Improvisation (Battle We Have Won- Eric Johnson) by Peter C

Hey all,

In an ongoing effort to move beyond note for note covers and try to incorporate a bit of me-ness into the world of EJ, I’ve been trying to find gaps in his album that I could exploit as study in improvisation. The first attempt was for the song, Trail of Tears, and while I personally set a 30 second only limit for an exciting progression to play over, this was approached a little bit differently.

Now, as most would know, the original song does not have a solo, nor is the accompaniment very long (about 20 seconds if I’m not mistaken). In addition, the chords are not very easy to play over in my opinion as there is little movement. It all probably explains why Eric did not compose a solo over this- or was this very intended? I’m inclined to go with the latter. Naturally, in the spirit of being contrarian I set myself a limit that I should have to overplay to 1 min and 30 seconds, in order to see what the absolute threshold of boredom I could take was. It’s borderline boredom at this point, and from a melodic standpoint, not my proudest job, but as I very much realize time is of the essence I am working hard to put myself in uncomfortable playing situations.

Ever since the band failed and I’ve been disillusioned and tired of writing, it’s been just strictly me with the guitar (with the odd session here and there) and doing what I’ve always wanted to do- learning and improving all around, it’s become therapeutic in a way. I think my journey as a guitarist musician has been one of writing/performing -> downtime -> learning/studying -> rinse and repeat. I rarely practice when I’m working with others and I rarely speak to others when I’m learning/studying, and perhaps in the future I think it’d be wise to blend the two.

Anyhow, the goal of the solo was to leave out as many mannerisms and cliches as possible, but as I’ve failed miserably at that, I’ve split it up into three 30 second parts where the intro serves as the slow buildup, the middle as the conflict/engagement, and the outro as the finale/resolve. I spent most of my time working out the middle, as the outro thankfully came much quicker. Not my proudest take, but as it so happens with the worst of attempts, I think you learn from these more than you would your proudest pieces. Hopefully you all will find something to enjoy in these ideas and with that, thanks in advance for watching :slight_smile:

Almost forgot! The gear is the 57 strat, 1st bit is a cleaned up fuzz face (hendrix sig I got today as a belated b-day gift), 2nd bit is the fuzz face full on (with a ts808 in front), and 3rd bit is my usual lead sound. Amp is a princeton reverb through a suhr RL into two notes.


Awesome playing as usual !! Was a great watch.
I really like your vibrato - for me that’s a big part of what makes a great player and it’s harder to get right than it seems.

Do watch your ears with that Marshall though, you don’t want to end up with the same hearing problems as EJ :slight_smile:


Thanks as usual :slight_smile:

The amp for this track is the princeton reverb peeking out behind my back. Anyhow the amps are usually put through suhr RL so it’s “silent” as can be. I monitor pretty loud through headphones so I need to cut down on that.

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Ah sorry I missed that in your post :+1:

Awesome as usual! You continue to inspire. Are you tracking direct and reamping? I notice (not here) that you have wah or other effects and I don’t see your feet moving to change patches or rock a wah.

Your words about the band ending and just in a learning process, I’m there with you. I’m finding it enjoyable though, and as you said, therapeutic. I’m naturally introverted anyway, but I’m finding joy in the daily and weekly improvements.

Your last message to me regarding the Belle Echo and JH fuzz, both are on the Christmas wish list to my wife. I’m excited.


Thanks for the kind words.

This is live as if I would play it. I do not know how to “reamp” although engineers have done it for me in studios for dry wet stuff. The thought of playing my guitar through anything but an amp gives me headaches as the sound of dry direct guitars takes all my confidence away.

For this clip, the intro is a fuzz backed off, then you can see me roll up the chord to get the fuzz lead sound, and then I step on my fet driver for the final 30 seconds. The pedalboard is down below and obviously out of the frame.

For wah wah clips, the same deal- a dunlop cm95 which I awkwardly engage sitting down. You see me sort of shift down to access it. It’s used very briefly and for non rhythmic stuff so I don’t need to be too precise with it.

And great choice on the gear :slight_smile: you won’t regret it and neither will she :slight_smile: