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Texas guitar wizard Eric Johnson displays his most fiery, mesquite-grilled playing on this tune from his first album, Tones. The opening cadenza in free time is based on A pentatonic major (A,B,C#,E,F#) and Eric demonstrates his immaculate technique. The first five bars of the in time section feature Eric's chickin' pickin' technique, utilizing the thumb for the bass notes and the first two fingers for the upper voices. The double time section features the melody, based on F# pentatonic minor (F#,A,B,C#,E--the same notes as A pentatonic major). The following melodic passage (over G#m-A-C#m, implied by the bass figure) is based primarily on F# pentatonic major (F#,G#,A#,C#,D#), moving into the F# blues scale (F#,A,B,C,C#,E) for the last bar of the passage. Eric's brief solo before recapping the G#m melody is based on F# Mixolydian(F#,G#,A#,B,C#,D#,E), utilizing F#, E and D# only. These phrases are reminiscent of Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin. After the recap of the double time melody, a new bit is introduced, which is reminiscent of Steve Morse, again playing lines based on F# Mixolydian.
Eric begins his solo with lines based on F# pentatonic minor. His sound is fat, warm and beautiful, with Eric foregoing his signature '54 Strat (believe it or not) in favor of bassist Roscoe Beck's old Gibson ES-335. It's hard to say exactly what signal processing is being used here, as Johnson uses a multi-amp set-up with A/B switching, but it sounds like he's got his old Marshalls cranked. Bars 6-8 feature some fast playing, articulated beautifully, with lines based on F# Mixolydian. Bars 12-16 are reminiscent of John McLaughlin, as Eric uses F# pentatonic patterns ascending and descending. Bars 25-30 are reminiscent of Jeff Beck, particularly Beck's playing on his Live with the Jan Hammer Group album. From this point, Eric launches into some relentless phrasing, nailing everything he goes for.
The beauty of Eric's articulation goes hand in hand with his vibrant spirit, something to keep in mind when recreating this tune.