Geek Peek: Chris Mason from Almeida

NAME: Chris Mason

GUITAR: McCarty Custom PRS

I’ve recently gone back to using my McCarty Custom PRS for shows, after favouring a USA Tele for the last few years.

It’s a little unusual for a PRS, as it’s half Gibson. With lightweight tuners, angled neck and headstock and a fixed bridge without individual saddles, giving it a super-warm tone. Oh, and birds up the neck, which I assume makes it sound better. It has more chunks taken out of it than Jesus in Passion of the Christ, and could use a full service and a fret dress, but it’s always been my favourite guitar and been used for almost everything I’ve recorded for Almeida.

I picked it up in New York about 10 years ago and, being such a ludicrously nice guitar, I’ve made no modifications as of yet – still rocking the stock pickups. I’m tempted to get Chris Brown [Darko] to fit a blower switch, which when pressed bypasses everything except the bridge pickup to the jack input (as in, no matter what settings you use, when you push the blower you get full volume/tone through the bridge pick up), so I can quickly change between vastly different sounds and maybe get more use out of the coil splitter…. which is pretty sweet.

I use hybrid gauge (9-46) though it was originally set up for 10s; sacrificing a little tone for longevity in my wrists. Live I play through a Mesa Dual Rectifier, minimal pedals including a reverb, delay and a tube screamer of sorts (currently a Soul Food when I can get it to work).

Almeida is a progressive thrash / melodic hardcore act from the South Coast of the UK, known for their unmatched technical musicianship, their jaw-dropping live performances and their creative songwriting.

Chris Mason teaches guitar in person in Brighton and via Skype, through his page Chris Mason Guitar Tuition. We guarantee that learning from one of the best is an excellent way to treat yourself and a great Christmas present for the budding shredder in your life.

In the store