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Shrill in patch creation, sounds perfect in band mix?


Fractal Fanatic
Do you all find that when you create patches without band around that in order to have them cut they almost need to be shrill without band present? I find when I make the patches sound great on their own, they don't sound great live with band.

If so what are some tips?


Fractal Fanatic
Yes, thats roughly my impression as well. Typically trying to crank the volume when creating presets and "test" them along some backing tracks.
Or even better, if you can record your band minus yourself at rehearsal, then you can use this as a backing track in order to get more accurate presets for your situation.


That's about the size of it... to get a good patch for band/live use it needs to be created at volume and also with an appropriate EQ which generally means laying off the excessive lows and highs that are so tempting otherwise. I'm not sure I'd describe the ideal tone as 'shrill', but definitely on the 'thin' side.

The first time I listened to some isolated guitar from well known rock songs it was a real eye opener. These certainly pointed me in the right direction with the Axe FX and preset creation.


Shrill isn’t the word I’d use necessarily, but it’s definitely easy to create patches too bassy/dark/fat/etc. when not creating the patches in context or if your tastes naturally lean towards darker fatter sounds.

As mentioned above, listening to raw stems is also very informative; you’ll find even the dark-sounding tones in context are way thinner and brighter than they seem when solo’ed. Not shrill or harsh, but certainly thin in a mix-friendly way.

My natural taste in tone leans towards the thin and tight side, so even what I dial in alone usually translates well. Dialing in at volume with a band or recording is definitely preferable though. I also very aggressively low pass and high pass the cab block, 5.5khz and 150hz respectively, which even further focuses and thins out things while also attenuating any potentially harsh-at-high-volume frequencies.


Forum Addict
I find myself putting the presence up higher which seems to help. The other guitarist in my band has an extremely good ear for tone and technique. The more I listen to how his stuff is dialed in I notice its brighter than I'm used to.


Forum Addict
I have been playing mostly live since forever and most of my patches tend to have a lot of mids. They sound quite bad at low volume without the band.


Forum Addict
This is the exact reason the good folks on this forum have guided me to create better sounds from my axe2. Each custom built preset I have has two versions of itself, live and home use. Your solution will most likely be to do what others have already suggested about building live patches at GIG VOLUME! This I believe helps counterattack the F/M effect. It's works quite well.


I guess it's safe to assume that anyone who starts their experience of recording serious guitar tones with simulators are over-darkening their distorted tones first. It's especially true with simulators because static cab sims make any flaw in their spectrum very apparent. So at first, we cut, we cut, we cut. We cut everything that makes it fizzy and muddy.. the gain and bottom/top ends. On top of that, most IRs are dark and bassy so the natural reaction is to counterbalance with harsh and weak amp settings. It's part of the learning curve (not to say curse).

dr bonkers

Fractal Fanatic
It also depends upon the tonality of the other instruments and the note ranges your parts are in versus the rest of the instruments.

I have heard tones that sounded great when played alone or even during band warm ups that just disappear because synth sounds for a particular song were in the same note range as the guitar and played at the same volume. Or the bass and kick drum were in the same tonal range timbre-wise so the bass player would play a different part on a different part of the neck which would then mask the guitar (who was playing the same part) with a tone that blended so well that the guitar and bass sounded like the same instrument, etc.

Music, both compositionally and tonally, is a jigsaw puzzle. The challenge is to get all the pieces to interlock yet be distinct at the same time.


Forum Addict
Find a riff in each of your band's "styles" (a heavy riff, a clean riff, etc) where the whole band plays.
Use the Looper block to record yourself playing with them, then get them to keep playing, and adjust your settings while the Looper keeps you going.

That way you can literally tweak in the band context, which is was different than a recorded file playing through speakers. No better way IMO.


Gain, too, is a big factor. High amounts of gain can sound great by yourself only to wash away in a mix. I’m down to a gain of about 3-4 for Plexi or 800 presets. I have a preset using Fas Modern II where the gain ended up at .9 and the Input Trim at .4. That’s where it fit and cut through in the mix. It’s the cliche about going by your ears not then numbers.
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This has nothing to do with modelers, frfr speskers, home vs gig volume eat al, honestly. It’s simply a continuation of the age old issue of solo vs band mix.

Guitarist have always had issues of dialing in their rig solo, getting that ideal tone, and then disappearing in the mix. Or, hating the isolated guitar tone in the studio, only to then think it sounds great in the bad context.

Anyone who’s ever played a Big Muff in their bedroom thinking it sounds great, but then that he audience hardly could even tell they were playing guitar at a live gig, can relate to this all too well.

As was suggested earlier, listen to some isolated guitar tracks of favorite albums for context and reference.

Who doesn’t love Slash’s appetite tone right? Many chase it as the ideal hard rock Les Paul/Marshall tone, but ever listen to those tracks in isolation?

It’s so thin and bright sounding that many would use terms like “awful” and “garbage” or from a $99 mfx pedal.

Add in a second guitar, bass, drums etc though and it sits perfectly, cuts well, and the overall tone is a hard rock classic many put on the pedestal as the iconic tone.

Funny how that all works out.....
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There's only two things, as the guitarist in a band, that you need to be worried about.
  1. An even midrange balance.
  2. A balanced low-end.
Everything else should be left up to the FOH. They will mix them into your arrangement. Most guitars are a nightmare for mixers because they take up so many frequencies. So, leave it up to the FOH. Just worry about getting a balanced tone, so that the FOH has an easier job of fitting your guitar into the mix.
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