Sharing the Stage with Brian Wooten
I recently had the pleasure to sit down and
talk to both of Trace Adkins’ great guitar players, Mark Gillespie and Brian Wooten. The
interviews went so well that we decided to
split them up, and Gillespie’s appeared in last
month’s issue. This month, as promised, I bring
you the other half of this dynamic country
music duo, and what makes him tick.
brought out an Ark Aviator amp for a while,
and it sounded awesome. I did some sound
clips for them that are posted on their website.
I love the way that amp records.
Brandt and Chris Cagle before Trace.
How long have you now been with Trace?
I’m the new guy! I’ve been here a short four years.
How do you and Mark decide who’s going
to cover which parts live?
Hey Brian, I really dig your tone and style
with Trace. What guitars are you playing
The first song I can remember learning on
guitar was probably the “The Original Peter
Gunn Theme” by Henri Mancini. It was so
easy, but sounded so cool! What was the
first song you remember playing?
Probably “Louie Louie.” It was only three chords!
I start the show with a PRS McCarty. It’s a quilt
top with a solid rosewood neck, and it’s tuned
to drop-D tuning. The first two songs are pretty
rocking and it sounds great on those. The rest
of the show I use a Greenwich Village Custom
Guitars Tele that is a copy of a ’ 63 Inca Silver
Tele. It has a Voodoo T60 in the bridge position, which is a pretty aggressive sounding Tele
pickup. I put an inexpensive Fatboy in the neck
position because it’s brighter than a typical Tele
neck pickup. This is my main guitar. It just feels
like an old pair of shoes. It can rock out quite
well and cleans up very nicely, too.
We arm wrestle! I usually lose, so I have to play
the parts that Mark doesn’t want to [laughs].
Actually, I’m naturally drawn to the more “rock”
sounding parts, and since Mark can play rings
around me in the country style, I always defer
to him on those parts. We usually take turns on
who will take the solo.
How old were you?
What pedals are you currently using?
I hit a buffer at the front of the pedalboard into
a Paul Cochrane Timmy [distortion], which is
always on. Then it goes into an MI Audio Tube
Zone for high-gain stuff. After that, I’ve got my
custom-made Cochrane compressor, which is
a tweaked version of an old Dan Armstrong
Orange Squeezer. After the gain stuff, I have
my Ernie Ball volume pedal and then all the
usual stuff: a Boss tremolo and delay and an
Arion SCH- 1 chorus. Although I do use the volume control on my guitar a lot.
Twelve or 13 years old, I think.
Do you own any rare or vintage guitars?
Oh, if I only had half of what I used to own
[laughs]. The only vintage instrument I have
now is a Gretsch Tennessean Chet Atkins
model. I just love the way it tracks. The only
other piece of vintage gear I own is my old
Marshall cab. I used to have a ’ 59 Les Paul
flametop, a ’ 65 Strat, a ’ 59 4x10 Bassman, a ’ 69
Plexi and a ’60s AC30. Who knew?
Do you ever find the time to do any proj-
ects outside of the Trace gig?
Who are your influences?
I’m trying to get back into songwriting more. I
recently got a Pro Tools rig on my laptop so I
can record guitars at home. I’ve been playing
acoustic for a new artist by the name of Stevie
Thanks Brian for sharing with us. It’s been
awesome having you out on tour with us.
What amps are you playing through right now?
This is going to give my age away, but growing up I really liked all the guitar players in
Moby Grape. Then there was this local Texas
guy named Todd Potter, and of course Jimi
Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Later on
there was Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Johnson
and Trevor Rabin. After moving to Nashville I
got into Dann Huff and Brent Mason, too.
I’ve been using a Divided by 13 FTR 37 for
about seven years now. It sounds like a very
big [Fender] Deluxe, but with more bottom
end. I use the clean channel exclusively and rely
on my Tube Zone for the gain stuff. This amp
works perfectly for the Trace gig. I can cover all
the clean country stuff, as well as the heavier
rock stuff. I think it balances well with Mark’s
Pro Reverb. My cabinet is a late ’60s Marshall
4x12 loaded with Celestion Blackbacks. I
What other bands have you played with?
In Austin, Texas, I was in a band called Too
Smooth, which was an all original rock band.
We opened for every major rock act that came
through town, and had a huge local following.
We try to have reunion gigs every year or so
back in Austin. After moving to Nashville, I’ve
played with The Imperials, White Heart, Paul
Rich Eckhardt is one of the most sought-after guitarists in
Nashville. His ability to cover multiple styles has put him on
stage with singers ranging from Steven Tyler of Aerosmith to
Shania Twain. Rich is currently playing lead guitar with Toby
Keith. His latest CD, Cottage City Firehouse is available online
at CDbaby.com or at richeckhardt.com
40 PREMIER GUITAR DECEMBER 2009