Friday, April 25, 2008

Getting the most out of your Line6 DL-4

The Line6 DL-4 Delay Modeler is a great tool for delay. It doesn't take long to figure out the basics of it but there are a couple tricks and tips I've picked up along the way that make this pedal way more powerful.

1) The pesky dotted eight notes - Dotted eights sound so sweet but for some reason Line6 skipped over them in favor of triplet eight notes. On their support site they say you should use the Stereo Delays to get "The Edge" dotted eighth sound. I don't know if you've had luck with this but I can't get stereo delay to sound like anything musical or Edge-like. I'm pretty sure you can't tap a tempo into stereo delay since there are two delay times and I've never had it line up as dotted eights. If you know how to set this up let me know!! When I wanted dotted eights, which is a lot actually, I set mod to Rhythm Delay and set the rhythm to sixteenth notes. For the tempo I tap on beats 1 & 4 of the song and there you go, dotted eights. This works because dotted eights are the same 3 sixteenth notes so tapping on 1 & 4 (3 beats) makes a dotted eight. This won't work if you start the song unless you save the tempo in a preset. The problem is when the drummer clicks off the song it takes your brain two clicks to get any sort of tempo so it will take a minimum of 6 beats to set your delay (tapping on beat 3 - the first beat you can predict - and 6). The way around this is to set your rhythm to eight-notes and tap out a dotted-quarter. Have I completely confused you yet?! If you think of a 4/4 measure as "1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +" you would tap on 1 and the "+" after 2. It takes some practice to get your brain to do that, but once you get it down it's really useful. Think "Clocks" by Coldplay, the drum beat is a dotted-quarter, dotted-quarter, quarter (1, + after 2, 4). Using a dotted quarter on other delays can be a nice effect too. Add it to your arsenal!

2) The Expression Pedal - This will very much open up your DL4. You can plug in an expression pedal and make two settings for each preset as long as they're the same mod (lo-res, rhythm, analog, etc). You can have two separate delay times, repeats, tweak, tweez, and mix - one saved as the "heel" position, the other saved as the "toe." If you move the expression pedal from heel to toe it will blend your two settings to all the in between sounds. Pretty crazy! I've had fun using all the same settings for toe and heel EXCEPT delay time. I set the heel to a few repeats (maybe 4) and the toe to the max repeats. Use this with the lo-res or analog and you can get some great oscillation (when the delay repeats over itself) and then slide back to the heel to make it go away.

You can also use the expression to double your number of presets (as long as you only need 3 different models). I often set different tempo for the heel and toe with no intention of ever using the in between sounds, I just keep them as two tempos so I don't have to tap since the drummer usually has a metronome and will start at the same tempo as rehearsal.

If an expression pedal will take up too much pedal board real estate, check this link out: He doesn't do the mod for you anymore but he'll sell you in-depth instructions for $10. The mod also takes about $10 worth of parts. The idea behind this is that when the button is IN it will send the same signal as the toe of an expression pedal. When the switch is OUT it will send the heal signal. If you mostly go from just heel to toe like I do, a switch is a good idea and a good way to save room on your board. If you don't care if the button is right on your DL4 you can buy a switch like the Fender one-channel to do the same thing. The LED even lights up, just not as bright as the mod from Scott Campbell since his uses power from the DL4.

Hope that helps! If you know of any other tricks or secrets put them in the comments!

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