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To the ones who went down the Eric Johnson rabbit hole

Velokki

Inspired
Okay, I'm serious about getting the Eric Johnson lead tone down now. As a strong base disclaimer - I know... the tone is most definitely in his hands. But I'm also sure he would sound different with metal zone. What I'd like to get, is as close to an identical tone to his as possible, and work on my EJ chops with that tone.

I'd like to replicate the famous lead tone:

Also this guy got quite close, I've maybe never heard anyone get this close:
In many EJ tone tutorials, there's often elements of harshness or something else that takes away from the immersion, but this guy's tone is pretty spot on. I did drop him a comment, but so far he hasn't answered. I know, also having impeccable technique takes you far.

There are many tutorials, but I just couldn't get near enough with them. And btw - I currently only have an Axe 2 as my rig, so if you have presets or signal chain suggestions, posting them in screen caps or text would be great!

So - block by block - how would you construct the EJ lead tone in the Fractal realm?

Very grateful for any help!
 

Greg Ferguson

Fractal Fanatic
Have you searched the Exchange? There are various presets there will work, or at least will give you a push in the right direction.

Asking us to write a tutorial without knowledge of what you have already tried will result in a lot of guessing on our part. It would help if you provided us with an example preset of what you tried and tell us what doesn’t work for you.
 

Velokki

Inspired
You're right! I did search the axechange - my main challenge was that most were for Axe 3 so I couldn't test them. I tried perhaps 5 different presets - really none of them worked for me.

Got "okayish" results myself, will post tonight when I get back home!

Thanks a lot for the reply.
 
There is a stock preset ej clean that is pretty good for the clean I’d start there . I just put a fuzz face in front of it for the lead tone and it’s not that bad . Also Eric has his pickups out of phase I’d take a listen to him explain his guitar setup here
 

JWDubois

Inspired
I can get reasonably close, but it's so tough to nail. Just the right amount of gain, the power on the high notes, the clarity of the low notes, lots of delay and verb, but still clear. And of course, getting that violin swell.

Very sensitive to pickups and playing too. I've never had any luck with downloaded patches.

Here's one of my favorite "how to do EJ" videos.

 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
For me, the archetypal live EJ tones are Austin City Limits 1988, clean is great, and lead is extraordinary:
The clarity, fullness, and controlled top end of that lead tone is the benchmark version of that live to me.
To my ear, it has most of the top end removed post distortion, but is really uniquely sculpted below that to get that clarity and sustain.
Tone is maybe even better than the Ah Via Musicom version, and his live playing is Just. So. Cool.

That Chelsea Constable vid comes as close to that lead tone as anyone I've heard, but the gear she's using isn't what you've got.

Also, not helpful I know, but his right hand technique and vibrato are a huge part of it too.
I think Chelsea does more hammer-ons and pull-offs than EJ, but part of his thing is how fluid his picking is, so I'm not sure.
 

∞Fractals

Fractal Fanatic
All I can remember is that dude plays loud as F. Cost me some right ear 😟

but I generally just play the double verb vibrato w/ a drive, tape delay and chorus hoping I can keep up - EJ’s SRV is the tune I play the most.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
This thread is probably the closest I've heard someone using Fractal get:

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/thre...johnson-clean-lead-tones.166793/#post-2018373

Other people's presets don't usually work well for me but this one was pretty good.

Unfortunately it is for FM3 but you could use FracTool to check all the blocks and their settings.

https://axechange.fractalaudio.com/detail.php?preset=8377

Also, is there are a particular reference tone you're after? I personally agree with @Dave Merrill about the Austin City Limits stuff. That's his pinnacle tone, IMO.

Albums like Bloom and Up Close also have amazing tones but they are different. More edgy to me.

I was going to suggest searching out some rig rundowns because most of his gear is in the Axe Fx. Did a quick search and came upon this nice breakdown:

https://www.guitarchalk.com/eric-johnson-lead-tone/

By the way, if you read that... EJs "pedalboard" is back to a giant mess as of the Ah Via Musicom "anniversary" tour a couple years back. ;)

The article has a great breakdown on his lead, clean and rhythm tones and also some interesting things to think about (such how different the signal chains are between lead and rhythm tones and that fact that much of his studio lead tone is not a Strat but typically a Gibson humbucker).

Also... Don't forget, he can tell the brand of battery in his Fuzz Face just by listening to it ;)

I saw Eric about 18 months ago on the Experience Hendrix tour and maybe 12-18 months before that on his own Ah Via Musicom anniversary tour. He's something to behold live... And he plays LOUD! :)
 

AnmolAtwal

Member
I think the Plexi 1970 jump dirty pushed with a fuzz face works pretty close. I cant play any eric johnson but the tone with the fuzz pushing the plexi is pretty smooth and no spittiness....also, you can increase the boas on the fuzz to smoothen it out.
 

Dave Merrill

Fractal Fanatic
You know, his lead tone makes sense for someone who plays so loud. If it had much treble, he'd slice people in half.
 
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Velokki

Inspired
Hi guys! Mega thanks for your replies, they're gonna help a lot!
My tone isn't worth posting as of yet, but will try to tinker tonight and get something close to what I'm after.

The lead tone I'm after is posted in my original post - the first video timed at 13:00, you can really hear it in the great lead melody + the solo that comes after it. But basically, the Austin City Limits tone is 100% it, too. It's the quintessential, coveted and glorious EJ lead tone.

I will check all the videos + have a deep dive tonight in this.
I saw the FM3 preset - but I didn't one could open them with the FracTool - gotta have a look at those today, that's great to know!

Thanks again, I'm sure that in a few days I'll have the tone I'm searching for! Do share ideas and remarks if any come to mind 👍
 

Velokki

Inspired
I can get reasonably close, but it's so tough to nail. Just the right amount of gain, the power on the high notes, the clarity of the low notes, lots of delay and verb, but still clear. And of course, getting that violin swell.

Very sensitive to pickups and playing too. I've never had any luck with downloaded patches.

Here's one of my favorite "how to do EJ" videos.

Had time on my lunch break to check that video out, and oooooh sweet jesus. That is IT. That's the tone absolutely nailed, right there. I've never heard anyone do it so well, it was almost 1:1 carbon copy of the original.
Shame that a more precise signal chain isn't provided - but as she goes slowly through the song, there are really good places to listen to the tone and listen to the delay / reverb tails, to get it just right. Now onto emulating it on the Axe!
 

JWDubois

Inspired
Had time on my lunch break to check that video out, and oooooh sweet jesus. That is IT. That's the tone absolutely nailed, right there. I've never heard anyone do it so well, it was almost 1:1 carbon copy of the original.
Shame that a more precise signal chain isn't provided - but as she goes slowly through the song, there are really good places to listen to the tone and listen to the delay / reverb tails, to get it just right. Now onto emulating it on the Axe!

My love of that video is the surprise of that quiet little southern girl just ripping it up.

I've seen good EJ tone videos using a variety of amps, drives, and FX. There are several amps and drives in the Axe III that put me in the ballpark. I've never gotten as close as Chelsea, but I only play Cliffs of Dover at about 2/3 her speed anyway. ;)
 

trancegodz

Power User
block by block - how would you construct the EJ lead tone in the Fractal realm?
There are videos of Eric Johnson where you can clearly see all the exact settings for his amps and effects. I'd start there. Then you'd have to find the right IR for the cab blocks.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I can get reasonably close, but it's so tough to nail. Just the right amount of gain, the power on the high notes, the clarity of the low notes, lots of delay and verb, but still clear. And of course, getting that violin swell.

Very sensitive to pickups and playing too. I've never had any luck with downloaded patches.

Here's one of my favorite "how to do EJ" videos.

Holy hell!

Just got to watch this video... She nails the tone. :eek:
 
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