Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

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Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby GAJ52 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:38 pm

Hi All

I currently own a Japanese Hank Marvin Fender Strat fitted with Kinman FV-HMS pickups, a Hall & Collins Echo unit and a LIne 6 Helix.

I normally record to Cubase 10 Pro OR play live via a Yamaha AW1600 with Alesis M1 Active studio speakers.

My problem is I'm struggling to get a decent Hank Marvin tone. Mine sounds too clean, but listening to Shadows 60's and later recordings they have a different tone, maybe added by a studio engineer … I don't know, its hard to describe in text.

The echo is from the H&C or Alesis Q2 with Charlie Halls echos, but I feel I'm missing something with the Helix. I try to use the Essex A-15, A-30, A-30 Fawn Nml or A-30 Fawn Brt at roughly mid positions (i.e 5) and maybe a little Reverb (63 Spring), but listening to various Shadows tunes like Wonderful Land / Apache, the Echo sounds good but the tone is not the same, mine seems far to clean even varying the Bass and Treble of the Helix slightly.

Can anyone give me any tips with the Helix regarding the tone i.e. which Amp/Cab to use or any other effects that will give me a better Hank tone. I have even been looking at Tremolo or Chorus to give me a better tone.

Many thanks

Glen
GAJ52
 
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Full Real Name: Glen Coyne

Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby dave robinson » Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:58 pm

Hi Glen, I have used the Line 6 Helix for the past twelve months with great success, but I recently sold it as I found a better option for me.
I managed to programme all the tunes that we do in our show into the unit, with and without amp simulation and often used the PA at smaller gigs where room for backline was a problem, we actually did a full Shadows show with me using the Helix for the Hank sound and it worked. The reason I ditched it was because it froze three or four times during performances and I lost confidence in it, as well as the fact that it is a heavy lump in it’s flight case.
So I had sounds from Gary Moore, Duane Eddy, Jeff Beck, Chet Atkins and Hank amongst many, all very different in their make up. I even made three Shadows echo patches, the Meazzi with the Apache heads, the Wonderful Land heads and the Binson heads, I set up the bottom four buttons 1 through to four, as different timed heads of each machine, then because I know which heads are required for each tune I selected the pattern with the foot switches.
The top four buttons had tremolo, chorus, fuzz and reverb, which I treat as separate pedals and could be added whenever I needed them. It worked well until it froze on me one night and eventually I lost confidence in the unit. This isn’t to say they will all do this, but I could no longer afford the risk. When it works right it is an excellent piece of kit.

I have gone over to the Boss Katana 100 head and with the software and the foot controller & pedal I have the same options and thus far it hasn’t crashed. Luckily for me I managed to sell my Line 6 Helix LT for more than I paid for it so it was happy days. The cost ? With a second Katana, footswich and pedal, I payed out £750 for two lots of the same kit.
I was using my Helix with a Katana 100w 2x12 combo which wasn’t light, so I sold the combo in favour of the Katana head, as I already had a 1x2 Mesa Boogie cabinet with neodymium speaker which weighs hardly anything.
The Katana does DI into the PA as good as the Helix did, so I didn’t lose anything there should we need to go down that route in the future.

If I can help you with programming your Helix then I’ll try, but it’s easier with it in front of me. ;)
Dave Robinson
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Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby GAJ52 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 9:19 pm

Dave, many thanks for your reply much appreciated.

When you used the Helix for Shads tunes did you use any of the built in Amps/Cabs or effects, if so which ones were your favourites. I have the echos with the H&C I just need to find a good setup for the tone using the Helix - so far it hasn't let me down, but I don't play gigs so its not used that much.

Glen
GAJ52
 
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Full Real Name: Glen Coyne

Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby dave robinson » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:47 pm

Well if you have the H & C you’ll not need the echoes as that’s as good as you’ll get.
Are you playing the Helix into an amp and if so what type?
If you are going through an amp, it depends how it is set up whether you should be using amp simulations on the Helix, because effectively you are EQ-ing the signal twice which is not good.

On the other hand if you are going through a mixer, you need amp simulation.
Let me know and I will try to help.
Dave Robinson
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Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby GAJ52 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:34 am

As you say the H&C is perfect for the echo's, so I'm just looking for tips on any amp simulation and any other effects like reverb, chorus etc.

As mentioned in my first post I only use a mixer (in my case Yamaha AW1600) and not an Amp.

I tend to use the Vox AC15 and 30's of the Helix but the overall output is still very clean and thin compared to Hank which has a fuller sound.
GAJ52
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:04 pm
Full Real Name: Glen Coyne

Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby dave robinson » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:27 pm

I notice that you have Kinman pickups but you refer to Hank’s 1960 sound. Twenty years ago I had a great 60’s Hank sound then fitted Kinman Hank Marvin pickups and immediately lost it. I eventually removed them, switching back to traditional single coils and regaining the sound. I have re-fitted them to one of my ‘bitsa build’ Strats and with patience and careful set up have managed to get the old sound, but I guess I have learned about the subject through experimentation a lot over the years and it has helped. A lot of it is in the set up and fine tuning of the bridge and action, along with pickup height.

As far as the amp modelling goes, firstly I always increase. MID on the mixer, reduce the TREBLE a lot and use the BASS to taste, for stuff like Gonzales taking it out altogether, but bringing it back up towards flat response for Wonderful Land, Apache etc, but never adding BASS. The amp needs to be the Vox 15 or 30 and the bass and treble off increase the MID to begin with. The CUT on mine was rolled back three quarters to nearly all bass, but this varies on different gear so use your ears.

I’ll give you an example as if we were using a real AC30 TB.
Brilliant channel, all tone controls OFF, using the CUT as described - this gives the typical early Hank tone for the early hits.

To get this on the Helix don’t be afraid to push the gain a little and resist using treble, Hank’s sound is MID. You can add bass until it begins to resemble what you are looking for. Also a little compression can help.

The Abbey Road Reverb is 72ms (milliseconds) and you need 3.5 seconds, turn the hi cut & low cut so that it sounds good on the high notes, I can’t remember which way is best so you need to use you ears, you need to lose the bass boom. Experiment with the effect level so it blends with the echo without spoiling it.

That’s something to be going on with, I hope it helps. :)
Dave Robinson
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Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby GAJ52 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:42 pm

Thanks so much for your time Dave, its really appreciated.

Your latest post has given me something to work on as I have always concentrated on Treble rather than Mid, never really understood Cut but I'll take your recommendations into account.

You have been a great help Dave, thanks a lot :D

Glen
GAJ52
 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:04 pm
Full Real Name: Glen Coyne

Re: Anybody Use a Line 6 Helix

Postby dave robinson » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:46 pm

OK , treble is something most people over do, so at least you have a start.
Let me know how you get on.
Dave Robinson
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