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Noob to High Gain Tones, Need Help!

SlugAlex

Member
Hey whats up!
I haven't posted in a while here, but I have been needing some help, and this forum has always been great to me!

So I have owned an AXE FX II for a while (Loved it so much), but was forced to sell it. I currently own a Line 6 Helix, but have been itching to get me an AX8.

Non the less, I am writing this post hoping to get me some insight and help.
I am pretty new to modern High gain tones, and wanted to know if someone could help clarify some things.

I seem to never get the tones I am after. They never quite sound as big or full as what I am trying to achieve.
I will post my questions below.

Just for reference I use an LTD EC Deluxe with 81/60 pups, and a Fender Precision Bass.

Are there certain frequencies I should pay attention to when trying to dial in a aggressive high gain tone, if so what are they? What is a good starting point EQ wise?

What amp models should I be looking at?

Do physical pedals like overdrives do better than the built in effects when trying to achieve said tones?

What Pedals (modeled or physical) should I look at?

What IR packs would you recommend?

How much difference does the tuning make?

What should I look for in Rhythm Vs Lead Tones?

I know the bass plays a HUGE role in what I hear, so the same questions go for the bass.

What frequencies/eq should I pay attention to when trying to dial in a fat growly bass?

IR pack recommendations for Heavy Bass tones?

What amps would you recommend I try on the bass to get the tones I'm after?

Last but not least, How much difference is there really between the tone straight out of a guitar modeler vs when its in a mixed/mastered track? Does/should the tone change much?

I will post some examples of tones I am trying to get close to so we are all on the same page.
Thank you in advance, I will post the clips below!
I know its a lot of questions, but I figure who better to help me in this situation than you guys!
I'm sure I'm not the only person this will help out!



(I know its obvious what IR's he's using)
 

Rex

Legend!
You might have better luck posting your question to a more appropriate section. This is the Axe-FX discussion area, and it sounds like you're asking for help dialing in a Helix. :)
 

SlugAlex

Member
You might have better luck posting your question to a more appropriate section. This is the Axe-FX discussion area, and it sounds like you're asking for help dialing in a Helix. :)
I understand its an AXE discussion forum, but I figured the questions asked apply to tone in general. By all means give me the rundown on how to achieve this on an Axe Fx! I can learn from any sort of help!
 

H13

Inspired
Hey whats up!
Are there certain frequencies I should pay attention to when trying to dial in a aggressive high gain tone, if so what are they? What is a good starting point EQ wise?
That kinda depends on what sort of heavy tone you're after. If you're after Slayer sorta tones, you want low mids (say 500-800). If you want more modern tones, you're after high mids (1000-4000). Please note that all frequency suggestions need to be taken with a grain of salt.

The amp, cab and guitar you're using will kinda define which frequencies are going to be more valuable. The cab I use is bright as fuck, so I'm always pulling out high mids even when I'm going for modern tones. So I'm not going to tell you whether or not you should boost or cut there, but have a play.

What amp models should I be looking at?
Look at the bands you love and see what amps they use. Generally for modern high-gain, the EVH5153 is the standard. Mesa Rectifiers are also pretty awesome. If you want more of a Marshall\Slayer sound, look at Friedman. ENGL are great but lack a bit in character. I still use them a fair bit though.

Do physical pedals like overdrives do better than the built in effects when trying to achieve said tones?
That depends entirely on who you ask. Personally, I say yes. There's plenty of people who can tweak the FAS Boost to sound 95% like a TS808, but there's something about plugging the real thing in (probably bias) that makes me happier. I argue the real pedal "handles" better than the AFX. Realistically speaking, from a listener standpoint, I doubt anybody would be able to tell the difference between the real pedal and the modelled one, but hey. I like the real one.

What Pedals (modeled or physical) should I look at?
The best overdrive to use for high-gain tones is a TS808 tubescreamer. TS9 if you want something a tad more aggressive. Misha has a tubescreamer-like pedal out which is supposedly great, but I like my metal tones to be a bit loose rather than sounding like a keyboard. For high gain, you want an overdrive that rolls off bottom end and pushes mids. It might sound a bit mediocre clean, but it'll add a lot to your gain sound.

The general setup for a TS808 as a high gain boost is: Gain: 0, Tone: 5-ish, Level: 10-ish. The level being pushed really hard is what will give your amp that extra kick which will work better for an already high-gain tone.

What IR packs would you recommend?
You gotta do this one yourself. Dig around see what you can find. When you find a cab that you plug into and go: "YES" that's the one you use. Everybody's taste is different and the CAB IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Your amp\pedal setup are probably fine, you're probably using a cab that doesn't blow your pants back.

How much difference does the tuning make?
Depends on the song really. Enter Sandman sounds awesome in E because the higher pitch gives it a bit more energy. Drop it to Djent and it sounds like a sludgy mess. Opeth is usually in E (sometimes Drop D) and they've put out some of the heaviest riffs (See: Blackwater Park)

What should I look for in Rhythm Vs Lead Tones?
Mids. You need more mids. Always need more mids. Lead tones want silky mids. Rhythm want kinda rougher mids to make things more aggressive. Your guitar will disappear in a mix if you have no mids.

I know the bass plays a HUGE role in what I hear, so the same questions go for the bass.
Bass is where the heavy actually is. Get the bass to punch you in the balls, then get the guitar to sit nicely on top of that bass.

What frequencies/eq should I pay attention to when trying to dial in a fat growly bass?

IR pack recommendations for Heavy Bass tones?

What amps would you recommend I try on the bass to get the tones I'm after?
The answer to all of this is to buy a Darkglass B7k. They're goddamn incredible.

Last but not least, How much difference is there really between the tone straight out of a guitar modeler vs when its in a mixed/mastered track? Does/should the tone change much?
It depends on the song\mix. Sometimes if it's a sludgy as hell riff, you need to cut lows and boost top end to get the guitar to come out. So the tone will change a fair bit. Sometimes if it's fast and thrashy, you need to roll off some of the top end to stop the ice-picks piercing your ears. If you've got a lot of other elements and have gone all Devin Townsend on us, then your guitar tone solo'd will often sound fairly different to what you recorded.
 

SlugAlex

Member
That kinda depends on what sort of heavy tone you're after. If you're after Slayer sorta tones, you want low mids (say 500-800). If you want more modern tones, you're after high mids (1000-4000). Please note that all frequency suggestions need to be taken with a grain of salt.

The amp, cab and guitar you're using will kinda define which frequencies are going to be more valuable. The cab I use is bright as ****, so I'm always pulling out high mids even when I'm going for modern tones. So I'm not going to tell you whether or not you should boost or cut there, but have a play.


Look at the bands you love and see what amps they use. Generally for modern high-gain, the EVH5153 is the standard. Mesa Rectifiers are also pretty awesome. If you want more of a Marshall\Slayer sound, look at Friedman. ENGL are great but lack a bit in character. I still use them a fair bit though.


That depends entirely on who you ask. Personally, I say yes. There's plenty of people who can tweak the FAS Boost to sound 95% like a TS808, but there's something about plugging the real thing in (probably bias) that makes me happier. I argue the real pedal "handles" better than the AFX. Realistically speaking, from a listener standpoint, I doubt anybody would be able to tell the difference between the real pedal and the modelled one, but hey. I like the real one.


The best overdrive to use for high-gain tones is a TS808 tubescreamer. TS9 if you want something a tad more aggressive. Misha has a tubescreamer-like pedal out which is supposedly great, but I like my metal tones to be a bit loose rather than sounding like a keyboard. For high gain, you want an overdrive that rolls off bottom end and pushes mids. It might sound a bit mediocre clean, but it'll add a lot to your gain sound.

The general setup for a TS808 as a high gain boost is: Gain: 0, Tone: 5-ish, Level: 10-ish. The level being pushed really hard is what will give your amp that extra kick which will work better for an already high-gain tone.


You gotta do this one yourself. Dig around see what you can find. When you find a cab that you plug into and go: "YES" that's the one you use. Everybody's taste is different and the CAB IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. Your amp\pedal setup are probably fine, you're probably using a cab that doesn't blow your pants back.


Depends on the song really. Enter Sandman sounds awesome in E because the higher pitch gives it a bit more energy. Drop it to Djent and it sounds like a sludgy mess. Opeth is usually in E (sometimes Drop D) and they've put out some of the heaviest riffs (See: Blackwater Park)


Mids. You need more mids. Always need more mids. Lead tones want silky mids. Rhythm want kinda rougher mids to make things more aggressive. Your guitar will disappear in a mix if you have no mids.


Bass is where the heavy actually is. Get the bass to punch you in the balls, then get the guitar to sit nicely on top of that bass.


The answer to all of this is to buy a Darkglass B7k. They're ******* incredible.


It depends on the song\mix. Sometimes if it's a sludgy as hell riff, you need to cut lows and boost top end to get the guitar to come out. So the tone will change a fair bit. Sometimes if it's fast and thrashy, you need to roll off some of the top end to stop the ice-picks piercing your ears. If you've got a lot of other elements and have gone all Devin Townsend on us, then your guitar tone solo'd will often sound fairly different to what you recorded.

Seriously man, thank you so much! I really really appreciate the time you took to write this out and of course the advice! I will look into all this immediately!
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
To be kind I moved this to the Preset Exchange, where all 'I want this tone' stuff happens.

But it is strange to post here when you're asking about a Helix.
 
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Reactions: Rex
For high gain sounds I mainly use Friedman, Engl and Mesa amps. Sometimes I even use a Marshall in parallel to get some more bite.
Cab wise use a 4*12 mesa or similar with some low end to it. Ownhammer make some good packs... and of course Fractal's own cabs sound great too!!

As mentioned before, work with the midrange eq when dialing in your sound to make the sound break through in the mix. Low end is always needed but be careful with the lower frequencies, otherwise the sound may become to muddy.

Good luck!!
 

SlugAlex

Member
For high gain sounds I mainly use Friedman, Engl and Mesa amps. Sometimes I even use a Marshall in parallel to get some more bite.
Cab wise use a 4*12 mesa or similar with some low end to it. Ownhammer make some good packs... and of course Fractal's own cabs sound great too!!

As mentioned before, work with the midrange eq when dialing in your sound to make the sound break through in the mix. Low end is always needed but be careful with the lower frequencies, otherwise the sound may become to muddy.

Good luck!!
Thank you so much! I will definitely look into those amps, and cab packs!
 
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