FEATURE > BRENT MASON
You Tube It To see Brent Mason chicken-pickin’ up a storm, check out the following clips on you Tube.com.
The session stud smokes his
way through his signature
tune “Hot Wired.”
You Tube search term:
Brent Mason - Hotwired
Mason sings “Since I Fell For
You,” then takes a burning guitar
solo punctuated by George
Benson-style scat singing.
You Tube search term: Brent
Mason The Players Live 3
Bebop meets country on this
2010 video featuring Mason and
his brother Randy.
You Tube search term: Brent &
Randy Mason “Smokin’ Section”
– Guitar Seminar
[standard] pick,” and I have fun
with it. In the past, it used to be
like a pacifier—if I didn’t have
that thumbpick, I couldn’t get
up. I would sneak out with my
head under my coat [laughs].
Do you use your other fingers in conjunction with the
Yeah, it’s a hybrid of thumbpick,
middle finger, and ring finger,
especially for arpeggios. And if
it’s something chromatic, I might
just use the thumbpick as a pick.
The first part of Recording
Guitar shows you adjusting
your guitar’s volume knob
a few times, mid-track, during
section changes. Do you worry
about bringing it back to the
same volume when that sec-
tion repeats, and if so, how do
you make sure it’s precise?
It doesn’t have to be that
micromanaged! I’ve got a good
sense of where the set volume
should be. If you’re doing a
solo and the level goes down a
little bit, you’re going to hear it
from the engineer: “Man, your
level went down. Bring it up 5
dB or something,” or, “Man,
your track’s not even close to
the volume on that first track.”
You’ll be called out on it if it
fluctuates that much. But it
doesn’t have to be that math-
ematical. Your sense of where
it was or where it should be is
usually good enough.
Tell us about the mods you’ve
had done to your ’ 68 Tele-
caster—which has been heard
on thousands of recordings.
Joe Glaser added a middle
pickup that’s wired in with its
own volume knob, which can
be bled in as an out-of-phase
sound. That was all done way
early on, when I was playing in
honky-tonk clubs. I took out
the original pickups because
they were noisy and put a
mini-humbucker in the neck,
and Seymour Duncan Vintage
Stacks for the middle and back.
I love Seymour’s work. [At the
time] I couldn’t afford to have
a Strat, a Les Paul, and a Tele.
I was broke and couldn’t afford
more than one guitar—now
I’ve got about 50.
What about your new Wampler
Hot Wired Brent Mason
It’s got characteristics of a Pro
Co Rat and an Ibanez Tube
Screamer, plus a little bit of a
plexi Marshall thing, too. It’s
also got a fat switch that we
really worked on. If you’re using
an open-back cabinet, sometimes you’re missing that low-end push. With this fat switch,
if you hit a low barre chord it
will push at you real big but
still have that open-back sound.
You get that air around it still.
Mason tunes his Joe Glaser-modified ‘ 68 Fender Tele, which features a middle pickup with its own volume knob.
You have a sweet collection of
vintage amps. Could a digital
modeler replace your rig?
No, I don’t think so. Things
like the Eleven Rack are close—
that’s as close as you’re going
to get right now—but I’ve got
to have the real thing. I love
hearing how the amp is going
to sound in a different place.
You might take the amp to a
studio with different acoustics
and it’s going to sound totally
different. To me, that can never
be duplicated or emulated. It’s
so three-dimensional. It’s pretty
remarkable what they can do
these days, and maybe it’s just
me being old-fashioned, but I
love the real thing.
120 PREMIER GUITAR FEBRUARY 2012