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WICKED WIKI 17: Settings for Different Guitars

yek

Moderator
Moderator
WICKED WIKI 17

“Settings for different guitars”


Regularly the question pops up how to configure the Axe-Fx II for different guitars.
For example, you have everything dialed in for your clean Strat. Then, when playing those presets with your Gibson, everything is louder and more distorted and dark.

Of course, some will answer: it’s the nature of guitars, they are different.
This is true of course. That's why different guitars exist.

But adjusting settings and level may still be desirable, just like on a traditional amp.
The beauty of the Axe-Fx is that it lets you plan the desired changes.

Here are ways to apply settings for different guitars.
Based on maintaining a single amp type.

But first a relevant tip:
Fender amps and other amps are modeled using their High inputs. To emulate the Low input, Input Trim must be set at 0.500. Input Trim at 0.500 equals -6 dB, so you can set Global Amp Gain, or the Amp block's Input Trim, at -6 for the same result.

  1. LAYOUT > IN/GTE
    The IN/GTE page in the Layout menu has a LEVEL parameter. This controls the loudness of the signal entering the grid. This parameter was specifically introduced for this purpose: compensating output level differences between guitars.

    Disadvantages: it works per preset only, so you have to adjust this parameter in every preset you’ll be using with the current guitar; not very handy when playing live. You can’t change its value per scene and you can’t attach a modifier.

    However, you can save its setting as a global block. This way an adjusted value will carry over to every preset with the same global block. But it isn’t very likely that you will be using it this way: also part of this global block are the noise gate settings, and you probably won’t want the same noise gate settings in every preset (unless you keep the gate OFF).

  2. AMP X/Y
    You can set up the Amp block’s X state for one type of guitar and Y for another. The Input Trim parameter is suited for the task: increasing or decreasing the signal at the input of the Amp block, to compensate for output level differences between guitars. Then use an AMP X/Y IA switch on your floor controller or scenes to switch between X and Y.

    Disadvantages: a lot of work maintaining two amp configurations. You lose X/Y functionality for other purposes. It doesn’t work across presets: each time you switch to a preset you have to press the IA or switch scenes. And you lose the functionality of scenes for other stuff.

  3. TWO AMP BLOCKS
    You can set up two amp blocks, each adapted to a specific guitar. Then use IA(s) on your floor controller or scenes to switch between the blocks.

    Disadvantages: a lot of work maintaining two amp configurations. You lose the option to use the 2nd Amp block for other stuff. It doesn’t work across presets: each time you switch to a preset you have to press the IA or switch scenes. Plus: you lose the functionality of scenes for other stuff.

  4. SCENES AND SCENE CONTROLLERS
    You can use scenes and scene controllers to accommodate different guitars. Attach Input Trim in the Amp block to a Scene Controller. In the Controllers menu set the controller to the desired trim value for each scene. When switching between guitars, switch scenes as well.

    Disadvantages: it doesn’t work across presets: each time you switch to a preset you have to press the IA or switch scenes. You lose the functionality of scenes for other stuff.

  5. GLOBAL EQ
    The Global EQ controls stuff at the preset output stage. You probably want to adjust stuff at the preset's input stage when switching guitars.

  6. GLOBAL AMP GAIN
    This is a parameter in the Global menu. It’s the same as Input Trim in the Amp block but works across ALL presets (and uses a different measurement system: dB).

    It's almost perfect for the task: increasing or decreasing the signal at the input of the Amp blocks, to compensate for output level differences between guitars, and working across all presets. Still, there's a disadvantage: it needs careful manual adjustment on the hardware itself. Not very handy when you often switch guitars during a set, have been drinking, etc.

  7. BLOCK AT START OF GRID
    The following method doesn’t come with the disadvantages mentioned above.

    Add a low-CPU block to every preset. Like FILTER or VOL or PEQ (PEQ and FILTER allow additional EQ-ing). Put it at the start of the grid to make it affect the amount of gain in the Amp block. Keep the block neutral and set its Level at -6 dB (see the tip above). Now make it a global block, so you can easily change a setting and have it applied across all presets immediately. And attach its Bypass parameter to an external controller. The block is OFF by default.

    You can now engage this block by going into I/O > MIDI and toggling EXT CTRL .. INIT VAL between 0% and 100%. Or you can assign a general function footswitch to the external controller’s CC and use that for toggling (set the switch to Global:Yes in the MFC). It works across all presets.

    I'm using this method. I engage this block when switching to my Gibson, and keep it bypassed when using other guitars. The decreased Gibson level makes sure I’m not driving my amp blocks into more distortion than I want, while maintaining the Gibson's character. The block also helps to normalize the overall output level when switching guitars, especially when using clean tones.

    Disadvantage: the block needs to be present in all presets.

Certainly there are other creative ideas. Have one? Post it!

Wiki: Connecting guitar(s)

List of all Wicked Wiki threads
 
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mferrand

Inspired
Yek,

Great Post! There are some very creative ideas here.

For me personally, I use bank switching. I have Banks 1-5 for my Humbucker (HB) set up and banks 6-10 my single coil (SC) set ups. So it looks like this.....

1 - Fender HB (Super clean, low gain)
2 - Mesa II HB
3 - Vox AC30 HB
4 - Marshall Plexi HB (Moderate Gain)
5 - Marshall Jump HB (High Gain)

6 - Fender SC (Super clean, low gain)
7 - Mesa II SC
8 - Vox AC30 SC
9 - Marshall Plexi SC (Moderate Gain)
10 - Marshall Jump SC (High Gain)

The difference in the HB and SC patches is the Input trim set to 0.500 for the HB's and to 1.0 for the SC. Also a have a 'Bright' switch set On for the HB's and Off for the SC's.

Just my set up.

Cheers, Mike
 

baj66

New here
Awesome posts, very helpful for learning this beast. YEK - do you get paid for this stuff... you should!

Guess I didn't even realize that the default settings were all targeted at SC's (stupid, I know).

Thanks!!!
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Guess I didn't even realize that the default settings were all targeted at SC's (stupid, I know).
The defaults are the input gain and tone stack at "noon" and the MV around 3 for MV amps and 10 for non-MV amps.

I wouldn't say this is ideal for humbuckers or SC's, it's just a mid point.
 
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yek

Moderator
Moderator
For me personally, I use bank switching. I have Banks 1-5 for my Humbucker (HB) set up and banks 6-10 my single coil (SC) set ups.
Yes, I forgot to mention the most obvious: different presets. :)
Not my preferred method, but easy.
 

funny_polymath

Fractal Fanatic
I've been arguing for literally years for a 'guitar page' on the axe - you set up levels, EQ and Noise Gate for each instrument (I also sing and play viola though my Axe, and percussion too, actually), you name it ('red strat', 'black LP' etc.) and save it. Then when you're gigging and change guitars, you use a soft knob to select and your sound is now optimized for that axe. I think it's much, much simpler and more flexible than any techniques available to us, and it would not be that hard to do (well, I don't think it would - based on the Axe's capabilities). I still hope to see this implemented one day. I have about 9 guitars, a sampler, a viola, and a mic that I feed into this thing and it would be great to have the perfect, optimized sound for each at the twist of a soft knob.

WICKED WIKI 17

“Settings for different guitars”
 
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barhrecords

Axe-Master
I don't do this, but is it possible to setup IA's or an external pedal to affect the amp block input trim in a predictable step? Like .25, .5, 1.0?

I just use different presets and really don't copy the tone stack settings between my hb and sc presets. I create both from scratch but do re-use my go to verb, comp, delay and other stuff by just re-entering it the preset.
 

funny_polymath

Fractal Fanatic
Sounds way too complex for gigging. Personally, I want clean, unambiguous, fail-safe solutions, when possible.
I don't do this, but is it possible to setup IA's or an external pedal to affect the amp block input trim in a predictable step? Like .25, .5, 1.0?

I just use different presets and really don't copy the tone stack settings between my hb and sc presets. I create both from scratch but do re-use my go to verb, comp, delay and other stuff by just re-entering it the preset.
 

Pinkycramps

Veteran
Great post. Outstanding info. I've been playing with ideas for this myself the past couple of days. Mostly I just roll off the volume pot on my "hot" guitar. This also rolls off treble though, so it's not the best solution. The obvious solution was for presets intended for specific guitars... this seems a no brainer, but putting a block in there adapting any preset to any guitar is pretty brilliant.

Of course... If I'm switching guitars... there's a reason... and often it's for that guitars unique tone and feel, so I' don't want to homogenize them too much to be all the same.
 

ChrisMetal86

Veteran
Mostly I just roll off the volume pot on my "hot" guitar. This also rolls off treble though, so it's not the best solution.
A treble bleed circuit on your guitar's volume knob will fix this! All of my guitars get treble bleeds on them. I hate when I dial back the volume knob and it gets muddy. If I want to dial out the guitar's treble, that is what the tone pot is used for. Treble bleed keeps the highs in tact as you dial the volume back! Just as simple as adding a tiny lil capacitor to your volume pot :)
 

baj66

New here
The defaults are the input gain and tone stack at "noon" and the MV around 3 for MV amps and 10 for non-MV amps.

I wouldn't say this is ideal for humbuckers or SC's, it's just a mid point.
Yeah but if all the Amp blocks have the Input Trim defaulted to 1.0 and you need to set it to 0.5 to tame it down for HB's... then it seems targeted at SC's. That's all I meant.
 

yek

Moderator
Moderator
Yeah but if all the Amp blocks have the Input Trim defaulted to 1.0 and you need to set it to 0.5 to tame it down for HB's... then it seems targeted at SC's. That's all I meant.
That's not the case. When a modeled amp has both Hi and Lo inputs, the model is based on the Hi input. Decreasing Input Trim to 0.500 equals the Lo input. This is something else than SC / HB.
 
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barhrecords

Axe-Master
Yeah but if all the Amp blocks have the Input Trim defaulted to 1.0 and you need to set it to 0.5 to tame it down for HB's... then it seems targeted at SC's. That's all I meant.
I think that's where the confusion is.

You definitely do not need to set the Input Trim to .5 when using humbuckers.

Yek is just describing his approach to his own personal presets. Sharing what he did in case others might want to re-use it or improve on it.

There are tons of presets where 1.0 Input Trim is used with humbuckers.
 

baj66

New here
I think that's where the confusion is.

You definitely do not need to set the Input Trim to .5 when using humbuckers.

Yek is just describing his approach to his own personal presets. Sharing what he did in case others might want to re-use it or improve on it.

There are tons of presets where 1.0 Input Trim is used with humbuckers.
I shouldn't have said "need" to turn it down to 0.5 as you're right, it's just personal preference. But it makes sense to me in hindsight now as to why many of the high gain type patches seem too hot as I always use HB's. I probably get to the same place anyway by just rolling back the volume a tiny bit. Anyway, it all helps me learn more!
 

PRS513

Inspired
WICKED WIKI 17

“Settings for different guitars”

You seem to have a wealth of knowledge, I'm sure I'll be reading up on your posts a lot in the coming months as I play and learn on the Axe.
 
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