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How do you set your amp for country?


Senior Member
Isn't modern country the new "rock". Seriously though, whatever tones you're using already should translate.
This. Pretty much any rock amp with rock settings will do. Even with the few older-school tunes mixed in, 99% of your audience is going to have modern pop/bro-country as their reference point and the older tunes will be a novelty for them, so dialing in the modern sounds with a clean patch for the older stuff will be fine.


Just on the edge of clean to breakup as with all my amps.

I don't push mids unless I want to add hair.

Top end sparkles when I lay back and play with a gentle attack.

Low end tight punchy and detailed.

I let the other instruments take care of low mids and bass.

Open back or ported cab.

Cast Frame Ceramic or AlNiCo drivers or a blend.

Remember once you track a band, you discover everyone has a sonic pocket to fill.
You don't need to dial in your amp to "Be The Band"

The tones you may enjoy playing solo may not work in a busy mix.
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Let me start out by saying that Brad Paisley is my favorite guitarist and has some of my favorite country tones. His tone continues to get dirtier and dirtier, but is still "country" sounding due to his style. So, generally I try to copy his sound - to a certain point. I tend to run my amps with a little bit of hair/grit that gets dirtier the harder you dig in and can get cleaner the lighter you pick (But I tend to be a heavy picker/strummer). This tone also works GREAT for blues.... But I also have several overdrive pedals and 1 distortion pedal on my board and use them frequently for the rock stuff, or dirty leads.

Now here's what I play:
I play with my full-time band 3-4 weekends per month and fill in with two "top-40" country bands from time to time.

My band plays no country music newer than 1990....Yeah, we break that rule sometimes but for the most part it's all pre-90. So we're doing: Waylon, Willie, Haggard, Buck Owens, Dwight Yokum, ect...Plus some "red dirt" like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, Shooter Jennings, Jackson Taylor. We also play a lot of "party rock" and some newer rock, like: Skynyrd, Poison, Motley Crue, Bill Withers, John Mayer, Staind, Metallica, ect... My tone works just fine.

One of the Top 40 country bands I fill in for, plays: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Georgia Florida Line, ect... My tone works just fine for this stuff too. We also do some more, lighter, pop rock....and some of the same "red dirt" stuff.

The other top-40 country band is for a female singer and we do all the current "chick songs" on the radio, plus the SaMe "red dirt" stuff... and my tone is fine for that too.

So, I would say....Have a "clean-ish" - bright tone, a grittier tone and a pedal or two for the harder edged Aldean/Brantley Gilbert type stuff. I seen Jason Aldean live a couple years ago, one of his guitarist had two Dual Rectifiers on stage.


I played country full time in the 80s and again, in '99.
What is out there today is very different.
Even in '99, I was using a Boogie MK IV for a while, then a bf pro reverb. There certainly were quite a few songs with a rock edge by this time.

Recently a buddy of mine, rock guy, picked up a country gig and sent me a list of songs. I had sat in with him a bunch and he knew I could cover the trad country stuff. Some older stuff, but a lot of newer stuff.
The Toby Keith stuff, tele thru a Deluxe Reverb nailed it. Maybe a nice OD on some of it. The trad stuff, the Merle and such would be the same.
Some of it was straight rock stuff.
Some of it, I told him he was going to have to cover the main parts, it was way more heavy rock, almost metal, which I don't do all that great. Les Paul through Marshall, maybe even 5150 kind of sound. We ended up skipping most of that stuff, which I was just fine with .
I did wear my hat.

So, it really depends on what the gig is. Get a song list, go to youtube and check out what it is they are really playing.
Saying "country" these days is kind of saying "rock" - Chuck Berry? ABBA (hey, they're in the RRHOF, they Must be rock), Zep? Slayer? Buckethead?


Silver Supporting Member
I played the gig this weekend using my Stiletto on channel 1's crunch mode and boosted it with a BB Preamp for solos. Sounded great. I even used channel 2 quite a bit for heavier riffs. Apparently I didn't really need a clean sound and the Les Paul really filled the rhythm gaps against the other guitarists tele. I guess you really can do this kind of music with my gear.


I did a few modern country bands in the last few years. I used my H&K Tubemeisters for them. Single coiled Strat, and a humbucker Strat, with a basic rock tone set to lower gain than usual. That's pretty much what most modern country guys sound like.

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