How To Get Brad Paisley’s Guitar Tones

I put a lot of work into figuring out Brad’s playing and tone, and I’ve got some good pointers for everyone else out there who is into Paisley’s music like I am.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning to play like Brad, I made a course on my website all about it.

Brian Wampler got ahold of me and said he had a new pedal coming out that I’d like, the Wampler Paisley Deluxe.

I like overdrive pedals, I like Brad Paisley, this seems to be a good match, and after playing with it for a while I think I can explain what this pedal is good at.

For maximum accuracy I’ll be playing through a Kemper Profile that I made of one of Brad’s Dr. Z Stingrays, you can check that out in this video, and just for fun I’m borrowing this Paisley-accurate Bill Crook Custom Tele just for this video.

But first let’s get into this pedal, how does it work?

It’s 2 pedals in one, the left side and right side are totally separate from each other. The left switch turns the left side on, the right switch turns the right side on.

The left side is the Wampler Paisley drive that Brian and Brad collaborated on in 2010 and the right side is the mythical Wampler Underdog Overdrive, which is a pedal that Brad has used since before the Paisley Drive existed, but hasn’t been manufactured for years.

But now the million dollar question… How do you use this pedal to actually sound like Brad Paisley?

Well, this is a FAT pedal. Both sides really fatten things up in very different ways. If we split Brad’s tone into 4 groups, this pedal covers 3 of them.

I’ll call the first group of tones Clean/Traditional. From his first album all the way up to Play, this is what you’re hearing a lot. If you’re going for a sound like “The Nervous Breakdown” or “Mr. Policeman” the tone is pretty clean and very defined, and it’s kind of a straight-into-the-amp sound. Set your amp on the edge of breakup, cut the lows, and keep the pedal off for this one.

The next most common tone is the Trainwreck tone. A guy named Ken Fischer made Trainwreck Amps and Brad loves them. The Dr. Z Stingray and Z-wreck both have some of Ken Fischer’s magic in them, and the original Wampler Paisley Drive was made to distort like a Trainwreck. I get this sound with the voicing switch pushed in on the Paisley side of this pedal and the gain around 11 o’clock, and this is the sound I hear on Then, Beat This Summer, and my favorite recorded guitar tone of all time, Cliffs Of Rock City.

The third group of tones is the modded Tube Screamer sound. Everyone in Nashville loves tubescreamers but hates stock tubescreamers because they don’t have enough bass, so people made modded tubescreamers with more bass and we ate them up. If you use the Paisley Drive side of the pedal with the voice button out it enters this territory, and I’ve found it works best when you keep the gain really far down, like around 9 o’clock, because when I hear this kind of sound on Brad records it sounds fat but it isn’t distorted yet, so it retains the pop and punch of the clean/traditional straight-into-the-amp sound.

This is the sound I hear in Waitin On A Woman, Camouflage, and Little Moments.

And the last tone I hear is a really recent one, only on the last couple albums, and I might as well just call it the Underdog tone. The right side of this Paisley pedal is based on the Nobels ODR-S, and the Nobels ODR-1 and ODR-S are both really cool pedals in Nashville right now. I think Brad likes the sound because it compresses and tames the high plucky sound Telecasters have, so he can use a bit more gain, get more sustain, and play higher on the neck. I hear this happening in Drive Of Shame, Go To Bed Early, and Perfect Storm.

Now I wasn’t there when this stuff was recorded, but that’s what I hear when I listen to Brad’s songs and try to dial in my setup to sound like what I’m hearing, and this Paisley Deluxe pedal is a pretty cool tool in helping me get there.

This pedal will be available in a couple weeks, BUT leave a comment and I’ve got this brand new one in the box, and I’m gonna pick one of you guys and ship it to you along with a couple other special guitar goody-bag items.

Sound good?