Tone Tips 1 - Heavy Rhythm Distortion

Here's the first of hopefully(!) several posts where I cover some of the stuff in my pod x3 patches. You can also download my latest pod x3 library here.

I'll start with my heavy rhythm distortion tone (32C), which is my tone workhorse for my fast songs. What I aimed for here was a sharp and tigh crunch tone with good presence:

1) Go easy on the distortion
I find a tendency, at least for myself, to overdo the distortion. The tone may sound fuller, but too much distortion crowds out the guitar's (nice) natural sound, and sounds muddy when playing with the band. Some balance is needed - an amount of distortion that gives the tone enough oommph, and yet brings out enough of the guitar's character.

I depend mostly on the amp's drive, pushed up to about 90% on one, and 75% on the other (I use two amps concurrently on the pod). I use a minimal amount of distortion pedals - there is a tubescreamer on one chain, set to only 10% on the other. This is to get a rounder tone, rather than for the distortion per se.

2) Other effects help!
I use a compressor, it helps to tighten up the tone (albeit subtly), and ups the crunch level. I also like to use a chorus pedal, settings are below. This makes the tone fuller, and ups the treble without thinning the tone.

3) Set the volumepedal to pre

Most guitarists set their pedal to post, i.e. at the end of the chain. I prefer to set it in front - this replicates your guitar volume knob - as it is easier to control mid-way through a song. What this does, as shown in the 2nd half of the video, is to change the intensity of the distortion, giving your more tonal options.

Hope these tips help!


musicmanmike said...

Hey Kenny, Thanks posts like this that show us into your "effects world". A there a way that you could convert your distortion effect so that we with just Pod XT live's could use it? I know that we could edit the dual layer features, but it would be nice to have the sounds.

Keep up the great work, may God bless you!

Gary said...

"Ask and you shall receive" works for God and I hope it works for you too. Any chance you could develop a set of X3 patches deisgned to use the XLR out and go diredtly to the house. Using patches designed to go to a mic'd amp at 80% make it really hard to get the same sound. Thanks in advance.

drewdude30 said...


Which guitar do you use for these tones? Single coil based (Strat) or humbucker based (Les Paul)?

ridwanfansuri said...

i think he use humbucker