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Best way to identify knob tuning presets?

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Hello to all... I've been an avid line 6 user for a number of years now, helix floor, wireless and JTV-59. I purchased the Variax to help maintain my sanity during the pandemic, and it worked great! With no performances going on, it helped maintaining my love for playing. As things returned to normal, (somewhat), it's been sitting in the case for the last year or so. Now I've been involved with a group which as of our last performance 2 days ago, required 2 guitars, 1 tuned to open D, various capo positions etc... thats too much for me! I decided that it's time to put the Variax to work! 

  I plan to use the virtual capo in place of most of the presets after the full step down.

My question: For those that change any of the presets to custom, how have you found the best means to label the knob? I'm kind of hoping that I don't resort to blue painters tape with writing. I think that would look pretty tacky! But tacky is better than selecting the wrong position!

Thanks as always for your help,



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Interesting question, and one I’ve never considered so the first things that come to mind are:

- I wouldn’t do anything permanent because you might want to change the custom tunings again sometime.

- I would consider taping a map of the tunings to the top side edge/thickness (not the top surface) of your Variax, where you can easily see it while playing. There you could write the transformations e.g. DADGAD = MyTuning1, indicating that your specific custom tuning is in the knob’s DADGAD position.

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A agree with @silverhead. Either memorize the tunings, or use labels. I use this sort of console gaffing tape for labels on guitars, mix boards, and equipment. It comes off easy with no marks or sticky residue. Gaffing tape comes in different widths, and a roll will last you a long time:



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I don't have the Helix, so I don't know what it is capable of. 

But the HD500 could save the preferred tuning per patch. 


Instead of marking up your guitar, could you change your preset when a song needs a different tuning?

Using the same preset as far as fx go, but have one copy for tuning down and one for turning to a chord.

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On 6/14/2022 at 2:57 PM, pianoguyy said:

change your preset when a song needs a different tuning?

I thought of that, in fact I just purchased a WIDI jack, (bluetooth MIDI controller) for the HELIX so I can use Forscore in my iPad via the WIDI jack, to automatically change to the appropriate snapshot and tuning when I select a song on Forscore. My only obstacle is that I just finished building a new pedalboard centered around the Helix. To make everything fit, I had to build a riser for a few pedals, which blocks the top of the Helix, I installed remote 1/4" stereo input jacks for the output. I'm pretty sure that to send MIDI to and from the Variax, that the cat5 cable has to be used, which as I said is not accessible at this time. I have to look into a remote surface mount for the cat5 also the XLR/AES outputs, (I run 2 PC+'s in stereo). It seems that just as soon as I get everything all set...I have to change things for one reason or another, never changes!

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Yes, of course using custom tunings stored in a Helix preset/snapshot is ideal. From your question and description I thought you wanted a way to identify the tuning being used. The stored preset/snapshot will apply the desired tuning but will not identify it.


On the other hand, if all you’re interested in is having the right tuning applied you can use the stored custom tuning in Helix instead of a Custom Tuning on the Variax, in which case your original question may be moot. The Custom Tunings as identified on the tuning knob remain in place on the Variax and the preset-stored custom tuning doesn’t need to match any of them. You don’t need to identify the custom tuning being used, you just need to know with confidence that it is being applied appropriately when you select the preset. And it is!

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One more note on this, assuming this will be your first time using stored custom tunings in Helix presets.  By default all Helix presets have the Variax Tuning parameter set to Don’t Force. This parameter is preset specific.

This means that you will need to reset that parameter value to Custom in those presets where you want to apply your desired stored custom tuning. All good so far. But then when you switch to a preset where you want to go back to standard tuning, the Don’t Force setting in that preset means that the Variax will remain in the custom tuning assigned in the previous preset. Not good. The Solution? You need to set the Variax Tuning parameter in ALL presets to Custom, and there is no global way to do this. You need to manually make the change in every preset, and ensure that all the custom tuning string offsets show 0 (zero) in presets where you want standard tuning to apply.

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Depend what you use as guitar model,

you can assign a tuning on each guitar model about 70 different tuning


if you use acoustic

you can assign the custom  knob with you guitar model

1 = capo 1 fret

2 = capo Fret 2

3 = Capo fret 3 etc....


If you play only with Strat model

Spank 1 = Drop A

Spank 2 is Drop B 

Spank 3 is Drop C

Spank 4 is Drop D 

Spank 5 is standard E



Replace the Lester model with the Spank with Workbench

Lester 1  is a spank now = Open A

Lester 2 is a spank now =Open C


Just set the tuning in a following order A B C D  E


You can do the tunings for each preset with Workbench

To hear the tunings

Select the guitar model and go the the model knob

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On 6/15/2022 at 10:57 AM, silverhead said:

I thought you wanted a way to identify the tuning being used.

That solves my immediate need, the alternate tunings as you described so well, I will try at a later time, when/if I have the time. 

Never having tried the alternate tunings with the Helix, it sounds a lot more complicated, than using the custom tunings via the Variax, although it would be a great deal simpler once incorporated. 

For the custom tunings in Helix, it is still necessary to connect the Variax via cat5?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last gig I set up tunings using the 5-position pickup switch and it worked a lot better for me than using the alt tuning knob because I could "feel" the number of clicks to select a tuning on dark stage. I think that's the way I'll go in the future.

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