WE ASSOCIATE ANDY JOHNS WITH SOME of the best guitar tones of all time, tracked with the most sought-after gear on the planet. It turns out, though, that he doesn’t always need—or even want—to plug a ’59 Les Paul into a plexi Marshall to work his magic. He spoke to GP about some of the newer toys in his arsenal. —Matt Blackett
“Back in the day, when I was a child, people would always bring their gear into the studio,” recalls Johns. “Sometimes it just wouldn’t work. It might sound okay in their bedroom, but it won’t accept a microphone, and I can hear through that. I remember the first time I worked with Joe Satriani. He had these Ibanez guitars and I said, ‘Oh good lord, dear boy. We’re not using any of this modern rubbish. Tomorrow I’m going to bring some real guitars.’ I went to Andy Brauer’s and I came back with a stunningly gorgeous Les Paul and some other bits and pieces. The funny thing was, Joe’s stuff sounded better. I had to eat some humble pie—which is always good—and I stopped worrying about all that crap around then.
“Lately I’ve been using these Schecter guitars, especially this one model with three pickups and a Bigsby. It sounds fabulous. I have one of their 12-strings, and I’ve never had a 12-string that could intonate like this. I’ve got this 30-watt amp from Hayden with a single 12" speaker that’s just amazing. I have a 4x12 of theirs that sounds even better. I’m also using a lot more pedals than I used to. Pigtronix sent me a bunch of pedals, and they’re incredibly well made. You practically need to be a blasted scientist to use some of them. One is a ring modulator, which is an effect I thought I’d never see again and that sounds absolutely wonderful. The Echolution has 12 toggle switches. It sounds gorgeous. I really like the MXR Carbon Copy analog delay. It just sounds really, really nice. I used a lot of this gear on a record I did with Frank Infante from Blondie, and it all worked great.”