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good amp for country music?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by murpbrad, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. murpbrad


    Dec 1, 2004
    Abilene, TX
    i currently use a peavey tnt but only because it was given to me when i first started playing bass. it's time for an upgrade, but there's not just a whole lot of people on here that talk about amps used for country music. my band plays mainly country, but i would call it more of an alternative country or country rock. i figure a good clean tone is probably the most important thing for that type of music. i'm open to the preamp/power amp setup or just a head. i'll probably have to buy used as i'm a broke college student. any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    If you're a broke college student and are playing country music, Peavey's probably the way to go. Personally, I'd search for used and save the $$$$. Nice, reliable, decent tone, built like tanks. Not glamorous, not trendy, but that's all not necessary for playing country music locally.
  3. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    I've been in a couple of country bands by now. Country bass needs to be big, bouncy, musical, and uncomplicated. Accurately reproducing the metal content in your strings is unimportant, probably injurious to the proper sound. (I once heard a local country bassist who had hi-fi tone to die for --Alembic preamp, QSC amp, PRS bass, SWR cabs, etc.-- and it was totally wrong for the music he was playing.) Unless you play biig venues or with other players who insist on being too loud, a Peavey TNT will go a long way in country. It has enough tone shaping controls to do the job well. You need to cultivate your own sensitivity to get the tone right. Overall, I think it is an underrated bass combo.

    Edward G.
    Baltimore, MD
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    best thing to do is go down to the stores and try a whole bunch. I wouldn't be put off by the comment about the alembic, i've used one and it can be made to sound very warm.
  5. Artisan


    Apr 14, 2004
    Country music is best served by using a Fender type of bass with flatwounds and an Ampeg or Peavey bass amp.

    An old Acoustic, Sunn or Kustom amp would be a good amp too. Fender bass amps are good, but they are often too expensive.

    A modern preamp driving a nice stereo amp would also work, but would be more than you need and would cost a lot too, unless you got really lucky.

    Modern roundwound stringed basses just wouldn't sound right, imho. Ditto bass amps with teeny speakers and hi frequency horns.

    I doubt if you will do any better tone wise than the Peavey that you already have. Thick, distinct, lows would help. An extra enclosure might be the answer if you think you aren't sounding satisfactorily.

    I would buy used too, if I could get a substantial break on the price. Some music shops charge way too much for used gear.

  6. For a country gig that I was doing (Cash meets Ness kinda thing) I was, and still am using a Yorkville xs400 15 combo. Plenty of power, and has all tone shaping you need. And these amps are the ones that are truly built like tanks, and they are cheap in price, but not quality. But like Artisan said, maybe just try a ext cab under your current rig. And you have to ask yourself if you NEED another/different amp or WANT another/diff. amp. There is a big difference.
  7. dcr

    dcr Supporting Member

    I've played mostly country for about 20 years. I'd be hard pressed to say there is a "definitive" amp for country music. More defined by your basses than anything else. If is sounds like a P-Bass or a smooth J-Bass, you'll be good with just about any amp you come up with.

    More or less in order I've used a Fender Bassman 100, Peavey Mark IV, Peavey preamp/power amp, Ampeg preamp/Peavey power amp, SWR SM-400S, Eden WT-800, Peavey Mark VIII (backup only), Kern pre/Stewart power, and have a Read pre coming to go with my Stewart amp.

    FWIW, the Peavey Mark VIII I currently own was used @ the 'Opry as the house head for a couple of years. A friend at (former) Peavey A&R Nashville got it for me.

    Probably not gonna beat a used Peavey if you're going the budget route.

  8. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    You mean I should stop using my Alembic and Modulus for country...ooops, I'm sorry I broke the rules...AGAIN.

    Seriously, use what sounds good to your ears and develop your own sound and use care to make sure it fits with the band you are playing in. The alt country stuff I have done has had loud guitar players and drummers...same as in any rock band I've ever been in, so the need to have a sound that would cut through was important. I have no desire these days to slap or have "piano tone," I'm into a rounder yet articluate sound with treble rolled off...works fine for county.

    Your amp choice depends on how loud and rowdy your band is in. If you like the sound of your TNT 15, you might look at adding another 15 to your present setup...cheapest way to go. Adding a 210 would be another option, especially if you are having trouble hearing yourself on stage. The TNT isn't especially powerful though, so if you add a second cab, the cab should be very efficient...check to see if Peavy made an extension cab for the TNT. Probably the lowest cost highest quality upgrade would be a Gallien Krueger 700RB or 1001RB with a 115 combo...have enough power to add a second cabinet and power it with ease.
  9. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    The last country band I played in was (gasp) about 12 years ago. At the time, I was running an SVT through Ampeg 10s and EV 15s. To say the least, it was just too many bells and whistles for the music I was playing. I agree with the Peavey suggestions. Although I am not too big of a Peavey fan, their older bass amps are built like tanks and are very reliable. They can get that nice, warm, fat-like tone that really complements a J or a P for country music.

    And like IvanMike said, if you can get to a few music stores to try stuff out, then do it. But take your own bass to play through them. That should help give you a better idea of how you would really sound rather than relying on a bass plucked off the wall that leaves you with a false sense of security.
  10. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    Well, there's country music and here in Texas there's unadulterated beer joint stomp.

    The determining factor for a bass amp is "how loud do the guitars and steel get?".

  11. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    I'm not a country guy and if I listen to some in this thread I couldn't be with my Modulus/EA gear. Gee...I thought that was what EQ was for?
    Anyway, I do have a friend who is a pro who has been playing with "traditional" country singer as a regular gig. He has settled on his Fender Jazz Bass with a Bag End S15D cabinet as his "country rig". I think he drives it witha QSC amp.
  12. murpbrad


    Dec 1, 2004
    Abilene, TX
    thanks for the replies -
    i've been looking at a couple of different setups. the GK 1001RB II looks pretty good as well as maybe something SWR. i realize those probably aren't the best amps according to alot of people but with my money situation they're probably the best i can afford. if i went separate preamp/power amp i was looking at either the SansAmp RBI or DDI as well as the BBE BMax in front of some kind of QSC amp. i'll either go with Avatar or Schroeder cabs probably. what do you think?
    i've looked at just getting a 2x10 or something to add to my TNT but it will only add a max of 50 more watts. is it worth trying?
    also, those who recommend the SABDDI in front of amps, is it to add overdrive or just to give it a better overall sound. because i've looked at getting one to use as a DI and possibly to color the sound some.
  13. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    Here's a RBI/QSC/Avatar rig.


    Fits in the hatch of a New Beetle and gets loud as shlt if you need to.
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    hey, FWIW, Glenn Worf uses an SWR grand prix in the studio and has been known to use a modulus 5-string bass. I've seen country players use as many different amps as anyone else.
    as long as your amp can power onother cabinet safely as far as minimum Ohms are concerned, the 210 should actually give you a noticeable increase in volume.
    The sans amp bass DI can "warm up" your tone significantly. I've used it in from of my SWR to make it less "sterile" sounding for certain songs. You don't need to use the overdrive for this. The sans amp is definitely a little mids scooped, but backing off on the bass and treble helps if you dont have enough mids to cut through.
  15. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Ha! Doc, I thought you were a different guy named Doc, but I know who ya are now. Bet this picture was from last Saturday. I popped my head in for a few songs. Sounded great. :)

    FWIW, I play in a group best described as alt/country or country rock, as you put it, murpbrad. I use the same tone as I use for everything else - heavy rock to funk/slap - which is (or attempts to be) a Hi-Fi but not mid-scooped tone. I may favor the neck pickup more on some more acoustic-y stuff, but otherwise - it's the same old tone (as Waylon Jennings might say). ;)

    So... any amp that sounds decent to you is bound to work just fine. Since country bass tones run the gamut from hi-fi to old school, IMO you will likely be okay within a pretty wide range, as long as you're personally happy with the sound. :)
  16. The Eden Nemises combos would be ideal- big bloomy sound and very warm. The 115, perhaps would be a good starting point.
  17. doc540


    Jul 28, 2003
    Beaumont, Texas
    "sounded great"

    Hey, thanks, but you must've been drinking in the Star Bar before you got there! :D

    Come up and give me a shout next time, maybe sit in for the rap version of The Joker. :eek:
  18. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    Aguilar DB359 and SWR cabs has been fantastic for me so far.
  19. NeedMoreBass

    NeedMoreBass unregistered

    Feb 14, 2003
    You're definitely on the right track with the GK 1001RB-II. Awesome amp that's portable, powerful, lightweight, and very reasonably priced at $600 new if you know where to look. Combine that with a Bergantino HT115 and you'll have that old school sound you want for the style you're playing with the clarity of modern design. I can't recommend this rig enough!! :bassist:
  20. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Further thoughts on this... some rigs I've seen used over the past year or so that come to mind. I don't remember the names of all of these bassists, so I'll just list the band/artist name:

    Cross Canadian Ragweed - didn't note the equip, but it was certainly modern/hi-fi.

    Kevin Fowler - Fender J5 through an old, small Peavey 1x15 combo amp. SABDI DI

    Django Walker - Jazz through a SABDI/QSC/SWR cab - previous bassist used an Elrick through backline gear when my band shared a bill with them.

    Roger Creager - 'Ray through a Mesa/Boogie (with Sadowski stomp pre in the loop)

    Bleu Edmondson - P Bass through Ampeg SVT.

    Doug Stone - Modulus Q6 through the PA/monitors - no amp, *maybe* a bass pod or something similar.

    Cory Morrow - Don't recall the bass - likely a 'Ray, Eden amp/cabs - SABDI pre

    Asleep at the Wheel - EUB through Eden amp/cabs - Avalon U5

    Mark Chestnut - 'Ray 5 and EUB through racked (modern/hi-fi through wedge monitor, AFAI could see) amplification.

    Jack Ingram - Reverend bass through Ampeg SVT

    Me (count under "up-and-coming" rather than "name" act): MTD 535 through SWR amp and Accugroove cab (can you say hi-fi?) Formerly Peavey Cirrus->SWR amp->SWR cab. Radial JDI DI.

    No, I don't write this stuff down - but these are all folks I've shared a stage with over the past year. Maybe now *someone* will believe me that I don't drink on gigs! :D