Smooth blues slide? Check. Mellow, soulful tones with an edge? Check. Epic gear? Check and double-check.
It's hard to stand out as a blues guitarist, but Justin Johnson has built an enormous following of loyal fans because he is too good to ignore. You've all probably seen the wild, long-haired dude tearing it up on a 3-string shovel. The novelty might have earned him over 1-million followers, but what makes people come back for more is his undeniably cool music. Johnson invited John Bohlinger and the PG team to his Nashville home to take us through his rig.
[Brought to you by D'Addario XL Strings: http://ddar.io/XL.RR]
Wild Customs Gyrock
This Wild Customs Gyrock guitar uses rotating pickup modules that can be spun around in place for different tone recipes. The body is chambered Honduran mahogany matched with a carved Canadian maple top, maple neck, and a Brazilian pau ferro fretboard.
Johnson has an ammo box full of different pickups that he can pop into his Gyrock as needed. It stays strung with GHS Strings—a Justin Johnson Signature Guitar Strings Standard set (.10–.50).
Furch Master's Choice 2019SB Dc-SR SPE
This Furch Master's Choice 2019SB Dc-SR SPE acoustic/electric with a cutaway features a Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. The body is protected by Furch's proprietary Full-Pore High-Gloss Finish and it's got the company's CNR System—an adjustable truss rod inside a carbon casing—for improved neck stability. There's an LR Baggs Stagepro Element pickup system onboard, too.
This vintage Dobro Duolian has a Lace low-profile acoustic pickup and is strung with Johnson's Slide signature set: (.11–.50.)
Early '30s Dobro
This mystery resonator—possibly an early '30s Dobro—had the finish stripped off years ago and has been updated with a 12-Bar Blues low-profile resonator humbucker.
Homegrown Strings 4-String Resonator
Here's a look inside Johnson's Homegrown Strings 4-string resonator made from a cigar box and found objects. The pickup is a small piezo hot-glued inside a bottle cap.
Fender 60th Anniversary Telecaster Limited Edition
Johnson's Fender 60th Anniversary Telecaster Limited Edition is strung through its ash body, with Johnson's Standard signature strings.
FireWild by Wild Customs
His FireWild by Wild Customs has a 6-way toggle and it coil-splits. It look a bit like a Firebird mixed with an Iceman, and has a mahogany body and neck, a pao ferro fretboard and a Bigsby. The neck and middle pickups are TV Jones Power'Trons and the bridge has a Power'Tron+.
Signature Whiskey Barrel Guitar Built by Big D Guitars
Johnson's No. 1 is his Signature Whiskey Barrel Guitar built by Big D Guitars. This chambered T-style is made from reclaimed whiskey barrel tops, paired with aged Tennessee barn wood, scatterwound pickups, a Bigsby, an aged maple neck, jumbo frets, and locking tuners. We meant to film this very cool instrument, but got lost in the frenzy of guitars and never got around to it. Dang!
Yes, he's also got a 3-string shovel guitar. It's got a custom-wound low-profile humbucker from 12-Bar Blues Pickups. The trippy artwork was painted by Grecian tattoo artist Santa Tinta and the matching strap was made by LeROCKSKIN. Strings are the A, D, and G from a Justin Johnson Signature Slide set.
Justin Johnson's Pedalboards
Johnson has several 'boards, so let's go with the signal flow. This Morton pedalboard has a modular mounting system that enables him to adjust the size and shape of the board as his layout changes. After hitting his XVive Audio U2 wireless, his signal enters a Mad Professor Loud 'N Proud fuzz, a J. Rockett Audio Archer Ikon, an Ibanez TS808, an ADV Systems #overdrive, a Danelectro Back Talk Reverse Delay, a Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal, an Ibanez DE7 Echo/Delay, a T-Rex Image Looper, a Gamechanger Audio Plus piano-style sustain pedal, an API Audio TranZformer …
… a Universal Audio UAFX Astra Modulation Machine Pedal, Starlight Echo Station, and Golden Reverberator …
… into a Live Wire Solutions ABY Box to send juice to his Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Imaging Pedal or a Hughes & Kettner amp—or both.
And that T-Rex Replicator shares real estate with a Gator GTR-PWR-12 power supply and a Big Joe Power Box Li2 lithium pedalboard battery.
Hughes & Kettner Triamp MKIII
As you'd expect, there's no shortage of amps in Johnson's arsenal. Here's his Hughes & Kettner Triamp MKIII 150-watt 3-channel programmable tube head.
Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40
And here's his Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40, which is switchable between 40, 20, 5, and 1 watts. He's got a 120-watt-rated 2x12 cab, also by H&K, to deliver his tones.
Fishman Loudbox Artist BT
This Fishman Loudbox Artist BT 120-watt 1x8" acoustic combo also has a tweeter and Bluetooth.
Fishman Loudbox Mini
Its compadre is a Fishman Loudbox Mini, which has a 6 1/2" speaker and a battery-power option. He also has a Mad Professor 51 RT Old School 51-watt tube head.
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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.