Best amp for country music?

Jakedog

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Posts
22,734
Location
The North Coast
I mostly use an Engl head and celestion loaded cabs. No, I’m not kidding.

For larger gigs I’ll use a 50 watt Boogie or 100 watt Marshall 2x12 combo. No one ever complains.

I’m a huge fan of (real) country music. Never been much of a fan of Fender amps. I’ll use one in a pinch, if it’s provided backline on a big multi-band bill, or at a festival or something. It’s definitely not the end of the world. But left to my own devices I’d much rather have something more mid-forward.
 

Synchro

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Posts
694
Location
Tucson, AZ.
Deluxe Reverb is the sound to me, but I grew up listening to Dwight Yoakam albums.

My ‘68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb certainly hits the sounds. It’s got bright switches like a Twin Reverb. I won’t pass up the next good deal on. Twin I see. The Vibrolux is probably all I’ll ever need but I’ve got a sickness.
The Bright switches are the key. The only thing I don’t like about my ‘68 CDR is that the normal channel lacks the C-10 “bright cap”. The normal channel sounds lifeless to me, at low volumes.

The Deluxe Reverb simply lacks the real estate for bright switches, and IMO, this is a significant limitation. Bright switches allow highs, above the cutoff frequency of the bright cap‘ to bypass the volume control, so these caps are more effective at lower volumes. Therein is the conundrum. sometimes you benefit from the bright cap, and other times, it can be too harsh.

I love my ‘68 CDR, but if I had a do-over, I’d go for the Vibrolux version. I may yet install a bright cap on my ‘68 CDR, because as it is, I don’t have much use for the normal channel.
I mostly use an Engl head and celestion loaded cabs. No, I’m not kidding.

For larger gigs I’ll use a 50 watt Boogie or 100 watt Marshall 2x12 combo. No one ever complains.

I’m a huge fan of (real) country music. Never been much of a fan of Fender amps. I’ll use one in a pinch, if it’s provided backline on a big multi-band bill, or at a festival or something. It’s definitely not the end of the world. But left to my own devices I’d much rather have something more mid-forward.
The Custom series Fenders use what they call the Bassman tone stack, which has a lot more midrange. The midrange cap’ value is different and the result is one I find pleasing; more midrange, but the highs are still there for the taking, if you want them.

As with all variables, it comes down to a trade off. Some of my favorite amps are the Brownface era, which had more midrange. These were the amps most prominent in the early Surf recordings and, while Surf is usually remembered as being very bright, in reality, those first gen’ Surf recordings had more midrange than was available in the AB 763 “Blackface” era.

When I first joined the Surf Guitar forum, I was under the mistaken assumption that a Blackface Twin was basically the same as a Brownface Showman. I was quickly, and quite politely, disabused of this notion and it was suggested that I listen to Freddie King’s recording of Hideaway as an example of the base sound of a ‘62 Showman.

At least for my purposes, the “Fender sound” is a bit complex. The AB 763 amps were an innovation, but they can fall victim to the icepick effect. The Tweed amps were brilliant and had a very rich tonal spectrum, and the “Brownface” amps were somewhere in between, and in many ways my favorite. But it’s not that simple, because the Super Reverb was an AB 763 with a tone stack that used the same midrange cap‘ value as the “Bassman tone stack”, and these amps were very rich sounding. Horses for courses, I guess.
 

LesTele

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 6, 2020
Posts
197
Age
35
Location
Richmond, VA
I suspect a lot of people are gonna say the classic fender line eg twin deluxe and Princeton. They are good but honestly the one I think is best for country is an amp that has been discontinued called the dr z stangray. It has the shimmer of fender amps in a vox way that sounds more sophisticated and beautiful. It is vintage Vox ac30 inspired with ef86 and el84s with a Kent fisher coveted transformer all point to point wired of course. It is king for that chicken picking Nashville sound but stays really clean unlike a z wreck. Kind of hard to find but once you get one you hold on to it for life. Just my two cents
 

redhouse_ca

TDPRI Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Posts
57
Age
54
Location
USA
This doesn’t really answer your question, but I think John Hyatt put it well in Memphis in the Meantime: “well I like country music, and I like mandolin, but right now I need a telecaster through a vibrolux turned up to 10.” Since my vibrolux goes to 12, you have some wiggle room to get it more country on one or the other side of “10”.
 

Maguchi

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Posts
2,310
Location
Lalaland
What y’all think? Also what is a “country music amp” in the most generic of terms?

Peavey bandit is all over that one.

Peavey. It’s dependable, inexpensive used and takes any pedal you care to throw at it.

Peavey Classic 30 or Classic 50
PEAVEY!

20210312_181921 (1).jpg
20201016_164726.jpg
20201020_113812 (1).jpg
 

Jakedog

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Posts
22,734
Location
The North Coast
The Bright switches are the key. The only thing I don’t like about my ‘68 CDR is that the normal channel lacks the C-10 “bright cap”. The normal channel sounds lifeless to me, at low volumes.

The Deluxe Reverb simply lacks the real estate for bright switches, and IMO, this is a significant limitation. Bright switches allow highs, above the cutoff frequency of the bright cap‘ to bypass the volume control, so these caps are more effective at lower volumes. Therein is the conundrum. sometimes you benefit from the bright cap, and other times, it can be too harsh.

I love my ‘68 CDR, but if I had a do-over, I’d go for the Vibrolux version. I may yet install a bright cap on my ‘68 CDR, because as it is, I don’t have much use for the normal channel.

The Custom series Fenders use what they call the Bassman tone stack, which has a lot more midrange. The midrange cap’ value is different and the result is one I find pleasing; more midrange, but the highs are still there for the taking, if you want them.

As with all variables, it comes down to a trade off. Some of my favorite amps are the Brownface era, which had more midrange. These were the amps most prominent in the early Surf recordings and, while Surf is usually remembered as being very bright, in reality, those first gen’ Surf recordings had more midrange than was available in the AB 763 “Blackface” era.

When I first joined the Surf Guitar forum, I was under the mistaken assumption that a Blackface Twin was basically the same as a Brownface Showman. I was quickly, and quite politely, disabused of this notion and it was suggested that I listen to Freddie King’s recording of Hideaway as an example of the base sound of a ‘62 Showman.

At least for my purposes, the “Fender sound” is a bit complex. The AB 763 amps were an innovation, but they can fall victim to the icepick effect. The Tweed amps were brilliant and had a very rich tonal spectrum, and the “Brownface” amps were somewhere in between, and in many ways my favorite. But it’s not that simple, because the Super Reverb was an AB 763 with a tone stack that used the same midrange cap‘ value as the “Bassman tone stack”, and these amps were very rich sounding. Horses for courses, I guess.
Browns are my favorites as well. Hands down. But they’re prohibitively expensive, even as repops.

Happy had a ‘68 Custom Deluxe reverb for about half a year. Couldn’t get the sound out of that I was after at all. And the highs were the biggest problem. It did have a lot more mid than I’m used to hearing from a BF/SF amp, that’s for sure.

My Engl on the clean side has a master volume that works insanely well, and much more of Matchless/Trainwreck thing going on. I have the Boogie and Marshall for really big rooms or stages, but really, they don’t even get in the ballpark for clarity and real chime. But at least they’ve got the mids!
 

Synchro

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Posts
694
Location
Tucson, AZ.
Browns are my favorites as well. Hands down. But they’re prohibitively expensive, even as repops.

Happy had a ‘68 Custom Deluxe reverb for about half a year. Couldn’t get the sound out of that I was after at all. And the highs were the biggest problem. It did have a lot more mid than I’m used to hearing from a BF/SF amp, that’s for sure.

My Engl on the clean side has a master volume that works insanely well, and much more of Matchless/Trainwreck thing going on. I have the Boogie and Marshall for really big rooms or stages, but really, they don’t even get in the ballpark for clarity and real chime. But at least they’ve got the mids!
I’d love to see FMIC come out with a Brownface Showman RI, but I know that I’d never buy one, because I’d be very unlikely to ever actually put it to its proper use. The RI of the ‘63 Vibroverb was probably a better solution, but it didn’t really set the market on fire, either. I think that the Chris Stapleton Princeton is probably about as good as we’re going to get when it comes to a Brownface RI. Of course, it’s not all that powerful, but it is a very good amp, and probably a practical size for many players.

The Matchless amps are another great choice.
 

Manual Slim

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 21, 2017
Posts
4,499
Location
around the way
I've been using an Ampeg B100R bass amp for guitarring and it does creamy and shiny quite nicely. For reverb I'm going with the Boss Fender '65 Deluxe pedal.
 

Milspec

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Posts
7,193
Location
Nebraska
Let me check my book I carry with me....

Oh yes, here it is...

"And on the 3rd day He built the Twin Reverb."



Lest we not forget. Guitar, Cable, Twin Reverb.


And if you don't think it sounds good at bedroom volumes you're not pickin' right.
Amen Brother...Amen
 

zhyla

Tele-Meister
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Posts
209
Location
Northern Hemisphere
The Bright switches are the key. The only thing I don’t like about my ‘68 CDR is that the normal channel lacks the C-10 “bright cap”. The normal channel sounds lifeless to me, at low volumes.

The Deluxe Reverb simply lacks the real estate for bright switches, and IMO, this is a significant limitation. Bright switches allow highs, above the cutoff frequency of the bright cap‘ to bypass the volume control, so these caps are more effective at lower volumes. Therein is the conundrum. sometimes you benefit from the bright cap, and other times, it can be too harsh.

I love my ‘68 CDR, but if I had a do-over, I’d go for the Vibrolux version. I may yet install a bright cap on my ‘68 CDR, because as it is, I don’t have much use for the normal channel.

Yeah I can see especially for live settings the bright switch is an asset. Plenty of space on the back to add switches to the 68 CDR. Or swap the treble pots for push-pull pots. And a switch to increase the NFB to 65 DRRI spec.

Oddly, out of the 68 Custom bunch, the Vibrolux has the standard NFB value. I haven’t gone over every value but it seems to be essentially a reissue of the AB568 Vibrolux. Except the Custom channel changes of course.
 

Jakedog

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Posts
22,734
Location
The North Coast
I’d love to see FMIC come out with a Brownface Showman RI, but I know that I’d never buy one, because I’d be very unlikely to ever actually put it to its proper use. The RI of the ‘63 Vibroverb was probably a better solution, but it didn’t really set the market on fire, either. I think that the Chris Stapleton Princeton is probably about as good as we’re going to get when it comes to a Brownface RI. Of course, it’s not all that powerful, but it is a very good amp, and probably a practical size for many players.

The Matchless amps are another great choice.
I’d love a real 1x12 Vibrolux. Brown Vibrolux IMO is the best amp Fender ever made. I should have bought the one I had a shot at in ‘15. I had the money, and I’m still pissed I chickened out. It was absolutely insane.
 

Mowgli

Tele-Meister
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Posts
353
Location
Southern Jazzville
What famous artists play in the studio isn’t always what they play live.

For years Chet would play live with a little Music Man RD-50 and, later, a Rivera but in the studio he usually recorded with a Standel.

Several years ago I saw a video of Brent Mason’s studio rig which had several amps including a BF Bassman but I’ve only seen him play Twins live (someone mentioned seeing him play Super Reverbs earlier). I don’t recall ever seeing a recent big name country artist with a Bassman.

I suspect Marty Stuart uses DRs in the studio as he does live.

Chasing a specific artist’s tone can be a tricky endeavor.

So try various amps (e.g. twin, pro reverb, V-lux, DR, PR, Music Man RD-50/HD-65 or 130, Peavey Special 130 or Bandit, etc) and see what appeals to you.

Keep in mind the speaker; the wrong speaker can ruin your day.
 

Teleclasster

TDPRI Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Posts
84
Location
Honky Tonk, USA
I've been gigging (country band) a Tonemaster Deluxe, and recently tried an Emi GB128 and like it more than the neo creamback. The amp rips, I'm befuddled when some people find it "horrible". Full power with vol around 3 to 4 and I'm good to go for most anything.
 

MatchlessMan

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Posts
612
Location
Wiltshire UK
The guitar amp I’ve used on the most country gigs is my Matchless Lightning 15 Reverb. It’s my main gigging amp and sounds great. Coupled with a Tele, Strat, or Gretsch Duo Jet it always sounded country enough to me.
 




New Posts

Top