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What is your Pod preset philosophy?


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I've been using the Pod HD500x for a little while now, but I am starting to feel restricted by it. Currently, I use one single preset. I set the Amp so it sounds good clean, and then I use the screamer and the classic distortion to add in the grit. With that set up, it gives me 4 levels of grit: Clean Amp Only, amp + Screamer, amp + Classic Distortion, and Amp + screamer + Classic Distortion. I also use an always on Noise gate and a compressor, and then I set the exp-1 to control the amp Master volume. And that's basically it. Sometimes, I'll throw in a reverb or delay, but not often.


My problem is that while this works just fine for me, I am starting to get bored by the simplicity of it, and in a way, I almost feel like I am wasting the potential of the Pod. I primarily play in Church, and in this particular church, "guitar amp" is a four letter word. That's what led me to the Pod in the first place, and honestly, I don't know if I would ever want to go back. I love the ease of walking in with my guitar and pod and being ready to go in a matter of moments. And honestly, no one in the audience can tell that I am doing anything different.


Yet, I feel constrained by the pod, and I am starting to think that it is due to the one preset that I have become attached to. I initially liked it and set it up that way because it reminded me of the familiar pedal board setup that I was used to with analog pedals. But I know there are other ways to use the Pod, and that many of you have years more experience with it. 


So what is your preset configuration philosophy? How do you like to setup and use the Pod? And Why do you do it that way?  


This last question of "why", is for me, the heart of what I am after. I have checked out customtone quite a bit, and have tried out many different and unique presets from it, but customtone cant tell me the logic, and the instinct, and the feeling behind why you set it up that way. And, yes, I know that ultimately "the way it works best for me, and the way it feels and sounds good to me" is what I should focus on and go after. But to be honest, I have no clue what works best for me yet, nor what sounds good to me. 


So if your willing, I'd love to learn more about how you wonderful people set up your presets. Do you use one preset? Multiple Presets? Etc. But most importantly, why does that work for you?



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I've had my POD for a year now, and at first I felt overwhelmed by the massive amount of options.  So I went with what you described... one preset that worked for me.  I used it for recording and jamming with friends, and I always felt exactly like you said, that I was selling myself short by using such a simple setup.


Then I started using it to play with my band instead of my Marshall amp.  That took a lot of tweaking to get it to play well with the rest of the band, but once I got it there it sounded amazing.  Still just one preset, though.


BUT, after using it with the band for a few months, I started experimenting.  Mostly I would take one song out of our set and do some different amp or effect.  I seemed to add one song at a time with a new, fun preset, and now I have maybe five or six that I use during our show.  I still have my basic, "My Tone" kind of sound, but then I do some other stuff every once in a while just to experiment.


I have no intention of getting to where I have a new preset for every song.  That would be too much work trying to keep the volumes balanced and stuff.  But I like having my basic tone and still giving myself a chance to see what the POD can do.  And you can do that in very small increments.  A song here and there just to make it interesting for you.  Hopefully that helps!

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Certainly in the old, old days, I was basically a two sound guy: clean and dirty... with "dirty" being controlled by the volume on the guitar. Now I've got about 15 patches I use with my band at this point. They kind of break down like kind of this:


Cleans - Two different clean sounds. One Blackface Dbl based, and one JC120. Different levels of verb an chorus.

Dirtys - 3-4 flavors of crunch. Some are Marshall-esq, some AC30...different cabs, FX, and levels of crunch.

Special - These are for covers that have a pretty distinct guitar-sound that I'm attempting to emulate (Day Tripper, Brian May tone, etc.)


It does take some work keeping the volumes the same between. I've pretty much got them worked out... but it did take up time at rehearsal with the band to get there. You can certainly get away with one clean and one dirty tone.. but I think it's better if you can tailor the sound a bit to each tune, or group of tunes.

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At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter if you have one patch, or 100. If it works for you, then all is well.


Personally, I have 4 basic patches that get used regularly, which are all duplicated and slightly tweaked for use with different guitars:

1) Clean

2) Edge of breakup,

3) Medium-gain rhythm tone

4) Lead


...Plus an acoustic patch for my Variax.


Various FX toggled on and off as necessary, though it's mostly reverbs and delays, a little chorus on the cleans...with occasional song-specific FX.


I play in a cover band that does everything from Mellencamp to Metallica, but my days of crafting a separate patch for every tune in our repertoire are over...too much work, too much tap-dancing on stage, and the Friday night drunks will never know the difference anyway. God forbid you deviate from the set list...then you're combing through bank after bank of patches because somebody requested "Only The Good Die Young", and it wasn't all cued up ahead of time. No thanks.


And frankly, if you've been at this long enough, with the basic tones listed above you can play just about any tune under the sun.

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When I "played in a band", I had one sound. It was the "band sound". Yes, there may have been the need for an effect here and there, but they were always based around that one band sound. Yes, when I played in a different band, there was a different sound needed. But, again, it was just that one band sound.


But, today, times are different, am I different, and my work is different. 

I work for a world wide media organization. One day I am playing country music. The next, rock. And pop or EDM or anything. Live music. Studio music. 


I need the versatility. 



And then, because I am no longer a teenager, when I do play in a band, it is typically a cover band. So, again, I need the versatility. Especially since it is multiple bands at the same time. 

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I viewed the POD purchase a little differently. Instead of giving me a pallet of colors for me to switch in/out as needed, it gave me a pallet to choose which one I liked to use. Otherwise, which stomp box should I get, which delay, which noise gate, etc? I didn't have the money or time to test them all out. Just give be this thing that's got a bunch of them and let me pick and choose. I pretty much stay with my one favorite patch, swapping in different FX as needed. Am I wasting resources? Probably, but I'm happy with what I can accomplish with my one patch. I get tonal differences with pickup selection, pick attack, and where I play on the strings.

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I've got it easy in that I only write my own songs and don't play live. When I used the HD for this, it was always one preset for each track the song had, although there were some exceptions to this, such as multiple presets per track, or the same preset for multiple tracks. I've since been using Helix and pretty much keep things the same way. I don't know why I do it this way. Never thought much about it. It just seemed to work out that way.


As far as you getting bored with the HD, I would say just take the time and experiment. There's more than enough in there to keep one interested for a very, very long time. Throw away the notion of the 'correct' order for the blocks/effects. Use the parallel paths. You never know what you'll find. And when you sit down to experiment, try not to have a goal or objective in mind other than exploration. I've stumbled on many tones, and music pieces, doing this.

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No way I could use 1 patch. Still working on the HD Bean, but with my XTLive I'd go from Gilmour, to Page, to Van Halen etc. The thing I love most about this gear is it's diversity. Mix it up a bit. Rush requires several different tones. A number of different scores I've made up myself just running scales over the years sound better and are fun to play when I canchange up the tones a bit.

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I just recently got the 500x, but I've been using modeling tech for a couple of decades now.  Keep in mind, I use a JTV69 with mine, so the 500x is switching both amp/effects and guitars for me.


After a few weeks of use my setup is:


Acoustic preset - sets JTV to Acoustic 1 and adds a little EQ -  straight up acoustic

JTM/Special - set JTV to Les Paul Special Bridge and amp on JTM/4x12 with a tube screamer disabled - basic crunch tone

Solo - sets JTV to Les Paul bridge pickup and amp is %13 with a tube screamer, delay and reverb on - nice, big saturated solo tone

SuperReverb - sets JTV to strat neck and amp is twin head with 4x10 cab, reverb and tube driver on standby - clean/mild gain guitar tone

Bass - I use a real bass and use the GK model with the bass 4x10 cab model (it's hard for me to tell it apart from my GK amp)


Those get me through my 4 hour gigs.  I'm sure in time I'll add some specialty presets in there, but that's the meat and potatoes there.

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Yeah, one patch. Which requires you to carry one tiny little box. 




Carrying an amp which then needs mic'd. And a soundcheck. And the constant argument over stage volume.  

Plus carrying what ever effects you have included in that patch. 

And, of course, the simplistic things - like needing to carry a guitar tuner. 

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I write our songs and play them live and at recordings.


My philosophy is to have my (!) tone for...




Edgy-Crunch / Vintage Rock

Stoner Rock

Metal Rhythm



Most tones have the ability to be used as lead-tones, too by adding some delay and do have some basic modulation options.

And then there are some specialized patches for special situations like a defect-amp tone, I use in a intro, just to replace it with the non-defective Amp-tone , for surprising reasons, when the band jumps in.

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