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Match tones or just find good "ME tones" ?

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How many of you folks in Cover bands try to match the original artists tones with your patches compared with just finding a great set of Clean / Hairy Clean / Crunch / Driven / High Gain tones that sound good for "your" sounds??  

 

I've tried to match tones myself with varying degrees of success...  The good ones make me smile, but when it's off a bit, it's distracting.  I wonder if I'm chasing something that I won't achieve?

 

Also, do you build tones to suit a specific guitar, i.e. Patch 2a is for a Strat, tone 2b is the same patch but for a LP ??

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I try to get reasonably close.  I think it makes a difference to the audience and if you're too far off from it, it's distracting.  But if you're close everyone recognizes it and appreciates it.

 

As far as the guitar used...absolutely.  I use a patch per song and each patch is designed for a specific guitar.  That's a key element in getting the sound right.  In my case it will be either a Tele, a Strat, a Les Paul, or a Gretsch hollow body (Silver Falcon).

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I try to get reasonably close.  I think it makes a difference to the audience and if you're too far off from it, it's distracting.  But if you're close everyone recognizes it and appreciates it.

 

As far as the guitar used...absolutely.  I use a patch per song and each patch is designed for a specific guitar.  That's a key element in getting the sound right.  In my case it will be either a Tele, a Strat, a Les Paul, or a Gretsch hollow body (Silver Falcon).

 

This brings up another question I have... switching guitars. Do you have more than one axe plugged into the Helix simultaneously? and if so, how?   Or do you have one lead and just change guitars and switch the cable at the guitar?   Or is there an external A/B switch involved?

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This brings up another question I have... switching guitars. Do you have more than one axe plugged into the Helix simultaneously? and if so, how? Or do you have one lead and just change guitars and switch the cable at the guitar? Or is there an external A/B switch involved?

... hence the Variax ...... Useful for the same reasons that you have Helix for different amps and FX on the same device.

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I bring two or sometimes three guitars to a gig. My main guitar is a JTV-69S with Jerry Amalfitano SVL-Daytona pickups. I always bring my Strat Deluxe which also has Jerry Amalfitano pickups, but a different model in the neck and middle position. I sometimes bring my ‘67 Les Paul which has Tom Holmes pickups, but not that often. Depends on the gig. If I use all three guitars, I use a simple A/B switch for the Strat and Les Paul into Helix guitar input, and always use the VDI cable with the Variax. Just be careful to turn the volume down on your quitar when you put it on the stand. Otherwise it can start feeding back in the middle of a song.

 

I play in a cover band, so have to make a decision on how to cover each song. My approach, as well as the band’s approach, is to reproduce the spirit of the songs, making sure we hit all the hooks. But we don’t worry about having things be exact, and think it adds some consistency and interest to interpret the songs our own way, and within our constraints (time and talent). We try to play everything reasonably well and with good tones. We mostly play in clubs, and so our focus is keeping people in the club and on the dance floor having fun. That is, the focus is on them, more than it is on us and the specific details of the songs.

 

I also pretty much use one patch all the time. I like having my own tone and using it as a means of interpreting the songs we play within my own style and capabilities. I just don’t have the time or patience to clone the tone and memorize the specific leads of every song. I do use four snapshots within that tone for open tuning (open G), acoustic and a somewhat complex Leslie setup. I also have a few song-specific patches if they have a different tuning or some unique effect.

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I'm still a rank beginner in "the ways of the Helix," so I don't get overly fancy with tones at this point. I haven't had it very long, and am so far still in learning mode. So I spend most of my time in the very first factory preset (US Double NRM), because it mostly suits my style. Planning to step out to an open mic tonight with it for the first time. Been practicing songs like "Moondance," "Spooky," "Taking Care of Business," and "Monday Morning." The looper lets me record the guitar on a verse while I'm singing so I can do an instrumental lead later in the song. Making great use of that. My main guitars are an American Vintage 56 reissue Strat and an Epiphone Sheraton II Pro, but I have other guitars as well. I'd like to bring an extra guitar tuned to open G for some Stones songs, but in the context of an open mic night, that's probably not gonna happen. But I've recently met a bass player, so maybe I'll have a band at some point.

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How many of you folks in Cover bands try to match the original artists tones with your patches compared with just finding a great set of Clean / Hairy Clean / Crunch / Driven / High Gain tones that sound good for "your" sounds??  

 

I've tried to match tones myself with varying degrees of success...  The good ones make me smile, but when it's off a bit, it's distracting.  I wonder if I'm chasing something that I won't achieve?

 

Also, do you build tones to suit a specific guitar, i.e. Patch 2a is for a Strat, tone 2b is the same patch but for a LP ??

 

"Me tones" here. I've gotten by doing that for 40 years of being a professional musician and nobody has complained. I've always improvised my own solos too, unless it's an "iconic" solo that you sorta have to play, like "Don't Stop Believing." I sometimes sub for one of the 2 guitar players in a local Steely Dan cover band and had to learn a few solos from the studio albums (at the band leader's insistence) like the ones on "Reelin' In The Years," "Kid Charlemagne" and "Rikki," but that's about it. One of the great things about the real SD is that they let the players improvise their own solos for the live shows.

 

I never bring more than one guitar to a gig unless I'll need an acoustic for something. A Strat-type guitar with a humbucker in the bridge (mine is a Suhr) covers most of the tonal ground I need for most pop/rock. No, that humbucker can't fool anyone into believing that it's a Les Paul, but most people in the audience don't know or care.

 

My hat's off to those that do ape the tones off records; I've just never been interested in that myself and it has worked out okay.

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This brings up another question I have... switching guitars. Do you have more than one axe plugged into the Helix simultaneously? and if so, how?   Or do you have one lead and just change guitars and switch the cable at the guitar?   Or is there an external A/B switch involved?

 

Personally I just use a single cable.  All of my presets have a volume pedal block.  Since I'm changing presets whenever I change the guitar I simply select the preset which was saved with the volume pedal with a value of 0.  I then unplug, change guitars, then push the volume pedal to full.  I don't think it would really be that much faster with an A/B switch or with the guitars plugged in differently to the Helix.  The main delay is physically changing the guitar.  The rest takes a couple of seconds.  I do try to organize the sets to minimize changes and keep songs that use the same guitar together as best I can.

 

I've thought about using a Variax but there are two somewhat insurmountable issues in that I do a LOT of finger picking (Chet Atkins style) with the Gretsch and the Variax isn't really made well for that sort of technique.  The other issue is string gauge.  I use different string gauges on the Tele (lighter for chicken picking) and the Gretsch (heavier for a rounder sound for jazz and finger picking), which does make a considerable difference in sound, and the Variax can't model that sort of thing.

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I am intrigued by the Variax, but dont' think I'm ready to make that leap yet.  One major technology change at a time.  

 

I used to use HSS Strats exclusively... love the flexibility... however, I still brought two guitars to a gig, in case of a string break in mid-song.  Happened only once in 20 years, but it was nice to limp to the end of the solo, nod to the other guitar player to cover my part for a few seconds, grab second guitar, tap the A/B switch and jump back in with minimal gap in the music.  So I always have a back up.  I think my career as a submariner has something to do with always wanting a back up for everything.  ha ha.

 

The Helix kinda begs to be used as a mimic-tool, but after my first gig, I think having fewer, and better tones might be the way to go for a while until I am well-versed in the Helix.  I think four basic tones with the ability to turn on/off a standard set of effects might be a good start.  

 

Very clean

Clean with a bit of Hair

Crunch with an extra OD pedal for more

Heavier OD 

 

Each of these with Chorus / Tremolo / Wah and some kind of lead sound with extra delay...  

 

On a couple of our tunes, there is a need for a Leslie sound, or an Organ-based effect for key licks...  those can be separate patches.. 

 

On my first gig Friday night, I had 55 different patches - one for each song - and it was great to have them all be different, but trying to get so many patches equalized and ready for a gig took most of a day (not to mention the 2-3 weeks it took me to build them!  And of course, some were great and some were not.

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Blend between me and match. Get the drive and delays right. Then chorus/flange/phase etc. And finally eq for obvious mismatches.

 

Example. We cover Green Day and Romantics in the same set. Can't use the same tone for those.

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I always do me tones. Because I’m me. And if i try to be Eddie Van Halen, it will go badly. It goes less badly if i try to be the Edge, but it goes best when I try to be me.

 

Only played in a true “cover†band for a little while, but have worked in music in the church which is often a kind of “cover bandâ€. I always look to sound like me in that case, too, though.

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There was a time when I was overly concerned with trying to tone match for every tune in the set...but not anymore. Frankly, it's exhausting. Plus, half the time the set list changes on the fly anyway...sometimes you gotta play to the mood of the audience. It's distracting and looks amateurish if I have to rummage through countless patches because somebody yells out "play some Skynyrd!". On the other hand, If I we're doing the tribute band thing, then I'd be more inclined to try and nail the tone, as people are expecting something much more specific...but that's just me.

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There was a time when I was overly concerned with trying to tone match for every tune in the set...but not anymore. Frankly, it's exhausting. Plus, half the time the set list changes on the fly anyway...sometimes you gotta play to the mood of the audience. It's distracting and looks amateurish if I have to rummage through countless patches because somebody yells out "play some Skynyrd!". On the other hand, If I we're doing the tribute band thing, then I'd be more inclined to try and nail the tone, as people are expecting something much more specific...but that's just me.

 

Yup.

 

This is why I create a patch that gets me two choices of delay, clean and crunch through the same amp on one foot switch, and an added dirt pedal (usually Timmy or Klon). Stick in one or two modulation choices and I'm good to go for pretty much any song.

 

SOME songs require something special and weird. But not all do.

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I have nailed this particular Police tone

 

 

No doubt about it. Absolutely spot on. I wonder if anyone would be interested in this tone? :)

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I have nailed a this particular Police tone

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=k1i0Nz87rlk

 

No doubt about it. Absolutely spot on. I wonder if anyone would be interested in this tone? :)

Lmao...😂

 

If this keeps up we're gonna need a sub-forum for stalkers of 80's pop-rock guitarists. Roundtable discussions about what meds everybody is on, exchanging mug-shots, etc...it'll be a hoot! ;)

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I've never played in a true cover band, so I've never even really thought about matching tones. If we're doing a song where there's some sort of signature effect, I will generally try to do that, but often times the bands I'm playing in will do covers more in a style that matches us rather than trying to do them as they were recorded. I don't know, I've never really had any interest in trying to match tones.

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I've gotten essentially perfect sounding patches (IMHO) to a few songs but there are also others that have stumped me. I'm guessing the Helix can do them but I've spent too much time on some of them. I would give yourself an hour to dial a tone in. Wait a day (rest your ears) and try again the next day with fresh ears. If you can't get it by then, just go with as close as you can.

 

I will also bet you that there are people that would disagree with my "perfect" assesment of some of my patches as well. Just do the best you can and don't sweat getting perfect. It really is more about the notes than sounding exactly like the record. But personally, I do love playing with a patch that sounds like the record. That's also what I like listening to. Hearing say, a Journey cover with a tone like some death metals band's, doesn't quite do it for me. That's just me. It's not a character flaw if you love to hear Journey with a death metal band's tone.

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I do "ME" the best.

 

My cover band plays rock n' roll every weekend.  We play Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, Disturbed, Godsmack, Van Halen, Eve 6...... it's a huge variety.

 

I use basically two sounds - clean and dirty.  I also only use one guitar all night, it's an EVH Special Stealth with two humbuckers. 

 

My philosophy is to match FX to songs as much as possible but I don't worry about amps.  To vary the sound I do choose what pickups work for certain things.  For instance I like using the combo of both humbuckers for acoustic type sounds.

 

I feel very strongly that if I was switching between several amps and patches all night that at some times my tone would get lost among the bass and drums.  The core sounds I have blend well with my band.  I'm not saying I wouldn't rule out using something different but that would only be if the guitar just doesn't sound right otherwise.  For example, we are going to be covering a Pantera song and I think it's important that I use a more thick and cutting tone.  When we all get in a room and play though, I may just go back to my core tone.

 

I also don't want to spend too much time worrying about the tone, I think it's much more important that my playing be on point.

 

Think about it this way, if your drummer had an electric drum set would he change the sound of the set for every song?  

 

The last thing I would say is that it never hurts to experiment but make sure you are recording your experiments so you can go back and see what sounds best to you.

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... but have worked in music in the church which is often a kind of “cover bandâ€. I always look to sound like me in that case, too, though.

Yup. It doesn't matter the music. It always goes best as being "you" while doing someone else's music. 

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My main project is originals so I try to get each song's tones just so.  :P

 

In my cover band, it's definitely a ballpark effort.  in fact, I tend to use 3-4 snapshots on a single preset for at least 3/4 of our stuff.  if I played in a tribute band, it would be a different story.

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me tones with the right effects for songs/artists that require it. We tend to put our own flavor on everything. Seems to work okay...

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I generally will try to get in the ballpark 'tone' wise....but for me, its more about dialing in the feel of how the guitar sound sounds to me.  I play in a cover band that does everything from Neil Diamond to Metallica and everything in between.  Originally, I create a bank for each 'genre' that involves 4 sounds, generally a clean/gritty/crunch/boosted versions.  For genre's I'll have a Dance Rock, 80's Rock and Hard Rock....that should cover just about all sounds we play and also any impromptu ones we don't have in the list that we can pull off.

 

I'll then go back and use those tones as starting blocks to create more song specific presets (utilizing Snapshots to make changes during the song, I run 4 preset/4snaps mode). 

 

My original statement is referring to my approach of getting in the ball park.  I'm not going to play Metallica using a Fender Twin with a pedal in front...to me that's going the wrong direction tone wise for the song.....likewise, taking a Dual Rectifier and reducing the Drive/Master til I get a cleanish type tone for Sweet Caroline is also like trying to use a screwdriver to cook eggs. 

 

I'll dial in a sound that gives me the right gain/feel/response and call it good.  I like playing the song Your Love by The Outfield, and really banging on the strings to get that percussive strumming type sound that you hear.  So I try to find an amp that gives me that type of response but not get too gritty.  Same with Metallica, gotta have that chug a lug thickness without losing some definition. 

 

Generally I still only use probably 6-7 sounds a night, but really try to dial in what feels good when playing.  If I have to fight the guitar or the sound for how I wanna play, its no fun.  But I also don't usually spend more than an hourish on a specific song's sound unless there is some crazy routing or effects. 

 

 

 

Just recently I've gone through all the amps and created snapshots of clean/amp drive/amp gained/boosted, and when using the looper pedal I can now play the riffs of the song, and just cycle between the presets/snapshots and jot down a few amps that get me where I want.  I then just copy/paste that Amp block into my songs preset and tweak until I'm satisfied.  It's been a lot of setup work, but now that its completed its made my creation process much more streamlined and I can focus on the smaller details of getting what I want.

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! have 16 "ME" tones...  4 patches with 4 snap shots.
the patches are:
Vintage  - arbitrator - with colorsoundwah/comp/filter/centaur/leslie/phaser/tapeecho/ereverb

Classic - Plexi  - with  Voxwah/comp/filter/centaur/Screamer/phaser/tapeecho/ereverb

Modern -  2 amp patch PRS clean/PRS Solo  - with Vettawah/comp/filter/centaur/Screamer/chorus/Vintagedigital/ tapeecho/ereverb

Custom, Studio pre  and  the modded marshall  with Vettawahcomp/centaur/Screamert/harmony/Trichorus/Vintagedigital/ Delay/reverb

 

each patch has Clean rhythm , Drive Rhythm, Clean Solo, Drive Solo

 

with this I can do anything.

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Me tones for sure. Been in both full time cover bands and original bands. I've always strived for my own sound and one that worked the best with the band.

 

And honestly...I think I spend more time refining my vibrato than I do tweaking on my tone.

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