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Eric Johnson — Super-Songwriter

Peter Hodgson
|
12.17.2012
Eric Johnson

Guitarists of the world, start your envy… Eric Johnson says he wrote "Cliffs Of Dover' in all of five minutes.

In an extensive interview with new guitar site Pure Guitar, Johnson tells journalist Jas Obrecht that the song came to him in about five minutes in the mid 80s. "It’s a hard song to play, but it’s really just a silly little melody, cute little fun thing," Johnson said. "I guess that’s why people related to it, because it is that. And the whole thing just kind of – it was more like a gift. It just came to me."

Johnson went on to explain that the opening refrain came first, "…and then the rest is just I-IV-V-I with a real simple [sings another line]. It’s really a pretty simple melody. And then within a few minutes, 'Oh, I’ve got a middle eight for this.'"

Johnson also talks about his favorite guitars, including his Gibson ES-335. "I know there’s a Les Paul out there that I’d love to own, but I’ve owned so many and I’ve never kept a single one of them," Johnson said. "And it’s not that they’re not great. There’s a certain thing about my technique or something, or the weight, that I haven’t quite found the right one for me. But they’re great. I mean, my heroes all played them, but I’ve never found the right one to settle on."

Video: Eric Johnson's Favorite Guitars: ES-335


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