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Why Does my Guitar sound different on stage?

I have been asked this question many times, and I always tried to explain my students and now it is time I try to make an article on it for everyone here in the site.

Your Guitar sounds like you at home, but sounds like Mr.holophony or Mrs.White, or someone else too;up on the stage? but why? There are many reasons relative to it, but the most involved one is your Guitar Multi Fx or amp modeller or processor whichever the title is , I assume you have spent nights after nights at home with your practice amp or pc or  cosonic headphones, may be years you practiced and on stage you said to yourself , “Man what is this tone?! ” , may be you curse the sound engineer or the bad sound system speakers as well. But the main point here is how well you know your processor, and how amp modellers work. That is the part I will explain below.


Pod HD 500X

For Example , I take the popular Line6 hall of famed pod HD500X , It is a very popular amp modeller. You have to know first what an amp modeller does.

What is amp modelling?

Nope, its not a model on ramp, it is much more way different than we think . In short, line6 takes an amp to their labs, suppose the very popular ENGL® Fireball 100, and puts it into a gigantic science fiction time machine which we do not want to know, and digitally records the sound of the originally amp, to their gigantically small CHIPSET which is placed inside the head of the processor casing , that is they convert the analog sound of the amp to the digital robot based system. To be more precise, a robot with Alexander the greats original brain cells you might take as a good example. So does the other very big names like Zoom specially their g3 and g5 , Boss  and Axe-Fx. The whole point of amp modelling is, it makes us much much more affordable financially, you are having 20 or even more amp sounds all together with the price of of a small amp or even smaller!

amp model selection of line6 amplifi


So What happens on stage? 

The most happening scenario in Bangladesh is, You get up on stage, hook up your gears and lead the processor out put to the input of a Marshall mg100 or anything else, or may be even a home made amp. Now you see, at home you made your tone with ENGL amp model in HD500x, and now you are on the Marshall mg100, which it self has it’s own different tone, and lot lot way way lot different than your ENGL in the chipset, and think what is happening when you are plugging an ENGL amp to a Marshall ! ? ! It is actually a vegetable curry with kabab may be? and some more roshoggolla and chomchom sweets together? I guess you get the scenario now! The whole out put is also channeled out to the main mixer via a direct out cable from the marshall or may be even a cabinet Mic?


Oh no, now what is the solution? SAVE ME!

The solutions are actually so very simple but We ignore to read the user manuals !@! So I assume You never did like books, and it is never on your hands, I give you easy solutions below and very short!

Set your Processor to Direct Output/Studio Mode:

Line6 and almost all other processors has given you this chance, in the output tab and respectively other processors vary the name or buttons, select this option and connect your output cables directly to the PA system/Console, use stage monitors for your own hearings, after all that is what and why they are for right? Doing so you will have your ENGL amp sounding like you at home and on stage almost the same ! Originality matters!


Wait there is more on the output settings,Shoosh I never knew!

Do not believe me? Here you go , page 18 of official Line6 Pod HD500X user manual , follow this if you want to set your out put to an combo amp, or stack amp , this will minimize the chances of the bad sound COOK torkari really!

ScreenHunter_30 Jun. 25 21.01

User manual link again if you think I made it up 😛

Line6 POD HD500X



Well now as you believe me virtually, you should try it yourself , and I would love to suggest you to love your user manual of what ever processor/multi fx or amp modeller you are using, take your time to have a good evening date with the book!


Please leave any questions in the comments section, enjoy and keep sharing 🙂


By Sazzad Arefeen

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About Sazzad Arefeen

SAZZAD AREFEEN is the guitar player from the band De-illumination, guitar instructor at GuitarNeverLies -The School,official artist of Blackstar amps.

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Zayed Nahiyan



I wish someone told me this many years back. Thank bro. The problem is when u don’t get a sound check or one that is 5mins. From song to Song if we are using different banks, I think it’s imperative we check the levels at home right? And get them all around the same volume?

Question: if you have a pedalboard and u don’t want to carry your amp around, what would be your advice?


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