POD Patches: Lincoln Brewster guitar sounds

Lincoln Brewster’s guitar sounds have been respected by many. He also happens to be a very high profile player of POD X3 Live. His tone is sought after by many aspiring guitarists due to his using such a readily available and affordable piece of gear for his tone. While copping his patches exactly can give you instant gratification, I find it much more desirable to learn how to get better at creating my own tones by studying great guitar sounds created by others. This article is an in-depth analysis of Lincoln Brewster’s live guitar sounds as heard through his POD X3 Live.

Electric guitar tone

The hub of Lincoln Brewster’s electric guitar sound is the Line 6 model of a 1968 Marshall Plexi Super Lead run through a variable AC (or variac) transformer. This amp model is run through a modeled 4×12 Marshall cabinet with Celection Greenback 25s. The modeled microphone is a Shure SM-57 positioned on axis to the speakers. His main use of this amp is for a mid gain type of sound as shown here:

lincoln brewster amp settings variac
Moderate drive settings

Note: The primary lines on each knob represent the Lincoln Brewster sweet spot for the amp model. The translucent green range shows where he will fine tune the settings for a particular song or venue.

The amp’s drive and bass are kept below half while mid, treble and presence are all in the upper portion of their range. It is useful to note on most of Lincoln’s settings that he doesn’t often stray very far from his sweet spot for a given guitar tone. These moderate drive settings account for the vast majority of Lincoln Brewster’s POD patches.

lincoln brewster amp settings variac hi gain
High gain settings

Shown above are Brewster’s favored knob settings when he needs a higher gain sound out of the Marshall Variac. The tone controls still have their useful range around the same places as the moderate gain sound. The primary difference is the increased amp drive.

Somtimes this guitarist will use a very low gain setting to get a tasty and gritty sound out of his Fender Strat. While most of the tone controls remain at settings consistent with Brewster’s high and moderate gain tones, he uses a bit more bass on these cleaned up settings. The increased bass can counteract the thinning of the sound by the lower gain settings.

lincoln brewster amp settings variac low gain
Low gain settings

In general we can see that Lincoln favors the middle, treble and presence controls in the higher end of their travel for all sounds with the Variac amp model. He keeps the bass tamed, only increasing it a bit when cleaning up his sound. Even on his highest gain tones, he doesn’t go much beyond the 80% mark on the drive, actually preferring to keep it around 40% the majority of the time.

With the Variac, Brewster uses the EQ quite frequently to smooth out the sound. No matter what the settings are on the amp, he almost always uses what I call the Brewster EQ curve (boosted mids, rolled off high shelf) on this amp model:

lincoln brewster variac eq settings
Brewster EQ curve for Variac amp model

While the Variac is Lincoln Brewster’s go to amp model for distorted tones, he also makes some significant use of the amp model based on the 1967 Fender Dual Showman. This amp model also goes through a simulated 4×12 cabinet but this time it is equipped with Celection T75 speakers. Though these are his main settings on this amp, he will sometimes back off on the mid control and turn up the treble.

lincoln brewster amp settings double show
Fender guitar sound

This amp model is usually enhanced with a wide boost in the mid frequencies using the built in EQ.

lincoln brewster fender eq settings
Fender EQ setting

The Double Show amp model usually has a modeled Chandler Tube Driver in front of it. The settings on the Tube Driver are tweaked to hit the front end of the amplifier a lot harder while also beefing up the low end and smoothing off the top. Lincoln uses this stompbox from time to time in front of his Variac patches as well.

lincoln brewster tube driver settings

Brewster plays his electric guitar with a touch of compression on almost all the time. He doesn’t vary his settings here at all, using this effect on every electric guitar patch.

lincoln brewster compressor settings electric guitar
Electric guitar compressor settings

Lincoln uses digital delay on many of his patches. He does a lot of lead work and plays a lot of live shows, a combination that benefits from some prominent delay. You can see he likes to roll off the treble very much while also keeping the mix somewhere between subtle and quite audible repeats. Delay time tends to center around 320 ms but goes as low as 280 ms and as high as 440 ms.

lincoln brewster delay settings
Common delay settings

He does use the analog delay model very sparingly. The included delay modulation adds a bit of extra movement to the sound.

lincoln brewster analog delay settings

Playing large live venues and a heavy reliance on delay means Brewster rarely needs to play with reverb on his electric guitar. When he does, it is usually the Lux Spring model with Dwell and Tone controls set to 50% and mix set between 39-48%.

Like reverb, Lincoln does not seem to be a big fan of modulation effects on his electric guitar sounds. He never uses a chorus live and has a phaser on just one patch.

lincoln brewster phaser settings

Acoustic guitar tone

Lincoln has a few stand by sounds that he relies on for acoustic guitar sounds just like he does for electric sounds, though the approach is quite different. For starters, he bypasses the amp model on all his acoustic patches. Then he uses reverb on almost all of his acoustic patches and uses heavier compression. The delays are gone, though he does use a stompbox compressor on one of the acoustic guitar patches.

lincoln brewster acoustic guitar compressor settings
Acoustic guitar compression settings

You can see his compression threshold is set a lot lower for the acoustic, while also making much more liberal use of make up gain. Since the Line 6 compressor seems to do some automatic make up gain for you, I think the increased gain we’re seeing is due perhaps to the weaker signal from his acoustic guitar pickups (versus that of his Strat), though it should be noted that the sweet spot is much less extreme than some of his tweaks. When he doesn’t use the dedicated compressor, Lincoln will use the Red Comp stombox compressor (modeled on a MXR Dynacomp). Set the sustain to 30% and level to 83%.

Electric-acoustic guitars running direct into the house PA require a bit more extreme EQ settings to sit in the mix well and prevent feedback while still allowing quite a bit of volume. I think this is behind the more extreme settings we see on Lincoln Brewster’s acoustic patches.

lincoln brewster acoustic guitar eq settings
Acoustic guitar EQ

Though there is no amp model on Lincoln’s acoust sounds (the amp is bypassed), he has placed the reverb in the pre-amp position. Normally this would affect the tone of the reverb as it is fed through the amp model but the bypassed amp model means the tone is unaffected. Instead, placing the reverb before the bypassed amp model will cause it to switch to running a mono algorithm. Since the guitar is running a mono line to the PA this will result in increased clarity and definition on the acoustic guitar. Use these reverb settings most commonly with the Chamber reverb model (but sometimes Lincoln will use the Rich Chamber, Cavernous, or Standard Spring reverb models with the same range of settings).

lincoln brewster acoustic guitar reverb
Acoustic guitar reverb (pre amp model)

Download Gearbox patches

I have created Gearbox patches representing each of these guitar sound strategies in five files, four of electric guitar sounds and one acoustic guitar sound. You can use these patches to get a very wide range of Lincoln Brewster-like guitar sounds by turning the various effects on/off. Every effect is set to favored settings of Lincoln with the exception of the acoustic guitar patch mod and delay settings as he never uses those effects on the acoustic. Here are some suggested configurations for these patches if you are playing in worship at your church.

If you stay on electric guitar (no switching to acoustic):

  • A: LB-Variac
  • B: LB-Double Show
  • C: LB-Variac-logain
  • D: LB-Variac-higain

If you switch between electric and acoustic during the service:

  • A: LB-Variac
  • B: LB-Double Show
  • C: LB-Acoustic
  • D: LB-Variac-higain OR LB-Variac-logain

Both of these configurations use the A patch button as your main electric sound and B as your alternate electric sound. In both cases C is your cleanest tone, either low gain electric or the acoustic patch and D is your specialty electric guitar tone (either high gain for leads, or whichever one suits your needs and style best if you are switching to acoustic). I find it very helpful to keep my live patches down to a max of four tones for a given live event. It is much easier to keep it all in my head that way. Also, it is a very good idea to get used to common patch locations in every bank, “A is always my main sound, C is always my clean sound, etc.”

Download the Gearbox files for Lincoln Brewster guitar sounds.

Who is Lincoln Brewster?

Check out Lincoln Brewster at:

Lincoln Brewster

Amazon MP3

His own homepage

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69 Responses to “POD Patches: Lincoln Brewster guitar sounds”

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  1. jim says:

    it is a preset i stumbled on after discovering that the modern heavy sounds good alone but not in a group setting. Huge British Gain is in the style section under heavy. You’ll have to tailor to taste. not so much gain add delay etc

  2. dan says:

    Great article!
    It should probably be mentioned, however, that Lincoln does use a few Boss stompboxes in front of his X3L… I believe he favors the Blues Driver and Super OD as well as a delay, flanger and reverb… so keep that in mind when looing for that tone.. it just may need a little extra help from outside to sound ‘just right.’ fotunately those pedals are all readily available and reasonably priced even new, once again proving that great tone can be found on a budget and not restricted to outrageous boutique gear prices.

    D

  3. phil says:

    Lincoln also has a differently-wired guitar such that his last tone knob is wired directly to the bridge pickup… to tame the brightness of the bridge single coil. This might explain why he has Mid, Treble, and Presence all the way up in his amp model: because he can tame that brightness in 1 second by turning that knob…
    Also, from his online video, his strats are equipped with Dimarzio Area single coils (57,57,61, or something like that, great pickups!).

  4. phil says:

    btw, he’s using Axe FX Ultra now…

  5. Jonathan says:

    Hey Ben – great post, I keep coming back to this. I have an HD500 now so I’ve been trying to emulate some of these tones with the Park sim.

    One thing I wanted to ask you about (I don’t have my X3 Live anymore – or I’d just check myself) – it looks like he’s got the compressor post-amp on all his patches. Was this configurable for the X3 Live, or is it always post?

    With the HD500 you can move around your fx to any location you want – and the general consensus is that compressors should always be first in the signal chain (maybe after the wah though). Thoughts?

  6. bvesco says:

    I just got my HD500, great unit, haven’t had too much time to dig into it yet.

    On XT and X3 the “always” compressor was fixed in the post position. There were also a few stomp compressors that could be used in the pre position.

    I love the flexibility of the HD500 and hope to update some of the tones on my site soon.

  7. Carlos says:

    Just got an HD500 and I’m trying to get these tones! Uhggg

  8. Pete says:

    Hey Ben, great summary and analysis on LBs setup. Got a question concerning the differences between LBs patches for the XT vs the X3…being that I only have the XT, I’m curious if he’s utilizing the dual tone/amp feature on the X3 and if so what those settings look like? You don’t mention it, so I’m assuming he’s only using one amp model path.

    Also, and this may be in part to him use some pedals in front of his X3 like someone suggested, the tones are definitely close to what I’m hearing on the record, but not exact, at least not thru my XT…curious if you A-B’d the XT and X3 patches to see how close the two are to each other. Curious if the X3 has a discernibly more accurate sound then the XT…after all he does use the X3. Thanks.

  9. bvesco says:

    None of the patches he posted at his site were dual tones. The part about the pedals is likely true, but also keep in mind that when you listen to a record you aren’t hearing the tone straight off the guitar and amp. There’s a mixing desk and probably a lot of outboard gear or plugins involved.

    To my ears there is no large difference between X3 and XT era modeling. They sound basically the same to me. I haven’t done an A/B between X3 and HD500 yet, that’s where I think the big difference is.

  10. david goslan says:

    can anyone tell me how to get more volume from podx3 live espesially on clean sounds . i cant figure out outputs etc and what they should be set at,also any other info would help .thanks

  11. bvesco says:

    - turn up the master volume
    - turn up the channel volume
    - turn on the compressor and turn up the output volume
    - turn up the amp drive
    - add the boost stompbox

  12. Coop says:

    New to the site, so forgive my ignorance if you’ve explained this elsewhere:
    What did you use to create the graphics above? Are those screenshots of some computer-based guitar modeling software, or something else?
    Just curious. I thought they were actual pictures of the POD X3 live, but then I looked that up, and they definitely don’t look the same. :-)

  13. bvesco says:

    The screenshots are from GuitarPort, an editor program that could be used with POD X3.

  14. michaelbrady says:

    Great article! I’ve been using variations of Lincoln’s patches on my X3 Live for years. I’ve recently acquired a Pod HD500, and I’ve got some nice patches, but I was wondering if you’ve had any luck getting something similar to the old patches. I’m using the Park 75, but I just can’t seem to dial it in yet.

  15. bvesco says:

    I haven’t yet made a serious attempt to get the Brewster sound on my HD500 yet.

    • jamesB says:

      Please do! I’m very interested in some advice on quality HD500 settings. :)
      I’m so glad to hear that Linc’s old settings have a compressor AFTER the amp – I was trying to emulate his sound on the HD500 and kept coming back to that, despite all the internet buzz about putting compressors 1st.
      In addition, it allows one to roll off the volume knob to clean up the sound without losing output volume. :)
      I can’t seem to dial in the Park75 amp either – it breaks up too much for me and is at times too bright, though I LIKE IT! Frustrating.
      Having more success with the Hiwatt Custom 100, a new favorite. Nice cleans and quality crunch when you roll up the volume and kick a boost pedal on :).
      Wondering where to put the EQ – I copied some of the Linc-like settings and put it at the end, but I’m now experimenting at the front (I fear it takes away some of the color of the amp if put at the end). Thoughts?

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