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Many a fine and fiery guitarist has hailed from Boston, and the Custom Shop is Proud to honor one of the City on the Hill’s finest guitarist/songwriters with the Johnny A. Signature Stratocaster. 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, and it combines several classic ’60s design elements to honor one of New England’s most accomplished sidemen and solo artists.
Born John Antonopoulos in Malden, Mass., he first got the guitar bug when he saw the Beatles in Boston at age 13. He saw Jimi Hendrix a couple years after that and avidly soaked up the era’s finest fretwork, especially that of the Yardbirds holy trinity of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Taking the stage name “Johnny A.”, he steadily acquired a sterling reputation as arock, 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 Johnny A. Signature Stratocaster is an amalgamation of his four favorite model years—1963 through 1966—and features a select two-piece alder body with off-center 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.