I can’t even put into words how profound an impact Eric’s guitar playing, and his music in general, has had upon me. Not just my playing, but my life as a whole.
I agree with all of this, but:
This is an incredible oversimplification of what goes into Eric’s sound. The gear matters a lot, and there’s much more to it than just a Strat into a Marshall.
Eric’s rig is really three rigs. His guitars (usually Strats and ES-335s) are plugged into A/B boxes, to select which of the three rigs he uses. The first A/B box switches between his “Lead” and “Rhythm” chain.
In the lead chain, the guitar signal runs through a solid state Echoplex and a B.K. Butler Tube Driver before going to a 100W Marshall plexi (no master volume), usually a 1959 SLP. The Echoplex and the Tube Driver are crucial to achieving the “Violin tone” that Eric is famous for.
The rhythm chain goes through a second A/B box, selecting between “Clean” and “Dirty.”
The clean chain is a wet, stereo clean. First the guitar runs into two delay units and then to a stereo chorus which sends to two vintage Fender Twins. One delay and the chorus are (almost) always on. The always on delay is a Deluxe Memory Man, the chorus is a TC SCF. The second delay has been a Boss DD-2 or DD-3 or an Echoplex type delay. Sometimes a compressor is also in the chain.
The dirty chain has changed a lot over the course of Eric’s career. Typically, the guitar runs into an Ibanez TS-9 (in a true bypass loop) and then into a vintage silicon Fuzz Face. The amp in the Ah Via Musicom era was a 150W Dumble Steel String Singer. The Dumble with the Fuzz Face is the “Beautiful Buzzsaw” tone from Desert Rose and High Landrons. Later the Dumble was replaced by 50W or 100W Marshall plexis (no master volume) or Fulton-Webb amplifiers. There is delay on this chain also, historically coming via an MXR 1500.
Eric is very particular about his speakers also, Celestion Greenbacks for the lead and dirty chains, and I believe Jensens in the Twins. Reverbs are added at the desk.
It’s the best live sound I have ever heard. If Eric didn’t feel like all of that was necessary to achieve his sound, he wouldn’t use it.
The Strats ard Marshalls are a staple of his lead sound to be sure, but any guitar on the bridge pickup with the tone rolled off, played into an EP-3 with about 416 ms of delay, a Tube Driver, and any amp gets you a much, much closer imitation of Eric’s lead sound than just a Strat into a Marshall will.