When you want that classic twangy sound or a slightly overdriven sound associated with playing country music on guitar, there are a few pedals that can help you achieve the sound associated with the country music genre. Here are some of the best types of guitar pedals for playing country music:
1. Overdrive or Distortion Pedal
A good overdrive or distortion pedal can add some dirt, grit and drive to your country playing, helping you achieve the classic country crunch. Many country guitarists prefer using an overdrive pedal rather than a distortion pedal, as an overdrive pedal provides a more natural, tube-like distortion that sounds great with clean and slightly overdriven amps. Some popular overdrive pedals for country include the Ibanez Tube Screamer, the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver and the Fulltone OCD. Just remember to temper how much overdrive to achieve the sound you are going for.
2. Compression Pedal
A compression pedal is an essential tool in a country guitarist’s tool bag. If you aren’t familiar with what a compression pedal does; it helps even out your playing dynamics and adds some sustain. Compression pedals work by compressing the louder parts of your playing and boosting the quieter parts, resulting in a more consistent sound. Many country guitarists prefer using a compressor pedal in conjunction with their overdrive pedal, as this can help achieve that classic Nashville “snap.” Some popular compressor pedals for country include the MXR Dyna Comp, the Keeley Compressor Plus and the Wampler Ego Compressor. Remember not to over compress your sound; you want your playing to sound natural and lively.
3. Reverb Pedal
Reverb isn’t just for surf guitar and blues players. Reverb is a great pedal choice for adding space and depth to your playing. Reverb can help your guitar sound bigger and more spacious; which is perfect for ballads and slow tunes. Many guitarists prefer using a spring reverb pedal, as it emulates the sound of a classic spring reverb tank found in vintage amps. Some popular reverb pedals for country include the Boss RV-6, the Strymon Flint and the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail. Play around with reverb and compression to find that sweet spot of snap, boldness and body in your sound.
4. Delay Pedal
Delay pedals are awesome for adding an element of rhythm and complexity to your playing; which is perfect for those country guitarists that like to experiment with different rhythms and patterns. A good delay pedal can also help create a sense of space and ambience; making it a great choice for ballads and slower tunes. Some popular delay pedals for country include the Boss DD-3, the MXR Carbon Copy and the Strymon Timeline. Marrying up some great reverb and delay can be a recipe for a unique country sound.
There are so many amazing pedal types to experiment with; but, these are some of the best guitar pedals for playing country music. If you are going for a grungy backwater style guitar sound, try a fuzz pedal. For adding a bit of 80’s rock sound to your country playing, try adding some chorus to your guitar mix. As always, have fun trying out various pedals with your setup and experiment to find the pedals that work best for your playing style and sound.