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Nail John Mayer’s sound on a budget with these 5 Prime Day deals

Can we nail the John Mayer sound with only gear on sale this Prime Day?
(Image credit: Future)

So here's the set up: we're aiming to piece together a rig to recreate John Mayer's core electric guitar sound, using only gear that is currently discounted for Prime Day. Ok, admittedly, this is a rather tall order. It would be hard enough to pull this off given an unlimited budget and access to every piece of music gear on the planet - but come on, we like a challenge (and we've been awake for almost 48 hours). 

The first step in recreating this sound is to distill it down into its most basic form and go from there. So what is John's tone? Put simply, it's typically a single-coil guitar and boutique valve amp with plenty of headroom and usually a Tubescreamer, and Klon for a bit of bite. 

That's not to say he doesn't use anything else, but this has been his core tone for many, many years. He has been known to use a little delay from time to time, and since Mayer seems to be on an '80s kick at the moment with latest single Last Train Home, the odd chorus effect has been cropping up more and more. 

Now, remember this is only a bit of fun. To recreate John Mayer's tone perfectly, you would need to actually be John Mayer and have access to around a million dollars. So, without further ado, let's dive into our picks.

Guitar

We all know John is famous for playing a Fender Stratocaster, and more recently, a PRS Silver Sky. So for our pick, we have gone for the Fender Player HSS Stratocaster, which currently has $160 off at Guitar Center. We know it isn't exactly right, but it's close enough. It may have a humbucker in the bridge, but you'll still be able to get those "out of phase" sounds in positions two and four.  

Fender Player Strat HSS: Was $809.99, now $649.99

Fender Player Strat HSS: Was $809.99, now $649.99
This ultra-modern guitar is capable of producing searing lead tones as well as the crisp, clean tones you’d expect from a Strat. Right now, you can get a whopping $160 off!

 Amplifier 

It's not all that surprising that Amazon didn't have a Dumble or Two-Rock on sale this Prime Day - maybe next year. So, we've decided to go for the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, which again is on sale at Guitar Center. We need a valve amp with plenty of headroom for this rig to work, which the Hotrod has in spades, and not to mention an excellent spring reverb.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV: Was $849.99, now $799.99

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV: Was $849.99, now $799.99
A powerful, reliable amp is one of the most critical elements of any gigging musician's rig - and they don't come more reliable than the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Widely considered one of the most popular valve combo amps of all time, the Hot Rod Deluxe will handle any size of stage, from small bar gigs to full-on theater shows. The 12" Celestion A-Type speaker delivers a clear, balanced sound, while the 40W of power offers a tremendous amount of clean headroom. 

Pedals 

So John Mayer doesn't use all that much when it comes to effects pedals. The main culprits are usually an Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Klon. Now, we know the Klon was going to be impossible to get on Amazon, but we've managed to track down a discounted Ibanez TS808. To achieve those 80s inspired clean tones, we have also managed to find an Ibanez mini chorus with $9 off.  

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer: Was $151.80, now $137.27

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer: Was $151.80, now $137.27
The Tube Screamer has been used by countless guitar players for its ability to push an amp into natural overdrive, while the mid-range boost means you are always heard. Get 10% off at Amazon right now. 

Ibanez Mini Chorus: Was $95, now $80

Ibanez Mini Chorus: Was $95, now $80
If you need a chorus pedal that will take up as little room as possible, then the Ibanez Mini Chorus is the pedal for you! This all-analog pedal currently has $15 off at Amazon. 

Accessories 

So, we could leave it there, and we would have a pretty stellar blues-rock guitar rig. “But we wanted to recreate the intro to Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey, and XO”, we hear you scream. Well, you're going to need a harmonica, and we've managed to find one of them on sale as well! 

URBANE Blues Deluxe Harmonica: Was $28.88, now $11.88

URBANE Blues Deluxe Harmonica: Was $28.88, now $11.88
Never tried the harmonica? Well, it's worth giving it ago, it's surprisingly fun and not as hard as it looks, and with $17 off, it's not going to break the bank to give it ago. 

Well, that's all the cool John Mayer-inspired gear we could find this Prime Day. Obviously, Amazon doesn't sell talent and masterful songwriting ability, so you're going to need to work on that bit yourself.  

Looking for more deals? Well, we will be sharing all the best guitar offers and more on our Prime Day guitar deals page.

Daryl Robertson

First and foremost, I'm a guitar enthusiast – a fanatic, some might say. I'm a firm believer that most of the world's problems can be solved with a Gibson SG and a catastrophically loud amp. As Junior Deals Writer on Guitar World, I write about guitars for a living, but in a past life, I worked in music retail for 7 years, advising customers on the right guitars, basses, drums, pianos, and PA systems for their needs. I also have a passion for live sound; I'm a fully qualified sound engineer with experience working in various venues in Scotland, where I live with my wife and dog.