Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

Instrumentation Technical details infinite guitar and buzz bass

Secrets of the unique tone of Michael Brook's guitar

Brook achieves his own sound by ignoring the standard guitar sounds society has come to love through heavy brainwashing by so called 'guitar heroes.'

Most of these 'great' guitar tones are based on drastically changing the guitar's tone by running it through tube preamps and 12" speakers which boost the mids and give the guitar a very focused sound. While this technique is good in a rock band for the guitar to have its own territory in the sound field, it limits the range of sounds the guitar is capable of producing.

Brook avoids these cliched guitar tones by plugging his guitar directly into the mixer when recording. He does not use a Direct Box which simulates a miked guitar amp, but plugs the guitar directly into the mixer through a Neve preamp to boost the guitar's input level and add some warmth but not change the tone of the instument.

The result is a sound that is pure and very clear and glassy when using position 2 on the 5-way strat-style toggle switch which seems to be his preferred sound. Basically, you get the sound of the guitar and NOT the amp!

Michael apparently uses Passive Seymour Duncan pickups. However I have found that Active EMG pickups get me closer to his sound than any guitar with passive pickups. Active EMG's are powered by batteries and therefore create no hum or noise compared to passive pickups. EMG's are also very even-sounding and clean. They are a little punchy, almost as if compression were built in. Michael plays with his fingers and uses a heavy dose of compression to make his fingers have the attack of a pick.

Anyway, I have found that in a recording situation, EMG's are best for getting guitar direct to tape or disc because they are extremely clean, reproduce the widest range of the guitar's frequencies, and have a very even and balanced sound, almost as if they have built-in compression. I believe Michael uses active pickups simply because he would avoid the hassles of noise as well as getting an overall improved direct sound.

Aside from these approaches to his sound, I would say it is ultimately his fingers which create the warm flowing sound that is so easily identifiable.