Anyone getting good distortion sounds with a Helix in front of a Fender Blackface amp?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by mattt67, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. mattt67

    mattt67 Member

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    Hi
    I recently got a Fender Super Reverb 65 Reissue. What a great amp! All of the pedals on my pedalboard sound fantastic, and I can even get great Marshall tones with MIAB pedals.
    But I really struggle to get a good distortion sound with the Helix. I usually get good results with the Hedgehog on my Marshall amps, but it sounds harsh and ice picky through the Fender. I know Blackface amps can sometimes be picky with pedals, but like I said above, it sounds killer with my real pedals.
    I kinda realized that there are not many distortion pedals on the Helix, and even less Amp In A Box pedals, which is a shame, especially for all the Stomp and Hx effects users. (The ODs are pretty good though)

    So if you got some good distortion tones with a Helix in front of a Fender amp, please share your settings or tips

    Thanks
     
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  2. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    All the time actually.

    Use the effects send rather than the 1/4" outs.

    Set the input impedance to the 130k setting.

    Try the Teemah, Kinky Boost, Screamer, KWB.
     
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  3. mattt67

    mattt67 Member

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    Thanks, I will. But the pedals you mention are rather low gain, do you stack them?
     
  4. juxtapolice

    juxtapolice Member

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    A trick I do is adding a low/high cut after the gain pedals and tune out any harsh highs. I've had success using the compulsive drive like this
     
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  5. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Yes - really like the Teemah/Kinky combo a lot. Sometime I'll stack two Teemahs.

    For me - the trick with higher gain drive pedals into a Fender is to use less gain and more volume hitting the input stage.

    For some reason with modelers lots of people use the master volume on the Helix (or any other multi-effect) and it's a mistake in my opinion. That's why I recommend using the effects loop to feed the amp - something about it sounds better. And I always set my drives higher than my straight clean into the amp.

    Try the OCD for higher gain, use the Kinky Boost to goose it.

    Are you playing humbuckers or single coils? More insights on your rig may help.
     
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  6. Zakkary123

    Zakkary123 Member

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    Have you tried using just a preamp model instead of a drive pedal? I don't have a tube amp, but I think using say the preamp of the Friedman would be in the ballpark of the BE-OD for example.
     
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  7. corvay

    corvay Member

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    Yep preamp models works well for me with my blackface DRRI. Think of them a bit like amp in a box pedals and they work well.

    Use it on my Marshall’s through the loop to get surprisingly good Fender tones too. Better than any pedal I’ve used.
     
  8. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    I own a couple Blackface amps, and even with real pedals, I always think the key to getting to sound right with almost any overdrive or distortion pedal is putting a clean boost after the the gain pedal. That seems to help just get rid of the harshness. So with the Helix and HX Effects, I often use the Minotaur (Klon) as an always-on clean boost. I set the gain between 0.0 and 0.5 and just adjust the level so it's slightly pushing the input.

    I guess you could make it so the levels of all your drive pedals are higher out of the gate, but the one issue with that is that it means your clean tone will be a lot quieter than your drive tones. Using the boost helps in evening things out.
     
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  9. FlyingsCool

    FlyingsCool Member

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    That makes total sense, too, since the distortion pedal will be getting the guitar signal, and then you boost the tone with boost pedal. Boosting the signal into the distortion pedal can tend to overdrive the signal into the pedal, which seems to me isn't a good idea a lot of the time (as opposed to sending an overdriven signal into an amp circuit).
     
  10. paulydangerous

    paulydangerous Member

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    I use a Stomp into a Vibrolux. Hedgehog
    Is my main overdrive. Turn the tone knob down. I use no overdrive pedals anymore due to this tone.
     
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  11. eoengineer

    eoengineer Supporting Member

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    My bedroom amp is a 79 Princeton Reverb. Some observations:
    - For transparent, less compressed feeling OD sounds, I've had success with the Timmy model but you really need to work the bass/treble knobs on the pedal to get the right balance going into the amp. I use low drive, high volume...sort of like a boost.
    - The inverse of the option above, I've had success with the Tubescreamer model to get more mid-driven tones. Again, using it more like a boost.
    - Distortions have been tough. My marshalls eat them up and they sound great, the princeton makes many of them sound fake, harsh, and extremely cold. The one exception to that has been the Rat model, of which I own a good hardware example. Try the Rat in a boost configuration but crank the filter way up so that the harsh top gets hacked off. This will get you into some sort of MIAB territory.
    - Fuzz. Again, they sound ok on my superlead, but the fender hates them. Try running the fuzz into an OD. This will round off the edges and produce something that sounds and feels better, generally.
     
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  12. Spec

    Spec Member

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    Most of the OD/distortion models in the Helix have full range EQs compared to the actual pedal IMO. You need more drastic EQ settings to get similar sound (to the actual pedal). Also an EQ model is very useful in the path to switch in when wanting heavier tones.

    I use the pre-amp models (or just crank the amp model's gain/master and EQ) more than drive models anymore. Sounds more organic to my ears
     
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