EQ settings for Country Music

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by prater, Apr 23, 2024.

  1. prater


    Aug 4, 2011
    I'm a rock player primarily and I'm about to play my first ever country gig.

    Been rehearsing with a band for awhile and haven't really felt confident in my tone. It's traditional country so mostly finger style with a lot of 1 and 5 doop/dops.

    In my rock band I'm kind of known for having a great tone with my VT Bass Deluxe and I attribute that to the fact that I push my mids and highs with a little bit of grit and play with a pick mostly.

    With the country band that EQ seems too "Whompy" when I pluck and roll off my tone knob on my P Bass.

    I've tried cutting low mids and boosting the high mids on my amp without touching the VT bass settings and seem happier with it but can't find the sweet spot where I can both hear myself well and feel I'm effectively supporting the kick for the "two steppers" on the floor and also not over "thumping".

    I don't want to scoop my mids too much and lose all definition like I've heard some guys do.

    I think that mids are an essential part of the sound but I can't help but feel I have too much midrange for the acoustic and clean leads I'm supporting.

    Is there a standard for EQ for country like I feel like there is for cutting rock tone?

    For reference here is what I'm doing.

    P Bass roundwounds with tone at half

    VT Bass Deluxe Drive 10:00, Character 10:00, Lows 2:30, Mid 2:30, High 12:00

    At my amp I have my Lows at 12:00, Low Mid 10:00 High Mid 2:00 and Treble 2:00

    Our big show is on Thursday and we've had our last rehearsal so I'll probably be keeping what I have but I'm curious if there is a suggestion I can try during soundcheck to smooth out my tone without getting lost in the mix.
  2. bottomzone

    bottomzone Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2005
    If your bandmates are cool with your tone you should be fine.
  3. SJan3

    SJan3 Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    Take a listen to the group Alabama with Teddy Gentry on bass. He's a great example of the P bass tone in country music.
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Anything'll do, just don't have this guy on the board:

    Artman, Phormlyss, FRoss6788 and 2 others like this.
  5. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Stick with that with which you're comfortable...let's see who complains. In today's C&W universe, conformity is no longer the norm. I use a SDGR 5 string, Bass Fly Rig, and EBS / Epifani amplification which just screams "Hee Haw", doesn't it?

  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless you are playing real traditional country, you are just playing rock and roll. Not too much treble, no overdrive. After that, like any other gig, you just want something that fits in the mix. Don't overthink it.
    AGCurry, Artman, Curtbass and 16 others like this.
  7. eniac


    Aug 26, 2023
    Your decision about what frequency slot to occupy should be made in the context of the slots already taken up by the other players. They may have to re-think—tone-wise—where they’re sitting in the mix, in order to provide an open slot for you to work in. Furthermore, they may have to re-think how they’re contributing to (or detracting from) the band’s overall mix in each part of a song. It can change from intro to verse to chorus to turnaround, and so on. It can even change from instant to instant. Traditional country can have lots of open space, where one or more players are playing quietly or not at all at any particular moment. Take a listen to an ancient Desert Rose Band live version of “Ashes of Love” for a great example of each musician working in his own slot without spillover from others. It also demonstrates what not to do, when the lead player barges past his solo slot’s end point, keeps playing, and partially buries the pedal steel player during his solo for four whole bars (!).

    Another good example of a job well done is Dwight Yoakam’s live version of “Send a Message to My Heart” with Patty Loveless.

    In both cases, with that glaring exception in the DRB example, there’s an obvious awareness on the part of each band member of what the entire band is doing and where he himself (or herself) does not belong, both frequency slot-wise and arrangement-wise.

    bftbassman likes this.
  8. when I played in a country band, I refused to change my tone. They got a rock tone, and we sounded great.
  9. 31HZ

    31HZ Glad to be here Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    Central VA, USA
    This will sound oversimplified, but it's highly effective: I usually just roll off the tone pot between 75% and 90% to thicken the mids and damp the high frequency response. (My normal "tone-up" tone is a clean rock tone.)

    There's more about tone control frequency response in this absolute gift of a thread, which should be required reading for every bass player that ever used a tone control: How Tone Controls Work (thank you @micguy ).
    digmeout and Zbysek like this.
  10. Dlew919


    Dec 7, 2020
    Tone rolled back and mute those strings?
  11. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    If you playing with FOH support it may not matter too much. The sound tech will resolve it. If there is a problem, they should tell you. So play with a tone you are happy with.

    Side bar: A pocket recorder in the house will give you a good idea of how you are sitting in the mix as well as your parts in the arrangements. It’s a great tool for a new member for integration purposes. I’ve been recording and reviewing every gig and rehearsal for the last 12 years.

    Best wishes on the new gig.
  12. 808P123


    Mar 25, 2015
    i have done thousands of country gigs, unless you are playing traditional country (70's and back) a rock tone is perfectly fine, note length is what really matters there, meaning if you are playing R/5 are you cutting the note just before the backbeat, or letting the note ring through the backbeat. Both are appropriate depending on the tune. Country bass is simple but nuance makes a huge difference in feel.
  13. crobasster


    Jun 16, 2009
    If you can't get a country tone on a P bass, you're not made for that !
    MrLenny1 and foolforthecity like this.
  14. RGerhart

    RGerhart Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2021
    Portland, OR

    I've been playing "country" now for over a decade very regularly, and as others have stated, unless you're playing old-school country, modern (let's say the 90s and forward) country tone is all over the board. You can pretty much play whatever you want, as long as it isn't too in-your-face. More than anything, it's the feel that is the most important, and articulation.
  15. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    Use a P bass. Set the EQ flat. Roll off tone to taste. Go to town. That's it.
    LowendG, Zbysek and Killing Floor like this.
  16. Year by year, I use effects less and less, and use my right hand finger techniques more and more. So, if you feel there's a space to expand to, I'd suggest experimenting with palm mute technique (palm on a bridge, all tones plucked with thumb, with a possibility to 'pop' a percussion on higher strings with other fingers). As a rocker, you might find this gives you much more possibilities to express yourself than a tone pot does... regardless the style. Good luck!
    Wisebass likes this.
  17. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    came to say this.

    there’s no country setting. I grew up as a jerk in a punk band and progressively took it more seriously until I got call opportunities, many of which were country. What I learned is country is a lot more fun than some rockers think it is and there’s no single sound. Chances are you’re in a role of servicing the melody and vocals, that’s not any different than rock or blues.

    Don’t overthink it.
  18. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    Keep your rock settings..only with little to no overdrive/distortion.

    That is all I do since I returned from rock to playing country, country/rock material.
    I've had absolutely no complaints.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2024
    AR_Soundman and Killing Floor like this.
  19. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    A producer here in Olahoma once told me that country is the punk rock retirement plan. Couldn't be more accurate. 90% of every musician I know in the "red dirt" country scene started in punk or metal (including me).
  20. KenSmithFan


    Feb 14, 2024
    Depends on the country. Traditional country? Bro country? Beyoncé country? If the latter two, it’s really just rock and pop music, so your rock EQ would be fine. If it’s traditional country, I’d try to get closer to an upright bass.

    Just listen to the recordings of the songs your playing and try to approximate that.