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Revision as of 16:42, 8 August 2007 by GuitarDojo (talk | contribs) (Undocumented or easily overlooked features)
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Undocumented or easily overlooked features

Press and hold Enter to automatically place and route shunts to the end of the chain.

Each time you press EDIT it moves to the next effect in the matrix. If not on an effect it will move you to the nearest effect.

The left and right arrows "wrap around" in the edit menus.

Hold down BYPASS to restore all parameters of an effect to default.

Each time you press Enter in the Sequencer menu loads a random set of values. You can use this to find cool sequence patterns.

You may enable or disable the "bright switch" state by selecting the Treble control and pressing ENTER. This will toggle the state of the switch. The text “BRIGHT” will appear under the control when the bright circuit is active.

You may enable or disable the "boost switch" state by selecting the Treble control and pressing ENTER. This will toggle the state of the switch. The text “BOOST” will appear under the control when the boost circuit is active. The boost switch adds 12db of gain to the amp simulation. This is usefull to get more drive out the amp than it would normally have.

In addition to copying effects blocks, you can also copy the controller parameters (i.e, Envelope, ADSR, LFO, etc) from one preset to another. Just press the Recall button, page over to the Effect tab, select the proper preset to copy from, then select controller from the Retrieve area.

You can use the feedback send and return to extend the length of a chain if necessary.

On units built prior to mid-July 2007 the serial number is underneath the main-board. The serial number now is located on the back next to the AC inlet.

Patch creation tips

Pitch Block Placement

When going direct, pitch shifting often sounds best when placed BEFORE the cab block.

The factory presets may have the block doing the shifting (pitch or multidelay) after the cabinet block. Try moving the pitch before the cabinet block for smoother results.

Tweaking tones for covers

For duplicating cover song tones while running Axe-FX direct.

Just a few things I've come up with (so far) that have helped with the challenge of replicating tones of cover songs on the Axe-FX. They're just some very loose guidelines that have helped keep me "on course" in the tone journey and maybe you can use them. I didn't put anything about effects, just the basics of building a tone. If replication isn't your thing, please disregard. I'm far from an expert on any of this stuff and don't want to come across like I'm pretending to be one, so any additional insights are definitely welcome.

1. Listen very closely to the original

I usually try to sort out what kind of pickup was being used first. Unless you're an expert, the pickups, guitars, gear and production used in the original can make it very challenging to figure out if you're listening to a beefed up single coil type or a low power clean humbucker (not including all the other pickups out there).

Chasing ways to beef up a single coil into a certain tonal makeup when it was really a humbucker used in the original can eat up lots of time. I get confused sometimes since I'm no guru, so the more I pick apart the original the better off I am. Of course you can always mangle things/shatter rules to beat a tone into submission...sometimes you come up with something even cooler. Listening to the original, taking breaks, then hearing it the next day invites more insights into the tone and helps you hear things you didn't catch the day before.

2. Get to know the original gear used:

The right amp/cab/mic choices can save time and confusion. Starting with the right configuration shortens tweaking time considerably. Knowing the original guitar/pickups helps a lot too. I only use one SSH strat style guitar at the gigs. If the original was an old gibson archtop with a neck p90, then I know it'll take a lot of tweaking and I'll never nail it, but the tools in the Axe-FX makes it easier to capture a similar tonal attitude.

3. Keep it simple:

For me, it works well to exhaust the most basic options first (pickups, amps, cabs, mics) before moving on to pedals and equalizers to shape a tone. As with everything else, the soil and foundation must be somewhat solid and accurate or everything else you build on top of it won't sound quite right. Don't get me wrong, chasing your tail can be fun...but how much progress do you really want to make today?

4. Angel/Devil's in the details:

After "heating" up the amp to where it comes alive (master volume/drive) with a generic cabinet, sometimes I'll "eq" the amp with the cabinet and microphone before twisting tone knobs, sometimes after, but if I can get the amp tone closer with cabs/mics rather than eqing, it actually sounds/feels better than compensating for shortcomings with EQ. When approaching tone knobs, sometimes before I boost anything, I try the old "cut one to boost another" approach and take away other frequencies that might be masking the one I want to bring out. So far, I've only used graphic and parametric EQ for special effect, not to actually shape a tonal foundation. Sometimes less really is more.


Sometimes a clean sound isn't really clean at all and can easily be overlooked if you're not listening closely enough. "Domino" byVan Morrison is a great example; sounds clean on a casual listen, but it actually has quite a bit of grit and hair in there. Dialed with a pristine clean, it sounds really nice, but in the mix it falls short dramatically. A little hair and dirt can really help the tone sit in the mix with a texture and feel that a pristine clean doesn't have.....even though the original "sounds" clean.


Its easy to forget that many tones that might seem nasally or clean/thin actually have some amount of speaker thump and percussion in the original. Its hard to hear in the mix sometimes, but it adds a hidden body and energy to the sound. When you don't have it, it sounds like your virtual speakers aren't moving air, and the tone is more flat/thin/less alive. Dialing this can be tricky without getting the lows and mids sounding mushy. The guitar lows can easily overlap/compete with similar bass frequencies and mess up the mix live and in the studio.....the sound dude/engineer usually fixes it, but if you don't have one.....

The right cabinet goes a long way as well, and the microphone choice is critical. I've listened to the mics hundreds of times. Some mics compress more, some have more "alive" dynamics, and they're all very different tonally. Some hollow out the sound, some thicken it up. If you match up the right mic with the right cab you can get a good balanced thump that still saves room for bass and kick without even touching the tone controls or throwing an EQ block in there.


Apart from attempting to duplicate another player's dynamics, paying attention to the dynamic response of the original recording is paramount in capturing the "feel". The Axe-FX is revolutionary in the modelling world when it comes to just this, and because of that, you can dial in the feel of the original and customize it for your guitar and playing style. But if you don't go the extra mile to get that, you'll wonder what's missing.

Starting simple works well:
How you end up running an amp (mastervolume & drive) creates a great deal of your initial dynamics. The cabinet influences that, and the microphone choice has a huge impact on it as well. Sometimes during that I'll grab the depth, damp, sag and adjust to taste if I think it'll contribute. Many times I'll save that for after I've done initial amp/cab/mic tweaking. And all of this is before you even touch a compressor, drive pedal, or start influencing the dynamics with effects. Reading up on how studios apply dynamics processing to guitar tracks can help a great deal, and as usual, there's always more to learn with many "rules" made to be broken. I usually add the compressor last as a final tweak to the dynamics. Many times I've added it only to take it away after adjusting the amp/cab/mic.