Ripley Johnson of Moon Duo and Wooden Shijps is a master of psychedelic and space rock guitar. His incredible tones require expert blending of effects pedals and guitar stylings. The most impressive and distinctive sounds are on Moon Duo Occult Architecture Vol. 1 and Moon Duo Occult Architecture Vol. 2. The precision use of delay, wah, sub octave, octave up, phaser, loops and octave fuzz create these incredible sounds. Ripley also is an adept at picking with controlled dynamics to fully integrate the delayed repeats. The RMC3FL wah is a pedal which is used in nearly every song. It has a different tone quality then a Cry Baby or Vox style wah. It is also fully tunable allowing him to get nearly any wah sound imaginable.
His guitars are Eastwood Airline 59’ 3P DLX in white and black as well as the Eastwood Airline 3P “Ripley” Custom. The Ripley custom DLX uses a tone and volume knob with 5 way pick-up selector and a built in boost known as “Transwarp drive”. It has 3 Airline vintage voiced single coil pick-ups and a Bigsby vibrato bridge. Each of the 59’ Airlines guitars are chambered mahogany with a rubber binding. These guitars play easy have a clear tone and a rich warm woody feel and great sustain. Recently, on Facebook Ripley was showing off his new Fender Telecaster American Professional but I have yet to see it in use. He likes to use the Yellow Dunlop Tortex picks 0.73mm size. He enjoys the sound of electric guitars unplugged and will sometimes put a mic in front of the guitar record the sound of the struck strings. This is apparent on Wooden Shjips Back To Land. He has also used a 1960s Gibson SG in Wooden Shijps early tours.
The amps have rotated over the years and is usually one of the following: Fender Twin Reverb, Fender Quad Reverb Silverface, Fender Vibro-Champ, 68’ Fender Reverb or Music Man HD 212.
His pedals have changed as well and constitute the secret to his sound. He currently uses a TC Electronics Polytune, Real McCoy RMCFL3 Wah-Wah, Earthquaker Devices Grey Channel Overdrive, an original Klon Centaur overdrive, EHX Micro POG, Earthquaker Devices Grand Orbiter Phaser, Catalinbread Octapsussy octave fuzz, A pedaltrain board. I am not sure what his current delay or loop pedals are. The most important pedals for Ripley Johnson are the Klon Centaur and the RMC3 wah pedal. These are amazing top quality pedals which have never left his pedalboard. The original Klon Centaur is difficult to fix so he has looked into the clones for touring in recent years. The original Klon Centaur sells online for $400 and is now a collectors item.
In the early days he used Boss Tuner, Real McCoy RMC 3 wah , Deluxe Memory Man delay the old version , Boss Loop Station, Klon Centaur overdrive, MXR Phase 100, MXR Distortion +. The combination of these pedals fueled his song writing and accompanied him on tour with both Moon Duo and Wooden Shijps until at least 2014.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFcWOgEB2GQ (pedals at 4:49 and 25:55)
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