50 oracle items tagged as jonny
May 5, 2014 / submitted by Peter, United Kingdom
Q.  Hi Oracle!
I was watching Jools Holland and I noticed Jonny sitting behind the piano during the start of Magic but the piano was playing itself, so I was wondering If Jonny played the intro or was he sat there for another reason?

A few people have asked about the piano playing itself. This isn't the first time the band have adopted this technique (don't forget, it also featured in the Christmas Lights video). More of you seem to have noticed with Magic especially as Chris wasn't sat at it.
Jonny does indeed play the beginning which can be seen more clearly from footage of their recent performance for Sports Relief.

April 8, 2014 / submitted by Jonathan G, Germany
Q.  While I was watching the latest performance of Colplay where they're playing Magic at Sport Relief 2014 I noticed that Jonny first of all plays the piano (which is great I think!) and then he switches to his guitar - but the piano sounds are still there. Do they use a pedal for that? Is most of their instrumental music played live at all, since they have so many different layers of sounds in their songs - especially in the ones from Mylo Xyloto and Ghost stories:

Thank you and greetings from Germany! :)

I've touched on this subject before but it's important to differentiate between not playing live and miming. Their performances are all real and are not mimed. Everything you see is happening in the moment but there are obviously musical parts that are replicated as it would be impossible to play every sound as you say. Another example is the strings in Viva. Keyboards and MIDI systems are equipped to play these parts at live shows.
FYI I mentioned MIDI last week when listing Roadie #42's roles. It stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.

April 1, 2014 / submitted by Neil, Philippines
Q.  Hi, all-knowing Oracle! I was just wondering, did Jonny ever use his Lake Placid Blue Fender Telecaster live?

Another one for Matt...
"The only blue Tele I recall is the one Jonny had back in the Parachutes days - a JD model with a big dent in it that actually belongs to Will, who I think got it cheap cos of the damage.
It's now his dressing room/warm up guitar and travels with us pretty much everywhere!"

April 1, 2014 / submitted by Dean, United Kingdom
Q.  Hi Oracle, can you please ask Matt McGinn what Jonny's new amps are that he's been using for the recent shows since the iTunes gig? How come he's abandoned his trusty Fender Devilles?


Your wish is my command...
"Not abandoned, don't worry - it's the same rig, we just put the speakers in soundproof isolation boxes away from the stage, so the audience didn't get their ears blown apart in the small room."

March 24, 2014 / submitted by Jake, United States of America
Q.  It is darn near impossible to find out I have looked everywhere online! Your my last hope. Should have been my first go too since your all knowing. What guitar strings (brand/gauge) does Jonny like to use?

Over to Matt McGinn for this one.

"We've always used D'addario but only cos that was what on his guitar when I first met him!
That said, they do have the advantage of having colour coded ends for each individual string - handy in a hurry.√‚Äö¬†

We do use Ernie Ball's too though, there doesn't seem to be much in it, tone or quality-wise. √‚Äö¬†No colour coding but each string comes in an individual envelope with a big number on it so you know the gauge.
Jonny's main guitars are set up with regular tens but we'll mix it up for odd tunings, such as Violet Hill which has a big fat bottom string to allow for being tuned down to C#.

Thanks, Matt!

February 11, 2014 / submitted by Begum, Turkey
Q.  Hello, how is your day? I hope everything is goin well. Here is my' question: Who are Jonny Buckland's guitar idols?
Thank you so much! Greetings from Turkey!

I'll go one step' more and give you a list of his musical heroes / influences from his formative years if you like:
Kevin Shields, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Keith Richards, Ian Brown, Aretha Franklin, Shaun Ryder, Nick Cave & bjork.

January 30, 2014 / submitted by Matias, Argentina
Q.  I just saw a picture in which Chris kisses Jonny. Is it real?

That photo is from when Coldplay performed at the Hollywood Bowl, 2003. Someone (with too much time on their hands perhaps) has made it look like a longer kiss by editing the speed.

November 20, 2013 / submitted by Jort, Netherlands
Q.  I found out that at the beginning of the MX-tour Jonny played almost only Fender stratocasters, but later in the tour he started playing Fender telecasters in almost every song. Why did he change?

Jort, I hand this over to the capable guitar tech hands of Matt McGinn:

"Well, this is sort of half-true. We used Stratocasters a lot early on during Mylo, but they never sounded as fat as the Tele's at gigs, which have humbucker pickups rather than the classic single-coils Strats usually come with.

In the end we reverted to the Tele's - 'Sunny', his fave, in particular - for most tunes, except Violet Hill (on which he's always played a 1974 Les Paul Deluxe) and God Put A Smile Upon Your Face. If you look at the live DVD footage from Paris Stade De France you'll see Jonny is playing 'Punky' on this track, which is a white, painted Strat with a Lollar Regal Humbucker fitted at the bridge position.

We did this so he can do all the nice Van Halen-y dive-bomb bits/feedback, etc. The whammy system has been doctored inside as well; it hardly ever goes out of tune, which is amazing if you look at what he's asking of it!

All clever stuff done by the good people at Noden Guitars of London, as always.

Unmodified Strats remained in use on the C-Stage throughout the tour however; they sounded pretty on the quieter numbers, when they were more out on their own and not competing with the big main-stage noise. These were hardtails, i.e. no whammy's.

Finally, the Tele's are actual Fenders but the Strats definitely aren't! They are Nash S63's, custom built by Nash Guitars, near Seattle, then hand-painted by graffiti artist Paris."

Thanks to Matt for this comprehensive answer.

August 20, 2013 / submitted by Steve, United States of America
Q.  Hey Oracle, my name is Steve from United States. My favorite guitarist in the world is Jonny Buckland, and I always had a question about his rigs...
I know he uses Fender Deville, but wondering if he's using stock speakers or others and what are some of his drive pedals that he uses to get the sound? If you could answer this for me, that will be the most awesome thing that will happen in my whole life...

Steve from the U.S, you're about to have the most awesome thing in your whole life happen (well, for now).
I asked Matt Mc Ginn to answer this one as this is very much his domain. He's given quite a detailed response:

Hope the following helps and isn't too techy! You're right, Jonny uses two 2x12 Hot Rod DeVilles live, hooked up in stereo for exta-silly delay effects. †The amps are so loud we have to have one facing backwards, along with an equally earsplitting (ask Bash the drum tech) Marshall 1960BX 4x12 cab driven by a reissue 100w Superlead head. †All Marshall pieces are stock but the Fenders are modded - they have Celestion Vintage speakers in, plus the pots have been changed so they effectively only go up to three instead of eleven, twelve, or whatever it is. They're the same vol, but the knobs are easier to use, is all. †And a pair of DeVilles is plenty loud enough, even running at two and a half! You might notice more stuff than this piled up behind him on his riser; that's cos we have a spare of everything, plumbed in and ready to go.†

As for Jonny's tone, it's achieved in a quite old-fashioned way, which is to say we don't use master or gain, we just turn it up a bit. †This, coupled with the humbucker pickups he has on most of his guitars, means he never really has a properly clean tone at all. †It sorta starts off slightly dirty and just gets muckier, depending how hard he plays and what pedals we decide to switch on.

There's all sorts of distortion and gain effects; Power Screamers, Rats, screwy echoes that break up, that sort of thing. †Most stuff we punch in is running pretty hot too - if there's a meter on a device you'll be seeing a little red!
You can have a look at the FX setup at their website.

August 12, 2013 / submitted by Chris, United Kingdom
Q.  Did Chris and Jonny became a school janitor? If yes, is it after college or while studying college? Hoping for your answer!

This was at college. The band were on the verge of a record deal but they decided to finish their time at UCL (all bar Guy that is) before signing to a label.
There is no way they had time to be janitors* post-studies as they literally went straight from college to touring and recording.

*Here's a little interesting fact. From 1984-9 there was a band from the North-East of England called The Janitors. Their guitar / keyboards player was Craig Hope - our very own Hoppy!