Country Guitar Gear

Country Guitar Gear Basics

The right country guitar gear can help you get those bright, twangy guitar tones you crave, though proper technique, style, and musicality are always the most important. While it's true that a country guitar master can make a $200 guitar sound amazing through a $100 amplifier, it's also true that high quality gear can help an already talented player take his sound to the next level.


Probably the most common guitar associated with country music is the venerable Fender Telecaster. Invented in the 1950s by the late Leo Fender (who, incidentally, never learned to play guitar himself), the Telecaster is known for its bright, twangy sound, which has made it a very popular choice for country players ever since it hit the scene. 

Before the Telecaster, country players tended to favor Gibson electrics, though players as diverse as Hank Garland and Clint Strong still chose to play Gibson guitars instead of the standard "twangy" Telecaster. 

Really, it depents upon the preferences of the player. Albert Lee and Johnny Hiland currently favor Music Man Guitars while Nashville session ace has a signature model made by Paul Reed Smith. No one would ever accuse them of not having an "authentic" country guitar tone.

Aside from the twang of a clean electric guitar, the clear, bright sound of an acoustic guitar has been part of country music  from the music's early days. Guitars by C. F. Martin are still the preferred acoustic guitar by many country artists, though models from companies such as McPherson, Takamine, and Taylor are also often seen on stage and in the studio. 


Country players tend to favor clean sounds, so Fender amps are very popular in the country guitarist rig - the Twin Reverb and Deluxe Reverb being common options. Dr. Z amps have also become popular with many country players due in no small part to Brad Paisley's affiliation with the company. There are even many country guitarists who have taken to using the Kemper profiling amp, due to its incredible tonal versatility that allows players to get the sounds of their favorite amplifiers without adding wear and tear to the original.


While country guitarists have not been known for having huge pedalboards with every bell and whistle, there are some effects that are considered standard equipment in the country picker's effects arsenal. 

Most country players will use a volume pedal to facilitate the steel-guitar type bends that are so common in country music. Other common effects for the contemporary Nashville sound include compression, overdrive, delay, and reverb. Country players tend to avoid modulation-type effets, though there are exceptions.

Though not technically an "effect," many country players have had devices known as B-string benders installed in their Telecaster-style guitars to facilitate steel guitar type bends. Though it's an invasive installation process, a B-string bender can help a player obtain sounds he wouldn't be able to do otherwise.

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