Nick Johnson: A Deep Dive into His Guitar Work and Techniques

You might think you’ve seen all there is to see in the realm of guitar mastery; lightning-fast solos, phenomenal arpeggios, and even a few noteworthy techniques. But for the unacquainted, there exists a virtuoso with an entirely distinct approach to this stringed instrument, crafting melodies that seem otherworldly. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Nick Johnson.

The first time I saw Johnson was during one of his critically acclaimed performances at a small local venue. As a seasoned guitarist myself, I found myself spellbound by his impeccable technique and unique sound. From that moment on, I have been following his journey, eagerly deciphering the complex puzzle of his guitar work.

With rhythm and flow dancing faithfully under his fingertips, Johnson has emerged as a contemporary guitar genius. His style deviates markedly from the mainstream, challenging sonic norms and pushing the envelope far beyond most guitarist’s conventions. Yet, despite my comprehensive study of the instrument, a question burns persistently: How does he do it?

This article aims to unravel the mystique surrounding this enigmatic musician. Simultaneously, we will delve deep into his techniques and intrinsic dynamics within his music. Get ready to unveil the magic behind the strings and the pick—this is a deep dive into the mesmerizing world of Nick Johnson guitarist and his authentic craft.

Let’s embark on a thrilling journey, exploring the distinctive artistry of this remarkable musician. From his sweeping arpeggios to his ethereal fingerstyle phrases, every piece of the puzzle will help us better understand Johnson’s musical genius. Whether you are a seasoned guitarist or an avid music enthusiast, the exploration of this musician’s biography will leave you inspired and enlightened.

Who Is Nick Johnson?

Early Life and Career

Early Life and Career

As an academic musician, the importance of an artist’s foundational years can’t be overstated. Nick Johnson’s early life and career, pivotal stages in his journey, have undoubtedly contributed to the uniquely rich tapestry of his guitar work. In this section, let’s unravel how his formative years shaped this remarkably talented musician.

Born in Canada, Nick Johnson, guitarist extraordinaire, was ushered into music at a tender age. His hunger for rhythms and melodies was evident early on, nurtured by his mother’s love for music. Deeply influenced by his mother’s eclectic taste – ranging from folk rock to classical music – Johnson developed a subconscious understanding of a wide spectrum of musical styles.

However, it wasn’t just influences at home that honed his talents. Johnson’s education at a music conservatory significantly contributed to his evolution as a musician. The structured guidance he received cemented his music theory basics, offering him a solid foundation to explore creative possibilities. Glimmers of his unique style began to surface during these formative years, yielding a fresh fusion of genres in his early compositions.

These experiences underscore the relevance of his early life in shaping his musicianship. But the journey was far from over. As a young musician seeking to etch his name in the music landscape, Johnson faced a formidable challenge: to preserve his individuality while appealing to commercial tastes. Throughout his early career, he deftly balanced the conundrum of artistic integrity versus market demands.

His journey from experimenting with his first chords to his first public performance and subsequent musician biography, reveals not just a phenomenal guitarist, but also a resilient and creative individual. His early life and career highlight his unyielding dedication and passion, key contributors to his remarkable guitar work today.

As we peel back the layers of Nick Johnson’s career, we can discern the inextricable link between his formative years and his undeniable virtuosity, offering a deeper insight into the man behind the guitar. The association with CandyRat Records, his development of unique guitar techniques, and his evolving music style – they all root back to these early, influential years. In the coming sections, we’ll continue to unravel the profound impact of Johnson’s journey on his illustrious career.

Association with CandyRat Records

Association with CandyRat Records

In my fruitful years with ‘Acoustic Guitar’ magazine, I have encountered numerous record labels that have shaped our music industry. Among them, CandyRat Records has stood out. Its commitment to promoting unique talent and preserving the essence of original compositions has earned it a sterling reputation. To understand Nick Johnson’s musical journey, one cannot bypass his notable association with this esteemed record label.

As a young, budding guitarist, getting your music valued and recognised is often an uphill battle. When Nick Johnson came onboard with CandyRat Records, it was a momentous turning point in his career. CandyRat didn’t merely act as a platform, but a catalyst, providing him with a global audience who appreciated his unique style and distinct guitar technique. The label’s propensity to embrace the unconventional was quite literally music to Nick’s ears and the perfect ground to foster his creative growth.

At CandyRat Records, Nick’s art was treasured and promoted with a praiseworthy dedication, echoing the label’s soulful ethos. There came a surge in his discography, with widely acclaimed albums and sold-out concerts becoming a norm. His music, now reaching corners of the world previously untapped, resonated deeply with guitar enthusiasts.

Without a doubt, CandyRat Records went beyond being a just record label for Nick; it became the driving force behind his blossoming trajectory. The understanding and mutual respect between the artist and label bore fruits, marking a significant chapter in the annals of guitar music. As we delve further into Nick’s musical style and signature works, this vital partnership’s influence becomes increasingly evident. The remarkable synergy between Nick Johnson and CandyRat Records remains pivotal in shaping his sonic identity. And, from the beautiful melodies he conjures with six strings, it is safe to say, his association with the label brought out the best in him.

As we step forward into the realms of his guitar techniques and distinguished sounds, remember how CandyRat championed Nick’s talent. Because in the grand symphony that is Nick Johnson’s music, his stint with CandyRat Records plays an unforgettable melody.

What Is Nick Johnson’s Music Style?

His Guitar Techniques

His Guitar Techniques

Delving into the depths of Nick Johnson’s music brings into sharp focus his truly extraordinary guitar techniques. He is a rare breed of guitarists, an absolute fingerstyle champion whose strings sing a melody of their own at his touch. I have had the privilege of decoding his skills and explaining them to budding guitarists through my instructional books. This aids them in understanding his contributions towards defining a unique music style.

One standout technique of Johnson’s is his use of percussive elements. He masterfully taps the body of the guitar, lending a drum-like backdrop to his melody. In essence, Johnson transforms the guitar into a multi-instrumental platform, much to the delight of his listeners. His hand coordination is superb, allowing him to seamlessly integrate these percussive elements into his fingerstyle playing.

Besides this, Johnson’s efficient fretboard navigation is a marvel. His swift left-hand movement allows him to produce intricate chord progressions, while his right hand controls harmonics that often punctuate his songs. He uses alternate tunings frequently, pushing the boundaries of standard guitar sounds and achieving a musical spectrum that is entirely his own.

Understanding Johnson’s guitar techniques sheds light on his innovative approach to music, and reinforces why he stands out in the dynamic world of fingerstyle guitar. In the upcoming section, we’ll further explore his signature sounds and works, and grasp the variety embedded in his creative realm.

Signature Sounds and Works

Signature Sounds and Works

Having thoroughly immersed myself in the sonic universe of myriad musicians as a seasoned editor and writer, I have a profound understanding of how artists construct their signature sounds. Delving into Nick Johnson’s work unearths a unique blend ofinstrumental guitar sounds characteristic only to his craft.

Johnson’s music style, which incorporates elements from various music genres, offers an enticing melody that is raw yet polished, contemporary yet classic. His instrumental guitar pieces are a captivating conversation between him and his instrument – resonating with emotions and narrating stories without uttering a single word.

The mastery with which Johnson manipulates an acoustic guitar stands as a testament to his virtuosity. His compositions echo the intimate, soulful notes typically associated with acoustic guitar music, yet he brings in a fresh perspective, fusing traditional melodies with modern techniques. This delicate balance sets him apart in the domain of guitar music.

His well-known works such as ‘Atomic Mind’ and ‘Remarkably Human’ are a fine display of his unique sound. They encompass intricate fingerpicking patterns, precise note control, and dynamic shifts – qualities that define his musical style. His ability to paint vivid audial landscapes with just six strings and his dexterous fingers is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

However, unravelling Johnson’s style does not stop merely at his compositions. To fully grasp the complexity of his guitar music, one must dive into the depths of his soundscape and techniques, the proclivity for complex harmonies, and the intricate polyrhythms that pepper his work – which we will delve into in the subsequent sections of this article.

Where Can You Find His Guitar Lessons and Tabs?

Where Can You Find His Guitar Lessons and Tabs?

Now, we’ve been through the who, what, and why setting the stage about the fascinating career and unique guitar style of Nick Johnson. With your fingers poised over your guitar strings, I can see that you’re probably eager to dive into the practical details. So, where can you find his guitar lessons and tabs?

Ready to learn guitar the Nick Johnson way? As an enthusiastic teacher and student of guitar techniques myself, I can point you to some excellent resources. Let’s embark on this learning journey together.

Without a doubt, Nick has made significant contributions to the world of guitar playing. Not only with his performances and albums, but also by sharing his skills and knowledge through his guitar teaching. From what I have gathered and experienced, there are several different platforms where you can find his guitar lessons and tabs.

First and foremost, YouTube is overflowing with fantastic videos of Nick’s guitar lessons. These YouTube guitar lessons range from basic tutorials, teaching you how to strum his most famous melodies, to advanced sessions where he breaks down more complex pieces for intermediate and advanced guitarists. The beauty of these online lessons is that they are free and accessible to anyone with internet access. You can watch them at your pace, pause, rewind, and replay as needed, until every note resonates perfectly.

For those craving a more personal touch, Nick often holds guitar workshops in various cities. At these workshops, guitar enthusiasts can learn directly from him, benefit from demonstrations and live practice, and get instant responses to their queries. However, since these are physical events, you would have to check Nick’s official website or his social media accounts for updates on when and where the next workshop will be.

The third resource, and perhaps the most structured one, is the comprehensive compilations of his guitar tabs. These are available for purchase on various platforms. Using these tabs, one can easily practise and perfect several of Nick’s signature pieces.

Ultimately, the method you choose depends on personal preference. If you’re the type who likes self-paced learning and replaying lessons until you’ve got it down, then YouTube guitar lessons may be your best bet. If you’re more hands-on and would appreciate live interaction, then attending one of Nick’s guitar workshops could prove highly beneficial. On the other hand, if systematic learning with visual aids is more your style, grabbing a copy of his guitar tabs could be the way to go.

Whichever way you choose, remember that practice, persistence and passion are key to mastering any skill, let alone the enchanting guitar techniques of the virtuoso, Nick Johnson. I’ve been through these learning curves, and I promise you this – embracing the guitar the ‘Nick Johnson way’ is exciting, challenging, and deeply fulfilling.

With the base understanding of where to feast upon his lessons and tabs, let’s step into the next chapter – When and How did Nick Johnson gain recognition. Keep that guitar close and those fingers relaxed, and let’s dive further into the captivating world of Nick Johnson!

When Did Nick Johnson Gain Recognition?

When Did Nick Johnson Gain Recognition?

Having been active in guitar journalism for years, I’ve witnessed the ups and downs of countless artists. One journey that has been particularly fascinating to observe is that of Nick Johnston. You can spot his unique sound and style a mile off. This chapter delves into the timeline of when our prodigious player gained due recognition, a story as awe-inspiring as his virtuoso guitar playing.

Nick Johnston, an innovative and influential guitarist in contemporary music, didn’t step into the limelight straight away. Johnstons’ recognition started to build a solid base around the early 2010s. His association with CandyRat Records, a label known for guitar virtuosos like Antoine Dufour and Andy Mckee, brought him more into the public eye. There, his style of playing, inventive and rooted in rock, began to gather a cult-like following. His performances blurred the line between the complexity of progressive metal and the melody of pop music, creating a unique sonic experience that was undeniably, Nick Johnston.

In this world where many talented artists struggle to gain recognition, when and how did the spotlight find Nick Johnston? What led to his breakthrough moment? The answer lies in his guitar—a Schecter Nick Johnson Traditional. Committed to creating a sound and style uniquely his own, Johnston collaborated with Schecter to design his signature guitar. This partnership catapulted him into a different stratosphere of recognition within the guitar community.

Unveiled at NAMM 2014, the Schecter Nick Johnson Traditional model was stunning not just for its aesthetic elegance but also for its tonal versatility. This seminal event and the subsequent release of his sensational album ‘Atomic Mind’ later that year marked the start of a new era in Johnston’s career. Jonhston wasn’t simply a talented musician anymore; he became a brand—an icon synonymous with sophistication in guitar playing and design.

Watching the ascendence of Nick Johnston was like observing a masterclass in musicianship and marketing working hand-in-hand. After all, it’s one thing to be an artist; it’s another to share that artistry in a way that resonates with the global guitar community. And if you want to know when Nick Johnson gained recognition, well, it’s impossible to overlook the impact his signature Schecter model and his groundbreaking work have had on the landscape of modern guitar playing.

To sum up, Johnston’s navigation towards recognition can be traced back to the early 2010s, gaining momentum with his association with CandyRat Records. But having a guitar with his name on it catapulted his popularity to a whole new level. The launch of his signature Schecter guitar model, followed by the release of his ‘Atomic Mind’ album, firmly etched his name in the hall of recognition. A story that continues to inspire upcoming artists, showing that passion, innovation and strategic marketing can create a legacy.

So, as we continue to dissect Johnston’s guitar work, techniques, signature sounds, and where you can find his lessons and tabs, it is crucial to remember the time when he stepped into the limelight, carrying with him unparalleled musicality that couldn’t be contained by obscurity.

Why Is Nick Johnson Iconic?

Why Is Nick Johnson Iconic?

In all my years examining the music industry, I’ve had the privilege of observing some monumental shifts in musical landscape, and some artists have stood out more than others. An imprint in the firmament of guitar artistry that truly needs no introduction is Nick Johnson, an acoustic guitarist whose unique voicings and expressive performances have left an indelible mark on the field.

Through my lens as an industry insider, a question that often emerges is, What exactly makes a guitarist ‘iconic’ – and how does Nick Johnson fit the bill? Iconic status boils down not just to technical skills, but also to aesthetic choices, consistency, and the capacity to leave an enduring creative imprint. These factors, in my estimate, are what differentiate Nick from the rest.

In the realm of guitar performances, Johnson brings an original and unforgettable approach to each piece he plays. His incorporation of complex chord voicings and intricate fingerstyle patterns not only showcases his extraordinary technical prowess but also embodies his emotional depth. Each song exists as a living, breathing entity infused with his inimitable musical essence.

When discussing Nick Johnson’s songwriting abilities, I find myself grappling to put the impact into words. This isn’t merely due to his propensity for risk-taking and exploration but derives from his ability to stir emotions. His songs unfold like narratives, complex and full of heartfelt authenticity. Johnson has the rare talent of encoding emotions, memories, and aspirations into his compositions, giving the listener a glimpse into his soul. This kind of intimate connection with the audience is rare, and it’s part of what makes him truly iconic.

The acoustic guitarist is not just prevalent in his technique, but also in his approach towards creating a diverse palette of sounds. Whether he’s tapping the strings or exploiting the body of the guitar for percussive effects, each decision becomes a constituent part of the story he’s telling. The subtlety of his style, the raw, poignant edges to his melodies, the inherent lyricism even in his instrumental pieces; all of these demonstrate a certain depth and resonance in his work.

In conclusion, Nick Johnson’s iconic stature springs from his universal yet uniquely personal musical narrative expressed through his exceptional guitar performances and songwriting talents. His ability to forge an intimate bond with listeners, drawing them into his emotional universe, sets him apart. This – along with the captivating complexity of his music, the evident passion underlying each strum, his innovative techniques – makes him a beacon in the world of acoustic guitar.

As we further dissect the artistry of Nick Johnson in the forthcoming chapters, we’ll delve into the particulars of his signature sounds, his association with CandyRat Records, his early influences, and more. Each facet forms a part of the whole that is Nick Johnson – a whole that, in my experience, truly defines the term ‘iconic’ in today’s guitar landscape.


Who is Nick Johnson and what is his music style?

Nick Johnson is a renowned Canadian guitarist known for his proficiency in the progressive music genre. His style is often characterized by complex musical structures, intricate guitar work, and a strong emphasis on melody.

What are some distinctive elements of Nick Johnson’s guitar techniques?

Johnson’s techniques include a heavy reliance on alternate picking and legato. His rhythm guitar work often showcases polyrhythmic patterns and odd time signatures, which contributes to his unique sound. Additionally, his solos often utilize wide-interval arpeggios and scale runs.

How can I learn Nick Johnson’s guitar techniques?

There are various resources available to learn Nick Johnson’s techniques. Johnson himself offers online guitar lessons and has released a variety of instructional videos. Other aids include guitar tablatures of his songs, and numerous tutorials and cover videos available online.


Over the course of this narrative, I’ve delved deep into the craftsmanship and artistry of the renowned Nick Johnson guitarist, plunging into the contours of his soulful acoustic guitar renditions with the same fervor I have always applied to my exploration of guitar work.

So, what makes Nick Johnson’s guitar playing an unforgettable experience? He consistently stands out with blendings of rhythm and melodies, his intimate relationship with the instrument that is nearly palpable, and of course, his distinct touch on the strings that skilfully crafts captivating stories within his music. Through my own years of observing, studying, and appreciating, I’ve learnt that it is this unique ability to evoke such raw emotions and stories within his listeners that indeed mark the essence of this unique acoustic guitarist.

From his early life and association with CandyRat Records to his signature sounds and works, Johnson shapes and molds his artistry, consistently pushing the envelope. His innovative guitar techniques have not only carved him a niche in the world of acoustic guitar but also transformed how we perceive the genre itself. He’s revolutionized it, personalizing it with nuances of his personal style and bold interpretations.

Ending on an equally resonant note, I hold fast to my avowal that Johnson’s worldwide recognition did not come by chance. It was earned through genuine talent, relentless effort, and a passion for music that cuts through every pluck of the guitar string. He made the guitar an extension of his own persona, letting his nimbleness on the instrument speak for his dexterity.

In conclusion, understanding Nick Johnson as a guitarist and a visionary is a humbling journey, one that stands testament to the extraordinary possibilities of guitar playing. As we keep delving into the intricacies of his contributions, it’s safe to say that Nick Johnson will remain an iconic figure and inspiration in the world of acoustic guitar for years to come.

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