Cliffs of Dover

After the success of the album Tones, Eric Johnson returned in 1991 with the album “Ah Via Musicom” and the Grammy Award Winning instrumental “Cliffs of Dover”: an absolutely stellar piece of guitar work that blends incandescent arpeggios, octavations, feedback and melody hooks with amazing variations. If you want to learn how to get Eric Johnson’s trademark sound then you’ll probably want to begin with having a look at his guitar rig set up.

 

Fender & Marshall

If you ever wondered exactly how Eric Johnson achieves his hybrid guitar sound of crystalline highs and smooth overdriven tones it’s all about splitting the signal. Eric splits his guitar sound between a couple of Fender Twins for stereo clean guitar sounds and two Marshall head amplifiers for his overdriven sounds.

 

Vintage Guitar Equipment

Eric favours vintage guitar equipmentand his pedal board and amplifiers are something of a shrine (or even a museum) dedicated to the late 60’s and 70’s. He also favours an analogue console, good old fashioned tape and Jamaican batteries. “Cliffs of Dover” was recorded using Gibson ES-335 and Fender Stratocaster guitars through the Butler Tube Driver, Echoplex and 100 watt Marshall amplifier.

Amongst his favoured effects pedals are:

Maestro Echoplex Tape Delay
Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face
BK Butler Tube Driver
TC Electronic Stereo Chorus
Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah
Electro Harmonix Memory Man Delay

 

Here’s Eric talking us through his equipment at his personal studio space Saucer Studios.

 

UPDATE: Giggity Dumble & Eric Johnson Fuzz Face

The Voodoo Lab Giggity pedal  – click here – is more than just an overdrive pedal: the unique AIR and BODY controls allow you to bring out shimmering glassy highs and thick body tones whilst the “SUN” to “MOON” pre-amp selector settings allow you to produce some fantastic pre-amp voices. In the video below the Giggity is set to “Dumble” (air up body down) and combined with the Fuzz Face helps brings out that classic Eric Johnson “Desert Rose” guitar sound.