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Artist Emulation Using the PX-1


On of the most popular uses for a multi-fx is the recreation of a famous guitarist's 'tone'. This guide is intended to help you get the most out of the Pandora's capabilties. Before reading this article, make sure that you have read the User Manual thoroughly.

The most important factor to consider when emulating a particular sound is the equipment used. This includes :

For the purposes of this article, let us imagine trying to emulate Brian May's "core" tone. In Brian May's case, the equipment used for the core tone is as follows :

The fact that the Red Special's pickups are wired in series means that the guitar imparts a more humbucker like tone than a Strat's single-coils in parallel arrangement. Therefore a close aproximation of Brian's tone can be achieved with a humbucker as well as a single-coil. If you're using a Strat type guitar use the Bridge Pickup as it has a bright trebly sound.


Drive

With the Pandora, the first part of the signal chain to consider is the Drive section. Brian's main amp sound consists of 6 AC30's heavily overdriven. The nearest approximation to a combo is the Hotbox setting. The user manual states that Hotbox is a 'distortion with many mid-range overtones'. The mid-range overtones are also part of the sound as the EQ section does not allow for mid-range cut or boost.

As the AC30's as heavily overdriven, it would be best to use a lot of drive. Using the PX-1 the values are :

Name	 Drv+Val    EQ+Val	    Mod+Val     Amb+Val      CR+Val    THR  Lvl
B_MAY    Hotbox 30

Equalization

The EQ section is (initially) confusing until you realise that each value in the EQ section refers to the amount of bass and the adjustable value refers to the treble value. The values up to 15 represent either treble or bass cut. The value 15 seems to represent a neutral EQ point, similar to putting all the tone controls in their middle positions on an amp with passive tone controls. The values from 16 upwards refer to either a treble or bass boost. Therefore, I programmed in a tone that works well with the Hotbox drive.

Name	 Drv+Val    EQ+Val	    Mod+Val     Amb+Val      CR+Val    THR  Lvl
B_MAY    Hotbox 30  Low/High23 30

Modulation

The next section to consider is Mod. However, because Brian generally doesn't use modulation effects we shall pass over Mod and go over to Amb. At this stage it is important to bare in mind that Brian often doubles or triple tracks his parts in the studio. Therefore, instead of setting up a reverb, I'm going to program in a doubling delay to thicken out the sound slightly. Delay 2 as mentioned in the manual is a doubling delay. To avoid a processed sound I'm going to set the wet-dry ratio to 15. However you could always use the pitchshifter to add unison tones.

Name	 Drv+Val    EQ+Val	    Mod+Val     Amb+Val      CR+Val    THR  Lvl
B_MAY    Hotbox 30  Low/High23 30   na          Delay2 15

Speaker Emulation

The next stage to consider is the cabinet resonator. This helps determine the overall amount of mid-range that the patch will have. For the purposes of this patch we will use the Cabnt 1 setting which provides a "cabinet sound with resonant point in the mid-range".

Name	 Drv+Val    EQ+Val	    Mod+Val     Amb+Val      CR+Val    THR  Lvl
B_MAY    Hotbox 30  Low/High23 30   na          Delay2 15         1

Modifing the patch

I've left the noise reduction and overall level columns empty as these are very much dependant on the guitar and the player's discretion.

This basic patch can be modified whatever way you like. You could replace the Delay with a long echo for an Echoplex type sound. Conversly, if you can work out what exactly the pitch shifter values are (an article on this will appear shortly), then you could possibly have a go at Brian's harmony guitar parts. Or, if you wanted a Killer Queen phase effect just place a phaser in the Mod section.

Please note that this is only a short guide. Eventually I hope to have articles on each effect block.

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