Chad, I apply a "spit coat" of shellac on almost everything that I stain. I learned this after trying a lot of ways that don't work. The "spit coat" is one part 3# cut white shellac (Zinnser's in the yellow can) to 5 parts denatured alcohol. It dries almost immediately but do be aware of a possible fire hazard from the alcohol. Be sure that you have adequate ventilation and no sources of ignition. Also, be sure that any rags are totally dry before you dispose of them.
This is a better and cheaper alternative to "sanding sealers" and the like. Because they have large amounts of metallic salts, sanding sealers can have problems with adhesion of top layers of finish.
Stain materials like Minwax's that are a combination of dye and pigment stains work well with the spit coat. If you are planning to use a straight dye stain, aniline dye and it's variations that you mix when ready to use, there is no need for the spit coat. Gel stains are so thick that they are not made for seeing the true grain of the wood but can be used on pine if you like the look.