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Overwhelmed


rlw2016
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Got my helix out of the box a few hours ago, super stoked, but feeling a little overwhelmed as well.  Had a spider jam before, but never had anything like the Helix.  Any good videos or tips you could recommend?  I tried to get on line 6 video site, but could not get it to open. Thanks!

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Browse to YouTube. Watch as many Helix related videos as you can absorb. There are many outstanding videos. Look for the ones by Jason Sadites, and the ones by Richie Castellano. These are all recent. There are also many excellent videos from earlier last year that are still applicable. The Helix cheat sheet printed poster (or PDF) and the Helix 2.0 User Manual (Rev D) PDF are also excellent resources.

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Start simple by dialing in an amp you are familiar with to get a good base tone you like, then start experimenting with adding effects to the signal chain. The included cheat sheet is  also very helpful in getting you running quick. Many Helix users also turn to https://www.facebook.com/groups/line6helixusergroup/ for help and information.

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Hey man, I hear you on the overwhelmingness of the Helix.  I came from a Boss GT-8, the difference between the helix  and that hardware has been life changing.  

 

MusicLaw and ADBrown both have good points.  I started out with YouTube videos since I honestly never had any amps besides a Marshall AVT 275, that amp broke down in less than two years and I went for studio monitors and a GT-8.  I'm really into Dream Theater, so I sought out Mesa Boogie sounds.  This is a good video of  Youtuber Richie C.  creating a great tone:

 

I suggest spending a day or so going through the factory presets and get a feel for what everything is.  I suggest having this website handy:

http://dshowmusic.com/line-6-helix-amp-models/

It is a cheat sheet for amp models, so going through the factory sets and looking at this at the same time can give you a good feel for what amps sound like while assigning a brand name to them.

After that I just went after what I was looking for which is fantastic clean tones and metal patches.  There is a lot out there.  I suggest Googling your favorite artist name and add "helix" afterwards and see what comes up.

 

Good luck!

 

EDIT:   Go through Line 6 Custom Tone page for awesome user submitted patches to load and learn from!

 

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Honestly, if you just sit down with Helix and the Quick Start guide (the card that came in the box) and build a few patches from scratch using only that, within a few hours you'll know more about how to get the most out of the unit than you ever will watching somebody else do it on youtube.

 

That was my technique, and within a day I knew what I needed, within a few days I never needed to look at the manual again, and within a few weeks probably became as much an expert as anybody can with this thing.

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1 hour ago, PeterHamm said:

Honestly, if you just sit down with Helix and the Quick Start guide (the card that came in the box) and build a few patches from scratch using only that, within a few hours you'll know more about how to get the most out of the unit...

This^ I call it the Tony Hawk learning curve. At first glace it feels like a lot to understand but as if someone hits a light switch it all sort of becomes simple and reproducible. I made the mistake in the beginning of trying to watch other people do things instead of actually doing things and it got me nowhere. Also be aware that taking extended breaks from the unit itself can cause this overwhelming feeling to return. I felt pretty comfortable with it and then had to leave for a year. When I got back it was like looking at a foreign language all over again.  Just sit down and push buttons until you figure out what they do. It's really the best way. 

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I was where you are just about a year ago to the day when I got the Helix.  As PH said, I urge you to create your own presets.  Some like factory presets and many rave about ones you can buy, but others (incl me) are not fans and create their own.

It took me some time but I found I really needed to use EQ to get the sound I wanted.  Don't use Global EQ - that's best for adjusting everything to the environment you're playing in.

It doesn't sound like you are into IRs so stick with the Helix cabs as a starting point.  There's a huge amount of discussion about IRs vs. Helix cabs with both sides being adamant on their opinions.  I used the cabs and moved to IRs once I had a clue on building presets and had tones in mind.  At your stage going down the IR path would add an awful lot of extra variables you don't need right now.

I also suggest stepping away from presets to rest your ears.  What sounds good one day may not the next.  I can't explain that but many here experience that.  Now I have created presets that I've been using a while without editing them.  Remember that loud almost always sounds better and I've found the same thing with EQ (more highs sound better) so keep that in mind.

It's surprisingly easy to create a good sounding preset.  The stock settings for LA comp and other compressors is pretty good.  There are amps that are known to have good clean sounds and excellent dist.  Put a delay, verb and some EQ after that and you get a good sound (depending on what you're trying to). 

I didn't mention cabs.  With no mic-ing experience when I started I was overwhelmed with mic choices and distances.  RedWirez has a PDF on how to use their IRs that lists some mics and mic distances that are typical for recording studios and a good place to start.  I started there with the Helix cabs and that was helpful.  If you need more info on this, write to me and I'll send the doc and explain what I mean.  To be clear, I'm not saying buy the IRs, but their guidelines for mics is useful for the Helix for a newbie.

 

 

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I've had Helix for awhile and I think Jason Sadites "How To Create A Great Tone" series is a good place to start. There are 15 parts. Remember the first part has no part number in the title. But the rest do. He has some good advice about getting a good tone. Pay attention to playing with the mic distance. Each one is about 30 minutes so you won't get too overwhelmed. As you're watching remember this is just his way of doing things. But it is a good way to get your feet wet and learn something as well.

 

Of course I agree with much of the previous advice as well. But if you need a little guidance at first, this is as good as any of the other youtubes.

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Pick one amp model. Just one.  One you are already familiar with in the real world.  Use an amp + cab block to keep things as simple as possible.  Start with the default cab that in the amp/cab block.  Tweak the mic or cab if you want along with the main settings on the amp - drive and amp EQ.  Get your tone right with just that and skip everything else.  Don't keep switching amps, cabs etc. but instead learn one model and cab.  Once that's good, introduce delay and reverb and then maybe a dist block.  The longer you can keep things simple the more comfortable you'll be with getting things to sound good and consistent.  

That's a good place to start.  After you're good with that then expand to more effects, more amps, advanced routing etc.

I would NOT start with watching other people's videos.  The guitar they are using is different,  How they play is going to be different.  Probably the amp model they are going to use is not the one you are most familiar with.  Don't start with the presets either.  Start with a blank patch, one amp/cab block and keep things as simple as possible.  No way to get overwhelmed that way.

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