A viral video sky-rocketed him to fame, though Ramsey has been able to use his newfound spotlight to his advantage.
Mason Ramsey is best known as the yodelling Walmart kid, his rendition of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” in 2018 taking the internet by storm. Since then, Ramsey has gone on to release multiple singles and music videos, accompanied by his Famous EP, also from 2018. On the cover of this, he’s sporting a guitar close to his own size. Since then, he’s used a growing list of classic gear to make his music, performing and recording all over the world.
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Famous Alvarez Jumbo guitar
The massive guitar featured on the cover of the Famous EP is an Alvarez, recognisable because of the unique inlay on the headstock.
Ramsey’s Alvarez is especially unique in that the bridge and tailpiece are separated, whereas generally acoustically guitars feature a single piece of wood (usually the same wood at the fretboard).
Martin 00 Grand Concert
More recently, Ramsey has been playing a 14-fret 00 Grand Concert acoustic. It’s a smaller body size than a traditional dreadnought, though it retains the shoulders of the classic dreadnought design.
Smaller acoustic bodies lend themselves really well to recording, their smaller size not being as boomy as dreadnoughts. They retain the brightness and body without the mud, perfect for folk, country and Americana. Martin offers even smaller bodies in the 000-size, and these begin to bridge the gap between larger bodied and a parlour guitar.
Martin offers both 12-fret and 14-fret options, referring to where the neck joins the body, Ramsey opting for an option without a cutaway, retaining a little extra body size. Hank Williams used these extensively!
In the video for “Next Right Thing”, Ramsey is playing a Fender Mustang in a three-tone sunburst. While Fender’s three-tone burst was introduced in 1958 after about a decade of two-tone sunburst, the Mustang was originally only offered in red, white and blue colours, now generally accepted as Dakota Red, Daphne Blue and Vintage White.
Ramsey’s Mustang features the traditional on/off switches for the two pickups, classically angled and a single-coil design. There’s a traditional Mustang bridge, complete with a tremolo arm but Mason Ramsey has done away with this!
Shure 55 “Birdcage”
The “Next Right Thing” video also has Ramsey singing into a 55-style microphone, colloquially known as a ‘Birdcage’. Elvis Presely made these quite famous for his use of them in the 50s, the dynamic cardioid microphone being a great match for live and recorded microphones.
Predated by Shure’s first microphone, the 33N, the Shure Unidyne 55N was the world’s first single-element dynamic microphone. While the birdcage, metal-grille design has remained largely the same, the cloth beneath the grille to prevent plosives has changed, from silk and cotton to nylon or polyester. Most materials are generally acoustically transparent, and Shure would use whatever was available that wouldn’t shift the response of the microphone.
Another mic Ramsey has used, particularly in the studio, is another Shure: the SM7B.
Recently updated with the SM7dB, the SM7B follows the famous SM7 used by singers like Michael Jackson, Iron Maiden and AC/DC, selected because of their ability to handle and process dynamic sounds.
The SM7B was introduced with a larger windscreen to further reduce plosives, the Shure SM7dB having an additional pre-amp onboard to give users more gain to ensure a clear and dynamic recording, while retaining the SM7B’s mid-range and low-cut controls.
Fender Newporter Player
Ramsey’s classy looking Fender Newporter is more of a recent addition to Fender’s range, part of the California series, though manages to tie together a bunch of Fender’s greatest design elements.
Ramsey’s Newporter Player is finished in a classic glossy black, with a matching Strat-style headstock. Again, the Newporter has a smaller body, the full-size dreadnought being available in the Redondo Player.
Finally, Mason Ramsey has also played an Epiphone Hummingbird. Epiphone’s version of Gibson’s famous design, the Hummingbird is aptly named because of the hummingbird design on the guitar’s pickguard.
The Hummingbird is a dreadnought-sized guitar, featuring Epiphone’s hourglass headstock, reminiscent of their 60s Kalamazoo guitars. Ramsay’s is finished in a classic Cherryburst, with a very bright red outer track that blends to a warm yellow.
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