Dialing in High Gain Leads


Using the Axe-Fx


Lesson Info

Dialing in High Gain Leads

Hi gain. We're getting into the brutal stuff I know this is what a lot of guys r I think more than any other question I get on my youtube channel, which I'll plug is youtube dot com slash solo a week uh, a lot of the questions I get or when I do a cover of a solo by like a dream theater type artists like covering up a tricky solo or like, avenge seven fold metallica, that kind of stuff, how do you get a good high gain tone? A lot of guys trying to get high gain. There are lot of guys who spend all their time getting high gain tones and are way better at it than I am, but uh, I think a lot of guys run into the problem where they run into like a mushy sound because when you get a lot of gain, you get a lot of mush and also, when you get really high on your your pre m distortion, you can get a really fluffy base, too. So a lot of guys spent a lot of time trying to dial that out when I think I gained, I'm thinking like mesa boogie type, ample fires like the mark to the mark for a mark five...

those kind of things, the fifty one, fifty three he's really kind of brutal shred machines and there are a ton of them in the axe effects the expects kind of made its name getting in on the gents seen guys like periphery animals as leaders progressive bands like between the berry to me these guys were using it for really high gain tones s so that's where we're going now and if anybody's breaking bad fan you'll get that joke on the game yeah tight tight tight one of my favorite quotes from breaking bad so we're gonna talk about getting high gain now so if we switch over to the editor here I'm gonna tune this d backup teo there we go that's close enough for army work all right, so again the acts effects super super adept at high gain tones there are so many awesome high gain absent here you guys all probably have a favorite. The thing about high gain is that a lot of them start to sound the same. They're not necessarily gonna react the same, but when you start getting really high up there into the the brutal gain category there you start sounding the same and this is where the eye are in the cabinet really, really, really becomes important more than any other tone with high gain, the ira is going to be the name of the game so you can really pick whatever amp you used to um one of the high games that has a really distinct character is the cali leggy here and you guys can try that it gets much more fuzzy than most high gain amplifiers when you really start pushing it hard it gets into sort of a fuzz penalty type tone which is really cool you're going to start sounding like steve I because that's his based on his signature amp but he's kind of got that a little fuzzier tone kind of a blue z based high gain I'm a huge fan of all these ones with yusa and the front these air based on the mesa boogies and a big fan of those you guys again welcome pick whichever one you'd like but we're going to get started here with one called f a s modern and what this is is this is the fractal audio systems proprietary hi gain amplifier designed by cliff chase to be kind of the ideal hi gaynor and for a cab here I'm going tio let's see I'm gonna pick another one of these ultra rest cabs again we're gonna talk about ultra is a little bit later about what exactly that means um basically it's a super super accurate I r so I'm gonna get the f ace modern amp and I'm going to put it into this fifty one fifty three mix based on you know a cab for a fifty one fifty three on by the fault we've got this firmly in high gain territory ladies and gentlemen let's be real it's really gentlemen are there any ladies out there if there are any ladies watching let me know I'll be surprised like a rush oh they're going to girls watching this sound off in the chat room and let me know all right? So we're definitely in high gain territory here this is the default lamp settings on the f a s modern um as you'll notice with a high gain amplifier there's a lot of noise already without the guitar even on and this is a very quite pick up I've also got my laptop plugged in which is most of the noise you're hearing but just because there's so much gain happening even in the expects which is the quietest processor available and known to mad you're going to get some gain uh noise so let's go ahead and pop this ratio on the input gate here past one and as you can hear jaime, if you really just want to boost this as soon as I'm done talking you can hear how much just turning this ratio on even the slightest amount what a difference that's going to make and it's kind of a testament to how low noise the expects really is but we're gonna get rid of this little hiss right here so there we go just dialed out styled out the hiss there so talking about the and block a little bit, you'll notice that at its default settings because this is a high gain amplifier, the master volume is really low not a lot of the distortion is coming from the master volume, and in fact, if you turn the master volume up on a high gain amplifier, you're going to get a really fluffy base on that's just kind of how they're designed it's not a shortcoming of them, really so much because, um, all of their really nice, thick high gain distortion is coming from this input. Dr so as you'll see right now on five it's pretty high gain already we can take that way up and really inner brutal territory. So you start making angry faces and, uh, the camera's not on me it's on the editor, but I was making a really intense rock face, which I guess is a good time to mention the copyright image that was going to be on that slide was was john petrucci making really intense rock face? But again, copyright fell. So with that input drive up the base is not as tight as I would like it. So right off the bat, my first instinct is let's go to the base cut and again that's just gonna take the flooding us out a little bit and we're gonna get this so that's good but here's what a lot of guys on if you look at a lot of the pros who have released some of their high game presets the guys from periphery we're good enough to upload those on the exchange exchange dot fractal audio dot com where all of the shared presets are got all line up there a lot of foreign members are up there on also some of the you know, really famous kind of pro axe affects users have posted there is there, but you'll see that what they do a lot of the time with their high gain tones is use a drive pedal not toe add distortion but to tighten up the character of the amplifier that really I think is the secret toa high gain tones so this already it's a killer tone I would use this right out of the box it's brutal it's got a great chunk to it. Um but what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna stick this dr block in here on uh I'm gonna go to the ada wait um driver here and I'm gonna take this drive all the way down. We don't need any drive got plenty of drive as you can hear plenty of drive going on in that so what I'm going to do is turn this on take the drive all the way down and we're gonna start messing with his level a little bit and that's zero you're not gonna hear anything, and as you start turning it up, boosting that input and making it angry. But because of the nature of the drive pedal, you're not going to be adding tonnes and tonnes of bass, so it really on its default at five here is just gonna tighten up the tone. So again, without it and with it much tighter, more aggressive and better for doing the kind of you know. So, um, I'm gonna take the level up a little bit more, and I'm actually gonna pop a tiny little bit of driving there, not much. You could also do this in the amplifier on the input, dr, but I'm really liking where that's at. Obviously, if you guys want even morgaine, you can start pumping morgaine that's a slippery slope. Keep in mind, though, that you want to keep it tight. So if I were to, for example, pop this input dr way, way, way up. I would want to take the base here down a little bit so it doesn't get flooding. So as this goes up, you're gonna want to take this down. And the other thing you can do if you really want extreme value here you could start lowering this master volume this is kind of the ideal setting right here but you can bring that down and she's going to drive the ample little lesson cut out some of that flood but the easier way to do it is just to start adjusting the base here um one other thing I wanna return this kind of where it was that but the one other thing that I would do here is on this mid control on the effects box here the drive I'm going to increase the frequency of the mid range which is basically a just where this mid control is going to boost the mids and this is kind of ah a little secret weapon that you see in a lot of of pro hi gainers presets that if you bring the mids up in the dr block it adds a really really nice cut to the tone and you get this kind of searing kind of you know that just that angry chunky mid sound that is so key to having an aggressive high gain tone but it's not going to be ice pick e it's not gonna be in your face so let's uh I'll show you what it's like zero d b this is just all right just crank this mid up we're gonna crank it up a whole lot I'm actually going to bring that down. I messed up there all right? So there we go that's kind of the tone that we're working with for high gain I'm feeling pretty good about that I'm gonna bring this mid down so let's talk about what kind of effects we want to throw in here hi, jane is kind of where I go crazy with the modulation effects you started throwing flanders and stuff on here that's really? You know, you know you could get really intense and you guys all have your favorite effects can do whatever you want there I'm gonna talk about how to get a really expansive sound though and my go to thing for expansive sounds is chorus chorus makes high gain tone sound huge get that big stereo separation it starts sounding a little bit like your double tracking someone turn on the vintage stereo or I'm sorry the digital stereo here uh just default settings theo it's obviously much more pronounced than I would probably want it in the real world so we'll take the depth down there um but let's see what we got in a lower volume you kind of get that russia kind of ah, but high gain you just get a huge expansive thing and I really encourage you guys on the internet we're following along uh really encourage you to put on some headphones if you don't have good monitors. Uh, you know, you just have computer speakers were listening on the laptop plugging some headphones later on, we're gonna start doing some stereo stuff and it's going to be really important to hear the stereo separation. But here, just put on some headphones because this stereo chorus sounds so awesome. And mano it's good. What in the stereo and it's just like I want to start cranking that all the way up in like shattering windows. All right, so that's, pretty good. The other thing that I would dio on a high gain tone. And this is something I do on pretty much every tone I dialling it's kind of a little secret weapon if you want to call it that it's not really a secret cause. It's right here. And it's, the stereo enhancer. What this is doing is it's just widening the stereo field. You've got two options. Classic modern classic is ah, little more kind of ah, less pronounced sound a little more analog modern is a little more aggressive. What this is doing is it's just making the stereo field wider. So here it is, and this is again where I recommend having some headphones to hear um, this is the tone without it. I'll just turn it on you guys to be able to see, because jamie is gonna cut out my voice. Here is you guys been really just hear the audio, but teo so it's just kind of widened the whole thing out. It's made it a little more expansive and what we can do here kind of acts like a chorus pedal in the sense that it's sort of adding like an extra voice in a way, it's just sounding like they're two things going on at once because it's just throwing it very far afield in the in the stereo spectrum. But as I bring this with up, you're going to hear it widening even more. And again, this is where I really recommend you have on headphones or you have a really good monitors that air space well, a little bit to make the effect more pronounced in turn it down to make it less pronounced. But again, I'm going to do the before and after thing, and you can see to me it just kind of brings the tone alive. Uh, makes it really, really huge, which is obviously kind of the point with these high gain tones were not exactly trying to be discreet here in the high gain territory, so here it is again, without it. So that's kind of the stereo enhancer um and I throw that on high gain tones all the time um I'm gonna go ahead and put this enhancer the end because I want everything to go through it I'm gonna put a delay on here and again this is a high gain tone we're not talking about subtlety so I'm going to go digital stereo and I'm gonna put this up to six hundred fifty and we're going to do the same thing that we did last time what has bring the ratio down fifty which is splitting it um and I take very much the alex lifeson john petrucci approach to delays when hi gain which is that I want him to be pretty present I wanted to be there and I want him to be expansive so I'm gonna prank the mix up here about seventeen I don't know why seventeen is the magic number for stereo delays but I find myself tweaking by ear and almost always putting it on seventeen so here's the final high gain tone here with the delay we'd be using this as a lead and with high gains I rarely use any more drive for the lead than I do for the rhythm there's always so there's already so much gain uh I would just use a volume boost, which we'll talk about later, but here it is kind of a lead tone there we go. That's a pretty uh, pretty high games home, so anybody thinks that needs morgaine? You're welcome to throw somewhere on it. I personally think it's uh, it is frying bacon sonically, so there we go. So that kind of completes the section on building process from scratch. I throw it back over to you. Awesome. Yeah, and then I think maybe if you have any wrapping question for this yeah, I noticed you compressors on the other one's like, if you're trying to get a whole bunch of sixteenth notes on really tight, would you recommend using the compressor? Is thatjust comm pressure input signal so it doesn't really matter or, um, I would never personally put a compressor on a high gain tone. I wouldn't really ever put a compressor on any tone that had more grit than like a blues tone and there I'd be using it more is like a warming uh, kind of like a pretty solo boost, you know, like kind of for a solo that's between, uh, you know, like, uh, soloing gravity by john mayer kind of comes to mind is like a solo that needs a little juice but doesn't need drive, so I used the compressor is sort of a juice pedal or like a clean boost almost with a little more mid I wouldn't put a compressor on a high game tone though no I mean you are certainly welcome teo put a compressor at the beginning it's kind kind of dial the the level right toe where it's just kind of making everything a little tighter but I prefer to do that a little more organically by taking base out kind of doing like a multi band compressor on my own which is like kind of adjusting where I'm taking out where I'm taking out tone and making it a little more defined so like using the base cut you know if the brights which were already on turning the bright switch on adjusting the bright cap to be where I want to accentuate highs you know one thing a lot of other hiding guys are really into is you can go in and um you can put a parametric e hue orographic q and here um and start kind of popping up levels where you want to accentuate stuff and taking it out where you do um I guess I should briefly just mention that you can also go into the amp lock and there's an e q and the amp so if you're a big fan of the mark siri's of mesa amplifiers um this is based on that and you can do the classic you know, ve anger curve I call it it's um so the way I think is really where you want to be dialing in, uh, where things were tight, you know, taking out putting in, obviously taking out always a little bit better thing to do with accuse, but, um, you're certainly welcome to mess around with compressors. I mean, there are no rules here, you know? So whatever works for you, awesome. And cooper, maybe just like a couple other rapid questions. Sure. Yeah, please. How about this one from the ask bar here on our creative live page, you need a doll when working with the axe effects? Or how do you need to plug it into your computer for it to work? You do not need a daw. I have one open but that's for later stuff. The axe effects acts as a sound card via its usb and all you need for that is the usb driver available on fractals website on a usb cable and there's a usb out on the axe effects. You can plug it right in your computer on. Basically, I want pc, but a max gonna act a lot the same way you just kind of go into your sound devices here, and you'll see the axe effects as a sound vice and on a pc. Just right click, say set is your default device, which isn't here because I've already done it, but uh that should actually do it automatically but so you're using the expects as a sound card which means that anything that's going through your computer you can run you know your itunes through it or you know the internet it becomes your sounds so you need your speakers plugged into the expects you can also have the expects plugged in via usb so that you can use the editor but then d select the expects of speakers and use it out into whatever you're using norman your power amper or what have you when I'm in my studio I basically just run my speakers through the acs effects and then any time I'm doing sound on my computer ever even if I'm not using playing guitar I used the expects just cause the d a see the digital audio converter you know the eighty analog to digital did a little and they're so high quality in the axe facts that they're way better than what's on my motherboard s oh my music ends up sounding better sending it through the expects a sound card anyway so so yeah usb download the driver plugging in your computer it'll work there's mac and pc there awesome plug and play a tapping device that's exactly very much well I just wanted to give a huge shot out to all the fractal audio folks that are actually in the chat rooms right now shawn actually sean flynn came back and said that the newest firmware, which is actually as of today out, is fifteen point five and that's available to download at fractal audio. Dot com slash support on then also big shout out to scott mattan craig in there that are also helping answer a lot of questions. So if you do have any very specific questions, feel free to throw them in that chat room and basically kept it. Keep the conversation going. One of the good comments from chat so far in this first segment was from rich, and he says, this video is making me want to order a second acts effects. I I have to. You will enjoy having tuas. Well, you can't have enough of them. I don't think.

Class Description

The Fractal Audio Axe Fx gives guitar players an incredible range of capabilities, but the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. In the this course Cooper Carter will share his road-tested tips for getting the most out of the Axe Fx preamp/effects processor.

Cooper has experience using the Axe Fx on tour and in the studio. In this course he will show you the tricks he has mastered while working with the Axe Fx in countless sessions and on stages across the country. The Axe Fx gives you access to hundreds of different tones through its inventory of vintage and modern guitar amps, speaker cabinets, guitar stompbox and studio effects. Cooper will simplify those options and give you a roadmap for working efficiently. You will learn how to create and tweak amp profiles and go deep on working with cab simulations and how to use effects.

This course will unlock the advantages of the Axe Fx and open you up to a whole new range of exciting possibilities. If you want to learn how to get the most of this complex tool, join Cooper and CreativeLive for this essential Axe Fx training course.