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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / John Mayer Stratocaster



Taking bad mojo to new levels....
Feb 8th, 2006 08:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Can't believe that no one had already posted a thread in this forum, but here goes anyway. I got my 3TSB Mayer Strat the other day and jammed with it the next night. My first impressions so far are below. Some notes on unique features:

- Neck is documented as being the Am Dlx "C" Shape, with Rosewood board
- Frets are tall but narrow (Dunlop #6105)
- Pickups are unique to this model, called the Big Dipper
- Vintage trem (that comes pulled flat against the body with 5 springs and fully seated mounting screws)
- Vintage tuners
- Tone #2 wired to both Mid & Bridge pup
- String tree location is that of a '52 Tele
- No back plate or mounting holes from it
- In case gig bag

First impressions after a jam:

1. Quiet. I haven't looked under the guard yet, but it seems to me really quiet and must be shielded well. Is it RWMP? Even with only the neck pup on, I was really impressed.

2. Volume rolloff. It seems that if you roll of the volume, even to 9.5, it cleans up nicely without a lot of volume loss. Cool.

3. T2 wired to both M & B pickups. This was a surprise, but I dig it.

4. I've already "floated" the trem, which pretty much requires a full setup, obviously. I thought that it played really good out of the box, and even after this, I still like the way it plays.

5. Effects. This guitar seems to really respond to effects well. It seems that taking the mids out (Big Dipper pups) may accentuate the "effect" of effects. My rotovibe sounds really alive with it, my tube screamers seem really cool, the vibrato on my Vibrolux seemed to really like it, etc. It works really well.

6. My A/B test. I compared this axe to my pseudo-AV57RI parts-o-caster that I built. NOTE: the pups are handwound Abby's. Changed the strings so they're both exactly the same. The quack is close to being equal. The high end is close to being equal. The only major difference that I noticed was that the JM strat had a tighter, more obvious bass to it. Fatter bottom good. Still love my other strat, especially since I built it, but man this thing really tested well.

I'm still kind of on the fence about the InCase bag. I like the modern aspects of it, don't get me wrong. But this instrument has obvious vintage appeal and I'd almost rather put it in a tweed case. But I'm not sure that I care enough to do anything about it......

I'll post some more, including some pictures on my gear page as soon as possible. This guitar does seem a bit expensive, but I'm not used to buying new Fenders as I typically buy used. However, I can say that I really dig this axe and my bandmates did too. Check one out!

My Gear Page

adrian jordan

United Kingdom

It's Only Music Now
Mar 2nd, 2006 06:28 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ya know if you were in the UK I'd offer to swap cases with the Tweed I have from my Clapton Strat. I'd love one of those InCase bags...keeping an eye out on eBay for one...



Apr 4th, 2006 02:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

fatnecks, did the sound change when you floated the bridge ? I've found that with the bridge screwed down, the acoustic sound seems less resonant than other Strats but the sustain is really good. Basically I don't use the trem much, but sometimes it's nice to have so I'm considering floating the trem as a part of getting the guitar set up by a local custom shop.



Taking bad mojo to new levels....
Apr 4th, 2006 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

I didn't notice any tone changes really. I've now floated the bridge and added Graphtech Ferraglides and it still sounds killer. I kept breaking strings.......



Apr 6th, 2006 05:47 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ok, thanks for the info :) Here are some first impressions of my own John Mayer Stratocaster:

The guitar seems to be well put together in general. Looks nice and feels good. I like the shape of the neck, not too slim, not too fat. The wood is not spectacular looking in any way, but I guess that's not the point here. The body (sunburst) seems to be one-piece, or then the "halves" have been really well matched (fatnecks, what about your guitar, is the body one-piece or two-piece ?). I've seen some images of JM Strats that are very clearly two-piece but I guess that varies from guitar to guitar. *EDIT Checked a bit more closely today, and it's in fact a two-piece body. The "halves" meet under the input jack, but are nicely matched. EDIT*

Neither backplate nor tremolo arm came included in the Incase gig bag, which I found a bit surprising as a lot of online sources state that they do. fatnecks, how about your guitar, did it include the backplate and tremolo in the case ? Regarding the Incase gig bag itself, I actually like it. Yes, a "proper" hardcase could be nice for a quality instrument like this, but on the other hand the Incase bag kind of goes nicely with the idea of a John Mayer-specified signature model. Maybe when he turns 50 they'll release a Custom Shop version that comes in a hardcase :)

In terms of sound it's definitely identifiable as a Stratocaster, which is good; that's why I bought it. I don't have another Strat to compare with, so can't say whether it's better or worse than any other Strat models. I actually bought it from an online store, so I didn't even compare it to any other guitars before purchasing it (no local retailer carried the JM Strat at the time). The only thing I can say is I've played some Strats that I didn't really care for, and I like the sound of this one.

That being said I was a bit surprised by the acoustic sound being more quiet and compressed than I would have expected, seeing as Strats usually strike me as pretty loud and resonant acoustically. This one's a bit more like a Les Paul or something. I don't know if it's due to the woods used, the bridge being screwed flat against the body or something else. It seems to have really good sustain though, which is nice.

In terms of dynamics, it's very different from my previous main axe (a DeArmond M-75T); the JM Strat is a bit more compressed and less "touch-sensitive". However, this is mostly due to the guitars being very different in nature anyway, and I like the basic sound of the Strat a lot better.

The pickup positions are all very usable, although the bridge pickup could be a bit fatter. The neck/middle position is a bit darker than I had expected, but still sounds very good. I can find a lot of nice sounds by adjusting the volume and tone controls as well. For example, the neck pickup has a bit of a brittle edge with the volume all the way up, and sounds more "generic Strat" if you turn it down slightly. Both sounds are very usable.

If I have to point out some negatives, the guitar sometimes seems to lack a little string separation when playing chords. This kind of surprised me, but may be due to the scooped mids of the pickups or me not having found the optimal amp settings to use with this guitar. The sound of the treble E string is a little weaker than I would prefer, but hopefully I'll be able to fix this by slapping on a set of 11s and changing the setup slightly.

The guitar works well with both clean and overdriven sounds, but as you would expect it's no metal guitar. The basic clean sounds sometimes remind me of John Frusciante's tone, and overdriven it falls nicely into the SRV category. I sometimes like to add a bit of lower midrange (200-400Hz) for overdriven rhythm/lead sounds using my EQ pedal.

I actually think it's nice having the "pretty" scooped mid sound as a base, and then being able to push that in another direction using pedals; I'm not sure it would work quite as well going in the other direction.

The nicest sound I've been able to achieve so far was a happy accident; I used both my EQ (cheap Behringer crap) and my compressor (Barber Tone Press, cool pedal, allows you to mix the compressed signal into the clean sound) for a combined boost of say 25dB, into a slightly overdriven base sound on my Peavey Delta Blues amp. This caused the amp to somehow start leaking a completely clean sound into the overdriven sound, which sounds really nice. Maybe it's due to the drive channel being designed so that it actually mixes a bit of clean sound into the signal at all times ? Actually I think all amps should have the option of mixing clean and overdriven channels as this gives you a really nice definition to the fuzzier tones.

So, all in all I'm happy with the guitar so far. Haven't had the chance to play any gigs with it yet, but I think it will work fine :)

(This message was last edited by Apinamies at 03:41 PM, Apr 6th, 2006)



Taking bad mojo to new levels....
Apr 7th, 2006 04:09 PM   Edit   Profile  


1. My body is actually a well-matched 3-piece. It's just about in equal 3rds.

2. I got a trem arm, but no back plate.

I was originally surprised at how quiet this thing was and noticed that the pups were set low, but I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. Well I had a hard time balancing it with other guitars live so I raised the pups up to Fender's specs and it got hotter. My AmStd Tele is still quite a bit louder, but these pickups seem like you can really adjust things with height....

Contributing Member

NorCal, yo

Watch Your Line
Sep 3rd, 2012 10:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

I found mine to be hypnotic playing alone at lower volumes, but easily lost in the mix gigging. It also felt a dead next to my ash body, maple neck Stratocaster. It was not a resonant guitar.

After a six month love affair, sold it to a very happy buyer.

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / John Mayer Stratocaster

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