Finding A Modern Country Guitar Sound

For some reason, there are not a lot of resources (or at least not that many that I've found) that describe a general approach to getting a good modern country guitar sound. Of course, now that I've said that I'm sure I'll get a dozen people pointing me sites that I somehow missed. But anyway, I'd like to go over what I've learned from various readings, speaking to other guitarists, and from my own experimentation.

The first thing that you notice when you listen to guitarists like Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio, and others is how twangy and compressed their sound is. Now, if you aren't familiar with what a compressor does and what it sounds like, then saying that a guitar sounds "compressed" doesn't mean anything to you. A compressor limits the peaks and boosts the valleys of a guitar's signal. That is, it makes the quiet sounds louder and the louder sounds quieter, which evens out the attack. It also has the effect of making the sound very poppy and punchy, if that makes sense. I'll get back to achieving this sound a little later.

For the twang part of the sound sound, that typically means "more treble" in your sound. Make sure that your tone knob is maxed and use your bridge pickup on whatever guitar you're using. You can boost this treble sound by tweaking the equalization on your amp to favor the treble side. That is, start with your Bass, Middle, and Treble knobs "flat" or right in the middle. If your knobs go from 1 to 10, put them at 5 or 6. Now, to further boost the treble you can raise the Treble knob and set it at 8 or so. Also, if your amp has a Bright switch, flip that on. If your amp has a Presence knob, which is like the next step above Treble, you can turn that up a bit to your taste.

So far we have the very basics of a great country tone. Let's take it to the next level and discuss the various pieces of gear and how you can use them to shape your sound.

Guitars

Most country tricksters, as Johnny Hiland calls them, play Fender Telecaster which are known for their very twangy single-coil bridge pickups. You don't have to play a Telecaster to get a country sound, but using a guitar with a single-coil bridge pickup or a coil-splitting humbucker (which allows you to use the humbucker as a single-coil) definitely helps. Single-coil pickups have a much tighter, punchier sound that works well for country. That's not to say that you can't get a great country sound with a humbucker, but in general, most country guitarists play on Telecasters because of their bridge pickup.

Another common element that you might see on a guitar used by a country player is a maple fretboard, as opposed to a rosewood fretboard. There is some consensus that maple fretboards lead to a brighter sound. Not everyone agrees, but I've seen this to be true. However, and this is a BIG however, the difference is very subtle, in my opinion. I greatly prefer the feel of a rosewood fretboard so the extremely slight tone difference I found from a maple fretboard was definitely not worth it for me. Some people may feel that the tone difference is more noticeable, but after comparing the same American Telecasters with maple and rosewood fretboards, I could only barely tell the difference in tone but I could tell a great difference in feel and I prefer rosewood.

As for strings, I recommend a medium-gauge string, such as 9s, 10s, or 11s. For me, 9s are too light and 11s are a tad too heavy. You want a string that you can really bend on for those pedal steel double-stop oblique bends that are one of the signatures of country guitar. 10s have just the right amount of substance and tone while still allowing me to be flexible and bend as far as I need to.

If you're reading this, what I'm about to mention probably won't apply since it's a much more advanced feature, but I'll cover it anyway for reference. Some country guitarists have their guitars modified to include a B-bender or G-bender or even both. Until you see one, it's pretty difficult to understand exactly what it is, but I'll do my best to explain it.

Take the B-bender modification: from the front, the guitar looks pretty much unchanged except for a small ring behind bridge by the B string. The ball of the string is actually anchored in this ring rather than in the bridge, so the string goes past the bridge. Inside the guitar, there is a lever that is somehow (I've never actually seen the inside) connected to another lever by the neck-side strap post, which is spring-loaded. The shoulder strap then attaches to this new post and when you push the neck of the guitar down, the strap pulls against your shoulder and moves the lever which in turn pulls the lever by the ring and pulls the B-string tighter making the string ring sharp. It's almost like a whammy bar for a single string that is activated by pulling against the strap, or rather pushing the guitar down. This allows for pedal steel-style bends while playing. A G-bender is the same thing, except that it's typically pulling against the bridge-side strap post since most G-benders are implemented in addition to the B-bender. So with both, if you pushed down on the guitar on the neck and body, you'd get both the B and G strings to be pulled tighter, raising their respective pitches.

If that description was tough to follow, try taking a look at the pictures on this link: http://www.stringbender.com/bender/fenderb.html

Again, the B-bender and G-bender modification is not something that you will most likely need to worry about for now, but if you're completely befuddled by Jimmy Olander's licks, remember that he typically has a B and G-bender equipped guitar.

Pedals

In order to further shape your sound, you're going to want employ a few effects pedals. Many of these can be achieved by pedals, rack effects, studio processing, or digital modelers, but I'm going to stick to pedals for this article.

First off, any good pedalboard should have a tuner pedal. It doesn't seem that great until you have one and you realize how handy it is. That applies to any style of guitar; you need a pedal tuner. I recommend the Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner.

Second, one of the key elements in modern country guitar is the compressor. There are many compressors out there and they vary in price range. I have a Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer which has worked well for me. Some people have complaints about it, but they seem to be pretty standard for all compressors, not just the Boss. I've heard good things about Visual Sound Route 66 which has a compressor and an overdrive in one pedal. Guitarists seem to always be comparing the Ross Compressor (no, that's not a typo when I tried to type Boss, it is meant to be Ross) to all other pedals as if it was the mold that all pedals should made from. The MXR Dyna Comp also comes up quite often. Whichever compressor you choose, you want a highly "squished" sound. Try checking the manufacturer for suggestions for a "squished" or country sound and what settings achieve that sound. I typically run the Attack setting at about 60% and the Sustain at about 75% on my CS-3.

Third, you'll want some kind of delay or echo pedal to give you that quick slap-back sound that many country guitarists use. You don't want much delay at all. Something very subtle will do well as it should almost sound like reverb. I use an inexpensive Danelectro Fab Echo pedal for my slapback because it's cheap ($20) and it isn't meant for much delay, which is just what I want. I can also achieve this sound with my more expensive, fuller-featured delay pedals, but I'd rather save those for longer delays and echoes. As for settings, as I said, you want the delay time very short and you want it to repeat only once. When you play a single note, it should sound like a very quick and subtle "BUH-dup".

Lastly, I highly recommend a volume pedal for assisting with pedal steel volume swells. I use the Ernie Ball VP Jr., which works great for passive instruments (if your guitar doesn't require a 9v battery for EMG active pickups or something similar, then you have a passive guitar).

As for order, follow the standard effects ordering process that has been written about in a zillion posts and articles online. You'll also probably want a mild overdrive pedal and a chorus pedal, but these, like the tuner, are essential pedals to any setup, in my opinion.

Amps

This is where you will probably hear the widest variety of opinions in getting a country sound. My recommendation is either a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a Fender Twin Reverb. I play a Twin Reverb ('65 reissue), because I also like to use it for blues and it has a bright switch which the Deluxe Reverb is lacking. If you start paying attention to what your favorite guitarists play, you'll probably see Fender, Vox, Matchless, and Dr. Z (for Brad Paisley) amps. The common theme among all these amps is that they are all-tube combos with either one or two 12" speakers. You don't need a high-gain full-stack for country and, in fact, it is detrimental to your sound if you do have one.

If the amp you choose doesn't have reverb, you can supplement that with a reverb pedal or dial in your slap-back echo for a little more fullness. As for settings, as I mentioned previously, you want to put some extra weight in the treble side of the amp and then you can adjust from there depending on your taste.

Now that you have a starting point for how to get that modern country guitar sound, you can play with it to achieve your own sound. Also, I've found that the most important aspect of your tone is your fingers. To sound cliché, it's all in the touch. Learning a few country licks and learning the feel will take you a long way with a little preparation in getting your ideal tone.

If you've discovered other secrets, I'd be glad to hear them and even supplement this article with that information, so please do share. Good luck!

Category: 

Comments

thanx. i have a dd 2 and a dyna comp. any suggestions?

Set the compression on your Dyna Comp to about 75%, adjust the level to be flat with the pedal off. Set your DD2 to have a quick slap-back echo of about 100-200 milliseconds. It should sound like a quick repeat right after you play a note with a '60's surf rock type sound.

Thanks. Great article.

Would recommend Vox (eg AC15) for modern country. Really, wish I had bought one. Can get close to Paisley/ Mason tone without pedals. Clean tone is everything. Has tremolo built-in too, which is commonly used for country.

Also, stay away from "Hot-rodded" pickups. They don't have the twang of tradish pickups. eg Go for 52RI Tele rather than Nashville Deluxe.

I bought H & K (has a "Twang" switch), but should have gone for a Vox. Any ideas how I can get it more Voxy/Dr Z-like on the clean channel? It has EL84's. Thanks.

davidarlette@gmail.com

Yep, AC15s and AC30s are supposed to be good for country because of the natural compression. I've never been a fan of Vox amps, so I lean to the Fender side, but that's just my preference.

Sorry, Dave. I don't have any experience with H&K amps, other than knowing that they sound good. :) In general, and I know this is a cop out, stay clean, keep the treble a little above the mids and bass, use a little reverb, add some slap-back or slight delay if you've got it. Good luck.

Hi kenny, found your post on country guitar very interesting, I have a question, Iam trying to get that buzzy sustained bottom end sound to my leads, you hear it all the time in good country licks, im using a tele fender twin ri and cs-1 compressor and a bit of delay, the sound is almost there but not quite enough to suit me.Is there anything else they use or do to get this sound.

Tks

Frank

More lie Brad paisley bottom end sustains.

Unfortunately, Paisley's sound is a pretty complex one. He uses really high end equipment, like Dr. Z amps and a Way Huge Aquapuss analog delay. His compression, for the most part, comes from the natural compression in the Dr. Z amps, which are closest to Vox AC30s. He uses a couple clean boosts and some mild overdrives as well.

I would say try using pretty thick compression, make sure the bright switch on your amp is off, and use some boost or drive to push the head of the Twin. The problem with the Twin is that it has SOOOOO much headroom that you will almost never push the head. If you really want that sound, you might want to look into a lower wattage amp like a Deluxe Reverb or a Vox AC15 or AC30.

I wish I had a better answer for you, but getting artist specific sounds is really tough on an economy budget and without the same gear. I've finally resigned myself to starting in a direction of an artist that I like then then just finding a sound that works for me within my gear, that way it's "my" sound. Good luck, Frank.

Frank,

Paisley uses alot of Robert Keeley Effects. I play alot of Paisley's stuff and having the Keeley Effects has made the difference. He uses a Boss Blues Driver that has a Keeley Phat Mod on it that gets most of his sounds. He also uses the Keeley Compressor, which is a great pedal for any country style. The Keeley Effects are fairly expensive but I think they are worth the extra money!

Agreed, Caleb. My Keeley Compressor kicks the crap out of my Boss CS-3. It's not even a comparison. I'd like to have my BD-2 modded by Keeley, but I've got a pretty good range of drives, so it works out well. The Fulltone OCD is pretty sweet too. :)

Hey Kenny, youve got a real cool page here, real interesting. I was just wondering if you are familiar with Waylon Jennings sound. Aside from using a Fender Twin & Small Stone phase shifter and being Waylon Jennings, do you know of any other effects or tricks he used to get his sound? Thanks a lot, Darcy

Darcy,

Thanks for posting. Unfortunately, I'm not terribly familiar with Waylon Jennings' sound, specifically. I'm familiar with who he is, but I've never dug into his sound. The fact that you are hip to his use of the Small Stone puts you ahead of me on the topic. I'm sorry I can't offer any help.

I do, wish, however, that I had the money and access to get a hold of one of those Jennings Telecasters with the white leather. Those are soooooo cool: http://www.jetenginesound.com/way1.jpg

Hi Kenny,

you got an interesting page. Also i've got some problems finding the right countrysound. I've been tweaking endlessly. I'm using a Fender Tele, about the same pedals as you use and a Fender HotRod Deluxe, now i'm wondering that perhaps i might use the wrong amp, because the sound with the bridge-pickup is never twangy-clean, always too bit muddy or too sharp.It looks if there is no inbetween

What do you think? Thanks for any good news

(For info: i've spoken to a guitarplayer who was on stage the same time as Brad Paisley and saw him use also a Xotic RC Booster).

Rene,

Thanks for contributing. I love hearing from other people on what they are using and trying.

As for the Hot Rod, I have a friend who has one and it's a GREAT amp, but it's a little too warm for my tastes for country. That's not to say that you can't make it work, but you're going to want to try to dial down the drive and dial up the treble as much as you can without it getting shrill.

If the Hot Rod has a presence knob (I can't remember if it does), then you should try playing with that to add some sparkle. You might also want to try slapping a Boss EQ pedal (GE-7) in the mix to brighten it up.

Also, I've heard about people replacing the tubes and the speaker in the Hot Rod to get different sounds. For $100 in tubes or speaker, you could drastically clean up that sound if you don't want to buy another amp.

Mostly, don't think that you didn't buy a good amp. That Hot Rod (any of their incarnations) is a sweet amp and I'm sure you can get a good sound out of it with some tweaking.

Good luck and let me know what you try and how it turns out.

Kenny

not that it helps much but for humbucker equipped guitars i think its good to raise the bridge pickup really close to the strings to make the guitar sound hotter and a lil bit more twangy... my gibson sg (humbuckers) can almost sound similar tele... but i also have a knockoff les paul that i dont think has hot enough pickups, just cant get twang out of it... im using a crate gx130c as an amp and a boss dd3, boss ds2... and a wah pedal all stepped the way up adds for an interesting effect on most country licks...

I enjoyed this article and found it informative, however I think you should tell your readers that there are TWO models of the Ernie Ball VP Jr. The 6180 is for passive instruments, and the 6181 is for active instruments. After reading this sentence:

"I use the Ernie Ball VP Jr., which works great for passive instruments..."

I was not aware of this and I ordered the wrong pedal.

That's a good point. There are two versions of the pedal. I only mentioned that you should get the passive one for passive pickups, but if you have active pickups (as I mentioned about the 9v battery), then you want the active version. Thanks!

This is a topic of recent intrest for me. I have been pretty much a stock rock guitarist. I have always enjoyed country but in 17 years of guitar I had never even attempted to play anything country. One of the young guys from work that plays bass asked me if I would be interested in playing some country music with him and I agreed. I found out pretty quick that my current guitar didnt work so well and I went digging in an old box full of stomp boxes and my amp closet to see what I could find...What I found was its more of an attitude than any stomp box or amp can give you, but what I will share is what I found...I also am on a very limited budget these days so I really could not run out and get all new gear. What I did have on my side was the fact that over 17 years I have collected a lot of guitar gear...in my old stompbox box I found several compressors some ibanez and digitech delays and a few ods ...a morley power wah/volume pedal and the cleanest amp I had was actually an old deluxe 112 fender solid state amp made in the usa from way back in the day. I did shell out 145 dollars for a douglas tele, which has become my favorite guitar lol...I have a vintage gibson and the 145$ pos makes me smile ....what I ended up with is dod milk box compressor the vol/wah from morley a de-7 delay from ibanez and an old flanger from rocktron and a boss stock sd-1...here are my settings comp lvl-12 noon,comp 12 noon,exp off attack between 4-5 sd-1 a lil below noon on the level tone pointing to the t in tone and the drive set 9 oclock maybe a lil above that...delay set to between 300-400 mil sec, repeat-1 and mix at about 3.5 to 4 (this is more for soloing and runs) its also set to the delay mode but it did a really nice slap back in echo mode, however my amp has a good reverb on it set between 6.5 and 7 ....by tweeking the amps clean channel I could cop many, many country star tones...however what I ended up with was something between brad paisley and keith urban. amp settings are treb-4 mid-2.5-3 and bass-5 ...I would much rather have a combo tube amp , too bad none of my tube heads do country so well...I would think you could get a fender front man (very similar) to my old deluxe 112 just now made in china :( an Ibanez de-7 for 65$ and an od of choice the sd-1 39$ brand new works good with solid state a douglas tele for 150$ AND STILL NOT SPEND 500 BUCKS AND COP SERIOUS COUNTRY TONES..I know I would rather have better stuff too but after 17 years of playing I know tone and this gear works really,really good for it...Kenny thanks for bringing us all together...when I googled country rigs etc I didnt find much myself ...I hope this helps somebody ....If and when I can afford new gear for country sound I will share my findings...right now though I am very pleased with the tones I'm getting with my cheap old gear....a note on the rocktron flanger it does a vibe like thing I found to be kinda cool...I saw mentioned Waylon...it kinda has that phasey/vibe groove as well as good for getting that phase like tone on Hank jr's a country boy can survive..not dead on but a novelty pedal that is very versital ...I would not try those tones with any other flanger as the rocktron is very mild and more like a chours meets phaser than a full fledge flanger...I had an old mxr phaser and got some of those kinda tones too,but the rocktron flanger has a vibe like feel to it that just suits country better....Good luck and God Bless...

Try not to use a Fender Deville or Blues Deluxe they have a weird mid imho. If you use one, turn all the mids off. Use a distortion pedal with very very little distortion, you want it as a boost. Another trick is turn UP the treble on one of your devices (distortion or compressor) but turn DOWN the treble control on your guitar. I have used this trick on strats and teles for years, I know albert lee does also. Do not use the sustain knob on compressors above 12 o clock, use the gain as a booster pedal. One thing ofter overlooked each fender amp has a point on the bass knob that makes the sound fuller without getting mushy, each amp is different. One trick i have, i use both channels on a twin with an ab box, each channel is eq'ed different for different pickup settings.

Very nice job with the page; it is a great resource. Good to see country playing get some press. Couple of comments and a question or two so here goes...

1. Years ago, used to have a Telecaster with a phase switch to get that "scooped" mids sound. Are people still using them? Wish I hadn't sold that axe...
2. Modern effects like compression, delay, and chorus are great, but take a listen to the old-school greats from the 1950s and 1960s. People like Jimmy Bryant, Leon Rhodes, Phil Baugh, Joe Maphis, Don Rich and Roy Nichols. They got a fabulous tone out of very plain-jane set-ups - just a guitar, an amp (usually a Fender tube amp) and whatever effects were built into the amp. Sure, Bryant used his double-necked guitar tuned in thirds sometimes but mostly these guys made great music with very basic gear. Effects are great, but you don't always need them, as you point out.

3. I am a big fan of Dwight Yoakam's former guitar player, Pete Anderson. Anyone here have any idea how got his fabulous tone on those classic 1980s and 1990s hits? Near as I can figure, it is an old Tele, with a pinch of reverb or chorus thrown in, with some delay also and maybe compression. Still, there is something very glassy and shimmering about his sound, which is tough to duplicate.
I'm missing something. Any ideas?

Hey, thanks for the info! I have a Marshall class 5 and a Peavey bandit 112. I try to get a good country sound with my Marshall simply because it's all tube but my bandit is a solid state but gets a better trebely clean sound. Is there anything you can suggest to brighten the Marshall? Also Im using a 335 so Im getting a Fender Tele 52' RI in a few months. I use an Ibanez TS9 wich is a good mild overdrive and a Boss/ Fender 63' reverb. The sound I get is decent but do you think with a delay pedal, Tele, and Compression it will sound much better? Any other "things" you can suggest to get a good country sound would be great. PEACE!

Hey Josh,

I haven't played many Marshalls, but I think you might be better off to go with the Peavey. Marshalls are typically darker sounding and you want something really clean and bright. That said, maybe you can get a good bright, clean on your Marshall. Use presence if you've got it. Roll the presence up until it sounds bright, but not too shrill. Use your reverb pedal and don't use any reverb on your amp (if it has it).

That '52 will do wonders for your tone. It's hard to get a bright, snappy sound out of a 335. They are great for jazz and blues, but not so great for country. Use .10s for strings, especially if you can find something that claims to be brighter, like nickel. Make sure your tone is rolled all the way up, not off.

Good luck and post up what you figure out!

Oops, I missed your question about compression. Yes, compression will really help. I like the Keeley Compressor a lot, but it's expensive. Still, it'll be the last compressor you buy, so I think it's worth the extra cost. Adding a little slapback echo (or delay) will help too.

hey brother i haa question about overdrive pedals...what one would u recomend for country my buddies keep tellin me digitech bad monkey but i was looking for a second opinion

Hey Luke. I've never actually played a Bad Monkey, but I've heard it's a Tube Screamer clone. If that's true, it would be a good sound for mild country drive. It depends on the style of country you're going after, but I like to have 3 levels of distortion/overdrive. I like something mild up front, like a Tube Screamer, for that gritty sustain and drive for mostly-clean rhythm. Next, I like to have a medium crunch for chunky chords and rhythm, or to kick in on top of the mild drive. Last, I like something that has more of a violin/singing tone...almost fuzzy. Think Eric Johnson. That's your main lead when you want to kick in the modern pop/country/rock sound. Plus, you can layer those 3 pedals in various ways to get other sounds. Good luck!

Greetings from China. I'm Sun Jin. I'm a country guitar lover and I'm starting to learn some country tricks because I really really have a crash on country. I've sold my Beatles Strat and thinking of buying a tele. Thank you very much for your article. I've been noticing this article sine May 2010. Now I'm having a dilemma. Should I buy a Mexico Fender standard or a Squier classic vibe custom as those two are not very expensive. My friend is also selling his Fender Strat standard which has rosewood fretboard. Can you give me any suggestions? Thank you very much. Johnny Hiland rocks!

Hey Sun Jin, thanks for reading my article. In my opinion, the feel and quality of the neck of a guitar is the most important thing and that's the biggest difference between the lesser expensive models and the more expensive models. Play them both, compare the feel of the necks, and buy the one that feels the best. You can always upgrade the pickups later, but you can't improve the quality of the neck very easily. I haven't played those two guitars back to back, so I don't know which one has a better neck, but my guess would be the Mexican Standard. Good luck!

Hi Kenny the Twang!Good to see u again!I recently bought an MIM standard Strat at a good price and set my pod2.0 as u suggested. The tone suits me fine, and I really enjoy it. Well, I'd like to share some info I find on the Internet for your reference:
How to get a Tele style tone out of any Strat
This is an easy and cheap method to get a Tele style tone out of a
Stratocaster. It works best with a Strat´s bridge pickup. It will NOT turn
your Strat into a Telecaster but it sounds similar. As you may know, the
Telecaster bridge pickup is based on a massive metal plate and this plate
is part of it´s magic tone. If you have a look at the Strat´s pickups you
will notice that they don´t have such a plate ..... I think you got it yourself
now what to do ;-)
The original plate of the vintage Telecaster bridge pickup was made out of
copper or zinc plated steel and was named "shielding plate" in the old
Fender catalouges. Pickup covers are typically made from nonferrous
(iron-free) metals such as brass or nickel-silver, and are usually plated
with nickel, chrome, gold, or black chrome finish. If a cover were to
contain iron, it would alter the pickup’s magnetic field, thus changing the
pickup’s tone and response significantly. A prime example is the steel
plate used under original ’50s Tele bridge pickups to focus the magnetic
field up toward the strings. This helped give those old pickups their bite
and presence.
Take a piece of steel, about 1/2" x 2-1/2" x .060", and put it underneath
your Strat´s bridge single-coil pickup, as shown in the photo. The
magnets will hold it in place. The pickup will have a new sizzle that may
give you the “Tele edge” you’re looking for. If you like it, you'll have to
glue the steel in place with silicone or a glue that will isolate vibration. If
you don’t, she’ll squeal like a pig ;-) You can try several materials and let
your ears decide what you like best, closest to an old Tele vintage pickup
will be zinc or copper plated steel.
Available at the singlecoil-webshop (www.singlecoil.com/shop.html)

Hi Kenny! After I serched the Internet, I found some single bridge pickups for strat's upgrate are just like the one which's been described in previous article I pasted.For example Artec Alnico 5. I found a large piece of steel underneath that pickup. LOL! Some Duncan pickups got the same feature. I think it's interesting to DIY or buy a new bridge pickup with a piece of steel underneath.

Hey Sun Jin, thanks for the interesting post! I hadn't thought of that before, but it makes sense. I like those kinds of mods where you don't have to permanently alter your guitar. I like to be able to revert my guitar back to it's original specs fairly easily, especially on my USA-made Fenders.

Thanks again and good luck!

What about the pickups,someone fender,others lace, seymour,dimarzio and my eternal idol Danny Gatton, Joe Barden signature pickups. what's your choice.
I have a Cort tele copy (1992), with 2 Seymour humbuckers with a 5 positions switch, and a Fender tele Photoflame MIJ,93, with signature pickups, but I looking for a good twang sound on this.Thanks for your tpis and for share all this information, to all, blessins.

I haven't tried any alternative pickups. I've been pretty happy with my stock Fender American Tele pickups. My new B-Bender Tele has a Texas Special in the middle that I really like. I'd love to have a Strat with Texas Specials. :o)

I've recently jouned a country outfit an picked up a Mex Strat to use in place of my Epiphone emperor. Playing through a Marshall VS230 I get a pretty good clean and crunch but I'm using a Pod 2.0 (with floorboard) for my effects which is seriously dulling my sound even on tube preamp setting. I have picked up an Ibanez DS7 and a EH Echo 1 Delay - sounds like I need the compressor to complete the line up. Would you go BOSS CS or MXR Dyna/Super comp?
Ric

I have a Boss CS-3 and it's decent, but nowhere near as good as my Keeley Compressor. I haven't played a MXR Comp, but from what I've heard (and played through my POD HD Desktop), I think the MXR Dyna Comp would be the way to go. The older red models are supposed to be really good for squishy country. Try taking a look at this one: http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/csp028-76-vintage-dyna-comp

That's great, Ric! I'm glad to hear you're happy with it. Congratulations on the new toy. :o)

Kenny

I picked up the MXR Vintage 76 DynaComp in the end. I'ts giving me exactly the sound I was looking for. Nice piece of kit.
Thanks for the advice.
Ric

Thanks Kenny.
I'll pick one up. From digging around the Super Comp seems pretty good too.
Regards,
Ric

Try wamplerpedals.com for great "Country Effects" well worth the pice.

Hey JD,

Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of experience with getting that kind of sound with acoustic guitar. Depending on your style, you might want to try a compressor for your acoustic sound. Use it more to even out the notes rather than specifically to get it twangy like you would with an electric. That is, try some moderate settings rather than having everything dimed. For more melodic and slower songs, you might even try a chorus pedal. I don't think I'd put money into a phaser without trying it first. While Waylon used a phaser for his electric sound, I'm not sure how that would translate for an acoustic, but it's worth trying it out. A chorus pedal can give you some phasing effects, but it also thickens the sound by doubling it.

I hope that helps some. Good luck!

Kenny

Hey love the advice and page, great information and help, question to you and all, any ideas on setting up an acoustic electric to give it some kick/ i was told a phaser would help, but dont want to get too trebly as i like the deeper tones of an acoustic just want a little more twang but not quite the dobro for my guitars sound. I currently plug into my P/A and have no pedals as of yet. I have a descent amount saved for the new guitar and pedals/amp etc just want to make an educated decision on these investments as they aren't cheap. Thanks so much for your time and help!!

JD

i have a fender mustang 2 amp with a jackson guitar with a screaming blues pedal from digitech any suggestions???

Nice article!

My search for an amp lasted about 6 months. Trying a few vintage fenders and the DRRI. I ended up getting a 6V6 based Bogner New Yorker. Your advice on the vintage tele was great. I traded a Nashville Tele for an American Deluxe, added delay, comp, and verb. It is just a matter of adding the practice time.

Oh, the OCD is a nice dirt box in general. Kinda gets the EL84 power tube burn going.

Lots of great ideas to try out in this thread. Gotta get a steel plate under my strat bridge pickup!

I have been a professional country guitar player for over 20 years. In respect to that bottom grumbly paisley tone, these artists are typicall running an Xotic RC BOOSTER at the end of their signal chain to add that low rumble and a bit more hair. It also seems to push a stronger signal through the amp. Most players leave this pedal on with both clean and dirty sounds. I use one and it works great. Not over the top but just enough to get you there!!

Kenny. This makes sense. I love Tele's but I get all the same tones and much more from a PRS. Let's face it, Telecaster's not unlike Vinnie and Brad, have a cool factor of the first magnitude. There's no substitute for that. Walk into many N'Ville studios and you find out that many picker's say that Tele's are for show and there are many others that make the dough...Peace

Sorry, we STILL use teles in nashville. And guys, compressors are overrated and overused. Think a 6v6 amp, like a deluxe tweed or a deluxe reverb. Get the natural compression, you will never use a pedal. Get the slightly overdriven sound and the bass strings of your guitar will naturally distort a little more than the lighter strings because the signal will be louder, ala brad paisley. Remember, 6v6 amps, and please, lose the compressors. From 58 year old pro that still gets the calls.

Great discussion here! A few points I'd add, if I may:
I'd agree all the way about Fender valve amps, nobody mentioned the Princeton - check out what Marty Stewart and Kenny Vaughan get out of theirs. And for recording or miked through a PA, a Superchamp XD is a good way into 'the' sound - Tweed Champ emulation is particularly good.
I use a Hotrod Deville 2x12, which is versatile but takes some getting to know. But it will deliver once you find the sweet spots!
Don't overlook the drive/fatness-boost you can get from a simple EQ pedal, like the Boss GE-7.
If you can find one, an OD-1 is a classic, and very versatile overdrive pedal.
Finally, try one of the Squier CV50s Teles - bought a Butterscotch Blonde one recently as backup, and now use it as my No 1. Just love all the sounds, and it's very playable; Strat-style neck (but Tele headstock) works for me. The money you'll save on one of these guitars could go towards a decent amp or some better effects.

Great thread!
I'm always hearing how ringing some of the playing is on some recordings like Honey Bee by Blake Shelton.
Is it pedals like BBE Maximizer and compression or just Tele's and amps?
Can this be done live or is it Studio magic?
I'm playing an American Vintage '62 Tele Custom Reissue.

I have a boss Gx 700. Any ideas on how to bring about the Brad Paisley/Keith Urban soundn this machine?

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the Boss Gx 700. Maybe another reader will have a suggestion.

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