MIDI Bank Select

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(this article assumes at least a rudimentary understanding of MIDI PC and CC messages)

In the manual

See the section on MIDI Configuration in the Getting Set Up section of the manual.

About MIDI Bank Select

Although many devices are limited to 128 presets (the normal limit of MIDI) many keyboards, VSTs, and other MIDI-capable devices may have more than 128 presets.
In such a case, these presets are typically arranged in "banks" of 128 presets each and are usually accessible through two special MIDI CC messages known as Bank Select messages.

MIDI Bank Select messages

MIDI CCs #0 and #32 are assigned to Bank Select functions.

  • CC#0 is known as the Bank Select Coarse (MSB) (Most Significant Byte)
  • CC#32 is known as the Bank Select Fine (LSB) (Least Significant Byte)

With two CCs each able to access 128 values, this allows 16,384 (128x128) possible banks of 128 presets each (via the usual PC messages).
Thankfully, for the Axe-Fx, you really don't need to know all that.

MIDI Bank Select and the Axe-Fx

The Axe-Fx does not have 16,384 banks of presets. It has three.
These banks are commonly known as:

  • Bank A (presets 0-127)
  • Bank B (presets 128-255)
  • Bank C (presets 256-383)

Accessing the Banks via MIDI Bank Select Coarse (CC#0)

To access Bank A, send CC#0 with a value of 0.
To access Bank B, send CC#0 with a value of 1.
To access Bank C, send CC#0 with a value of 2 (or greater).

What happens now?

Note that the bank selection on the Axe-Fx (as with most devices) is semi-permanent. Any subsequent PC messages received will route to the selected bank.
By default, sending PC messages 0-127 to your Axe-Fx will select presets in the first bank: Bank A.
After selecting Bank B, all subsequent PC messages will select presets in Axe-Fx Bank B.
Likewise for Bank C.

Getting back to normal

You must send CC#0 with a value of 0 if you want to reset things back to normal.
Switching the Axe-Fx off and back on will also reset the Axe-Fx to selecting only Bank A presets via PC messages.

My presets go 1 to 384, not 0 to 383

The Axe-Fx has a Display Offset setting that allows you to display the presets either in the range of 0 to 383 or 1 to 384. You can find this setting in the I/O menu under the MIDI tab. Set this to 1 or 0, depending on which value makes the most sense to you and/or your MIDI controller's display.

I don't want to use MIDI Bank Select

There are three other ways to access presets beyond Bank A on the Axe-Fx.

Recall menu

You can turn the knob while in the Recall menu on the Axe-Fx to access presets beyond Bank A without using MIDI. This is the normal method of selecting presets on the Axe-Fx when you don't have a MIDI controller.

MIDI Mapping

You can also use the Axe-Fx's MIDI Mapping feature to map preset selections normally assigned to Bank A to any other presets in Banks A or B instead.
MIDI Mapping is set one preset at a time and is found in the I/O menu under the MIDI tab. It can be toggled on and off.

MIDI PC Offset

Under the I/O menu, MIDI tab, the MIDI PC Offset parameter allows you to specify a custom offset value from 0 to 255. Whatever value it is set to is added to the actual PC value you send. For example, if you send MIDI PC 5 to the Axe-Fx, and the MIDI PC Offset is set to 7, then the Axe-Fx will bring up patch 12. Setting it to a value of 128 will bring up all patches in Bank B instead of A when not using Bank Select messages. It's not currently possible to set the value to 256 to do the same thing with Bank C, but setting it to the upper limit of 255 will allow you to access all except the last patch of Bank C without using Bank Select messages. If MIDI Mapping is active, MIDI PC Offset has no effect.