Eric Johnson Tone

  • Browsed around but haven't seen too much. What kind of profile would you guys choose to come close to the EJ tone? Or what kind of amp would you target in the Rig exchange? Also, I have seen EJ use a strat and SG so what kind of pickups would you use? I can play with my Variax and can model single coils or humbuckers. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks

  • been looking myself, he has a glassy clean tone, and a singing smooth lead tone, tuff to replicate,, but beautiful

    Nice video. First off, I am unsure whether it's a lot of Gain or a lot of volume. My gut says a lot of volume. I also think he cuts out a lot of high end. Tone seems very full towards the bottom end. So maybe a Fender with medium or less gain, cut a lot of high frequency and single coils ?

  • He uses vintage Marshalls for his lead and crunch with Fenders for his clean.BK Butler/Chandler Tube Driver, Fuzz face etc....

    He was recently on facebook looking for one of these ... '

    Hey guys.

    EJ here.

    I'm looking for another Super 100 JTM45/100 1966 MARSHALL Please email or comment below.

    If you have anything else, I appreciate the offer but am only looking for this particular amp at this time.

    Thanks !!


    Also ;

    'Several details are crucial for generating Johnson’s violin-like tone, including turning the amp’s presence and treble controls all the way down, using a Y-cable to access both channels turned all the way up and dialing in the Tube Driver (still made today by B.K. Butler and highly recommended), so its gain provides smooth compression without overly distorted sizzle'

    Good luck on the hunt for his tone !!!!

  • Okay so best bet would be to find a marshall JTM 45 on the rig exchange and turn the presence and treble lower. Maybe a Green Scream with just volume boost? Definition turned down on amp?

  • been looking myself, he has a glassy clean tone, and a singing smooth lead tone, tuff to replicate,, but beautiful

    that “glassy” clean tone is probably the result of using a fuzz pedal and turning the guitar volume down. It os an impedance effect between the guitar and pedal which is very difficult to replicate in the Kemper.

  • Pretty sure he uses a couple of fender twin heads with tc chorus and echoplex for the clean sounds. There is a recent rig rundown where he shows his setup and how the echoplexs have been modded etc.

    Saw him live recently in a small club and his stage volume is down compared to previous years but he still has that violin like tone.

    The new fender Virginia guitar uses a DiMarzio pickup in the bridge with only one coil hooked up? Go figure 😀 It's 99% hands with Eric.

  • I remember seeing this post the other day. I just traded a custom nylon string telecaster for a Fender Elite Custom Shop Prototype Stratocaster. So the first thing I tried to do is get sounds like Robin Trower, Hendrix, Clapton, Rory Gallagher and of course Eric Johnson. I started with EJ's clean sound. I haven't gotten to the lead sound yet, that'll be next. For the clean sound, I watched a video where he described his setup and adds different effects, so you can hear the differences one a a time. The chain, I believe, is Guitar - EHX Memory Man - Echoplex EP-3 (or he's used other effects here like the Boss DD2 but the Echoplex is great) then it goes to the TC Electronic Chorus/Flanger and becomes stereo to two Twin Reverbs (which have Spring Reverbs at 5). So let's mimic that for the Kemper:

    Start with a clean profile of your choice. I'm using the bridge pickup like he does, with the tone rolled off a bit (you need the tone tied to the bridge pickup as unclemar stated above). I am using Top Jimi - Med Two High -2 (but lots of others would work too, like Twins, Vox etc.).

    Add an "Echoplex" simulator in your D slot. Select a "Single Delay" and Browse to the "DLY - Tape" patch Kemper gives you. You need to turn the feedback down (try to get about 6 - 7 repeats, maybe around 35%). Turn the Mix down too (about 28 %). Set delay time to 400 - 420. Note is has Flutter Int and Flutter Rate and Grit to simulate the tape (adjust these something like 5, 4 and 2).

    Add a Memory Man simulator in C slot. Select Single Delay again and set it about the same as the Echoplex, but zero out the Grit, Flutter Int and Flutter rate and add Modulation (about 5). The delay time should be shorter, as you can here this when he adds the memory man (at least that 's what I think he's doing). Try around 340ms.

    Add a Vintage Chorus in the Mod slot to taste. And add a reverb of your choice in the Reverb slot. The spring works good, the Fender "FAN" patch, or I like to use a plate reverb via the Natural Reverb algorithm using "Large Plate" patch Kemper provides and tweaking.

    There you have it. Sounds almost identical to me. Learn some EJ chords and have fun.

    By the way, the delays could go after the amps too and you could have them in stereo. He usually has just the Echoplex and the Reverb on and then adds Chorus if he wants it and Memory Man for the really wet sound (doesn't work good with riffs though to me as it gets in the way).

    Let me know if anyone else has some other ideas. I'd love a cross reference guide that told us how to best mimic various hardware devices with the KPA. For example, what Kemper settings align with Echoplex settings, or Roland Space Echo or a Lexicon PCM 81 with Concert Hall algorithm. For now I just used the manual's definitions of the parameter and used my ears. It helps to actually listen to a Youtube video of an Echoplex EP-3 and try to mimic it with the KPA. The KPA has tons of power and the routing is awesome.

  • James Santiago at Voodoo Lab did a few videos on getting EJ’s tone. He doesn’t use a Kemper, but you can get a really good idea of what’s going on...

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche