Brad Paisley Amp Settings – Emulate His Trademark Guitar Tone

Author: Santiago Motto | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Brad Paisley is a unique talent that has served as a bridge between classic country music and modern pop-oriented country hits.

Speaking of which, Brad has scored 35 hit singles on the Billboard Top 10 chart. Moreover, he’s had 20 number-one hits and set a new record in 2009 after 10 consecutive number-one hit singles.

After three Grammy Awards and 11 million records sold, it’s safe to say that this country star is working on world domination and is on the right track. Can you draw some inspiration from his legendary tone and infuse some country pop and rock into your own playing?

I’m here to break down Brad’s tone to the last bolt of his paisley telecaster. Are you in?

Brad Paisley’s Guitars

Brad’s name is not an artistic designation, but his real name. Yes, Brad Douglas Paisley was born with a telecaster-friendly last name. How so? Well, because Fender released a limited edition of the famous Telecaster in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with a paisley motif.

These are collectible, unique guitars that are hard to find and expensive. Yet, by the time Brad stood up to fame, this became his main guitar because he wanted to represent his last name.

That’s the number-one guitar Brad uses on stage and in the studio, an original ’68 paisley telecaster he named “Pink”.

Brad’s a tele guy and spends 90% of his playing time with one in his hands. Most of these telecasters Brad uses live are made by Crook Custom Guitars and are all Paisley-inspired. Furthermore, most of them feature a G-bender and a maple neck with a maple fingerboard just like Pink.

Besides those guitars, Brad collaborated with Fender to create a signature instrument that could take his crowd-humbling tone to the hands of his fans. This is because an original ’68 Paisley telecaster goes well above $20,000. His Brad Paisley signature road worn model will cost you less than 10% of that.

Moving on to other instruments, it’s possible to catch Brad playing his original ’65 red Fender Stratocaster. That’s another vintage and expensive instrument you can just replace with a Fender Reissue.

Finally, the last electric guitar that’s worth mentioning here is his original 1959 Gretsch Country Gentleman. This original piece of gear can also be hard to find and very expensive. Nevertheless, the brand new Japanese version or the cheaper Gretsch Electromatic guitars can be a good option.

Regarding acoustic tones, Brad uses his signature Gibson Brad Paisley J-45 both, live and in the studio. It’s not exactly on the affordable side but you can get a similar J-45 sound from its Epiphone iteration.

Brad Paisley Amplifiers

Brad Paisley is an oddball in many senses for country musicians. Yes, although he uses a telecaster for most of his material, he doesn’t plug it into a Fender amplifier. On the opposite, this country star chooses an English amplification brand: Vox.

Yes, most of his records were made with an original ’62 red Vox AC30 Top Boost.

This piece of vintage gear is also very costly, but the newer versions are more affordable. Furthermore, you can even get a similar sound from a cheaper, smaller AC15.

Besides his trusty Vox, Brad is famous for using the utterly minimalistic Dr. Z amps. Although he used many models in the past, the one he rocks the most lately is the Dr. Z Z-Wreck.

Another brand that is easily spotted on Paisley’s side of the stage is Bruno Amps. His favorite model by this brand is the Underground 30 which he used extensively both, live and in the studio.

Since most of his tone comes from the original Vox amp, you’d be able to cover the entire spectrum of sounds you love from Brad Paisley with a simple AC15.

Brad Paisley Effects Pedals

Brad’s core tone only utilizes one pedal that has been with him for his entire career, the Aqua Puss delay. This darker-sounding delay is Brad’s trademark sound and it can be found relatively cheap as a reissue by Way Huge. Speaking about delays, Brad also likes playing through a Boss DD2, a predecessor of the DD3.

Moving on to overdrives, the pedal that has followed Brad throughout his musical adventures is a classic Ibanez TS808. Nevertheless, he worked with Wampler to create a pedal that could carry his signature sound called The Paisley.

With a few other colors here and there, Brad’s sound can be achieved using only these pedals.

Amp Settings to Achieve Brad’s Tone

Who Needs Pictures (1999)

  • Volume – 8
  • Gain – 3
  • Bass – 7
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 3

5th Gear (2007)

  • Volume – 8
  • Gain – 4
  • Bass – 6
  • Middle – 7
  • Treble – 4

Love and War (2017)

  • Volume – 8
  • Gain – 4
  • Bass – 7
  • Middle – 4
  • Treble – 7

The Bottom End

Brad Paisley is a unique player and songwriter who broke the rules of country music taking the whole genre to the mainstream.

His guitar tone is honest and clean and carries the right amount of snap to get people moving. Follow Brad’s simplicity, find the tones your instrument is capable of, and make the most out of them.

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About Santiago Motto

Santiago is a guitar player with over 25 years of experience. A self-confessed guitar nerd, he currently tours with his band 'San Juan'. Called 'Sandel' by his friends, he has a pop palate for melodies, ballads, and world music. San especially has an immense love for telecasters and all-mahogany Martins.

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