This article provides some information about the setup, sounds and patches that I used to record the album Roots and Leaves with the @-quartet.

General Setup

This album was recorded with my usual gear at the time: a Fractal Audio Axe FX II, a Roland GR-55, and this pedalboard for remote MIDI control. I used 4 different guitars: a Godin LGX-SA, a Godin Freeway-SA, a Godin ACS-SA and a Godin Multiac Nylon Fretless SA.

The album was recorded without any amplification. The Axe FX II was plugged directly into the console, and I used various amps and cabs simulations to get a realistic guitar sound. Note that this is also what I do on gigs nowadays (I don't use actual amplifiers anymore). Either there is stage amplification, in which case I plug my equipment into the mixer, or I use a couple of Matrix Q12a FRFR active monitors.

The GR-55 was used on several tunes for synth or COSM sounds only. I would be silly to use it for guitar sounds when you own an Axe FX II anyway! However, note that the GR-55 was not recorded separately from the Axe. It was plugged into the Axe's effects loop. This has two advantages: first, you get far better effects from the Axe, so even the synth sounds can benefit from those, and second, when mixing natural guitar and synth sounds (especially on lead and improvised parts), the whole output is much more coherent, as if a single source actually produced the sound in question. This, however, has an important consequence for those of you who will download the GR-55 patches provided below: all these sounds are "dry", meaning no leaking effects such as delays or reverbs. These are all generated by the Axe. There may be a slight chorus effect here and there, but that's basically it.

Sounds and Patches

Here are the Axe and GR-55 patches that I used on the album. Note that these patches won't necessarily work out of the box for you. Many parameters are dynamically controlled via MIDI. This includes Axe FX scene and effects selection, tempo, volume control, GR-55 PCM tone activation etc. The resulting sound also depends heavily on your input volume and the kind of guitar / pickup you use, not to mention the obligatory tweaks that took place in the studio. In general I find it silly to release patches without all that information, so I will try to be exhaustive. Also, for more details on my guitars, strings and picks, see this page.

Old Times and Monday Morning

  • Axe FX Patch
  • Godin LGX-SA, neck pickup, humbucker position

This is a Scofield-like sound with a slight overdrive (scene 4) or a more important distortion (scene 5). Amp setting is Y.


This one is based on the one above, with the addition of a GR-55 synth sound plugged into the Axe's effects loop.

Vert de Blues

  • Axe FX Patch
  • Godin LGX-SA, neck pickup, humbucker position

This is a very dark and dry, Metheny-like sound. Picture the Metheny / Holland / Haynes trio rather than the PMG. Very acoustic, not much reverb.

Coconette and Hints, Tips, Tricks'n Cheats

  • Axe FX Patch
  • Godin ACS-SA, flat EQ (Coconette)
  • Godin Multiac Nylon Fretless, flat EQ (Hints, Tips, Tricks'n Cheats)

This is a sound suited to acoustic nylon guitars, with very little processing.

Petite Mort

  • Axe FX Patch
  • Godin ACS-SA, flat EQ, for the first theme
  • Godin LGX-SA, neck pickup, humbucker position, for the chorus and the final theme

This is a double patch actually, since I use two different guitars on this song. It merges the acoustic nylon sound above with a Metheny-like, warm Jazz sound (think PMG this time). This is also a nice example of how to use scenes for making two very different patches in one.

Minor Nuisance and YYAB

This sound is in the vein of Metheny's mix of natural and GR-300 narrow sound. The natural sound is close to the dark Jazz one, and the GR-55 provides a trumpet background. MIDI controller #77 pitch switches the PCM tone on the GR-55.

Mister Crusoé

This is a classic Metheny-esque GR-300 Horn-like sound, although a pale imitation of it. The GR-55 is not very good at it, especially with piezo-equiped guiitars. And yes, I do have an embedded filter in the GR-55. Anyway, as this is a GR-55 only sound, the Axe is only here to provide effects. MIDI controller #77 pitch switches the PCM tone on the GR-55 and there's also a pitch shift block on the Axe (at some point, I was comparing both methods to shift by one octave).


  • Axe FX Patch as above
  • GR-55 Patch
  • Godin Freeway SA, bridge pickup, humbucker position

This is also a synth-only sound, with two different synth tones for the themes and the chorus. In fact, I think that I actually merged with the natural guitar sound slightly in the studio (on the themes, not the chorus), but I'm not sure that the settings here are up to date. MIDI controller #78 switches between the two PCM tones on the GR-55.

That's it I think. Enjoy!