Today we`re going to have a look at English guitarist and musician John Martyn – an electrifying guitarist and singer whose music blurred the boundaries between folk, jazz, rock and blues:
His first album London Conversation remained more strictly folk oriented in terms of genre but what made Martyn particularly unique was his guitar set up whereby he ran his acoustic guitar through a fuzzbox, a phase-shifter, and an Echoplex which he used to produce more progressive rock styled guitar motifs within the broader contexts of the folk-jazz idiom. This approach begins to be heard on his second album Solid Air is reinforced on Storm Bringer and also on his more atmospheric, reggae infused One World album.
It`s definitely worth illuminating Martyn’s individual approach to his effects and equipment as a key factor in defining a highly individual sound and approach within folk music.
If you like John`s layered, fractal and atmospheric sound maybe consider having a look at the ROLAND SPACE ECHO PEDAL in combination with some classic fuzz boxes from Electro Harmonix
Well, That`s all folks,
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Saw John play many times in the ’70s in the days before, leds, digital watches, and all the other paraphernalia that has come along since. It was always staggering that one guy with a guitar could produce such an astonishingly vast array of sound and make it sound like there were a dozen of him playing along. And his use of his voice as an instrument added to the effect. Some of his playing with Danny Thompson on bass was sublime as in this version of solid Air http://youtu.be/ohmSPv-rtSQ He was often an irascible bugger but much missed.
Thanks for this….I’m trying to recreate his classic acoustic guitar + echoplex and effects sound from the 70s. However I use the line6 dl4 raher than Roland space echo in that. He also used the volume pedal coming after the delay (echoplex). I think he also used a separate sustain pedal (sometimes?) as well as the Big Muff fuzzbox, both being in series to the amp after the echoplex. He achieved a balance ‘raw’ to ‘processed’ by using two separate pickups-a mag pickup thru the delay + effects side to one input of a fender twin amp, and the other piezo/ceramic pickup direct to the other input of that amplifier. The question of if he used a separate sustain pedal in addition to the fuzz box I would be interested to know any answer. To my knowledge the sounds he got -due to his unique tunings and amazing ability in playing- have so far never been faithfully/closely duplicated, some 30 odd years on!!!
That’s an awesome comment; thank you. To be honest with you I was just guessing at Jon’s set up from having listened to his records – and yes you are right about the split between clean and processed. Keep up the research and the experimenting and come back and let everyone know what you’ve discovered!!