Author Archives: rootsmusicschool
PreOrder “B-SIDE GOLD” & get
“The Bootleg Series: Vol 1” FREE!
We’ve finalized the Song List and the Artwork for “The Bootleg Series: Vol. 1” that will be included as a BONUS Full-Length Album Download with EVERY Preorder of the new “B-SIDE GOLD” album!
“The Bootleg Series” is a compilation of Remastered Live & Unreleased Justin Johnson Solo Guitar performances from the archives! Order the new “B-SIDE GOLD” album through Kickstarter & get the full “Bootleg Series: Vol. 1” as a FREE BONUS .. along with other groovy perks & surprises!
Here’s the Song List!
THE BOOTLEG SERIES: Vol. 1
• CRANKIN’ IT UP
• PORCH SWING SLIDIN’
• TENNESSEE HILL COUNTRY BLUES
• WHISKEY BARREL BLUES
• HARD TIME KILLING FLOOR
• WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN
• THE PARTING GLASS
• ROCKABILLY BLUES
• ROMP IN THE SWAMP
• SUNSET BLUES
Crank up the speakers & spread the word! …you’ve been asking for it.. here it is!… the first completed track from my upcoming album, “B-Side Gold.”
Preorder the album through my Kickstarter Campaign (http://kck.st/34aNtjh) and you can also get earlybird pricing on the album or download, free bonus album download, huge discounts on whiskey barrel guitars, special edition 3-string shovel guitars, & other killer rewards and bonus perks for preordering, that are only available through the crowdfunding campaign.
This track is a cover of an old Wayne Walker tune called “All I Can Do Is Cry.” It features Spike Nicer on vocals, Derrek Phillips (Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Hunter) on drums, Mark Winchester (Brian Setzer Orchestra) on the slap bass, and me (Justin Johnson) on guitars.
“All I Can Do Is Cry” has always been one of my favorite old Rockabilly tunes, and I’ve been dying to cover it for a while. I really wanted this arrangement to hit hard, while keeping an authentic Rockabilly backbone. Derrek’s drums really fatten the rock vibe up, while Mark’s Slap bass pounds out more of a traditional Rockabilly slap bass tone. Spike Nicer also nailed the vintage rockabilly flavor on the vocals… with the help of a little tape echo to give it that early Sun Studio soul.
The guitar is much more wild, and the addition of the Wah Wah pedal is something that you never really hear in Rockabilly, but I’ve always loved blending that “Hendrix” vibe with the early Rock & Roll flavor. …I figured, those early electric guitar pickers would have used the Wah if it had been available at the time!
Please help support the creation of this album by pre-ordering your copy today. Here is the link to pre-order: http://kck.st/34aNtjh
For the past year, I’ve been in the studio writing, arranging, producing, and recording tracks for an album that defines what I love about rock & roll and the electric guitar.. and I have never been so excited to share the music that’s forming in the studio right now! This new album will be titled ‘B-Side Gold,’ & is inspired by the Rock & Roll B-Sides and Deep Cuts that made me fall in love with electric guitar to begin with.
So many of my favorite songs were the B-Sides on records… the songs that weren’t designed and produced to be glossy “hits.” These were the songs that took chances and broke conventional pop song templates; putting more attention on the art of musical creation, and less attention on conforming to a musical “product” in a specific “genre” for a specific “market.”
We’re recording the album at the legendary Cash Cabin Studio. Cash Cabin was Johnny Cash’s own personal studio, where he recorded his American Recordings with producer Rick Rubin. The Cabin & Studio is now owned by Johnny Cash & June Carter’s only son, Music Producer John Carter Cash. We are also bringing aboard a host of wildly talented musicians, including Derek Phillips on drums (you may recognize him as the drummer for Hank Williams Jr.), Mark Winchester on bass (you may know him as bassist for Brian Setzer, always ready to bring down the house with that Rockabilly slap bass!), the indomitable Spike Nicer on vocals, and of course myself, Justin Johnson bringing my signature guitar stylings, along with GRAMMY Award Winning Engineer/Producer Chuck Turner .. and many more surprises to be announced along the way! As a Kickstarter Supporter, you will receive updates and behind-the-scenes video peeks into the album as it’s being created, that no one else will have access to!
Want to be part of making this album happen?
If so, THANK YOU! You can help make this album a reality by reading through the list of Rewards on my Kickstarter page, and selecting a reward level that appeals to you. Basically.. you buy something cool from us.. or even a preorder of the new album.. and the money you spend goes directly into recording, producing, pressing, and marketing the ‘B-Side Gold’ album! You will be a huge part of making this album happen!
Funding this album through Kickstarter allows the music to flow directly from me (the artist) to you (the listener) in the most pure way possible. Plus, there are rewards available through this Kickstarter that I normally wouldn’t offer outside of an album fundraiser, and Bonus Rewards added on to every level, to give you more for your money at every level! One-of-a-Kind Rewards & Free Bonus Additions! It’s our way of saying “Thanks for Making it Happen!”
We’ve already completed about half of the tracking for ‘B-Side Gold‘ but we need your support to bring this album across the finish line!
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look into the recording of my finger-style guitar arrangement of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” Watch the above video to check out the rig, settings, guitar, and techniques I use to perform this track.
I chose to tune down a whole step for this performance, both because the lower tuning gives more body and low-end fatness to the tone, but also because the stings get looser, and the slackness in the strings help accentuate that swampy vibe. Try tuning down any time you want to add some “swamp” to your tone.
I strung this guitar up with a “standard set” of my Justin Johnson Signature Guitar Strings, which are designed to give you better pitch control, and a smooth touch, even when you are tuning down into lower open tunings. Check them out here.
•GUITAR: “Bad Ass Customs” Hollow-body Bowling Alley Lane Guitar
•CABLES: Mogami Guitar and Mic Cables
•AMP: Fender Blackface Princeton Reissue
•STRINGS: Justin Johnson Signature “Standard Set” Guitar Strings
•ACOUSTIC PANELS: ProSoCoustic Gobo Panels
If you have song requests or gear questions, let me know in the comments. Please click the “Follow” button on this page to get more Roots Music Lessons.
My interview with Now Hear This Entertainment is now available to stream: Click Here to Listen
This was an especially fun interview for me because it was one of those times when the interviewer’s questions make you think deeper into a subject than you had expected, and you surprise yourself with the answers. We talked touring, recording, and pursuing a professional music career as an independent artist. Hope you enjoy it!
Here’s the link to listen: http://now-hear-this.net/content/nhte-287-justin-johnson
I love a screaming guitar solo as much as anyone, but some of my favorite music to listen to is that greasy, slow, electric fingerpicking blues guitar. Lightning Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and R.L. Burnside are some of my favorites in that style.
I’ve gotten several requests to cover the song “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” by Skip James. It’s a perfect slow blues song to perform as a solo 6-string arrangement, since it has such a killer vocal melody and baseline.
For this recording, I chose to pick on my vintage Harmony Monterey guitar. It’s got a clean and punchy acoustic tone, which I mic’ed with a WA-47 Tube mic from Warm Audio. I also plugged the guitar into a Fender Princeton Blackface (re-issue) with the vibrato intensity cranked to 11. The old Hershey bar pickup in the Harmony is in neck position, which also contributes to the warm, full-bodied electric tone. Watch the video above, for the complete details on the gear and settings I used.
If you want to check out more of my rig-rundowns, and get a behind-the-scenes look into my recordings and videos, Subscribe to my new channel “Live form the Guitar Loft” HERE. If you have song requests or gear questions, let me know in the comments there. That channel is devoted to answering questions and requests.
Make sure you click the “FOLLOW” button to the right of this, to get more of my articles. …and of course, check out my music, downloads, lessons, and signature guitars at www.JustinJohnsonStore.com
Justin Johnson has created a huge new inventory of awesome instructional material for 6-string guitar & more, so while we’re restocking the shelves with all of this awesomeness, we took the opportunity to create some killer new DISCOUNT BUNDLES to reward you with discounts & extras for showing your support! The more you buy, the more you save & the more Freebies you get, so DIVE IN, see what’s new, fill out your wish list, & come get it!
SLIDE GUITAR STRING SET
OPTIMIZED FOR PERFECT FEEL AND TENSION FOR SLIDE GUITAR & OPEN TUNINGS. NICKEL-PLATED STEEL STRINGS FOR CLEAR ATTACK, BALANCED TONE, AND LONG SUSTAIN
STRING GAUGE – 11 • 15 • 19 • 28 • 40 • 50
STANDARD GUITAR STRING SET
DESIGNED FOR EASY STRING BENDING, POWERFUL BASS PRESENCE, & VERSATILE TUNING RANGE. NICKEL-PLATED STEEL STRINGS FOR CLEAR ATTACK, BALANCED TONE, AND LONG SUSTAIN.
STRING GAUGE – 10 • 14 • 17 • 28 • 40 • 50
Justin Johnson’s Brand New FULL 6-STRING GUITAR LESSON SERIES has just been released for INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD! Available as individual downloads, or
Save $20 on the Full Set!
Whether you are a total beginner, or just want to brush up on the foundational techniques of fingerpicking, this course has got you covered. Justin Johnson breaks down the key elements that help you improve your fingerpicking quickly using a combination of song walkthroughs, warm-up exercises, detailed explanations, and in-screen tablature. This video course is designed to save you years of fingerpicking practice.
“Intermediate Fingerpicking” picks up right where “Fingerpicking Foundations” course leaves off. This video course will take you through a series of carefully composed song walkthroughs, designed to introduce you to increasingly more challenging and intricate fingerpicking techniques. If you have learned the basics, then “Intermediate Fingerpicking” will take your playing to the next level.
Slide Guitar Foundations
If you want to fast-track your slide guitar progress, the best way to do it is to master the foundational techniques from the ground up. In this course, Justin Johnson teaches everything from anchoring, muting, and vibrato techniques, to age-old secrets to developing a bluesy and soulful touch with the guitar slide. This course is perfect for total beginners, as well as experienced players who want to strengthen their foundational knowledge and weed out bad habits.
Intermediate Slide Guitar
This course is designed to flesh out and tighten up your slide guitar technique, taking you from intermediate into advanced level playing. You’ll learn Open Tunings, Delta Blues techniques, percussive techniques, advanced muting, anchoring, and much more. If you are familiar with basic slide guitar, but ready to take your playing to the next level, then dig into “Intermediate Slide Guitar.”
Hill Country Blues
Get back to your roots, and dig into the heart of blues guitar. In Justin Johnson’s “Hill Country Blues” video course, you’ll learn everything from creating a “whole band sound” on guitar, to proven strategies and techniques for improvising your own guitar solos. Justin uses in-depth song walkthroughs to teach you the inflections, riffs, and thought-process to master Hill Country Blues guitar.
One-Minute Riffs: Volume 1
“One-Minute Riffs: Volume 1” is a collection of musical lessons by Justin Johnson that will teach you a wealth of essential guitar techniques without you even knowing it! Each of the 30 riffs in this lesson series is so easy that you can learn it in one minute. However, you will also get valuable instruction on how to master these riffs, and then take them to the next level by applying them musically to your own style, arrangements, and performances.
To kick off the release of my new 6-part guitar lesson series, I’m posting this free excerpt from the “Intermediate Fingerpicking” course.
Not only will this lesson teach you a solo acoustic blues fingerpicking song, it will also walk you through how to develop tone and articulation, bend, pull-off, hammer-on, and dive into complex techniques that give you playing more style and emotion.
Also, make sure you check out the other titles in the new 6-string guitar lesson course by clicking a title below:
• Fingerpicking Foundations
• Intermediate Fingerpicking
• Slide Guitar Foundations
• Intermediate Slide Guitar
• Hill Country Blues
• One-Minute Riffs: Volume 1
Or, better yet, get the full series and get $20 off!
Also, huge thanks to all of the fans out there who made this lesson series possible by contributing to my Kickstarter fundraiser for it! You ROCK!