Axe-Fx for Beginners Tutorial 1: Making a simple Patch
Hi, I’m Dave from boyinaband.com, and today I’ll be teaching you how to make a simple patch on the Axe-FX.
We’ll be going through how to:
- Set up your Axe-Fx
- Tuning your guitar
- Clear an existing patch
- Add in an amp block + Some of its functionality
- Add in a speaker block + some of its functionality
- Save the patch
Okay! Let’s begin.
Set Up the Axe-Fx
Let’s do this fast so we can get on with making the patch!
Firstly, connect your Axe-Fx to whatever you’ll be listening to it through – I’m sending mine straight into my computer for recording. Take leads from the outputs to the inputs on the device you’re using.
Next, plug in your guitar into the front “instr” input. Now, turn up the “Input 1″ knob to increase the guitar input volume, and the “Output 1″ knob to increase the volume coming out of the Axe Fx. Make sure the input level is just about hitting the red when you’re strumming at your loudest – this should be around the noon to 2 o clock position on the input knob for most guitars. Sorted!
Now let’s turn it on and get to work!
Tuning your guitar
The Axe-Fx comes with a convenient built-in tuner! Just hit the “Tuner” button on the front, then tune up your guitar with assistance from the on-screen display. Simple as that! Now let’s get to the fun stuff!
Clear an Existing patch.
For this tutorial, we’ll need a nice blank slate to begin with. Now the Axe-Fx Standard should have some blank patches near the end, but the Ultra has just the one blank patch on number 383. If you leave this blank, you can save the patch you create over another patch and leave this one blank as a useful starting point for creating new patches. But since clearing a patch teaches you some useful techniques, so we’re going to clear an existing patch in this tutorial.
First, scroll to a preset you don’t mind losing. The Axe Fx has 3 banks of 128 patches each – meaning 384 patches on it – from 0 to 383. If you were 384 patches isn’t enough, you can save your patches to a computer, meaning you’ll never run out of space for your Axe-Fx creations – I’ll be explaining how to do this in a future tutorial.
Press “layout” to see the patch layout screen. Now, to get rid of the blocks that are already in there – scroll to them with the “Nav” buttons, then using the “Value” knob, turn the dial – this allows you to choose from all the blocks that can be put in your signal chain. Turn it until it says “Shunt”, then press “Enter”.
Be careful here – if you turn it to “None”, it will break the signal chain, meaning no signal will come through. If you accidentally turn it to “none”, hilight the area and turn it to “shunt”, then press “enter” twice- this connects the block back into the signal chain – then do the same just before the block to complete the signal chain.
If you have any blocks that aren’t in the main row of the signal chain, you can turn them to the “none” setting.
A quicker way to shunt is to hilight the block you want to remove, then press “Exit” followed by “Enter”.
The Amp Block
The Amp Block is, shockingly enough, the amp simulator for the Axe-Fx. This will shape your tone and allow you to emulate a bunch of expensive and awesome sounding amps!
So let’s get started! Move in one or two spaces, then scroll with the “Value” wheel until you get to the “Amp” block, then press “Enter”.
The spaces you leave mean that it’ll be easier to add in some effects blocks such as drive or compression before the amp block at a later date.
Now, to look at the parameters of the Amp block, make sure it’s hilighted, then press the “edit” button.
Now this might look a bit more familiar to conventional amp users – you’ve got your Bass, mid and treble, your drive and two more knobs – “Type” and “Globl”. If we leave Globl to 0, the amp works normally – we’ll discuss this feature in a future tutorial. The “Type” knob is where we want to be.
This knob allows us to choose the amp we want. Use the “Nav” buttons to move to it, then Scroll through the amps with the “Value” knob until you find what you want.
I’m in the mood for some hi-gain stuff, so I’m going to scroll to this “Recto red” setting. Now, with the “Nav” buttons, I can move to the other settings and change them too. Some useful things to note – if you move over the “Treble” knob and press “Enter”, it toggles the “BRT” or Brightness switch on or off. Similarly, if you move to the “Type” knob and press “Enter”, it toggles the “BOOST” switch, giving another 12dB of gain.
Now, feel free to change the drive, bass, mid and treble to taste as you would on a normal amp – then let’s move on.
If you’re going into a computer or PA, this might still sound a bit strange. That’s because we need a Cabinate in the signal chain! If you’re already going into a cab that isn’t “FRFR” – meaning “Full Range Flat Response”, and want to keep the tonality of the cabinate, you can leave it there and skip ahead to saving the patch.
The Cabinet Block
However, for those Computer, PA or FRFR cab users (FRFR Cabs reproduce sound with an equal volume for all frequencies, rather than conventional cabs which emphasize different frequencies) – press the “Layout” button to return to the Layout screen, then scroll to the next space and dial in a “Cabinet” block, then press “Enter”. Press “Edit” to open it up.
You’ll be presented with 3 knobs. “Mode” switches between Mono Hires, which is a higher quality mono signal, Mono Lores, which is a lower quality mono signal (if you have a lot going on in the patch and the axe-fx is struggling to cope with processor load, switching to this will give you more processor space to work with) and Stereo, allowing you to have two seperate cabinates. For now, let’s stick with Mono Hires.
Air defines how much air you add in – Air is a low pass filtered direct signal, mixed with the processed signal, which can really brighten up a tone. Especially a High gain one. A higher “Air frequency” value makes it more prominent.
But all the stuff we really want is on page 2, so, with the “Page” buttons, scroll to page 2.
The “Cab” knob controls the cabinet type, the “Mic” knob controls the microphone you’re recording with, and the “Drive” knob can be used to simulate speaker break-up, which is the speaker’s natural distortion.
So! Select the cab type you want, I’ve gone with the 4×12 Recto 2, and the Mic you want, I’ve chosen the U87 Condenser, then set the drive to the value you’d like – I’ve left it at 0.
Now that’s almost ready for saving – one last thing I want to show you in the amp block before we save it. If we scroll back to the amp block, remember – “Layout” button, move wit the “Nav” buttons and press “Edit” to open it. Now, sc roll to page 2 with the “Page” buttons. There are a lot of knobs here, but the one we’re interested in is “MSTR” – this controls the master volume. When you turn a tube amp up really loud, an awesome tonality comes out of it. To replicate this, we can turn the master volume up – about 8.00 should do the trick for me. This obviously increases the volume, so to keep it down whilst still retaining the tonality from the maxed-out amp, turn the “level” knob down a bit. Awesome, huh?
Save the patch
Okay! Now to save the patch. Press the “Store” button, then select the location you want to store, I’ll be keeping it on the same Patch 203, then press the down navigation button to go to the “Name”. Using the “Nav” buttons and the “Value” knob, type in the name you want. I’ll go for “BoyinaMETALband.com”, then press “enter”, then the confirmation box will appear, and press “Enter” again. Simples!
And there you have it; a very basic patch for noodling around with on your Axe-Fx. Join me for the upcoming tutorials where I’ll be explaining about the other awesome features the Axe has to make your tone more interesting and professional sounding!
Head over to boyinaband.com for more tutorials, reviews and blogs and check out G66.eu, Europes Axe-Fx supplier for more info on the axe-fx including videos, articles and sound clips! Cheers for watching!