JOHN SMITH'S MASTERFUL COMMAND OF THE GUITAR HAS TURNED MANY HEADS WITHIN THE FOLK GENRE AND BEYOND. WE EXPLORE WHAT EQUIPMENT HE USES IN THIS JOHN SMITH GEAR GUIDE.
Having released five albums and amassed over 33 million Spotify plays since his arrival - this is a musician you can learn a lot from.
WELCOME TO THIS JOHN SMITH GEAR GUIDE
Ahead of this performance, we decided to take a look at what equipment John Smith uses to create his unique folk sound. Whether that's guitars, mics or pedals - we'll take a quick look at his setup here. Before we get started though - why not take a look at this live video of 'Joanna' below.
WHAT GUITAR DOES JOHN SMITH PLAY?
John Smith has said that his first guitar was a gift he received at age 11 and that was a red Squier Stratocaster. This makes an awful lot of sense as these are some of the most common guitars for beginners. Despite this - you still get all the quality hallmarks of the Squier name. These guitars come available at a variety of price points but all are affordable and within the reach of new starters. Squier Stratocaster
Sticking on the theme of Stratocasters - John Smith has also said he owns a Partscaster. We often get asked what a Partscaster is here at PMT which makes sense as this isn't an 'out of the box' model. Partscaster is jargon for a guitar, often in the Stratocaster or Telecaster style, that is built from parts of various other guitars, or built from a kit or using homemade or purchased parts. John's model has 74 strat neck on a simple ash body with two Lollar gold foil pickups.
Smith also recently acquired a very special handmade 53 Esquire copy. This is a lightweight heavy relic that packs some power. First appearing in 1950, the Esquire was Fender's first solid body electric guitar and was a huge milestone for the company. You can get your hands on an Esquire Model at an affordable price-point with the Squier LTD Edition CV 50s Esquire Butterscotch Blonde.
Most guitar-loving fans of John Smith will associate him with Flyde Acoustics. He has stated in the past that he rotates between three of these guitars for the live setting which all have different voices. He also jokingly approached the company suggesting they needed a younger musician on their roster. It worked though and thankfully so because these guitars have has a huge impact on Smith's sound. See John playing one of these beautiful rare guitars below:
Martin Guitars Smith has also said that he writes on a 1972 Martin D-28 which is never far from his sofa. This is a professional-level acoustic primed for stage and studio - although if these guitars are within your reach, there's nothing wrong with having one around the house to write on whenever inspiration strikes. Below we've highlighted the Martin D-28 Reimagined. This is a fresh take on the legendary dreadnought acoustic which has been played by many of the guitar greats. This variant features a classic Sitka Spruce Top, East Indian Rosewood Back and Sides as well as an Ebony Fingerboard.
WHAT PEDALS DOES JOHN SMITH USE?
Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo Machine
Smith discovered the Strymon Volante pedal in a guitar store and quickly added it to his touring pedalboard. He says this pedal has inspired him to write new music every time it's been used which is never a bad thing. If you're looking to add crunch, delay and distortion to your sound then this can be quite a menacing tool. Ideal for use in the studio or onstage as a strong and lightweight aluminium chassis means it's durable.
Strymon El Capistan
Smith also loves the Strymon El Capistan because it sits so nicely with his fingerstyle playing technique. He's said that it's the nuances within the multi-head echo that first caught his attention. Here at PMT we also have a huge amount of time and love for this pedal. It's simply a perfect emulation of a single great tape delay with incredible functionality and sound design features.
Strymon Blue Sky Another part of Smith's pedal rig is the Strymon Blue Sky - once again another incredibly versatile pedal that packs vast possibilities. The Blue Sky was created by Strymon to deliver rich and sweet reverbs - all in a compact pedal that fits neatly on your board - we love it here at PMT just as much as John Smith does!
Boss OC-3 Super Octave Pedal for Guitar and Bass
John Smith has said he uses the industry-standard Boss OC-3 Octave pedal in tandem with the Volante and Blue Sky. The Boss OC-3 Super Octave pedal offers up detailed, incredible, high-quality octave effects with a simple stomp with three different modes to choose from.
John Smith Gear Guide - In Summary
To summarise it's clear that John Smith is a man of taste and selectiveness when it comes to guitars and what they offer his sound. From his early playing days on a gateway Squier Stratocaster through to much loved Fylde and Martin Acoustics - his selection of instruments has clearly played a huge part in shaping his sound.
If you'd like any more information on some of the guitars mentioned in this blog then don't hesitate in contacting us at PMT. Our friendly experts are always on hand to help find the perfect guitar for you depending on sound and style and budget.