Meredith Brooks' Gear

In the studio, Meredith Brooks uses a mixture of modern technology and classic guitars and amps. While her number one stage and studio axe is still her blond Custom Shop Fender Telecaster, she also employed a number of other guitars during the recording of Deconstruction, including Teles, Strats, Les Pauls, a reissue Gretsch Sparkle Jet, Martin and Guild acoustics, and a Yamaha 12-string. Typically, she ran those through a Fender DeVille, Vox AC30, a Soldano-powered Boogie cabinet, and a handful of other amps, including the virtual collection digitally re-created by Line 6's Amp Farm software. Brooks tweaks her sound with items such as the Digitech 2101 Artist Pro multi-effects unit, a Ratt distortion pedal, Cry Baby wah, Rocktron Replifex (for Leslie sounds), slide and E-Bow. Has your equipment changed much since the first album? What kind of guitars are you playing these days?

Brooks: Jay Black (Fender Custom Shop master builder) has made me several guitars since then. I probably used 15 or 20 guitars and six or eight different amps. Basically, I hate all amps. I can never find a tone I absolutely love and adore. It's probably because I don't play loud enough. I know that the only way to really get the kick I need and the sustain I need is to really turn up, but probably the only reason I've saved my ears and my throat all these years is that I don't play super-loud. I did on the album. How did you like doing hard disk recording with the Pro Tools system?

Brooks: At first I didn't want to use it. I was really leery of it, because I felt like it was cheating. But we didn't use it for correction, we used it for creating, mostly percussive parts. There's a couple parts on my guitar that I turned into percussion instruments. Those felt really good. What parts in particular?

Brooks: In both "Cosmic Woo Woo" and "Lay Down" there's a wah-wah that threads through both of them. We just sliced a part that was in time, and then looped it in Pro Tools through the whole song. So you didn't use Pro Tools as a tape machine, like a lot of people are doing?

Brooks: No, I didn't record right on to Pro Tools. There's something about that that I couldn't quite get with the program. I did tape and of course digital -- but not vocals. I still find it, even though I use a lot of different microphones, it doesn't give me the right sound for my voice. Did you use Line 6's Pro Tools plug-in Amp Farm at all?

Brooks: Yes I did, on "Careful What You Wish For," as a matter of fact. I think it's cool, and it really helped me on a couple of things. I used it on acoustic guitar on "Back To Nowhere." That's where some of those weird sounds come from. I also took my guitar parts and put them through a Norg, a keyboard. And I also put them through a 303, a cha-cha box. I triggered the guitars and did rhythmic stuff. You like to do all that crazy stuff, don't you?

Brooks: I totally do. It's so much fun. I get bored really fast. I'm like any good American who's had a remote control her whole life. I'm like, "Next, next, next," which is why an L.A. Times guy wrote [in his review], "This song sounds like this and this song sounds like that." And I'm saying, "Thank you."' It's almost like nobody listened. I said it in the first big hit: I'm never going to be boxed into anything. I'm going to be a creative creature, and I'm here to stay as an artist -- a career artist, not just a song artist.

Just can't get enough? Check out...