Fender’s esteemed Masterbuilders are back with an incredible Artist Signature guitar, the JOHNNY A. SIGNATURE STRATOCASTER®.
Born John Antonopoulos in Malden, Mass., Johnny A. first got the guitar bug when he saw the Beatles in Boston at age 13. Taking the stage name “Johnny A.”, he steadily acquired a sterling reputation as a rock, blues and jazz ace with artists including Delaney & Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock and Creedence Clearwater Revival drummer Doug Clifford. The 1990s saw a seven-year stint as guitarist and musical director for J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf, and to really bring his career full circle, Johnny A. joined the Yardbirds in 2015 for a three-year stint. Today, he continues to wow listeners with his impeccable playing in a variety of studio and onstage projects.
“The history of this signature model came from a conversation with former Fender Custom Shop builder Chris Fleming,” said Johnny A. “When I was given the honour of having two Masterbuilt guitars, Ron Thorn offered himself up and I was thrilled. In the first conversation I had with him about the guitars, it was a pretty emotional conversation as I learned that one of the best memories he has of his dad is of when they would work on guitars together and my music was playing in the background. It’s this personal connection to music that really bonded us and I quickly knew Ron was the perfect one to build these initial guitars. I’ve had a bunch of Strats in my day and the first two guitars he built for me were incredible.”
The Custom Shop is proud to honour one of the “City on the Hill’s” finest guitarist/songwriters with the Johnny A. Signature Stratocaster. “I had a lot of discussions about pickups to match my tone and style… I was really able to go in and sculpt and dial in the specs for these guitars. I’m hoping that when the guitars are released to the public, it’s the specs people enjoy,” added Johnny A.
The Johnny A. Signature Stratocaster is an amalgamation of his four favourite model years—1963 through 1966. Features include:
- Select two-piece alder body with off-centre seam, paired with a 3A birdseye maple neck featuring a ’65-style “oval C” profile and contoured heel. The round-lam rosewood fingerboard has a comfortable 7.25” radius and 21 medium jumbo (6150) frets
- The neck and middle pickups are hand wound 11/56 models, while a steel bottom plate on the custom 11/56 bridge pickups delivers livelier tone with more wide-ranging response; all are fixed to a three-ply mint green pickguard, along with a five-way switch and Strat Blender wiring with Tone-Saver bleed circuitry.
- Other premium features include Custom Shop synchronized tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuners, bone nut, wing string tree with tall metal spacer, deluxe hardshell case, strap and certificate of authenticity
- The guitar’s special Time Capsule flash-coat lacquer finish comes in striking Lydian Gold Metallic with Closet Classic chrome hardware and in Sunset Glow Metallic with Closet Classic gold hardware, combining several classic ’60s design elements to honour one of New England’s most accomplished sidemen and solo artists.