Whether you love country music or hate it, you can’t argue that it has a pretty interesting tone, and requires a bunch of unique playing techniques for it to sound on point.
But how exactly do you achieve that sound without spending loads of money on equipment?
In this article, we will go over the crucial specs and features that a good amp for country twang needs to have.
You will learn how to set up the amp for this kind of tone, as well as other things you can do to achieve that old-school western sound.
Top 5 Guitar Amps for That Real Country Sound
1. Vox V9106 Pathfinder Combo
2. Fender Champion 20
3. Vox MINI3G2CL
4. Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube
5. Peavey Classic30 112
What is Country Twang?
Generally speaking, country twang can mean a couple of things.
Think of someone with a country or southern US accent. You can almost translate exactly that into the world of guitar tone.
It’s that unique, thin, yet treble-rich tone that’s mostly used in country music.
Sure, you could play any genre of music with the same tone settings, but it would lack that vibe and feel the genre is known for.
The same thing applies to country music. It’s that twang and bright tone that give this genre that unique flavor and essence.
Technique is as important as is your gear.
Like with any instrument and specific genre of music, the technique is as important, if not more important than the actual equipment you’re using.
People always say that a good musician can utilize even a bad sounding instrument and make it sound good.
So, in order to exploit the full potential of your guitar and amp, you first need to take into consideration a couple of things.
- Practice With Your Guitar Unplugged
This way, you can focus more on the actual fingerwork than the sound. It’s important to get a good grip of your instrument before you start playing around with your tone.
- A Heavier Pick May be More Comfortable
Considering the tonal characteristics of the genre in question, a slightly heavier and thicker pick should result in a more accurate sound.
- Try 10’s for Your String Size
Same as the previous tip regarding the pick, this type of strings will make achieving that twang way easier.
- Focus on the Picking Hand
As country can get pretty fast, focusing on your picking hand and working on your stamina will greatly improve your skill level.
What Kind of Amp Should You Look for?
Think about country music, listen to it, and focus on the guitar.
What can you tell about the tone?
Well, first of all, you need to look for an amp that has a good clean tone.
As most songs utilize this kind of tone more than an overdriven or distorted one, a natural sounding and clear clean tone is your priority.
On the other hand, some of the most popular country guitarists like to turn on the overdrive when playing solos.
So, basically, you’re looking for a great clean tone, with a good and powerful overdrive.
Tube amps are probably the best choice for country twang, but unfortunately, they tend to be pretty expensive.
Solid state amps will do the job just fine, especially considering the fact that you’re more or less a beginner.
In the review part of this article, you will have the chance to look at some of the best amps we’ve chosen, coming from different price ranges.
Dial in Your Sound – The Gain, EQ, and Effects
So, how do you actually achieve that country twang tone?
You’re looking for a thin sound, with a lot of treble.
A good starting position on your amp can look like this:
- Set your volume at a level you normally would
- Gain should be somewhere in the middle, with a slight boost for when you’re playing a solo
- If you’re playing a Telecaster or a similar sounding guitar, dial in the bass at around 12 o clock
- On the other hand, guitars with humbucker pickups sound better with slightly less bass
- Play around with the highs – As we’ve said, it’s all about reaching that thin, treble- rich tone
As for the effects, it’s up to you and your personal preferences.
Country twang shouldn’t be too saturated with effects. A bit of reverb, or even a hint of delay. Experiment with the settings on your amp, or pedals if you use any.
By following these simple steps, you will have a good baseline, with which you can play around, and modify it to sound just the way you like it.
While there are certain boundaries and borders in music, at the end of the day it’s up to you to find that tone and dial in those settings that sound and feel the most comfortable!
Reviews of the Best Guitar Amps for Country Twang