More of what you love from Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson
Up Close
Vortexan Music



Never one to be considered “prolific,” Eric Johnson has emerged from his studio with a new collection of tunes that gives anxious fans just what they want: great playing, great tone and a Texas-size dose of soul. This is the first album that was recorded entirely in Johnson’s home studio (which was took Johnson 15 years to build). The sound of the record doesn’t come across as sterile as previous studio albums and the addition of some guests really adds to the looser vibe. A great example is “Texas,” a medium-slow blues where Johnson shows off his Clapton-meets-Bloomfield licks alongside Steve Miller and longtime Austin friend Jimmie Vaughan. The juxtaposition of Johnson and Vaughan’s solos shows off how unique, and comfortable, each guitarist is with their style. Throughout the 15 tracks on Up Close, from the Hendrixian-ballad “A Change Has Come to Me,” to the space boogie of “Fatdaddy,” Johnson has created another worthy addition to his already legendary catalog.

Equipped with noise reduction and noise gate modes, the Integrated Gate has a signal monitoring function that constantly monitors the input signal.

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Luthier Maegen Wells recalls the moment she fell in love with the archtop and how it changed her world.

The archtop guitar is one of the greatest loves of my life, and over time it’s become clear that our tale is perhaps an unlikely one. I showed up late to the archtop party, and it took a while to realize our pairing was atypical. I had no idea that I had fallen head-over-heels in love with everything about what’s commonly perceived as a “jazz guitar.” No clue whatsoever. And, to be honest, I kind of miss those days. But one can only hear the question, “Why do you want to build jazz guitars if you don’t play jazz?” so many times before starting to wonder what the hell everyone’s talking about.

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A modern take on Fullerton shapes and a blend of Fender and Gibson attributes strikes a sweet middle ground.

A stylish alternative to classic Fender profiles that delivers sonic versatility. Great playability.

Split-coil sounds are a little on the thin side. Be sure to place it on the stand carefully!

$1,149

Fender Player Plus Meteora HH
fender.com

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After many decades of sticking with flagship body shapes, Fender spent the last several years getting more playful via their Parallel Universe collection. The Meteora, however, is one of the more significant departures from those vintage profiles. The offset, more-angular profile was created by Fender designer Josh Hurst and first saw light of day as part of the Parallel Universe Collection in 2018. Since then, it has headed in both upscale and affordable directions within the Fender lineup—reaching the heights of master-built Custom Shop quality in the hands of Ron Thorn, and now in this much more egalitarian guise as the Player Plus Meteora HH.

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