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Writing a Helix Patch from Scratch for the First Time? Start Here!


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I answered a post on the fb forum and thought it would be useful here. Tips I've learned form using Helix for 4 and a half months.

1. Separate your amp and cab... every time... so you can put delays "in the loop" if you want. The Z Amp + a Z Cab, for instance, sounds the same as a Z Amp+Cab. There is no advantage to NOT separating the cab. And the spring verb and opto trem and imho the delays sound better between the amp and the cab.

2. Try dual cabs and ribbon mics. Make one close and one further away. I like it way better than third party IRs myself.

3. Run delays in parallel, not series. You might like that better.

4. Figure out how your pedal board works for you and set it the same basic way on every single patch. EVERY ONE!

5. Don't use Pitch FX after the amp. It won't track well.

6. Try the Matchless. Thank me later.

7. 10-footswitch mode. Seriously.

8. Get an extra EXPedal. Or two...

9. Set a footswitch so that it goes between clean and dirty versions of the same amp. Voila, two patches in one. For extra fun, have one cabinet for clean and one for dirty. Also, you might want the delay mix different on clean vs. dirty.

10. You probably don't need "ambiance" reverb, because the room you play in (if you're live) is probably verb-ey enough, so save the horsepower Special FX verb is another story.

11. Name your patches something that tells you, at a glance, what's in them. For instance, one of mine is T_MZ4_Uv_Mel9. That's a patch for my tele into a Matchless with both a Z and a 4x10 cab, Univibe, and Mel9 in one of the loops. I don't list the delays because I have similar delays on every patch, same with special FX verb.

12. Mess with the Leslies (especially the Fender and the 145) but make sure you turn the amp cab OFF when using the Leslie effect. Bonus: make a footswitch available to change speed from fast to slow and back.

Got some useful tips? Add them!

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#5 - don't use anything before a pitch FX except a noise gate or compressor. It has a hard time as it is, try not to confuse it.


#11 - After you are 15 songs and 3 beer into a set at a bar on your road circuit, scribble strips with the names of songs on them make a lot of sense. Particularly if they are in order.


#13 - It will take you 3 months of tweaking to get that perfect sound for that most critical song. You know, the kind of sound that can make a career because it is so awesome. So take 6 seconds and make a backup. Now. Because your rock-steady Helix will crash and require a factory reset 3 minutes after the guitar gods grant their blessings upon you.


#14 - Experiment. There are 32 processing slots on each preset. You don't need to use them all. But no reason not to consider the possibilities.

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If I may, regarding delay and reverb effects placement.


If you are adding an "effect" to create a particular sound, placement between amp and cab is very appropriate.   However, you may find as I have that if you are adding the reverb, delay or EQ for overall ambiance or tone, it may fit better AFTER the cab... or specifically after the MIC.


Remember that as stated above, when you add a CAB you choose a Microphone and control it's placement as well.  You are Micing the cabinet.  And just like when you Mic a cabinet in the "real" world, that's generally where you add reverb, eq and even delay if it's part of the overall tone.


Personally I have found that putting timebased effects between the amp and cab doesn't not provide realistic results for me as in the real world these would actually go in the effects loop between the pre-amp and amp.   While it is a popular IdeaScale suggestion, as of yet there isn't a way place something between the preamp and amp.

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