You may have heard of the Yardbirds who have featured, over the years, some legendary lead guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Well, their current guitarist is no slouch either! Johnny A. joined in 2015 and continues the trend.
Johnny’s been playing the guitar since the 70’s and has the distinction of having both Gibson and Epiphone signature model guitars designed for him.
Creating an artist signature model guitar is not something we take lightly. But sometimes a player comes along who is not only a musical innovator and artist of the highest caliber, but has innovative ideas about designing a totally new instrument. And that's Johnny, who just knocked us off our feet. — Rick Gembar, Gibson Guitars Senior VP
We regularly catch up with Johnny at The NAMM Show in California, and we recently asked him a few questions about his guitars and his career.
Nick Campling - Could you tell us a bit about the process of working with Gibson to create the Johnny A model guitar?
Johnny A - I’ve had an artist relationship with Gibson since 1994 back when I was the musical director for J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf. The “JA” signature guitar collaboration came after the success of my first solo instrumental guitar album “sometime Tuesday morning”. It had grown out of an idea I had for having a guitar that could satisfy multiple applications for my playing styles.
NC - And I understand there’s an Epiphone Johnny A now…
JA- Yes, it is being launched at this summer NAMM ‘17 show in Nashville.
NC - Who have been your influences over the years?
JA- there are so many. The Beatles, Yardbirds, Jimi, Wes, Chet, Les…I could go on and on!
NC - You’ve released many albums over the years, but we hear there’s exciting news of a new Yardbirds recording… can you tell us any more about that?
JA- YES, and it’s exciting! We are scheduled to record the new studio album in November with legendary producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, John Lennon…et al)
NC - You’re known for your innovative instrumental electric guitar playing. I wondered if you have a secret closet of acoustic guitars hidden away at home?
JA- I do have a few yes. A custom Gibson Advanced Jumbo a 1936 L00, a Martin D-28 and a few others.
NC - Now the big question… for us anyway! Many electric guitarists scorn the use of capos; can you give us your thoughts on capos?
JA- Every job requires a tool. Capos can provide a solution for a variety of issues. My credo is whatever works. In saying that I have to say that I have been delighted with the performance of my G7th capos. Thank you for the years of support!
Here's a video of Johnny performing "Gone..(Like a Sunset)"!
You can read more about Johnny on his G7th Artist page.