The Rigs: What guitarists’ sound influences you the most, both past and present, both acoustic and electric? Feel free to name numerous players.
Jack Johnson: I started learning how to play folk songs when I started. Cat Stevens , and Jimmy Buffett. I was learning from my dad’s friend and you know some songs I learned cause I liked and some to learn the chords. I also started learning when “…And Justice for All” came out and was into Kirk Hammett. You know, “Master of Puppets” , “Ride the Lighting” and “…And Justice for All.”
When I was about 14 or 15 I was really into Hendrix and Fugazi… And Minor Threat. My first band we did a lot of Minor Threat covers….I was also into the old soul sounds of Steve Cropper…From my parents I was also listening to Neil Young, Hendrix and Otis Redding the old motown stuff.
The Rigs: What musicians’ setups (guitar, pedals and amp setup) would you like to know about?
Jack Johnson: Good Question, I think the old Marley stuff. I like listening to the different recordings of people who didn’t have their instrument’s they normally played on stage. Old Marley from 72, 73 stuff is some of my favorite, their guitar setup I would like to check out.
TR: This is a two part question, Part 1: What is the lineage of your guitar sound? In other words, when you started playing guitar, who did your sound most resemble and how did that sound evolve to your guitar setup today? Part 2: Where do you see your sound going in the future as a guitarist?
JJ: Well I started playing electrics in punk bands, then when I was doing all the surf movies I was playing a lot of acoustic…then when I got my own studio I started playing electrics more again because it was around.
When I’m home, I’m all about the three kids. I put the three kids to bed I find myself picking up a ukulele or acoustic guitar and you know playing very lightly
TR: Can you list the guitars and amps you play and explain their setups?
JJ: The Deluxe…. has more of a crunch and I like the electric for more of the soul skank… I have this Les Paul that I play thru a lot and have an old Tele that I used. But I was hangin out with Taj Mahal and he had a hollow body. He said he needs to have the vibration of the guitar against his body. You know, kind of like an acoustic. So you can feel that vibration. So I use hollow body Gibsons now…
I use the twin for the acoustic stuff because it’s a little bigger and can hold the acoustic. ….I put a little bit of the acoustic in my wedges…and some behind me… in the amp.
After playing a bunch of shows in Hawaii, a bunch of charity shows, some smaller stuff, it was always wedges and I’ve gotten used to that. I tried ears (ear monitors) for a while, then one ear but I’ve gotten back to wedges
Cole Clark makes a lot of the acoustic guitars that I play, the austrailian guitar maker. They are my main acoustic guitars.
TR: What gauge strings do you use:
From Boogie Parlow: (Jack’s Guitar Tech): Acoustic Strings: D’Addario EJ-16, Electric Strings: D’Addario EXL 115
TR: Have you ever gotten any custom work done on your guitars?
JJ: Well Boogie lives in Hawaii now so I pretty much just drop my stuff off to him….