“I’ve spent years finding amplifiers to suit my tonal quest and discerning criteria to get my sound. I’m excited to work with Roland to create many aspects and persona of that sound in a more compact, tangible, and affordable version for all kinds of players.” — Eric Johnson.
GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist Eric Johnson and the makers of Blues Cube amplifiers have co-produced the new Eric Johnson Blues Cube Tone Capsule. Eric’s expert audio design delivers texture, voicing, and a rich tone giving Blues Cube an amazing likeness of Eric’s remarkable sound. Eric’s personal touch can be heard in many nuances of the amp when the EJ Tone Capsule is engaged. The Eric Johnson Tone Capsule takes the vintage classic Blues Cube amp to both new and vintage levels.
It is no secret that Eric Johnson’s guitar playing and tone are iconic. Also well-known is Eric’s ear for meticulous perfection. Desiring that same high level of vintage tone, the Blues Cube team made the decision to discuss the amp with Eric. “I am very interested in pursuing new paths to getting tone,” Eric explains, “and when the Blues Cube team asked if they could present an amp with new tone capabilities, I was intrigued.” The Blues Cube engineering team visited Eric Johnson at his studio in Austin, Texas, and the EJ Tone Capsule journey began. Eric fired up one of his vintage combo amps for comparison. He played for a while and noted the similarities in texture and also the volume (the Blues Cube Artist touts 80 adjustable watts of power). Eric asked if the amp could be modified for his specific tones. “Yes,” one of the engineers answered, “we can adjust the amp to your specifications.” The first meeting ended on a very positive note and Eric welcomed the Blues Cube team back to Austin at a later time.
So what is the Blues Cube amp that Eric heard that day? The reinvented Blues Cube series launches the classic 1×12 combo amp into a new era, combining genuine tube sound and response with modern reliability and easy portability. Going far beyond modeling, Roland’s Tube Logic design philosophy starts with carefully reproducing the inner workings of the revered tweed-era tube amp in every way, from guitar input to speaker output. Versatile clean and crunch channels can be used independently or combined for a complex range of tones, while variable output power modes let you dial in burning, full-throttle sound at any volume. Road-tested and fine-tuned with feedback from top players, the gig-ready Blues Cube delivers the sweet, magical tone and satisfying feel that makes a great guitar amp a highly expressive musical instrument.
Technician Meets Engineer
A few weeks later the Blues Cube team returned to Austin with a couple more amps for Eric to check out. This time Eric invited Bill Webb, guitar and amplifier technician, to join the group. Bill maintains and modifies Eric’s amps to ensure that Eric’s tone is always ready for stage and studio performance. Bill is a master technician with decades of invaluable experience. “Eric has a very unique tone, explains Webb, “and it’s my job to ensure that his gear is performing to his exact specifications.” The team connected the Blues Cube amp to one of Eric’s Stratocasters. From the first note that Eric played Bill seemed a bit shocked. He was impressed that it responded like a vintage tube driven amp. He was also blown away by the lightweight design. Bill asked if he could make some changes to more resemble Eric’s specific tone. While Eric played, Bill and the Blues Cube engineers began to make adjustments. Each modification brought a more curious look on Webb’s face. “It’s really working; I can hear that the tone is beginning to sound like Eric’s.” Eric also commented that the play feel was moving in the right direction. There was real excitement in the room and everyone there could feel it. After making significant changes to the circuit characteristics, the team sat and talked it through. Eric explained that his tone is very specific and that having both the factory Blues Cube tone and his custom settings available separately is an interesting idea. “Many guitarists may prefer the factory Blues Cube sound over mine,” Eric explained, “the factory tone will appeal to many kinds of players.” Eric and Bill both agreed that they wanted to continue working on the project.