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timmyo

Gigging Acoustic players?

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Is anyone using their Helix for a primarily acoustic singer-songwriter type gig?  (rather than acoustic in a band mix gig) 

I'm about to start digging around and sorting a patch or 2, but if anyone has starting points for a nice bit of multiband compression and some saturation I'd be interested to see how you're achieving it.

cheers

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@PeterHamm is getting great tones, look at his preset configurations for ideas. Other ideas:

- don't use any amps or cabinets on your guitar signal

- the studio preamp is useful as your 1st block

- use a 3Sigma acoustic guitar IR to get a little more wood in your tone

- get your basic acoustic git tone perfected before adding any effects

- add effects as needed (eg reverb, chorus, delay, etc)

- the Timmy distortion works nice on acoustic guitar if needed for leads, etc

- create a separate (and similar, but no IR) path for your vocal mic

- you can use a small MIDI controller/mixer that has USB MIDI-out to control your mix without stooping down (for example, a Korg nanokontrol)

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I don't fit the profile you were looking for of using an acoustic guitar solely for singer-songwriter events as I play mine in an electric rock band but I have used an acoustic with the Helix for a few songs at every gig for a couple of years now.  Nonetheless, some of this may be relevant to the solo singer-songwriter scenario and it took me a couple of years of tweaking acoustic presets to come around to this current opinion(it might be different again in a couple of years, ha :-)).

 

When I started dialing up patches for acoustic guitar for quite a while I used the tube pre, cabs, and various amp or preamp blocks such as the Jazz Rivet that I thought might be ok with an acoustic guitar, experimented with 3Sigma acoustic IRs, etc.. Although I got some good sounds that way and used those acoustic presets for quite a while I ultimately found that I preferred acoustic guitar presets with no amp, cab, or IR blocks. My recommendation for general use is to just dial up a patch with a compressor set gently, boost, gain block, a few delay, reverb, and chorus options, and various EQ blocks for molding the tone and dialing out piezo quack(if you have a piezo pickup). I find the Helix choruses have such different characters it is nice to have a couple to choose from in my acoustic presets. You can also use a second compressor like the 'LA Studio Comp' or Multi-Band at the end of your signal chain set gently so you don't destroy your dynamics. Acoustic guitars are particularly sensitive to their dynamics being crushed by excessive compression unless you are intentionally going for that sound. The only specific instructions I have for the Multi-Band is to put it at the end of your signal chain where it can act to some extent like a mastering compressor.

 

One of the delay blocks I include in my chain is the 'Ducked Delay' to decrease the busyness during finger picked or fast strummed passages but it still adds a nice delay to the tail. I find matching the delay to the tempo and reverb to the size and type space I am in is generally helpful and sounds more realistic as you would expect. I use a couple of different delay blocks; same for the reverb.  I use a compressor near the front of my signal chain. If you are using one of the compressors with attack and release times I set the 'Attack' low, e.g. 25ms; I tend to set the 'Release' parameter at 300ms or greater depending on the song's tempo. The higher release times can work well with an acoustic guitar but experiment and make sure you are not holding the compression too long on faster tunes and failing to compress subsequent peaks. You can also experiment with dialing down the 'Mix' parameter on the compressor to allow more of the initial unaffected sound through. I run my "Mix" at about 90%.

 

Some other specific blocks I put in my preset although they are not necessarily switched on at any given time are the 'Ubiquitous Vibe; 'Trinity Chorus' (sounds great with acoustic), and the 'Kinky Boost' .  Proper use of the combination of compressor, boost, and EQ blocks should get you the additional "saturation" you are looking for. I then throw in any effect in I think I might use with my acoustic. It is amazing how much you can throw into a single preset when you don't require multiple amp or IR blocks. You may want to include an acoustic IR that you can switch in now and then to change the character of your specific acoustic guitar but I generally found that I preferred my tone without it.

 

I always have a gain or boost block set up on a footswitch for boosting leads.

 

As many have said before, often less is more when it comes to acoustic. It is easy to overwhelm the sound of a great acoustic guitar with too much processing and it is important to let the "room" inform your block setting choices. The above is just what I found worked best for me when using an acoustic guitar with piezos via the Helix out to an FRFR stage monitor and FOH. Those using an electric guitar with piezos or Variax or other types of monitoring may want to take a different approach.

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....totally agree with the "less is more" for acoustic guitar. And re: using acoustic guitar IRs, I dial this in just a little until I find the tone I like (usually about 30%). Whether IRs help or hinder depends mainly on the quality of your acoustic guitar pickup system and how you blend.

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