Rig presentation: Brent Mason [2021]


It’s impossible to overstate Brent Mason’s impact on country and, arguably, even rock guitar. Over his 35-plus-year career, Mason has perfected a tone that has inspired countless gamers, and there’s even a Tele mod named after him. He is also a highly respected and successful producer and solo artist, a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame, has won the Academy of Country Music Guitarist of the Year award 12 times, and there is a Grammy on his coat.

Mason’s live material, which he showed us before his recent concert at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley — is simple and cool as hell, but it wasn’t his guitars or his amps that made him a hero. It is his imagination, his virtuoso chops and his pure musicality.

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Honky Tonk Excalibur

Mason’s battered and highly modified 1967 Telecaster has probably been on more hit country songs than any other guitar. The car’s paint refurbishment took place before he got it, but most of his alterations were done by Nashville’s top luthier, Joe Glaser. Its pickups are a Seymour Duncan neck humbucker, a Duncan single coil in the middle (for the famous Brent Mason pickup mod) and another Duncan single coil at the bridge.

Top of the vortex

Mason’s heavily trafficked Tele doll shows off his years and a lot of character built up over the course of his history. Its old paintwork features lockable tuners and a B-bender Glaser.

Not your average TV

Here’s a close up of that extra pickup. Also note the additional speed dial. The bridge and neck pickups are controlled by a standard 3-position switch, with main volume and tone. The middle mic has its own individual volume control which allows Mason to intervene as much or little as he wants, to combine his output with one or both of the other mics.

Meet the model Mason

Brent Mason Telecaster

The only other guitar Brent brought to this gig was his new Fender Brent Mason Signature Telecaster. This alder-bodied Tele has essentially the same ingredients as its original, but with much less wear and tear.

Fold it like Brent

Here is a close up of the Glaser B bender arm. It has no screws, no play, no wobble… but it has a thumbscrew to fine tune its destination pitch.

Perfect strangers side by side

Here is the sensei and his student in a side-by-side comparison.

Four-way heat

Mason alternated between his 1964 Fender Twin Reverb and this early 1970s Fender Super Reverb modified by Jeff Himes. The Super, with Mason’s signal running in his normal, no-frills channel, did the heavy lifting on this gig.

President of the council

Mason was never a great effects player, but his live pedalboard covers a lot of essential territory. It contains a Boss GE-7 EQ, a Wampler Ego compressor, a Wampler Euphoria overdrive, a BB Xotic preamp, Wampler’s Hot Wired V2 distortion / overdrive, a Dunlop volume pedal with a Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner connected to its tuner output, a Fender Tre-Verb tremolo / reverb, a Fender Compugilist compressor / distortion, an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man 1100-TT and a Live Wire ABY Box. Everything is powered by a Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12 with a Dunlop DC brick for backup.

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