mentioned, the overdrive is engaged through the S-1 switch integrated within the instrument’s volume pot. It’s a simple control, making it very easy to turn on the effect. By the looks of it, overdrive controls are placed far enough from the strings so that you don’t accidentally change any of the settings while playing.

Johnson also showcased what the instrument can do, comparing the guitar’s clean and overdriven tone. The overdrive circuitry gives it a fairly smooth tone, although there seems to be enough punch to make your tube amp clip even more into some tasty distorted territories.

You can check it out for yourself in the embedded player below. There’s also Joe Bonamassa in the comment section giving some positive feedback on Eric’s new guitar.

Eric Johnson new prototype Fender Stratocaster


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.