30 Second Solo Improvisation in Bmin/Dmaj [Trail of Tears- Eric Johnson] by Peter C

Hey all. Back again with a shorter clip this time, because who wants 4 minutes of non-stop guitar solos?..

Trail of Tears from EJ’s Tones is the song that first got me into EJ, and it was the Austin City Limits live performance of this song that got me into picking mechanics and his whole catalogue.

Again, I was inspired by a friend to do my own take on this, having felt ready for some time, but I did not want to play it note for note on the album (or live) and intentionally avoided legato turnarounds and generic octave landings (although they are there) in order to give a neo-EJ vibe rather than a poor man’s EJ (as I have often been accused of :P) I also used a wahwah- because why not?

In addition, I set a time limit of 30 seconds for myself, mostly because that’s usually how I played before I got into EJ and truth be told I’m not a fan of long and drawn out solos (but that’s just me making excuses since beyond 20 seconds I’m already out of ideas).

Thankfully it was a short process and unlike how I usually do these things, which is to sit down and hum some variant of the vocal melody and tranpose that to the guitar, I just went for it a couple of times and thankfully something came out.

The backing track can be found on youtube (search: trail of tears backing track) and it’s a joy to play through. Props to whoever made and played it.

My hearing is starting to bother me but hopefully the sound is alright and the basic setup is the same as it always is/was, a strat (or LP) two tubescreamers, a marshall 2061x, suhr rl into torpedo wall of sound in logic x.

Thanks in advance for watching and hope you guys enjoy.


Great playing here, though there’s some weird sync issues, I think the video may be a bit behind the audio? Particularly that slide at 0:06.

0:27 onwards, is that pick and fingers or picked?

Also, why two tube screamers?


The sync should be fine as this is the same take as the video :slight_smile: But I have experienced some minor lag on some of my devices as well so I’m not certain.

However, if all is right, the lag after the slide you hear is the ducking delay effect that happens when you put a tape echo (or any delay really) set for 3 repeats at 420ms into a really loud marshall- it blooms after you stop the note- kind of like a sustain button if you will. Initially when I played it as I was working it out, the “right” way was giving me too much sustain so I cut it short and this is what came out. Of course, without this ducking delay I would adjust my approach. It’s not really a slide per se, although my motion indicates it; it’s not a slide to sound a note, but to mute it, and thus allowing the ducking delay to be heard in that instance. You can observe a similar effect in 0:18-0:19

From 27sec onwards yes that is a hybrid pick + fingers approach.

Why two? Because two is better than one :slight_smile: In all seriousness, I love ts808s through loud marshalls, but another one gives me more sustain of the original tone without making it sound like a high gain amplifer :slight_smile: Feels quite good under the fingers so to speak.

It’s an age old trick that seems to have been borne out of Texas. SRV did this too (although sparingly) as did EJ, who had an always on TS808 back in the rack for his Dumble SSS which basically would take a lot to distort, and Bonamassa is doing a similar thing with the way huge dumbleland pedal (which is basically two 808s in series) with his dumble/tweed rigs.

So all in all, two neat age old tricks to give a strident marshall (or any NMV amp) more sustain without upping the gain pedals if you will.


Yeah, that’s what I meant - it looks like the video may be delayed relative to the audio? The bends seem to be happening late too. It just threw me a bit, is all.

I just checked again- the original video is fine, as the youtube/instagram upload (at least on my end). Hopefully it’s just a bug that will go away in time.

I have a theory that because the video file is so large and the audio file pretty small, this is bound to happen on some devices/apps permutations, but this is a totally non-scientific way of saying I really don’t know what I’m talking about :slight_smile:

Anyhow - appreciate the questions and kind words Drew :slight_smile:

Weird - I just opened it on youtube, and it looks aligned there (minus that ducking delay, lol).

Anyway, great playing!

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Gain stacking for the win!

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You can really hear the hundreds of nights of practise.

Apologies that this joke took me over a day to post.

Because two is one more than one.

I like to do a similar thing with a boss SD-1 into a TS, I feel like the asymmetrical clipping adds from the SD1 adds a bit of something but I could be talking rubbish/imagining it/both.

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Hmmmm……let me see…I do! Really nice work. Looking forward to the next one.

Can you please describe how this works? Is the gain low and level high on both of the tubescreamers?

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Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile:

Both are pretty much at 12 o clock into a NMV marshall at 8 which is right around dirty rock and roll rhythm with a strat plugged in.

Wait, you were sitting 1meter away from it, how can you be still alive? :smiley:

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I feed off of loud marshalls :slight_smile:

Suhr RL and headphones help with that (but I still play pretty loud). Plus the 2061x isn’t that loud thankfully :slight_smile: (I could be deaf though haha). For the way I play, I like to practice and play loud.

Some day in the future I want bigger amps, but I don’t want to get sidetracked with gear stuff right now.