80s Clean Rhythm Lead Improv (in the style of Eric Johnson)

Hello all,

Decided to do an improv without backing tracks, then I felt naked and decided to go all ham with the lexicon reverb, pcm70 style circular delays i recreated on my dd-500 (in mono just to ruin it all- because why not), and the rv-5 modulated to lessen the blow on my ego so that my lead runs don’t sound as awful.

I have no idea where I am going musically these days but I’m sure my tonal tastes are reverting back to the 80s, which oddly I was not a part of. I hope rack gear makes a comeback, and I think it will.

Sort of let the soundscape do its thing this time, and added in a bit of cliche runs in the spirit of ctc-practice, mostly dwps uxs ascending descending stuff (see I am getting good with the picking vernacular).

Hope you enjoy


Really enjoyed that.
Stellar tones and playing.

Could you tell us your tone chain, and what string gauge you got on there?

Thank you for sharing :slight_smile:


Thanks :slight_smile:

Strat middle/bridge, catalinbread belle epoch deluxe (420ms), boss dd-500 (825ms pcm70 style circular delays), boss rv-5 (modulated, noon setting), marshall 2061x (on 6), suhr reactive load, apogee duet into logic x (lexicon stereo delay/reverb- just a small plate setting).

What the cascaded delays do is provide more of a swing rhythm for the more monotonous but spacious circular delays. Pity that part was in mono but oh well. All that still sits below the level of the guitar and the boss rv-5 mod diffuses the repeats after the fourth repeat or so.

So basically I am playing around with loud clean amps- not so clean nor distorted but just enough to have it sandwiched between pre-amp delays/reverbs and post-amp delays/reverbs.

It would have sounded better through a fender blackface but I’m looking to fix that in the near future :slight_smile:

Edit: Strings are Dadd 10s. The regular ones. For 25.5” they’re perfect for me.


I love how you made those initial triads sound beautiful with the volume trick and of course the choice of tone! I usually find that it is difficult to make triads sound “interesting” on the guitar, but you totally nailed it \m/

I wish I had half of your understanding about building a killer signal chain!

I have some questions about the EJ style of picking but will have to find some time later to write them down properly :slight_smile:


Thanks tommo as always :slight_smile:

Sometimes it’s good to let the gear do the work. I don’t have a volume pedal nor shimmer reverbs so I try to do my thing with basic controls and 80s detuned reverbs, though I would love to get my hands on eventide shimmers and that blackhole preset setting. I’d probably go too far in that I’d never find my way here again.

The signal chain is always changing and quite reflective of my inability to settle down with anything for too long. Most of them have been happy accidents so I’m thankful for that. A lot of ideas that I basically stole from lexicon/eventide guys who post online and of course, EJ. If that didn’t work, I messed around with it til it sounded passable to my ears.

This is sort of the stuff I’ve been into lately. My little sketch, but not a lot of ej or ctc-isms so I didn’t post it here.

And I’d love to answer questions so fire away, though I can’t guarantee the right answers :slight_smile:


Sounds amazing. You’re really nailing this EJ approach!

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Both tracks sound fantastic.

I don’t only learn stuff on this forum, I get inspired to write my own music as well.

The second track has some great U2 influences. Very nice use of effects.

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video saved. Will study this tomorrow