Brent Mason is one of the most experienced and respected guitarists on the planet, so picking his brains can unlock a treasure trove of experience. Fellow Nashville session ace Tom Bukovac did just that for viewers of his YouTube channel when he was recording with Mason and fellow luminary Bryan Sutton.
They gave up some of their lunch hour to talk favourite licks and moments from their sizeable back catalogues, but things took an interesting turn when Bukovac walked over to show us what effects pedals Mason was using near the end of the video.
Mason has a utilitarian approach to pedals that's usually the sign of someone who spends more time playing than talking about gear (guilty as charged here). Alongside choices including a TC Electronic Flashback X4 delay, E-HX Memory Man, Wampler Ego compressor and Mason's signature Wampler Hot Wired overdrive pedal, the guitarist wanted to give a special mention to a stompbox that's probably not found enough on contemporary pedalboards; an equalizer.
"I always put in on a 'board and I never really thought about it, but ever since I started using stompboxes I've always had that in there," he says of his Boss GE-7. It's an antiquated pedal but I really need [it]."
"It's so guitar-friendly," Mason adds. "It's not complicated."
Boss still sells the GE-7 seven-band EQ for under $120. And while an EQ pedal isn't going to excite players like a new overdrive or reverb pedal, it could turn out to be one of the best gear investments investment you'll ever make.
Its versatility is key for a mid-forward instrument where the ability to cut through and sit in a mix is crucial. We can't assume the combination of our other pedals, pickups and amp will always do that as well as it might.
The sliders allow you to dial things in fast – Sterephonics Adam Zindani even uses a Boss EQ as his boost – ranging from 100Hz to 6.4kHz with a boost/cut of +/- 15dB per band. Great for adjusting for using two or three different guitars with your setup too.
For live performers without the benefit of a sound engineer who understands their needs, it's the closest thing to having your own mixing desk on a pedalboard too!