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marmatkat

A handful of starter tones for a cover band?

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Hi All. I'm new to modeling, and really enjoying my Helix LT, but I'm getting a little overwhelmed with all the models. I stepped back, looked at the songs in our sets, and decided that a handful of tones ranging from clean, dirty, raunchy, distorted, saturated (my terms) would be a great starting point. But even then I got wrapped around the axle, so I thought I'd ask: Does anyone perform using a small-ish set of presets that cover a wide range? Any tips would be awesome!

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I don't have a smallish set of presets, but I do tend to use certain "go to" models and configurations for the sounds you're looking for.  Here's some ideas for you.

 

Clean - Jazz Rivet, Solo Lead (clean), Archetype (clean)

 

Dirty - Litigator, Matchstick, Tweed Blues

 

Rauchy - HiWatt with Minotaur, A-30 Fawn

 

Distorted - Brit P-75

 

Saturated - Panama, Archetype

 

Generally speaking I use compressors particularly on the Clean, Dirty, and Rauchy styles.  La Studio is my favorite as it's very subtle and controllable but the red squeeze is great for a more "in your face" type of compression.  All generally placed at the beginning of the signal chain, but can be useful sometimes after the amp and cab.

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back in the old days of line 6, they had an amp with a 4-channel footswitch. Others advised that "A" should be clean, "B" a little over driven, "C" distortion, and "D" full distortion, primarily for guitar solos.

 

that stuck with me on the pod hd and now helix, so my first four tones are labeled A and name of the tone i choose to represent A, B, for a mid-1960's distortion, "C" for classic 70s, and "D" for more hard rock.

 

i am in a cover band too and these four work for about 80% of our songs. I was never was happy with the wah and boosts in the helix, so I use the send / receive option and hook up a boost and auto wah and they work quite well.

 

with the remaining 4 tones available on the helix without having to shift, I use each for special sounds perhaps found in 1-2 songs each that we play.

 

 

 

 

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I currently have 1 preset and I used it for a nearly 2 hour set last week covering acoustics, jazz clean, edge of break-up strat and heavily distorted les paul.

It contains a mic pre and litigator amp, a couple of distortions, chorus, delay, two verbs, tremolo and a compressor. There is spare DSP and I don't use all of the switches.

I do have a JTV though. I use 4 snapshots: Acoustic, Jazz, Strat and Les Paul; each of those switches the guitar model, pre-amp/amp and sets various levels such as amp gain. Then I have footswitches that give a level boost and switch the various effects on and off, and the expression pedal controls wet effects, so I can vary the reverb sounds dynamically.

Between the guitar volume, tone and pickup selection, snapshots and the various effects I can get a massive range of sounds.

My 4 snapshots are the basic tones generally select by song and everything else is immediately available in 10 footswitch mode 

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Thanks all! Replies inline:

 

 

I don't have a smallish set of presets, but I do tend to use certain "go to" models and configurations for the sounds you're looking for.  Here's some ideas for you...

 

I really appreciate the details. Gives me something to focus on.

 

 

... my first four tones are labeled A and name of the tone i choose to represent A, B, for a mid-1960's distortion, "C" for classic 70s, and "D" for more hard rock.

 

If you have a moment, could you say which models you use for these?

 

 

I currently have 1 preset and I used it for a nearly 2 hour set last week...

 

mic pre and litigator amp, a couple of distortions, chorus, delay, two verbs, tremolo and a compressor

 

I do have a JTV though. I use 4 snapshots: Acoustic, Jazz, Strat and Les Paul; each of those switches the guitar model, pre-amp/amp and sets various levels such as amp gain. Then I have footswitches that give a level boost and switch the various effects on and off, and the expression pedal controls wet effects, so I can vary the reverb sounds dynamically.

Between the guitar volume, tone and pickup selection, snapshots and the various effects I can get a massive range of sounds.

My 4 snapshots are the basic tones generally select by song and everything else is immediately available in 10 footswitch mode 

 

Very cool. I love the idea of one preset. Sounds like you're using the Helix amp as a kind pedal platform. Question: What do you mean by "mic pre and litigator amp"?

 

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The Microphone pre-amp model is ... well a model of a Studio Tube Preamp for microphones and it what I logically plug the acoustic guitar into - it gives a little compression, eq, valve warmth and will distort if pushed hard.

Litigator is a Line 6 original Amp model that is similar in concept to some boutique amps; it goes from very clean to a nicely distorted sound and it is what I use for all electric guitar sounds.

Only one of those is active at a time.

I play direct so the sound comes out from the PA and monitors.

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Just to chime in with my philosophy on this.  I have one main patch that I use for about 95% of the songs we do.  I use two amps (Soldano for dirt and a Fender) and the same IR for both.  I have 8 snapshots - bottom row: Soldano - Clean - Clean w chorus - Clean w chorus and delay - top row: Soldano w Dig delay - Sol w Analog delay, and then copies of them with tube screamer and boost.

I also have the pedal page with 8 different pedal, octave, whammy, chorus, tube screamer on top row and phaser, flanger, dig delay 398ms, and analog delay 500ms.

 

Then I have specific patches for songs that are outside of what I can do with this patch.  So for Like a Stone which has a tremelo part that need to be tap tempo, a regular crunch sound, whammy with delay for the solo, and then a clean patch for after the solo.  I have a separate patch with 4 snapshots that covers all the tones for that song.  I also have snapshots on the top row that cover for Killing in the Name.  That's my Tom Morello patch.

 

Set lists change with every show and we do a lot of stuff on the fly so I have to be ready.  Also, if I need to change something in a patch I only have to change a total of about 12-16 patches.  Not 60 because I did every single song with an IR and now I want to change the IR.

 

I stick with using the same amps because of familiarity and ease of use.  I do have a Plexi patch I use sometimes if I want something different and also an ENGL patch for heavy stuff but I have found it to be a little too bass heavy to use with the band.

 

My advice is to try some different methods.  Practice with them at home just like you would be at a gig and find out what works best for you.

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Thanks a ton, Iknowathingortwo. That's super helpful.

 

Update: I picked out 12 stock presets for variety and then tested them during practice on Sunday. Right away I noticed some things:

  • I could use more variety in the models between clean and heavy distortion
  • Some stock settings have a large relative volume difference
  • The default volume pedal setting (linear? I have to check) does not have enough of a sweet spot in the lower and mid travel
  • Switching presents resets the volume pedal - is this a feature or a bug?
  • Keeping the same present and using stomp mode within a song is viable, but I haven't played with quickly switching to another preset during the song yet. I'm guessing that having the tube screamer accomplishes some of that (i.e., getting additional overdrive  using stomps)
  • Overall volume: Using my Behringer Eurolive B112D (which I had from before and decided to try), I was surprised I had to turn it up a good bit to be heard simply at practice volumes (not high). Behringer input 1 o'clock, Helix output about the same. They rate it at 1000 watts (!) but I suspect that other ones (e.g., Yamaha DXR10) might get more volume even with a smaller speaker.

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Iknowathingortwo: Following up, how do you use pedal page? IIUC you're on the one preset most of the time, clicking various snapshots for each song. Also, I didn't see the Fender mentioned in your two rows of snapshots. Thanks!

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Thanks a ton, Iknowathingortwo. That's super helpful.

 

Update: I picked out 12 stock presets for variety and then tested them during practice on Sunday. Right away I noticed some things:

  • I could use more variety in the models between clean and heavy distortion
  • Some stock settings have a large relative volume difference
  • The default volume pedal setting (linear? I have to check) does not have enough of a sweet spot in the lower and mid travel
  • Switching presents resets the volume pedal - is this a feature or a bug?
  • Keeping the same present and using stomp mode within a song is viable, but I haven't played with quickly switching to another preset during the song yet. I'm guessing that having the tube screamer accomplishes some of that (i.e., getting additional overdrive  using stomps)
  • Overall volume: Using my Behringer Eurolive B112D (which I had from before and decided to try), I was surprised I had to turn it up a good bit to be heard simply at practice volumes (not high). Behringer input 1 o'clock, Helix output about the same. They rate it at 1000 watts (!) but I suspect that other ones (e.g., Yamaha DXR10) might get more volume even with a smaller speaker.

 

 

I would think it's much harder to try and apply the stock presets than it would be to simply learn the techniques used in the stock presets and build some presets that meet your needs.  It's not really that hard to do and you'll get closer to what you actually want.  You can also control the overall volume level much better when you build your own.

 

As far as some of your other questions.

 

The behavior or the volume pedal on the overall sound can be different whether it's placed at the beginning of the signal chain or at the end.  You should try both and see what works best for you.

 

When you switch presets, all of the blocks in the current preset are unloaded and the blocks of the new preset are loaded.  Since the volume pedal is just another block, the new preset has no idea what the settings were on the old preset, so, yes, the volume pedal will be set to 0.  However, the setting of the volume pedal is saved along with the settings of any other block.  So if you have the pedal set to max and you save the preset, the next time you load it that will be the setting of the pedal.

 

I can tell you right now that there will absolutely be a delay when switching between presets due to the loading and unloading of the blocks.  This makes it somewhat impractical to switch presets within a song.  But as you've discovered you can pretty dramatically change the behavior of a preset by simply changing things within a preset using a footswitch.  This is the whole idea behind snapshots.  I personally have never found the need for snapshots as I have always been able to accomplish dramatic changes in the behavior of a preset by assigning multiple actions to a single footswitch just using a single preset.  It's entirely possible to even change things like the drive setting on an amp and the depth of a reverb on a single footswitch action.  Read the section on Bypass Assign and Controller Assign in your manual.  Yes, Helix has a manual and a lot of information in there can be quite helpful when you're learning to use the unit.  It's worth reading....

 

You're correct in assuming the behavior of a Yamaha DXR will be different from the behavior of the B112D as they represent two different generations of powered speakers.  That being said you shouldn't have any problem with the B112D keeping up with a band unless your band is WAY too loud.  This isn't 1970 anymore so given that you will likely be pushing all of your instruments through the PA, and you certainly don't need a lot of volume to achieve the sound you want with the Helix.

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There's a global setting for the volume/expression pedal(s) that makes it's value "global" or per preset.

The global, I believe, will retain the current position of your expression pedal even when switching presets.

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