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.
Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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