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How do you set your amp for country?

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,901
I've been asked to sit in with my buddy's modern country band for a few gigs and I'm not too familiar with exactly how a country guitar should sound. I'm more of a rock guy. BUT, I like their music and he's a good friend so I seek your wisdom. I have a Mesa Stiletto Ace head and a Les Paul. I'm probably only going to bring a delay and MAYBE an overdrive to the gig. Any suggestions on how to set up my amp for good country sounds?
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,675
Please bring your Delay with you,...and the best thing for you to remember, and take this from a Ol' Country picker/Drummer,...if it's CLOSE to being 'dialed in',...it's close enough for Country :rockin . Tom
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,145
Set it cleaner than you think you need. Use the OD to boost for leads. You need compression more than drive. Of course, that may not matter with some modern stuff, which uses some very gritty tones. Delay? Maybe for slapback if it's old school Cash. Maybe for doubling like Albert Lee, but you wouldn't be asking if you knew how to do that... On a Les Paul, use the middle pickup position. More twang. Have fun and good luck!
 

Rumors of War

Member
Messages
5,145
Isn't modern country the new "rock". Seriously though, whatever tones you're using already should translate.
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,522
Set your bass low, mids high, treble in the middle, amp on the edge of breakup.

90% of country tone is seriously in the note choice and picking technique. The way you attack the strings will do more to get you there than any piece of gear.
 

VESmedic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
248
Modern country? Your setup is fine. Maybe bring a tele if you have one, all the tones today on the records you hear are just Straight up rock tones with great clarity. Mildly overdriven LP and tele tones. Maybe a good delay ( tape style). You'll be set
 

kimock

Member
Messages
12,520
Might be helpful to refer to the Mesa recommended settings for a basic polka sound on the weather channel, and just use the straight early 80's top 40 Mexican Radio setting on the pinky channel.
Remember: scissors cuts paper and paper covers both rock and country, so any effects you use should be set to paper, not scissors, for that gig, especially the echo in case you accidentally play something worth repeating.
For compression, use only high quality hair care products for the authentic modern country effect.

That about covers it, really. .
 

amdowell

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,901
So, I got the set list and it does seem that most of it is Jason Aldean type stuff, but there is some old school country in there, too--Hank Williams, Garth Brooks, Alabama, etc. I guess I was just wondering if I need to set my amp super clean on channel 1 and just set for a light crunch on channel 2 or leave it at jcm800 type gain in tite gain like it is. I'm really just trying to sound good and mesh well with the band. I think my playing is on par enough, but I've never played most of these songs OR in a country band for that matter.
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,522
I guess I was just wondering if I need to set my amp super clean on channel 1 and just set for a light crunch on channel 2 or leave it at jcm800 type gain in tite gain like it is.
Country hasn't been 'super clean' since Bakersfield, don't worry about clean. The tone you're looking for is going to be more about how you set your EQ than about the amount of gain used. Lots of mids, very little bass, as much clarity as you can get. It's more challenging trying to get some of these tones out of a Les Paul, but it can be done, you'll just have to really EQ that fat, round low end out as much as possible.
 

VESmedic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
248
Yep, your setup is fine... Hell Kurt Allison from aldeans band uses a 5150 3, while Jack Sizemore uses a 5150 and Budda amps... Allison in the past used a mesa lonestar for the longest time, so I'd say you are good...
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,912
typically the best part of just about any current modern t40 country tune is the guitar tone...many poorly-written tunes, but so many excellent recorded guitar tones these days
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,949
Lately for a female fronted country, rock band (Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, etc) I have been using a Deluxe Reverb with volume on 5-6, treble and bass 4-5, reverb around 2. For effects... delay (deep blue), chorus (don't use it much for country stuff, more of the rock stuff), Mythical OD (clean boost), Direct Drive (dirty boost). I also have a wah I use on stuff like Reba's "Radio" and sometimes I'll use it for stuff like "Here for the Party" or outro solo to "Gunpowder and Lead". I could probably get by without the wah... but I like it.

I've been using different ODs... Nobels ODR-1, Timmy, TS9-DX, and a few others, but lately I've been digging the Mythical and Direct Drive. A lot of the modern stuff is pretty "heavy", so I find a "clean" platform overdriving with pedals works well. I tried a compressor and didn't really like it. If I was to add anything maybe another delay so I could have one for slapback and one for longer delay to use for volume swell, pedal steel type licks on things like "White Liar". We're basically 4 piece, so I kind of go for the Joe Ely/David Grissom Live at Liberty Lunch type of deal.
 
Messages
1,865
It's mostly your approach as mentioned above. I see guys all the time use Paul's, PRS etc. Of course you're always 'authentic' with a Tele or a Les Paul Jr. etc, but seriously you already have the gear. Spend the rest of the time getting the feel and vibe.
 






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