This week on Pedals with the Pros, we got the chance to talk about effects with blues guitarist Josh Smith. As early as age 14, Josh was playing with greats like Jimmy Thackery and Joanna Connor; and after his fifth album and most recent world tour, it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. He has plenty to say about using the H9 live, in the studio, and in session jams.
What was the first sound effect on a record that you were drawn to?
Definitely reverb!!! I was blown away by the spring verb B.B. King would have on his guitar. It has always been the most important effect for me.
You were given your first guitar at age 3. When did you get your first effects pedal?
I bought my first pedal at 12, a Boss turbo overdrive. I also bought a DOD wah/volume pedal the same day. That was exciting!!
With the world of pedals at your feet, you choose to put an H9 on your pedalboard. Why does it make the cut?
The H9 is the most important pedal on my board besides the Lovepedal Tchula. I haven’t played a gig without one since the day I got my first one. It sounds incredible in so many ways and is also a joy to program. I have so many sounds in it that I worked hard on to get right, that have become integral parts of my live sound and show. It also is absolutely the best session pedal ever made.
What do you think the H9 does best?
It excels at verbs, delays, modulation and pitch. It’s just so deep. On a session, it’s my best friend. I’ll continue to use it until you guys make me an H18 (wink, wink!!!)
What would you say is your signature sound, and which pieces of equipment help achieve that tone?
My signature sound is a dynamic uncompressed lead tone with spring reverb and slap back delay. The Lovepedal Tchula is my main drive sound and my main sound in general. It’s incredibly dynamic and can stay on all the time with dynamic use of the volume and pickup controls. Reverb normally comes from the amp as I favor the Fender spring reverb sound, but I also add many reverbs from the H9. My main slap delay is either from the H9 or my TC flashback; I have similar sounds in both and use the H9 mainly and the TC when I have the H9 doing something else.
What does your signal chain look like right now?
Starting with my main Chapin T-bird (Tele style) guitar, I use Sinasoid cables to get to my GigRig G2 powered pedalboard. I use the looper for both preset and MIDI control, but also for purity of signal, so when using just the Tchula and H9 for example I’m only running through those pedals. Clarity, headroom, and dynamics are all of major importance to me in getting my personal tone. I end the chain at my 2 Morgan amps: the JS40 (Fender style) and the AC40 (Vox style). I also use a Two Rock amp often. All my amps have my Eminence sig speaker, the JS1250.
You’ve worked with legends such as B.B. King and Jim Gaines. How has working with the greats influenced how you play?
The most inspiring thing about being around your heroes and influences is seeing all the hard work that really goes into doing this for life. You have to truly love it and be willing to give it your everything. I saw that from B.B. first hand.
You’re on tour right now, and your album Burn To Grow came out in September last year. What’s next?
Just continuing to work hard and trying to play everywhere anyone wants to hear me do what I do. I’m also producing quite a bit in my studio and look forward to doing more of that, as I really enjoy it. I will also release a live album/Blu-ray later this year!!!