Yesterday I went to a Nick Johnston clinic in Greece


I’ve been waiting for this clinic since it was announced 2 months ago. Nick is one of my favourite players, he has influenced me a lot beyond guitar technique. I would say he helped me see instrumental guitar music in a different way.

I had low expectations regarding the “teaching” part of the clinic, mainly because Nick bases his clinic around what the audience asks, he doesn’t present anything, he just plays a few songs and answers questions in between. I’ve seen a few of his clinics on YouTube and the questions were terrible, hence the low expectations.

Let’s start with his playing. He was fantastic! The tone was pretty unforgiving, a clean-ish Mesa Boogie Stiletto, boosted with an MXR 5150 Overdrive and nothing else. He still sounded great, his feel over the instrument is remarkable. Also he played an unreleased song from his new album which was in Drop D, I can’t wait to listen to it again.

Luckily, the audience had a few pro guitar players from Greece, so the questions were really good. He answered questions about marketing yourself, how to work around interesting chord progressions, etc. The thing that stuck with me was his daily routine when he’s not on tour. I’ll try to quote what he said.

“I wake up around 9-10, I get coffee and breakfast, then I play some guitar. After that I go for a walk, thinking about the song I’m currently writing and how to make it better. Then I get back, answer some work e-mails, Skype managers, etc, then I play some more guitar. After that I eat lunch and guess what… I play some more guitar until noon. Then I eat dinner, watch some TV series and I play some more guitar before I go to bed.”

This might sound crazy to you, but his daily routine woke something up in me. Those guys who play at Nick’s level are so deeply commited that their activities are based and scheduled around guitar playing, not the other way around. I’ve been doing the same thing in reverse for years and expected results. This was an eye opener for sure.

Here is a photo of us after the clinic, unfortunately he kept on moving around, but still, it’s a cool thing to remember.



Dude’s one of my favorite of the new generation of up and coming players. Glad you got to see him!

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He’s a genuinely good guy as well. Made lots of jokes, said a few nice words for the girl who opened the clinic, played around with 2 little kids, a true gentleman.

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Thats awesome Bill; I missed him in my radar; whats are your fav tracks of his.

He’s def got a dedicated work ethic; not sure what I’d give to go back in time with CTC awakening :slight_smile:

edit: actually it would a cool movie where instead of the terminator a gang of CTC vetrans went back in time :joy::rofl:



I mostly wish I had a bigger attention span than 30 minutes, after that amount of time I need a break, it doesn’t matter if the activity is fun/interesting to me, I still need a break after 30 minutes and it’s not always certain that I’ll come back to said activity with the same drive and focus.

I have the time during the day to do what Nick does, not in the same intensity maybe, but still. This is my goal after his clinic, sort my brain out a bit and try to improve on the instrument. :slight_smile:

Now that I’m concious about parts of my playing I have to work on some theory as well. My knowledge is very limited and it shows when I try to write my own stuff.

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I think I know what you mean about the theory part; I’m just learning to play the major scale horizontally and vertically from anywhere to anywhere and be able to turn around at any point with as many sequenced sequences I can at the moment.

I’ve been sticking to one backing track ( from CF’s module 2) and it’s showing me where the minor stuff fits in too, like i figure where bach’s 846 fits in , or the eclipse arpeggios, etc. It’s slowly reveling itself to have more and more flavours.

It’s a lot of fun but I’m hoping this discovery process helps me get that theory stuff out of my head and into my hands.

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His dedication comes through in his music for sure. Looking forward to the new album which I believe releases tomorrow (have it pre-ordered for a few weeks now!).