Let’s get into his background before proceeding with
today’s subject because there may be some who don’t really know who Dave
Mason is...so take note.
We could simply say that he was the original guitarist for Traffic, that band from the late 60s where together with one Steve Winwood, Mason gave us great numbers like the imperishable Feelin’ Alright, which he himself composed and whose royalties, we imagine have afforded him a nice life since 1968.
We could also say that he was in the right place at the right time because while playing with Delaney & Bonnie along with 2 other collaborators of the duo, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, ended up participating in the solo projects that both giants began in those years. Firstly he formed part of the musicians who gave life to the legendary All Things Must Pass by Harrison and a little later he became a member of the band which produced the most desperate love song in the history of rock: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek & the Dominos captained by that Clapton with a broken heart and fingers and soul more alive than ever.
We could also add a more than remarkable solo career in the 70s, in his collaborations with Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones, and even his presence in the recording of Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix with his 12-string heard in All Along the Watchtower and the chorus in Crosstown Traffic...anyway, he isn’t just another guy this Dave Mason, so we’re going to see what guitars this ace used.
There isn’t a lot of info on the gear he used, so this time, more than ever, we have rifled through photos and videos we managed to find on the internet.
It seems clear that in his first stage with Traffic Fender was the brand in which he placed his trust because we can see him with various Stratocaster models and in some other gig we see him with a Telecaster, a model he has kept over the years since it’s not rare to see him with what looks like a Fender Telecaster ‘52 Reissue, besides a Fender with a Humbucker on the bridge and fitted with 2 Lace Sensors.
In the 70s we came across a recurring model throughout the whole decade: the Gibson Firebird. We even found the odd comment by roadies saying that he used several of them in each show due to tuning problems.
But apart from his electric guitars, we have seen him often with just an acoustic. He had 2 Martin D-45s in his years with Traffic, but during one show the PA equipment fell on both, rendering them fit to throw on the fire. Since then he has regularly used the brand Àlvarez - Yairi although while with Fleetwood Mac he was seen with a Taylor.
As you can see Mr. Mason knew how to surround himself with good guitars, and to reduce him to just one guitarist alone would be a disservice to this multi-instrumentalist and composer who, while not enjoying global fame of other contemporaries, is a fundamental part of some of the great records in rock history.