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Ten Tips: Rhythm and Lead Tones

Hey everyone,
There's a long version and a short version of my tale, depending on your time / care factor :)
-I'm actually hoping that this thread helps out a lot more people than just one lad in oz-

I'm just about to finish recording my first album, before asking for help I spent many a search trying to find previous forumite tips for lead and rhythm tones. I have used the said tips and would love your feedback.
Soundcloud clips Below

The EP of mine has been in the works for three years, I would spend a solid month, hate everything and start again, or think that it wasn't good enough, or that I could do better, again delete delete, rinse repeat.
Finally after so long I am nearing completion, after taking a month of from recording, I came back with fresh ears and really enjoyed what I was hearing. After all this time I've gotten back to the feeling of why I was creating something to begin with, because I can and because it's so darn fun to create something from nothing. Below is the list of ten tips for rhythm and lead tones that I pilled together (thank you if you contributed without knowing).


Rhythm Tips
  1. I would stick with the same amp block and IR. If that becomes too bassy, I would stick a filter block in front of the amp - probably with a hi pass filter

  2. Noise gate tips - input gate settings are generally -75 dB, maybe 6:1 ratio, fastest attack, maybe 100ms release. remember, if you make your gate cut out "noise" that is just as loud as the real notes you want, you'll start missing some of those real notes.
    Attack: 1ms Release: 100ms Ratio: 2:1 - 3:1 Threshold: adjust according to ambient noise

3. For heavy tones
Dial in more high end than you think you'll need and then low pass somewhere between 6500 and 9000
Pick a good IR
Use "cut" in the amp block
Turn down dynamic depth

4. -'Cut' parameter in the amp block - cuts bottom end going into the amp, which has the effect of tightening the tone, and giving you a more focused sound. You can achieve the same thing with an PEQ or Filter in front of the amp, set to high pass.

5.T808 or T808 Mod in front of the amp. Raise the low cut parameter to tighten the sound. Additionally, what I like to do to add a bit more aggressiveness/djentiness to a tone is to boost the mids with the T808. I set the Mid Frequency to 1400hz and boost it between 3dB and 6dB, depending on the amp I'm using.

6. Reduce amp drive, and raise boost pedal 'level' - I've found that more volume from the pedal and less drive on the amp tends to sound brighter/tighter/clearer. If you want your tone to sound fuller/thicker/looser, go the other way--more drive on the amp, less 'level' on the boost pedal.

7.Reduce Master Volume to tame flubby or muddy bottom end. Its pretty easy to set it too high, especially since a lot of high gain amps default to 5. I usually have it somewhere around 3, for the most part.

8. Tweak - advanced amp features, warmth, thump, high freq, low cut
high frequencies
low cut

9. rhythm work, you don't need a reverb block- instead, turn the ROOM up between 32-40% in cab block (no mic, & lo-cut @ 100Hz, motor drive @ 3.00

10. Use a filter or PEQ before the amp to emulate the effect of a clean overdrive (high cut, low cut, mid boost) while saving cpu. Lower the gain in the amp block in conjunction with this.

Lead Tips
  1. also have a look at the proximity setting
    i often find the default 2.5 is way too low.

  2. An EQ with the "upside-down smiley" on the end of the grid, and/or the same thing with a significant level boost before the amp, mimicking the Tubescreamer lo- and hi-cut. A nice kick around 800hz before the amp!
3 .I can't say this enough: learn how to properly use an EQ and a compressor and ANY sound can become a lead tone! Have fun with your axeFxII!!

4. Pick Attack parameter

5. Try a compressor after the Amp block

6. Generally, if you want gentle and transparent compression, you want slow attack times 10-30ms, and I would choose release around 100-300 ms

7. Tweak Preamp Dynamics, Pick Attack and Character just a bit. Type is set to Feedback. I normally use this for my solo tone

8. You could play a bit with the 500 Hz slider of the eq section. Less of it for rhythm, more of it for solos.

9. You could increase bias by 0.25 and maybe preamp bias by 0.25. Adds a bit 'sing' somehow.

Sag and dynamics define how hard your action gets responded, lower sag and dynamics for harder pick action or rise them to flatten it.

10. mild overdrive in to a compressor


Below are two clips, each features a soloed version and then an in the mix version. Now when I said the mix I mean 40 instruments summed and is the next thing I need to do to the album, I apologise to your ears.

I'd love to hear your feedback,

Rhythm L+R: GEQ - DRIVE - Plexi 50w Jump - Ownhammer GNR 4X12 Brown05 - reverb - enhance

Lead CENTER: Comp-Drive- USA 2C+ - Ownhammer GNR 4X12 Brown05 -GEQ- delay - reverb -

Thank you for taking the time to read, listen or contribute,

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