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Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-01-28 07:45:59.8550

Hello All,

I've noticed many people (including myself) are asking questions in regards to building patches or getting a better sound.  I thought it would be cool if we could have one thread where we could all just post tips or ideas on what we do to build patches as well as any other cool tricks while using your POD HD.  I will start with one of the things I do which works very well for me and I believe I have seen someone else suggest as well.  When building a patch I use the looper in the pre mode, record the dry signal of the guitar and allow it to loop.  This way, your hands are free to do all the tweaking and you don't need to go back and forth between playing and twisting knobs!

Feel free to share your tips and ideas below!


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 07:56:45.8280

that's an old trick i learned on the GT 10 ........ but it works really well and is alot better than the "play a bit - stop - tweak - play again " way i used for so long before someone should me this trick.

- one trick/hint i always use is to generally use "negative" EQing............that is say, for example, you want to add more top end to a tone start by reducing the mids/lows first 9before adjusting the top end at all) If you adjust upwards you are adding more frequencies, and this can get messy (especially if adding treble into any tone which has some gain in it)

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by spaceatl on 2011-01-28 09:36:27.4640

#1 - Intonate your guitar BEFORE you start tweaking anything...

If you don't know how to intonate your guitar, LEARN!!! Unless your tech has worked with you for years and knows exactly how you touch a guitar, the tech will never get it exactly right for you...everyone is different...Some guys squeeze more than other, pluck harder etc(ie: more velocity on the pluck makes the string sharp)...generally, intonation should average out just slightly flat...but how flat, all depends more on the player than the instrument, or some tech's opinion of how intonation should be done...This is just my ends the rant...

If what your are playing is not in tune, it will never sound opinion...I don't want to pi$$ off the sex pistols...

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by mrasmodeus on 2011-01-28 09:57:16.0950

some of my basic guidelines I use always.

#1 Have a plan. What kind of sound do you intend to make? Hear it in your head first.

#2 Create the patch at the level you intend to play it at. Gig volume vs bedroom volume will have much different tonal characteristics.

#3 Amp first. Generally, if you don't love the bare amp sound first, no amount of fx piled on before or after will make it sound better.

#4 When all else fails, research. There's hundreds and thousands of good articles on the interwebs on creating a good tone. Read them.

#5 Treat the amp sim like an amp. I had a hard time with this at first becuase of habits from other L6 products. The amp sims in my HD act a lot more like an actual amp. Beleive me, crank up the gain and peg all the volume and eq knobs wide open, and it will sound like a giant pile of a$$, much like it would in the real world seconds before it explodes.

#6 Consider your environment. No, don't run off and hug a tree right now. Consider what you're playing with. Will you have a: drummer? 2nd guitarist? bassist? keyboard? whom else are you going to have to climb over or make room for sonicly? adjust post EQ accordingly

#7 Never fight the naked guy

#8 Remember you just made a rough sketch, the best time to tweak is when you have the rest of your people playing (and you give them fair warning).

#9 Even as a hardcore metalhead, I get better tone and clarity by backing the gain down off 100% more than anything else.

#10 The big secret, for me at least:Play on the patch for a bit, then walk away from it for a day or two. Come back later and see how it sounds. Tweak accordingly and repeat until you don't have an urge a need to change it.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jyflorida on 2011-01-28 10:19:32.7260

Regardless of the "default" settings that appear when first selecting a sim, put all tone controls at 12:00 (flat) for minimum coloration.  Then work with each one individually adding/removing what you need for the tone you're after.  The initial flat sound usually doesn't sound that good but you're working with a blank canvas at that point rather than what the factory deemed to be "good".

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Tsmack218 on 2011-01-28 10:29:18.7740

I have found a way to boost the signal on the AC15 and AC30 amps by setting up a dual amp setup with both amps set up identically.  Then turn one of them off.  For some reason your output signal is alot greater.  I am not sure why it happens, but I am glad I found it because those amp models are too quiet compared to all of the rest.

Tim McDonald

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Tsmack218 on 2011-01-28 10:30:09.6160

Great idea starting this thread!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by relientr1 on 2011-01-28 10:43:49.5950

You can always jump over to customtone and download and compare what others have posted. Notice the subtle differences and see how each person has tweaked. Make sure you have fresh ears as well. Don't go to a Lamb of God concert and then go home and start a new tone.

I always take plenty of time as well. Don't sit down and expect to fire out the best tone you've ever heard in 15 min. Give yourself a few hours. Then take a break and freshen your ears. Then come back and keep working. If you have to start all over do it. Be patient.

Read up and research EQ as well. Depending on the the actual "real" amp you play through you are going to want to understand how to make subtle changes to your EQ. Same goes for playing "Direct to House." Having your sound guy set you flat and then telling you you've got awesome tone withouth having to adjust is a great compliment.

Try low volume as well. If you can make a great tone at a "tolerable" volume. Cranking up the Master to 11 is only going to make it better.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-01-28 11:20:06.9000

Tsmack218 wrote:

Great idea starting this thread!

Thanks! Just trying to help everyone out!  Great tips to everyone who posted so far.... let's try to keep this going!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Bluestone on 2011-01-28 11:48:08.5600

I've had  real good sucess with putting the EQ in the chain of's pretty easy to tweak it around to bring up...or decrease the bass as well as the others....


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 11:58:13.5150

+ 1 to this

I use this "flat" EQ whenever I want to use the OD/DS sims for "dirt" rather than driving the amp model itself.Set the amp tone stack for flat response then use the OD/DS eq to actually shape the tone (using the amps tone pots, only if needed, to fine tune the tone)

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-01-28 12:06:32.9170

That's interesting.  I'm going to have to try this.  Which amps do you usually use this technique on?

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Dbourget on 2011-01-28 13:42:06.7660

This one is from Franzel at the Gear Page and I use it all the time now. To smooth out your tone and get rid of any "fizzy/harshness" just add an anolog chours after your amp and set everything to min settings. Its amazing what just that little trick does for your tone. Then put it somewhere out of the way and forget it! you'll hear the difference when you turn it on and off.

I never used EQ's with my tube amps and can't see why you need one when using a prosessor. I get very nice sounding tones without EQ's. At least I like them and so do my band mates and our fans.

Try this trick! It works!


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jeff5x0 on 2011-01-28 13:53:32.5910

Wow great thread. Thanks to OP!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by relientr1 on 2011-01-28 14:07:41.7320

Not everyone will use EQ. Depends on a lot. Your pickups, the room, the amp, etc. But if you mess with your EQ I guarantee you your tone will come more and more alive as you're changing specific frequencies you might need to bring out away from your other band mates. If you have a kickin Bass player don't walk over his frequencies etc.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Crusty_Old_Rocker on 2011-01-28 14:20:54.8760

Mrasmodeus has given some great advice and he is right on the money.

I'll add my 2 cents worth.

  1. Don't use the default presets as your tones.  These are designed to show off what the device can do and some might sound cool in your bedroom, but they're just not going to work on stage.
  2. Less is more, especially when it comes to reverb.  The idea behind reverb was to make the guitar (or whatever was being recorded) sound like it was in a big room rather than a recording studio.  Reverb might sound good in your bedroom (like a small studio) but when you put that into a big room that has reverb of its own, your tone will lose definition and get all squidgy.
  3. Train your ears.  You can, just by listening, tell the difference between a Vox AC30, a Fender Deluxe and a Fender Bassman.  It does take years of practise but it can be done.  Having this skill enables you to go straight to the amp you want to use.  Also learn the difference between chorus, phaser and flanger.  To the untrained ear, these effects sound very similar, but they are in fact quite different.  Knowing those differences will also help you go directly to the effect you're looking for.
  4. As Mrasmodeus stated, start with the amp tone.  Get that sounding right before adding the effects.  This applies mostly to your post effects (I'll get to that in a minute), keep in mind that the guitar tone you're hearing may be pushed by an overdrive, boost or distortion pedal.  If you know your amp tones, you'll be able to tell if some effect has been placed in front of the amp.
  5. Know where effects should go in your chain and the impacts that placement has.  The simplest example is to think of a delay effect placed before an overdriven amp, as the distortion decays, the level going into the amp will drop and the tone will go from overdriven to clean as the delay decays.  If, however, you put the delay after the overdriven amp then the delay will apply to the already overdriven signal and the delay repeats will stay overdriven and not clean up.  Some effects just sound wrong if placed post (like wahs and distortions) while some sound wrong pre (reverb and some modulation effects).
  6. Compression is a great tool but you need to know how it affects thing and it's impact based on placement in the signal chain.  Compression would need to be addressed in a whole different post and I have numb fingers from typing already.



Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by dannyl5 on 2011-01-28 15:54:50.3810


I have found a way to boost the signal on the AC15 and AC30 amps by setting up a dual amp setup with both amps set up identically.  Then turn one of them off.  For some reason your output signal is alot greater.  I am not sure why it happens, but I am glad I found it because those amp models are too quiet compared to all of the rest.

Tim McDonald<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

All you are doing is bleeding some straight signal around the amp, which dilutes the tone of it. You can adjust this bypass level by selecting the amp that is off and using the volume control. See page 6.7 of the Advanced Guide.

Danny W.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 16:08:08.0920

basically on any of the amp models on which you can get a nice clean/just beginning to break up tone (Hiwatt/ Fenders /Dr Z /AC 30/JTM )

on the gainier amps you can still do this, though I tend to  use the EQ fx (rather than OD/DS) to shape the tone and increase the actual gain of the amp model to "dirty" up the sound (OD/DS sims don't sound "right" - imo - when placed before a "gainy" amp sim)

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 16:15:25.9290

another good trick ........also can be done by using a very subtle delay (not slap back or with long delay trails) - i'm not on the HD at the moment so can't recall any settings.

I have had some great success using this technique on higher gain models (JCM /Uber/Treadplate) - it really takes the "graininess" out of the tones.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 16:22:48.2920

good advice .......... real guitar amps tend to operate in the 100hz - 6khz range (at least i think that's right) so, for recording with my GT 10, I would always use HI/LO filtering to remove frequencies below 100hz and above 6khz to make the amp sim more realistic (though on the GT the results were not fantastic but at least it made the crappy COSM modelling seem a little less crappy)

haven't tried it on the HD yet but i'm sure it would work, and probably more successfully than on the GT.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by porcytree on 2011-01-28 16:34:58.9190

RE point No 4....................... a little tip I was taught by my guitar teacher at college is very similar to this.He always taught me to get a really nice clean/almost clean sound first and adjust the EQ to taste, then gradually dial in the gain (either by driving the amp or adding a OD/DS pedal) and make subtle adjustments to preserve the actual tone (the EQ) and then add the fx.

When adding fx - try to keep the overall volume of the patch the same as each effect is added (unity gain or gain staging).....unless the effect you are aiming for is a boost.

This is actually difficult on the HD 400 as not all of the fx have a Level setting , so some will always result in a volume boost to some degree.But it is possible to allow for this when setting the amp volume.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by mrasmodeus on 2011-01-29 11:55:21.8740

some other things that have served me well when making tones, even on 'real' amps, etc.

RESEARCH...  I started this very heavily after my first round of frustration/crappy results playing wihth some of the amp sims.

Go to the manufacturers site and grab the manuals, they usually have a page or two of amp settings for various general tones. They're a good starting point.

Go read articles and such from related fields, like recording and sound reinforcement. Especially for EQ. The more I read, and find out and apply these things, the mor epeopel I have consistently coming up to me and commenting on the sound, or at least to stare at the amp and quiz me pretty thoroughly.  Quick one I use a lot. When I can't get enough low end without flubbing out, knock 1-2db off the 440hz range and boom, clean tight bass you can dig holes with.  That seems to be the 'mud zone' for most of my guitars etc.

one of the problems before with digital fx was that multiFX units played too nice if the effects were all in one unit. Now, you can for th emost part, get ugly again. don't be afraid to do it 'wrong'. that's how some of these awesome tones from the past came about. bonus, you don't have to worry about running out of patch cables or batteries or worry about impedance matching.  Don't like the high gain amp distortion models? nothing says you can't line up 5 distortion pedals one after another with varying levels of gain and boost and make your own gain sounds. (try it, its fun)

when you make an improvement.. SAVE IT. save it to another slot if possible. then you can a/b back and forth to see if it a real improvement, or just the novelty of it is exciting.

make sure your other equipment is up to snuff. crusty joked about this in another post, but it's true. let's face it.. you're playing with a model of a recto or uber, etc thats a 2 grand plus type amp.. now, if you're running it into your trusty el-crappo 10 watt buzz box, while using a poorly intonated sears brand knockoff guitar with authentic regurge-o-tone pickups and linoleum finish... with strings so rusty that you have to wash your hands ofterwards.. well, you're going to get a crappy tone. simply put, up your game, there's a reason a lot of the big boys play gibsons.

ask yourself this first, "Do I want a (recto/DrZ/ac-30) tone, or do I want (your name here)'s tone"?

some ones that took me a while ot learn....

stop humping your amp and stand 10-30 feet back, or get the amp level with your head (if its loud, add the 10-30 feet back too).... give that amp some air and let it breathe a bit now you hear what everyone elses hears. even sitting right in front of a half stack, i was amazed how much of the tone was blowing past my legs/chest/etc and not making it to my ears.

crack a beer and have fun. no really, go dial in an Angus tone and jam out back in black a few times. see if you can really dial in that tone and just jam he hell out of it. good, feel better? now go back to your project and notice it doesn't sound the same anymore. .

finally, tones don't get made, they grow and evolve. think back before when you were using stomp boxes.. yeah, you could get a decent tone out of it, but it took a while of you playing it before you realy learned how to WORK IT and make IT WORK. it'll come.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by vcuomo on 2011-01-29 13:41:16.7570

I also use the looper trick, and it's also great for setting your patches to the same volume levels.  Record a loop and start the looper running on the patch that is your reference volume (i.e., the volume you want), then switch to the patch that needs the volume adjusted and adjust the volume and save the updated patch.  Keep switching back and forth and adjust the volume while the looper is running until the target patch volume matches the reference patch's volume.

Another trick (although it's not really a "trick"):  I don't use the 4CM method with my combo amp - I use a "2CM" method.  Run your guitar cable to the POD's "Guitar input", then run a cable from the POD's left (mono) 1/4" output jack to the combo amp's effects return (this assumes you have a serial effect loop on your amp).  Configure the POD's system output to be COMBO PWR AMP, and only use the PRE amp sims.  This means that you cannot use your combo amp's preamp (you're only using its power amp) but through my Mesa Boogie Mesa Express 5:50 the POD sounds fantastic this way, and there's fewer cables on stage!

Another trick:  Place an EQ at the very end of the POD's signal chain in your patches (or, if your volume pedal is at the very end, place an EQ immediately before the volume pedal) - this will allow you to really dial-in the final sound mix going to your amp or PA.

Another trick:  If you have your POD system output configured for COMBO AMP, make sure that "focus" and the two frequency cuts are adjusted optimally for your combo amp (focus is set to 540Hz the cuts are set to -45db and -50db from Line 6).  These are set in the system configuration menu on the same screen that you set the output to COMBO AMP (or COMBO PWR AMP, or STACK, ...) and they can have a dramatic effect on the tone of the signal sent to your amp.

Another trick:  For a simple lead boost, set the volume pedal's MIN volume to 75%-80% and make sure the MAX volume is at 100%.  Now you can use the volume pedal's toe up position as your rhythm volume and its toe down position for your leads.  This, of course, means you can't use the volume pedal to completely cut out your volume or to do volume swells (but that's what the guitar's volume knob(s) are for, right?).

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Bluestone on 2011-01-29 14:20:10.8130


#1 - Intonate your guitar BEFORE you start tweaking anything...


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by JerryWawak on 2011-01-31 14:23:04.0220

While it might seem logical to use a High Gain, mid scooped setting for your solos and they do sound good in the bedroom, the higher the gain and the more the mids are scooped, the more it's going to blend in with the rest of the band.  It's gonna get lost in the mix.  For soloing try adding some mids and try dialing back the gain just a touch.  Or better yet add a second cleaner amp in dual amp mode.  The clean amp will give you the note articulation while the distorted amp will give you the sustain you want.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by ghanson2 on 2011-01-31 14:36:41.7670

Boy, you are spot on.  Mids are where everything speaks.  In fact, check out what frequencies are represented in a vocal track and use that as a guide (sorta) of what will stick out in a given mix.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by desso on 2011-01-31 15:28:13.8630


This is far and away the best and most helpful thread I've read on this forum.

PDF'd and printed.

As mentioned, when I'm on a quest for the holy grail of tones for a track I want to record, often I'll just switch to something totally different and jam out on some Hendrix or Clapton for a while.  When I come back, new and better ideas will usually be waiting on me.  And I always use good flat response headphones (AKG K270 for me) in addition to my monitors when building tones, mixing and whatnot.

And I think the best thing I read was, with effects less is usually better.  For me this holds true with reverbs and modulation effects.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by daveschutt on 2011-01-31 19:09:50.0620

I feel a little foolish because about an hour ago I thought I had an epiphany about using the looper to help set tones and BAM! here it was.  I just wanted to add a few things to the great advice already out there.

This might be preaching to the choir but I saw someone mention setting up the patches at a resonable level and if you like them when you crank up the Master Volume they'll be even better.  I can't 100% agree with that.  I set up my patches at a practice volume because well, I have a family, neighbors, local police and they don't always appreciate hearing Hendrix riffs at 2am.  But I copy that set list before a gig and with the aid of a reasonably good db gaurge re-EQ my patches at about 90db.  With a gauge you'll be suprised how that bedroom configured patch wil all over the place db you hit a G string and it will be 90db then a high E and it'll be 110db! Ouch!  So I think it was Crusty who also said think - (minus) instead of + when shaping your tone with an EQ.  If you're using a Marshall Plexi sim but peg the EQ so it's as bright as a JC-120 what's the point, right?

I found that it really makes a difference and I don't come home from a gig frustrated and ready to sell my gear.  I play Strats primarily so I used to hate when I'd go out and play and I'd listen back to the gig recording and my guitar sounded like thin twangy P.O.S.  Then I read about the Fletcher Munson effect in fact before posting I was looking for some info and found a nice explantion here in the Line 6 website

So in simplest terms my home patches generally have a "smiley" EQ curve and my gig patches have more of a "sad" EQ curve but me the guitarist has a smiley face at the end of the night.  Also, I've added a few LP's to my guitar collection and with the simplicity of the Set Lists now I can basically a Strat Set List and LP Set List of the same patches but tweaked to bring out the best in both guitars.

That's all I got, hope this is helpful,


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by StudioTM on 2011-02-01 14:30:11.2830

Would be great if you can share a bundle or setlists with us!



Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jyflorida on 2011-02-02 10:11:13.8790

Something else that has worked well for me is to only spend about 15 minutes at a time shaping your tone.  Like any other part of your body, your ears can get fatigued.  Many times I'll stop for about 10 minutes and when I go back to it, it's like "what the hell was I thinking"!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by guitars69 on 2011-02-02 16:00:03.4440

Great tips!  In general I think my tone could use a ton of work but here's some things I've learned:

If you set up your patches at bedroom level most of the time, then try setting up an external EQ to boost the bass the treble.  Then when you go to your gig, don't use the EQ.  If you set it right, you can get approximately the same sound and compensate for the FM curves.

When making dual amp tones, try to find two sounds that compliment each other.  A bassy amp sim with a more treble/mid amp sim will make a nice full sound.  Personally I find dual amp tones to end up being "too much" for my band.  If I was a single guitar player, it'd probably work.  Since I have a guitarist, its doesn't seem to work very well.

On that note, your guitar can easily take up the full spectrum of tone.  If you want to fit in with a band, try making your sound "smaller".  Some cabinets do this for you already pretty well.  Find one that sounds focused by itslef and it may be just the ticket in your group.  You may need to use EQ instead by:

Use an EQ to do a high pass/low cut on your patch around 80-120 Hz.  Your bass player will thank you.

Use  an EQ to do a low pass/high cut or shelving EQ on your patch at say 5-6  KHz.  Distortion makes a lot of harmonics.  If you cut some, you'll  probably hear cymbals and vocals better.

Stereo effects are awesome... unless you play live.  Most venues run in mono.  Be aware of that.  If you've set up a patch with stereo effects are hard panned amps, try it in mono sometime to make sure it doesn't suck.

Too much gain sounds like white noise in a band or recording.  Set the gain till its "just right" then turn it down a little.  Its the layering that makes a "wall of guitar" sound big not the gain.  This point makes me laugh when someone says "I can't get enough distortion out of <whatever> amp."

Cut some of the bass with an EQ pre-amp.  This tightens up the low end and is the reason many people run a tube screamer before an amp.

When you go to play lead, an overall "boost" is not always the answer.  Try boosting the mids instead.  You'd be amazed how easy it was to hear a lead when it ran through the 2"x2" cabinet sim on the X3.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by shockwave199 on 2011-02-02 19:17:25.6950

Aside from all the good suggestions, in using them, don't forget you can reference your favorite tones and sounds right from the recordings the masters made. It's like an open book exam! Reference listen from quality media over a quality playback system [read NO mp3's through earbuds], and A/B until you get the sound as close as possible. If you can pipe in wav file quality audio [cd audio] into the pod, all the better and easier. The connection is there- use it. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is get good tones going all on your own, with no reference to quality tones from the masters- players who you may very well be covering anyway. Don't fret too much that their tones may be tailored and sculpted to fit in the mix of the record as opposed to live. That is a consideration, but matching quality tones from the records of the masters is gonna put you on the right path faster than just winging it with no reference. Especially for the beginner/intermediate tone masters. Even study up on what amps and effects they used. And the all important- what AXE they used. And that is a very big case for thinking about a variax to couple with a pod. Not only can you match gear, but their guitars too. After a while doing that, your ear perception will mature and you'll be whipping up great tones all on your own too. It is a common practice in the studio world to reference listen. Take advantage and do the same.


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by mrasmodeus on 2011-02-03 00:06:58.2820

I'm starting to see the same tips repeat a lot here, so let me change it up and point out some pitfalls or things to watch out for.of course, keep in mind, i'm a metalhead, this may not apply near as much to other players styles...

Thi sone took me a while, coming from a background of 2+ guitar bands.... realize that you'r eusually hearing a bull band, and usually 2 guitars and a bass (think most metal) at the same time, and you're going to naturally try to replicate _that_ sound, vs the individual guitar tones. You are going to run into a lot of problems doing this, and this is where a lot of guys end up with the wall of mush. Might sound good on your own or in the store, but put drums, bass another guitar, a singer and maybe even a keyboard in there and you're either going to cover them all up, or get buried.. causing more tweaking, frustrations, etc.

the more guitars, the less gain you need and want, unless you're soloing, same thing, otherwise you get that shapless wall of heavy. might be useful in some very specific applications, but generally not. I notice the same thing with recording if I'm doubling or tripling tracks. that distortion all adds up quick.

Someone mentioned picking two amps that compliment each other.. remember this also applies when playing wth another guitarist... even with the same amps, sometimes, sacrificing a little of 'your sound' and maybe even gettng the other guy to do the same, can make you both sound better all around.

if as a band, you can get ahold of a frequency analyzer, use it, even a halfway decent recording unit will help you more than you realize, even using just a few room mics. That tape doesn't lie anywhere near as much as your ears do.   Remember the first time you ever heard a recording of yourself talking and your first thought was 'who the heck is that doof.. ooooh, thats me..'

if your cabinet is farting, you're probably not letting the bass player do his job, probably also the reason more bass players are going for that high nasaly plink plink plink sound... just to be heard.

make it frown.... looking through articles of people with definite clear iconic type sounds.. they all seem to have a huge midrange boost dialed in, not a scoop. Toni Iommi and Kerry King come immediately to mind.

I've heard talk that some/many (unconfirmed by me so far) amps will distort on a few frequencies that are coming in teh strongest, and mostly just compress the others.. an old trick I remember from some books was to pre and post eq your distortion at exact opposites to each other to change teh voicing then reflatten the curve.This may not help you but its another tool for the chest.

I've noticed in real life, some amps play better with pedals than others. I put a tube screamer in front of my M/B roadster combo and it about sings "oh happy day", then put the same pedal in front of my old crate or other amps and it snaps and bawls and screams "i hate you and want you to die'. some matchups dont work no matter how much you want them to. go with it or change course.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jyflorida on 2011-02-03 03:46:45.3160

"it snaps and bawls and screams "i hate you and want you to die'."  

Most of my amps scream that even when they sound good! 

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by laszlov2 on 2011-02-04 01:57:26.6780

Allways remember that if you play in a band, the sound is 'stacked' like this:


Lead Guitar

Rythm Guitar/Keys

Bass Guitar

Drums are in all layers.

The bass guitar should company the drums with tone an volume,

Rythm guitar or Keys should have plenty mids, less highs en lows, more lows will result that you're in the Bass guitar frequencies. (For keys it's the same)

Lead Guitar should be all over the place in the mids and highs, with just enough bass to give it a pilar to stand on.

The vocals er usually in the same spot as the lead guitar.

I'm trying to keep this 'stack' in mind when I'm dialing in tones, and in band practice. I wan't a patch to sound good live but I don't care that a patch doesn't sound as good in the bedroom compared to live. I practice in my bedroom, no need for a perfect sound, I allways try to make a perfect sound with my fingers, because that's the most important thing.

Regarding the other tips, very usefull!! I'll try some next week, looking forward to it!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Lance on 2011-04-01 22:43:06.7450

The best tip I can give is...listen to every word Glenn DeLaune says.

Start off by downloading Glenn's TreadplateDrZ dual his patches, there's tons to learn right there.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Octo777 on 2011-04-02 02:51:58.2230

A lot of these are no brainers to be honest. You have to methodical or you will never get  consistent results.

I'm liking the tip I saw somwhere in a video where you can save an FX slot in the HD500 chain by setting the Expression pedal to control the Amp Volume as a parameter. While I am guessing the Volume Pedal is not too DSP intensive, every little helps

I keep my tones rather simple. On previous pedal boards I used to have a seperate patch for every tone so even if there was only one effect added, I would need a seperate patch for it.

With the HD500 I am really loving an utilising using the top four Footswitches as Stompbox controllers and now instead of 5 patches for variations on one sound, I just need the one patch. Well actually two but I will explain.

For metal tones I start off defining my rhythm tone. I tend not to use an OD pedal for thickening the tone at this point. I let the amps do all the work.

I then add my Noise gate and get a rudimentary setting.

I then add an OD pedal, not to thicken up the rhythm but to work in part as a boost for the lead tone.

I then add the Comp Boost and have it set quite high.

Then I add my delay setting.

Once those are set,  I then set up FS4 to turn on/off the OD, Comp and Delay setting at the same time. Instant Lead button essentially.

Once I have that, I then add any of the extra ornamental effects I might need for playing particular songs I like. I usually add Wah on every effect, Phaser for a Machine Head kind of tone, A Flanger for a few songs and I have the Pitch Shift set to play an octave below but thats just for playing "Salvation" by Chimaira. Each of these extra FX get their own On/Off via the Toe and Footswitches respectively.

Now because this ends up being such a high gain setting the Noise Gate needs some tweaking and what I found was that sometimes the settings needed with the Lead tone on, kill the rhythm tone and so what I then do is save the setting with the higher Noise Gate settings onto the next patch.

I then have my bank set up as A: Clean Tone, B: Rhythm Tone, C: Lead Tone and off course you have all the variations in between with the On/Offs.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Bersaghi on 2011-04-02 16:23:44.2430

Great thread. It PDF's already.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by mrkphpps on 2011-04-04 14:08:42.6220

Thanks to all.  Lots of food for thought in here!

I'm pretty new to all this - but for what it's worth I'd second the idea that less is more, whether you're talking about gain or effects.  Particularly as the volume goes up.

Trouble is, I now want an EQ pedal just so I can see it smile

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by ThomasBrunkard on 2011-04-05 04:52:35.0260

I'm a big fan of checking - a site that lists the rigs of the famous.  I take the the scematics from that and recreate virtually on the HD500.  Always a good place to start I find.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by SStiv on 2011-04-06 16:07:55.8980

I'd hate to lose this thread. Can it be pinned?

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by meambobbo on 2011-04-06 20:32:21.2870

Here's a few tips I've found trying to get high gain sounds:

1) Add a studio EQ before your amp, if the distortion is too farty or gritty.  Cut 75 HZ to remove fart.  Boost 800 HZ to remove grit.  This basically does what an overdrive pedal does, but you have more control.  This isn't the only way to remove such from the tone - see step (5).

2) I generally use two parametric EQ's behind the amp or the mixer.  Freq 50, gain ~40.  Freq 85, gain ~65.  The first drops out some of the more honky mids, the second boosts the djenty upper mids.  If you are additionally going to boost the bass or treble, do it on your last parametric EQ, because...

3) A lot of the effects can distort if you feed them too strong of a signal.  If you find there's some crackle in your patch, try making the mixer the last thing in your signal chain, and drop the amp volume.  Put all the effects that you want behind the amp on one side of the stereo chain, and drop out the other side's volume completely using the mixer.  Then set the correct pan and volume on the other channel on the mixer.  The disadvantage here is you can't use stereo effects.

If an effect boosts the signal, try to place it as far towards the end of the chain as possible, only in front the mixer if possible.

4) You can thicken up a tone by using 2 mics, or mixing 2 cabs, or mixing 2 amps.  I generally use the same amps and cabs but different mics.  Some mics are louder than others, adjust one amp's volume to get a good mix.  For the Treadplate I use the Treadplate cab and use a SM57 on axis, mixed with the 421 dynamic.

5) The amp bass/mid/treble/presence controls are tricky.  They don't seem to remove or add the particular frequency range as much as they alter the distortion character (I use full amps, not sure about pre's).  My guess is that this changes the power amp or cab distortion, not the final tone.  As such, reducing bass with remove some fartiness, and increasing treble will smooth out the grit.  Mids and presence are oddballs, depending on the amp.  Sometimes, I'll drop one completely out.

If you want to EQ the final tone, use EQ's behind the amp, as in step (2).

6) Monitor your tones at a loud volume, especially if you are not using headphones.  At a low enough volume, a tone might sound good simply because it mixes well with the acoustic sound of your electric guitar.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-04-07 06:45:32.5850

WOW! All great stuff guys.  Haven't checked on this in awhile.  I know this helps me out a ton.  Nailing these high gain patches can be a real pain at times.  I'll be posting some patches soon!

Meambobbo - in point number 4... how do you pan the amps in the mixer?  I've used this technique as well (mixing the same amp with diff mics) and I usually end up panning at around 40% L and R.  For the treadplate i was using both 57's, one on axis, one off axis... you get a pretty neat sound.  It reminds me of the guitar tone from Stabbing The Drama by Soilwork if you are familiar with them.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by meambobbo on 2011-04-07 08:29:31.0600

I actually don't pan them at all - I keep both amps dead center.  Then I hit an open chord and turn the volume on amp 2 all the way down, and gradually add volume until I can hear both amps evenly, and one isn't dominating the other.  Certain combinations of mics/cabs, etc. without panning can cause quite a bit of interference.  I try to use ones that don't interfere so much, and simply sound like a nice, thick mono sound.  Panning them will give you separation, so the interference isn't as noticeable (actually makes the sound "bigger") and probably sounds pretty good, but I'm not sure what you'd do with that tone. 

If you play live and go direct to the front of house, you may not be able to give them a stereo signal.  If you play with another guitarist, you would probably rather each of you have a mono sound, and each of you panned to a different side of the stage.  Finally, for recording, I prefer to double-track using the same tone, and pan each track left and right.  If I'm feeling up to it, I'll quad track, with a pair of tracks panned all the way left and right, and another pair panned slightly less, about 80%, and with their volume turned down a little.

One caveat to making stereo tones is that if you're put in a mono environment, you'll have to mix your amps together, which may sound very bad if they have strong interference.  If you don't test for this, you may end up making patches that sound great in stereo but like noise when mixed into a single mono track.

So in short, I don't try to make stereo tones, only mono.  At the most I'll use a stereo delay.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-04-07 11:05:26.3620

Great advice! Yeah I ran into that problem with the interference when I was making a patch with the JCM800 and the Treadplate center in the mixer no matter the volume.  It only sounded decent when they were panned a full 100% L and R.  I'm going to definitely have to mess with the mics.  For live, I just use single amps, the patch I was referring to was for some recording.  I attached it below if you want to check it out and let me know what you think.  I believe its actually panned around 20% and I haven't really EQ'd it much yet, probably pretty boomy sounding.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by ricksox on 2011-04-07 14:38:42.6080

Sean, I LOVE this thread! Great idea and I'm super happy to see all of the activity. I jsut finished writing a Patch Building blog for Line 6 and I mentinoed your thread in the blog. Very nice job. And awesome tips from all of you!


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-04-08 08:17:01.4910

Awesome, thanks! Can't wait to read it!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by xChainzx on 2011-04-19 08:57:35.5450

Hi I have a question. I was watching a youtube instructional with Glenn DeLaune on some presets he built. I followed his instructions and in one part he saves and assigns different effects to come on and off  with the expression pedal in 3A Bank. I was able to follow him but when he starts making another preset in another bank he clicks B or FS6 and it switches to 3B. When I click B it does nothing. Some of my footswitches are lit up and clicking the pedal just cuts the effect on and off. How can arrange my present say 1A 1B 1C 1D where I can setup different presets and access them just by clicking the the A B C or D?

Here's the video

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by schapman1022 on 2011-04-19 09:55:32.9670

xChainzx wrote:

Hi I have a question. I was watching a youtube instructional with Glenn DeLaune on some presets he built. I followed his instructions and in one part he saves and assigns different effects to come on and off  with the expression pedal in 3A Bank. I was able to follow him but when he starts making another preset in another bank he clicks B or FS6 and it switches to 3B. When I click B it does nothing. Some of my footswitches are lit up and clicking the pedal just cuts the effect on and off. How can arrange my present say 1A 1B 1C 1D where I can setup different presets and access them just by clicking the the A B C or D?

Here's the video

You may have your FS Mode set to FS 5-8 instead of ABCD.  Press and hold the View button and make sure that "FS MODE" reads ABCD.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by xChainzx on 2011-04-19 13:57:36.3210

Thx my friend. Worked like a charm. I am slowly learning this POD. It's really great !

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by stumpsout on 2011-04-19 14:07:21.0540

When I go to click to view this thread as PDF, it just shows a blank white page. Is there something else I need to do for this to work?

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by fingerscaraballo on 2011-04-20 05:32:25.4380

here is a link to a amp settings site

this is a good staring point.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by markwick on 2011-07-17 06:28:05.1750

I, too, am experiencing the blank page when trying to pdf this thread.  I just got my HD500 this weekend.  Any advice on how to apply the shared tones to the unit and get rid of the factory preset tones that I will never use?  I've spent at least 24 of the last 48 hours trying to find info.  I'm running across lots of great information in the process that is geared more for people who have already learned what I need to know to progress to the big boys pool.  I'm wanting to save these nuggets to a pdf because I'm afraid I'll never be able to remember how to get back to the great info I'm running across in the process of searching.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jvblack on 2011-09-20 12:09:04.8770
  • Something I've found that saves a lot of time with the Vetta, and should work with most devices:
  • Stick a looper between the guitar and the amp. 
  • Record a short (10 seconds or so) loop that represents what you want to play with the new patch.
  • Set the output level of the looper to match the output of the guitar when the looper is bypassed.
  • Set the loop to repeat.
  • Put the guitar down.
  • Do the basic patch building with both hands free!!
  • Get rid of the looper and do the final tweaking the old-fashioned way.


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jpoprock on 2011-09-21 06:01:40.4370

Joe, so simple yet I had never thought of it! Brilliant!

That being said, I use my HD500 at church and finally have my sound dialed in for the house. I'm not messing with it! I run my HD mono to an old Alesis RA100 power amp I used for reference monitors, and then into an Avatar 2x12 cab. I mic the Celestion 25w Greenback off axis and it sounds great. I've ran my unit direct to the board as well, but I like the way mic'ing a cab sounds. Of course, I use the Pre-Amp models, and have cab's turned off. Works great and my sound is great too I think. I can finally relax and focus on playing now that I know my tone is right.

But diff scenarios call for different setups. If I'm playing with a band, I run my rig stereo to the same power amp, into a Marshall 4x12 slant. Sometimes I'll use cab modelling, sometimes not. If you use cab modelling you're basically EQ'ing your cab with the sound of another. That's not right or wrong. It's whatever sounds good! I've tried it dozens of ways, and all of them sounded fine. I'm sure there is an "ideal" set up though, and for me, I think it's best to try and emulate the head going into my cab. So, run my set up that way.

Going direct to Pro Tools is somerthing I've yet to try. I want to try the SPDIF out, but I've never done it before and will need to research how. I'd like to explore the midi options of the unit as well. I'm sure that's good for midi triggering FX. I still am not sure what sort of applications apply to the MIDI. If I knew what I could do with it, it would help.

Thanks for the tips!


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by lef38 on 2011-09-21 08:02:44.0680

Tip: to remove unnecessary hiss noise, make sure you disable all non relevant inputs, eg:

Input 1: Guitar

Input 2: Variax (to simply disable it)

Try it and hear the difference

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-09-21 13:54:52.3660

I'd like to explore the midi options of the unit as well. I'm sure that's good for midi triggering FX. I still am not sure what sort of applications apply to the MIDI. If I knew what I could do with it, it would help.


Many people use MIDI to switch things - like amp channels for example.  If your amp supports MIDI switching (e.g. Marshall JVM) you can use send a channel change to the amp, switching from a clean to a lead channel or similar,along with your patch changes.  In that scenario, the HD500 would normally be used for FX only.  This is a very powerful technique if you want to use your amp instead of the HD Models.

If your amp does not support switching, you also use special switching devices that support MIDI to sit between your  HD500 and the Amp.  

Finally, if you have other FX or stomp boxes, you can use a MIDI-controlled devices to switch such devices in and out of loops. Check out Voodoo Labs (Ground Control & GSX ) if you want examples.

Other uses of MIDI are there but this is probably the main one.


Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-09-21 14:31:14.1060

Never eat yellow snow ...

... and try using your expression pedal to control the Delay time.  You can get some great 80's analog delay-type pitch sweeps similar to those used by goff bands like Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees  (Think Bela Lugosi's dead, In Fear of Fear and Voodoo Dolly).  Gimmicky, yeah but not all Multi-FX boards behave this way.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-12-01 02:31:51.4380

This was a great thread and with a bit of water under the bridge since the release of 1.40 firmware  (for the HD 500/Bean/Pro) I am gonna have to say.....

....  BUMP !

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by DeanDinosaur on 2011-12-01 05:15:15.4020

FREQUENCY SHIFTER (from the modulation menu in HD500 but the effect exist in all of the HD series) heaven can be reached if you use it in this manner:

1-Make sure the mix level is exactly at 50% as this will not work at 100% wet

2-Vary the the Frequency between 0 and 8 HZ.  3 or 4 are my favorite. For MODE use whatever you like.  10 and above isn't musical to my ears unless it's a really special effect. But at 3HZ or 4Hz you get this nice swirly phase/univibe musical effect that is anmatched by any other modulation in the HD series. By the way you get that from the modulation Menu in the HD500, not sure about the other models.

3-I wanted to be able to controll the Frequency Via the controller but since the MIN and Max value are in %, the corresponding MIN and MAX are way above anything in the useable range for me. 1%  is 35hz so for min at 0 and max at 1%, it still doesn't sweep between 0 and 10.  I did put a request for Min and Max not to be in percent, but I'm not sure how many others put in that request.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Gandalf5150 on 2011-12-01 14:35:52.2950

These ideas courtesy of Glenn Delaune.

1. Use 2 delays and no verb for a great lead tone. Sample supplied by TGP user GuitarTone


2. Decrease Wah mix to around 50% for a much more natural sounding Wah. Start at 4.00mins

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-12-16 01:43:04.3770

Dean ... I was looking for a different modulation yesterday and half remembered this tip.  I even hit on the issue with the expression pedal not having fine enough resolution to shift from 0.1 to 0.3 !  I came back here to pass on complements and realised that I have completely mirrored your experience

Agree, the quality of modulation it produces is really nice.  Settings above about 0.4 made the sound a little queasy I wanted to have it on the expression pedal so I could go from light to heavy overlay..  In the end I had to assign the freq to 0.3 and  the expression pedal to the mix between 20% - 40%.  That was close to what I was shooting for but not ideal.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-12-16 01:43:55.0110

Yes,  I do the wah one and agree ... it gives a much more natural quality to the wah.  Like it!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2011-12-16 11:33:07.3170

Actually, I have just realised that what I posted is a complete lie !!!

Your post relates to the Frequency Shifter and when set the way you suggest creates a great phaser effect,

My post uses exactly the same trick with the Pitch Shifter and in this case it creates a very nice chorus effect.  Nice and light around 0.1, very Cocteau Twins-ish at 0.3 and a bit mangled beyond that..  You can adjust the intensity by adjusting the mix down from 50% to 10-20%.

The pitch shifter appears to be measured in decimal increments of 0.1 and the Frequency shifter in hZ.  Both suffer from granularity with the Expression pedal as a control.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by birro on 2011-12-18 06:48:15.5150

Here's my tip/trick:

Do you like harmonics? Make the guitar squealing like you have EMG active pickups and play like Zakk Wylde? You don't have to set the drive all the way up and get a noisy dirty sound.

This trick I've been using since POD XT Live, and then for X3 Live and now for HD 500.

Before the amp, add the Tube Screamer. Drive around 35-50, tone leave it 50. This will shape your mid-high and provide you more clarity on these EQ. Then at the amp, reduce your drive in order to clean it up and to not get too dirty or noisy or moody.

At the end, add a Reverb with around 50 pre delay, 50 decay and tone between 60-70 to accent the clarity and your vibrato when squealing it. This tip on the reverb with give clarity, bright and a beautiful reverb shape on your harmonics. Set the mix at a % that will give more body to your sound... this set is up to you. From 30% to 70%.

I hope it'd be helpful!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by varmint on 2012-01-18 12:50:44.6100

Thanks for all the tips, everyone! VERY helpful.

I'm definitely bookmarking this thread.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by Soloist88 on 2012-12-11 10:22:56.3990

If you are useing the 3 cable method for a "live" set up, I found instead of using a mono cable to patch the FX send and return on the HD500 I use a stereo "y" connector. I am using a Blue Voodoo for my power amp and a 412 cab thats wired for stereo. TRS end on the FX send then 2 mono cables to FX return (right and left). Much, much fuller stereo sound.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by fechart on 2012-12-12 14:05:23.7800

BTW please tone uploaders!!! Specify which output mode you are using when you upload a tone!!!

Cheers and good thread!

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by brue58ski on 2012-12-13 00:59:43.8300

Is there a way to change the default settings of an amp (or effetct for that matter) when you first call it up?

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by jimsreynolds on 2012-12-13 10:35:11.1350

Nope.  They reset to the system-defined defaults each time and there is no way to save user preferences for a given amp or effect    Feature request link is here -->">">

The best you can do is create presets with your amp preferences saved to use as templates then copy them to a new preset when you want to use those settings.

Re: Tone Building Tips/Tricks
by fechart on 2012-12-22 16:34:48.6670

Hi there,

Interesting thread. Congrats!

One of my tips: I use the Blue Comp Treble as a BBE before some amps, when they sound too dark for the tone I´m looking for.

Obviously it depends on your Output settings, your rig, etc, but for example in my "hardware context", the ENGL Powerball model sounds very dark and muddy. I use this trick an then I add some EQs to model my sound.

Merry xmas!!!!!



The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.