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Best Country Bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by trainyourhuman, May 15, 2002.

  1. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    To celebrate my new gig, I put forth these questions:

    1. What makes up a good country music bass sound?

    2. What bass makes do you think of when you think country?

    3. What would be the best suited bass for plyaing country music?

    Personally, I'm thinking Lakland Standard 55-94 or a good 5 string J.
  2. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Lakland or Fender P or J fit the bill, but when I think country in the way of looks, I think single cut :D The ASAT bass from G&L in a sparkle finish is so country!

    As for sound, just something smooth and preferribly w/low end. I'd say P, 'Ray, or my fav' G&L L series or ASAT bass
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    The most traditional bass guitar associated with country would be the P bass, hands down. It dominated the country stage for many years.

    It has that fat, thumpy tone perfect for the alternating 5ths thing as well as walking bass lines.

    Today, "country" is no more a helpful label than "rock."

    In fact, most of today's country is more rock than country anyway.

    That being said, there really isn't a standard for today's country. You see some guys still playing vintage stuff and others are using very nice, upper end stuff.

    I watch the Grand Ole' Opry about every week and quite a bit of CMT. The Stingray 5 is getting very popular among the players, but in live situations, you never really know what you'll see. Most players are just going for a fat, clean tone.

    You'd sound great with a Lakland, but it certainly isn't a country standard. Although CDB was on last Saturday, that guy was playing a Lakland.

    Another player was using a EBMM 'Ray and Steve Earle's bass player was playing a gold top Gibson hollow body bass.

    I play country all the time using my Modulus Q5. IT sounds great.

    Whatever you like is what you should have.

  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I used a Peavey Cirrus 5 when I was playing country full time. Sounded great.

    I still fill in for the band from time to time, and have been using my Modulus Quantum 5.

    I think about any bass will make a "country bass".
  5. Darrelpr


    Feb 2, 2002
    Texas, USA
    Maybe it's just me but I'm noticing a lot more use of the low "B" in modern country than in other music genres.

    (Not that it's a bad thing...)

  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    It's not just you, I have noticed it too.
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Boy, I've been noticing a lot of "What's the best bass for country" threads latley. ;) And I'll say the same thing I always say: I don't think there really is an ideal bass for country, I think it's a genre that really has to do with the players personal taste since cutting through really isn't a big issue, do to the nature of the music. My father played Country on a Ric 4001 for 20 years, which is very unorthodox. (I do recall the bassist of Sawyer Brown playing a Ricky though before)

    I haven't played Country in a long time, and I miss it. Lots of room to stretch out. (It's a myth that Country's all root/5 stuff. Anyone who says that, hasn't listened to or played very much Country, though I have seem some Godawful country bands who play everything two beat/root/5th)
  8. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Forgot to answer one of the orginal questions, and that is, when I think of country, I always think of a Sunburst P Bass for some reason.
  9. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I would go with a five string for the added versatility, and as mentioned before, there is a LOT of low B string (E flat on down) being played in todays country music (if you can call it country, that is;) )

    LiquidMidnight--I am with you on the fact that country gives you a lot of room to stretch. And on the idea that most any bass will work just fine for country music. I used everything from a Peavey Cirrus 5 to a Millenium Plus 4 to a Warwick Corvette FNA 4 to a Modulus Quantum 5. They all did the job nicely. The bass player that the band I was in got to replace me after I left is playing a Warwick Thumb NT 5er. The above basses are all quite different, but all seem to get the job done nicely.
  10. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Cane Ridge, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com

    I know the P bass seems to be the original country sounding bass, but alot of Nashville plays have gone to the JJ configuration. Heck a know a few country players that play Fodera's!

    But its in the player not JUST the bass. Everyone has a different attack and thats what comes through in the tone. So many people want to sound like someone else. And while they chase down a certain bass or rig its alot of the time about the approach to the instrument.
  11. tummage


    Apr 23, 2002
    New Orleans, La
    "Country" music has changed alot over the past few years. You have to play the new stuff which is more like 70's soft rock to oldies and even bluegrass. A bass that gives you a veritable cornucopia of sound is the best choice. I don't think a standard P is versatile enough anymore. Keith Horn (Trisha Yearwood)is playing a "Warrior" for God's sake! A lot of guys are popping up with Stingrays, also. Be aware that "country" music is in a transition phase and you should be ready for anything.
    Just my opinion,

    On a side note, country is getting very spread out and you need to be on top of many different styles now to compete.(even slapping and popping).Being on top of your technique can play a great role in your voice. Certainly you wouldn't play a Hank Sr. song the same way, Or with the same tone as a Lonestar tune.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    G ~

    The 55-94 is an excellent choice. Many or most of the Nashville cats have a Lakland in their arsenals, probably due to its versatility. It can get a growly J-style tone, and really excels at the mellower, full-sounding tone. I play in a predominantly country band, and gig with my 55-94 almost exclusively. However, I must say that my new Fender Jazz FMT also sounds great on the country tunes. I've been playing it at rehearsals for about a month, and the sound is boss.

    By the way, Keith Horne just switched over to that Warrior from Lakland. Before that, he played an Xotic. Trisha's studio bassist is Dave Pomeroy, who also plays a Lakland (and many others, I'm sure).
  13. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I agree that with todays country you need a versatile bass. My band plays mostly "new" country, and the styles range from trad country, to rock, to pop, to slap (yes, slap), to a Shania Twain song ("I Won't Leave You Lonely") that is kind of Euro-techno pop, or something (I don't really know how to describe it). I use a Lakland Skyline 55-01, and it is great. I can get anything from a P-bass sound to a J-bass sound, and pretty much everything else. I also use a Tobias Toby pro, and of course a Fender Jazz. I've even used a Gibson Thunderbird, and it worked very well for country.
    Shannon likes this.
  14. Although my gigs are mostly latin these days, I still do the odd country gig, but they always ask me to bring the upright!
  15. Kevinlane

    Kevinlane Supporting Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Missouri, near Branson
    I think that the 5 string is the new standard, for electric bass, but especially for newer country.

    I don't even own a four anymore. I like how the 5 orchestrates better. (you play the lowend of the song not just the bass geetar part)

    I play for an aging country music star and you'll see guys with everything. Usually they will just play whatever companies will give them, and in fact for the most part a lot of basses will cover the tone required for country, but when I think of the classic country bass guitar, I think of the Fender Jazz(remember the red, white and blue one the guy for Buck Owens had on Hee Haw?)
    Also the guy that did the lion's share of early country dates used a Jazz also. Check out the Joe Osborn Lakland Model(that's him)

    Oh yeah, what do I use? A Roscoe (soapbars tapped) or a Tobias, both fives(remember no 4's anymore)
  16. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    I went to the audition with my upright, my P and my Q6. Should have left the P at home because anything I didn't need the B for was played on upright. All of the band originals called for the B IMO, but the Modulus "just didn't sound right" to them (Their statement not mine). Hence this thread. I love my Modulus, so I think I will bring it and the Genesis 5 as well just in case.

    Also, I am just looking for excuses to get a new bass... And the replies have been great thus far!
  17. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Cool, thanks for agreeing. :) Though I think we can also agree, that if you walked onto stage to play a Country gig with a BC Rich Warlock, you're going to get some uphappy looks from your bandmates. :D
    Shannon likes this.
  18. leftybassdog

    leftybassdog Senior Supporting Member

    the fender p bass will work but there is alot of rock players on country tracks, country is what blues was in the 70s & 80s, the most used bass is the stingray 5 and the fender p but any 5 will work, put on CMT and you will hear alot of low b string notes used,and less of the old type bass lines, old rockers started playing in the country scene and the bass sound changed,its not the same country your grandma likes,
  19. uglybassplayer


    Aug 24, 2001
    New Jersey
    I posted this question a year or so ago, and I don't recall anyone having an answer....

    Why are so many country bassists playing six string basses? I'm hearing a lot of low notes in country songs these days, but nothing in the upper register. :confused: Keith Horne is an excellent example... I know he's got the chops, but does he ever get to play those upper notes in any of the songs he plays?


    - Frank.
  20. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I don't know what he would need it for. I need a five string, but have never needed a six. But then he is a much better player than me, maybe he knows what to use it for...:D

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