Fender honors country pioneer Waylon Jennings with a limited-edition Telecaster and Phaser pedal.
The "Outlaw Country" pioneer was rarely seen without a Fender guitar in hand—and more often than not, it was his prized, leather-clad 1954 Telecaster. FCS Masterbuilder Dave Brown worked closely with the Jennings family estate to replicate even the smallest details of Waylon's iconic guitar after deconstructing the original.
Throughout his career, Jennings consistently topped charts and received awards including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Male Vocalist of the Year, both from the Country Music Association. Although the country legend passed away over 20 years ago at age 64, the impact he left on the genre is still felt today. Today, Waylon’s legacy lives on through his son, two-time Grammy winner Shooter Jennings, who’s released 11 studio albums and produced dozens of songs spanning across multiple genres and many different artists including Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile.
Waylon Jennings Telecaster
The limited-edition Waylon Jennings Telecaster is designed to replicate Jennings’s original model down to the smallest of details. The 2-piece ash body is finished in period-correct Butterscotch Blonde before being wrapped in the distinctive, hand-tooled leather cover and paired with a 10/56 “V”-shaped, one-piece quartersawn maple neck. Custom Shop Hand-Wound '50/'51 Blackguard pickups provide unmistakable early-‘50s Telecaster tones with clear, crisp highs with well-balanced midrange and low end. $25,000.00 USD.
The Limited Edition Waylon Jennings Telecaster | Dream Factory | Fender
“Waylon Jennings’ 1954 Telecaster is instantly recognizable, both in style and sound, and it was an honor to work with Shooter and the rest of the Jennings family to recreate an instrument that helped define Waylon’s career,” said Dave Brown, Masterbuilder, Fender Custom Shop. “The original Telecaster was gifted to Waylon back in the 60s which he eventually had wrapped in a hand-tooled leather. I was excited to feature its incredible specs, including the banjo tuner that allows players to detune the low E enabling them to drop to a low D. The Telecaster, the pedal and accessories from the capsule collection pay a beautiful tribute to Waylon’s musical legacy.”
Waylon Jennings Phaser
Building on Fender’s original four-stage phaser circuit developed in the 1970’s, the Waylon Jennings Phaser provides three distinct flavors of phasing by switching between two, four, or six phase stages. When combined with the Range and Feedback Controls, these three phase voices cover the gamut of phasing tones used by Jennings on stage and in studio.
Fender Waylon Jennings Phaser Demo | First Look
More info at fender.com.
He's played on more than a thousand albums. Now, here's a close-up look at this Nashville session legend's live rig.
It's impossible to overstate Brent Mason's impact on country and, arguably, even rock guitar. Over the course of his more-than-35-year career, Mason has perfected a tone that's inspired an untold number of players, and there's even a Tele mod that bears his name. He's 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's Guitarist of the Year award 12 times, and there's a Grammy on his mantle.
Mason's live gear—which he showed us before his recent gig at Nashville's 3rd & Lindsley—is simple and cool as hell, but it's not his guitars or amps that've made him a hero. It's his imagination, virtuosic chops, and pure musicality.
[Brought to you by D'Addario XS Strings: https://www.daddario.com/XSRR]
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-paint re-fin happened before he got it, but most of his mods were done by top Nashville luthier Joe Glaser. His pickups are a neck Seymour Duncan humbucker, a Duncan single-coil in the middle (for the famed Brent Mason pickup mod), and another Duncan single-coil in the bridge.
Top of the Whirl
The headstock on Mason's well-traveled Tele shows its years, and plenty of character accumulated over its storied history. His old paint features locking tuners and a Glaser B-bender.
Not Yer Average Tele
Here's a close-up of that extra pickup. Note the additional speed dial, too. The bridge and neck pickups are controlled by a standard 3-way switch, with a master volume and tone. The middle pickup has its own individual volume control that lets Mason feather in as much or little as he wants, to combine its output with one or both of the other pickups.
Meet the Mason Model
The only other guitar Brent brought to this gig was his new Fender Brent Mason Signature Telecaster. This alder-bodied Tele has basically the same ingredients of his original, but with a lot less wear and tear.
Bend It Like Brent
Here's a close-up of the arm of the Glaser B-bender. It has no screws, no slack, no wobble … but it does have a thumbscrew to fine-tune its destination pitch.
Perfect Strangers Side by Side
Here's the sensei and its student in a side-by-side comparison.
Mason was switching between his 1964 Fender Twin Reverb and this early '70s Fender Super Reverb modded by Jeff Himes. The Super, with Mason's signal running into its no-frills Normal channel, did most of the heavy lifting on this gig.
Chairman of the Board
Mason's never been a big effects player, but his live pedalboard covers a lot of essential territory. It holds a Boss GE-7 Equalizer, a Wampler Ego Compressor, a Wampler Euphoria overdrive, an Xotic BB Preamp, Wampler's Hot Wired V2 distortion/overdrive, a Dunlop volume pedal with a Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner connected to its tuner out, a Fender Tre-Verb tremolo/reverb, a Fender Compugilist compressor/distortion, an Electro-Harmonix Memory Man 1100-TT, and a Live Wire ABY Box. It's all powered by a Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS12 with a Dunlop DC Brick for backup.
The riffs, the fills, the tones. What's not to love?
- Understand how to craft melodic licks in the style of Brent Mason, Pete Anderson, and others.
- Create flowing open-string licks.
- Learn how to combine blues with bluegrass.
Mainstream country music in the '90s was a guitar-lover's dream. Nearly every tune on the radio was full of tasty fills and ripping—but short—solos. The most prominent session player during this time was Brent Mason, whose car primer gray Tele became as iconic as the parts he crafted.
In this lesson, we will take inspiration from a few of the classic licks from the era and twist them around to make new ideas to add to your arsenal. We will cover double-stop licks, open-string lines, bending licks, and chromatic lines. Phrasing and timing is important and I will breakdown the key components to why they work and what chord to use them over. We will be using hybrid picking with all of examples.Since we are working specifically in the '90s country vein, I picked four tunes with lots of guitar work and rather long solo sections.
Vince Gill - Liza Jane
It's always great to learn exactly what the player did on the recording. Signature licks are what define the song and are important, especially if you're playing the tune live. But what happens if the tune is extended, or you are the only lead player that has to cover more territory and time? Some of these tunes have a long ending that vamp and fade out on the recording. What do you do then? You can always improvise a solo. These examples are a great launching pad for attacking those vamps.
Ex. 1 is a great way to kick off the beginning of the solo to "Liza Jane." It starts with an A7 arpeggio (A–C#–E–G) before chromatically approaching our comfortable blues box pattern. This lick ends in a very "Vince Gill" way with the unison bends and landing on a double-stop. Strive for the silky smoothness of Vince's phrasing.
Ex. 2 covers the C and D chords in the solo section. Using bluegrass ideas over both chords gives you a cool open-position lick for the C chord. Make sure to bend down on the D# note. Over the D chord we do an oblique bend ending the phrase on the b7, a very hip Vince-ism.
Alan Jackson - Chattahoochee (Official Music Video)
The intro to "Chattahoochee" is an all-time crowd pleaser, so make sure you get that under your fingers. Brent Mason's licks on this song are iconic and, in some ways, have become cliches—but in a good way. Ex. 3 is over the C chord and is a great way to work down the neck using double-stops.
There's a very cool II-V progression on the back half that fits perfectly with Ex. 4. Notice how I keep all the notes ringing through the first measure before adding a "dead" note and an element of chicken pickin'. Don't forget to really pluck that Bb on the 3rd string before resolving to the G.
Dwight Yoakam - Fast As You (Video)
Pete Anderson was another twang king that made waves in the '90s. During this time, he was the one behind nearly all the snappy riffs on Dwight Yoakam's albums. Ex. 5 has a B-Bender sound to it and should be given special attention. Notice how the second G on the 2nd string is only bent up a half-step. This is a simple and effective way to jam on the I chord in "Fast As You."
Next up we use a few open strings for a bluesy lick (Ex. 6). I can totally hear a bit of SRV in this one. Plus, the cool rake at the end is a signature Pete Anderson move.
Joe Diffie - Pickup Man (Official Music Video)
Ex. 7 uses a motif from the intro lick of Joe Diffie's "Pickup Man" and twists it around a bit. It's a nice way to reference the lick while using an open-string concept. Generally speaking, this riff uses G Mixolydian (G–A–B–C–D–E–F) along with a b3 (Bb). What a great way to combine blues with bluegrass.
Naturally, we can move this open-string idea to a different part of the neck. In Ex. 8, I keep the same tonality, but move it up to 10th position. This frees me up to reach for this idea in another place on the neck, which is invaluable when improvising.
The '90s provided us with so much great playing and ideas on how to approach country guitar. The high-energy playing combined so many great elements and techniques into unforgettable songs. My hope is that these examples will inspire you to dig deeper into the tunes and the players that define this style.