POD X3 Live Patches: Tracking Guitars for “Stumpy Ron”

I’m currently working on recording final tracks for a song titled The Ballad of Stumpy Ron. The overall sound and feel of the song draw heavily on Black Sabbath but fall somewhere between there and Wolfmother. My new POD X3 heavily influenced my approach for tracking this song. I decided to try recording two guitar tracks, but each track would actually be two tracks using the awesome dual tone capabilities of the X3. The POD X3 has eight outputs over its digital USB connection. Outs 3-4 are Tone 1 L-R, while outs 5-6 are Tone 2 L-R. I set my DAW up to record out 3 on one track and out 5 on another track. I tend to record guitars in mono almost exclusively. Back in the days of miking amps I usually used a single mic for the guitar. Unless you are going for special effects or have a phenomenal sounding room, this is typically plenty. For my two guitar parts I wanted a more subdued tone for the guitar playing all the lower register parts and a more modern, hot rodded tone with plenty of teeth for the guitar playing all the higher, fancier parts, though most of the time, the two guitars would be in unison. Each guitar would play through two different amps which makes a total of four guitar tracks, recorded in pairs. My only restriction on the tones were that they complement each other and need not sound stellar on their own. Here are user presets for the tones I used:

POD X3 Live Patch 1: Milder metal tone

Here are the manual settings for my POD X3 Live

  • Output Mode: Match Studio/Direct, Tone 1 & Tone 2 panned however sounds good to you
  • Tone 1 Amp: Line 6 Modern Hi Gain (Soldano X88R), Room 30%, Cab 4×12 Celestion V30, Mic 57 on axis
  • Tone 1 Tone Controls: Bass 100%, Mid 81%, Treble 0%, Pres 0%, Drive 50%, Vol 95%
  • Tone 1 Gate: Thresh -40dB, Decay 0%
  • Tone 2 Amp: 2001 Diamond Plate (Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier), Room 60%, Cab 4×12 Treadplate, Mic 421 Dynamic
  • Tone 2 Tone Controls: Bass 59%, Mid 64%, Treble 98%, Pres 71%, Drive 69%, Vol 65%
  • Tone 2 Gate: Thresh -40dB, Decay 0%

Two things are obvious just from looking at these settings. First, the drives are set at about 5 and 7 which are not all that high. Too much gain can really work against you in a mix. Strive you find your heaviness through the way instruments work together and you’ll retain a lot more clarity and definition in the music. Second, the noise gate is set with a fairly high threshold of -40dB. Being a metal song, I really wanted those stops in Stumpy Ron to pop right out. And by “pop right out” I mean “be completely silent” ;) Another subtle aspect of these tones is complete lack of reverb. Reverb sounds great in your bedroom and garage, and often on stage, but I find it better to do my guitar tracking sans reverb. This gives me a lot more options for defining the virtual mix space during the actual mix as well as allows me to use higher quality reverb plugins than what is built in to the X3. Let’s get on with the next tone…

POD X3 Live Patch 2: Grittier metal tone

Here are the manual settings for my POD X3 Live

  • Output Mode: Match Studio/Direct, Tone 1 & Tone 2 panned however sounds good to you
  • Tone 1 Amp: 2002 Angel P-Ball (Engl Powerball), Room 50%, Cab 4×12 Treadplate, Mic 57 on axis
  • Tone 1 Tone Controls: Bass 65%, Mid 35%, Treble 100%, Pres 83%, Drive 49%, Vol 67%
  • Tone 1 Gate: Thresh -40dB, Decay 0%
  • Tone 2 Amp: Citrus D-30 (Orange AD30TC), Room 20%, Cab 4×12 Green 20’s, Mic 57 on axis
  • Tone 2 Tone Controls: Bass 64%, Mid 61%, Treble 67%, Pres 16%, Drive 100%, Vol 89%
  • Tone 2 Gate: Thresh -40dB, Decay 0%
  • Tone 2 Stomp: Distortion Screamer, Drive 50%, Gain 50%, Tone 50%

This tone is designed to have a lot of grit and teeth to it. Remember, we are going for Sabbath meets Wolfmother, not Metallica. The Powerball has loads of gain to spare so it is a fairly high gain contribution to this sound even though drive is set just under half. At this setting it is still more saturated than a dimed Recto! The Orange amp gives the tone a bit of old-school street cred. With the amp all out it still isn’t very distorted so I pitched a Tube Screamer on it to pump up the saturation a bit. The noise gate is set pretty extreme on this patch to match the stoppage of the first patch.

Guitar and other Gear

This song is tuned down a whole step. I used my 7 string Dean ML to record it. The guitar has a fixed bridge and a single Dimarzio Tone Zone 7 pickup hardwired to the output jack. There isn’t so much as a volume knob in the way of that pickup! I plugged in to the POD X3 using a vintage Whirlwind Leader Elite 18′ cable. The X3 went into the computer digitally, via USB. Monitoring during tracking was done direct from the X3 using a set of Aiwa X815 headphones. Monitoring during tone tweaking was done through a Carvin HT150 power amp into a pair of Event 20/20 mid-field studio monitors.

DiMarzio Tone Zone Guitar Pickup Black F-Space

DiMarzio Tone Zone Guitar Pickup price check

POD X3 Live recorded sound sample

I don’t want to give too much away for Stumpy Ron but here is a short clip demonstrating the completely unmixed results of this tracking session. Drums and bass are scratch tracks.

Line 6 POD X3 price check

Line 6 POD X3 Guitar Multi Effect Processor

Line 6 POD X3 LIVE price check

Line 6 POD X3 LIVE Guitar Multi-Effect Pedal
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12 Responses to “POD X3 Live Patches: Tracking Guitars for “Stumpy Ron””

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  1. Rodrigo says:

    I’m having problems with X3 noise gate. It simply isn’t fast enough. Even with the decay at 0%, there is still a “squeak” before the sound is cut. This is annoying, I’m having a lot of trouble with my distorted patches.

    Do you have any tips regarding this?

  2. bvesco says:

    Setting the compressor to extreme settings can cause this as can very hot pickups or adding high gain pedals before your POD.

  3. Gino says:

    Hi Ben … I got a POD X3 Live, Behringer A500 Power Amp and a Spider 4×12 Cabinet … wich is the best “Output Selection” of the PX3L ??? … The Studio, The Stack Friont or The Stack Power ??? also the signal level it has to be on “Line” or “Amp” ?? … thanx for all …

  4. Michael says:

    Hello, in regards to the last question (i’m obviously not Ben).
    Select the Output to Stack Power Amp and go into the FX loop on your amp.
    This way you bypass the amp modeling and can use your amp to full effect.

    Choose the Amp Live Out switch. This relates to the Live Out connections at the back of your pod. So no need to select Line. Use the Direct Out to connect to a PA or Mixer.

    I know it can be overwhelming with all the features!
    Hence me posting this, as i don’t normally make a habit of posting answers when no one asked me to. Cheers :)

  5. marx1289 says:

    Do you have the patches of the song’ In the Presence of Enemy’ by John Petrucci. I like him very much….will it be possible to make that tone with POD x3 Live….

  6. Bob says:

    Hi Ben,

    These distortion presets are great for recording. Would you have a clean sound preset for rhythm that would go well with these for recording?

  7. bvesco says:

    I don’t have a good match sitting around as I usually make these up on a per song basis. Since this song didn’t need clean parts I didn’t make a corresponding clean tone. I also then don’t use these presets on any other song I do, though I will use them as starting points.

  8. Bob says:

    I see, you have any suggestions where I should start for the clean? Which two amps would be helpful :). Or maybe I can send a donation for your time to create a preset for me?

  9. bvesco says:

    I usually go for single tones on clean settings. Super Sparkle is one of my favorite clean amps.

  10. Bob says:

    Only single? Hmm, so what do you do for the stereo mix side of things, same tone on both left and right? Or different equalization on the left and right?

  11. bvesco says:

    If I need a little stereo image out of a clean guitar I’m more likely to use a delay trick like a Haas or subtle stereo ping pong.