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Line 6 Helix – First Impressions and Reivew

Get our Helix patches here:

I’ve been a Line 6 fan for a long time. My first amp ever was a Line 6 Spider. Through the years I’ve been both extremely frustrated and very impressed with their products (that Spider was not a good sounding amp – at all). Lately I’ve been using both high end tube amps and pedals as well as modeling gear like the POD HD500x, and I think both types of setups can sound great and useful in different environments.

The Helix is Line 6’s new flagship modeling product. It is completely different technology than the POD HD series, and is priced and developed to compete with higher end systems like Fractal’s Axe FX and the Kemper Profiling amp. We think it sounds fantastic. Here is a table of contents to help find what you’re looking for in our ~40 minute first impressions and review video:

Table of contents:

00:00 – Intro
00:57 – AC30 Patch sample
02:27 – Brian & Bryce talk about amps & pedals they’ve owned
07:27 – Quick demo of Brian’s AC30 dual cab patch and a look at the tuner
11:42 – In depth look at Brian’s AC30 dual cab patch including individual effects blocks
18:37 – The ‘Ambient Switch’ in the AC30 dual cab patch
22:36 – Another demonstration of the AC30 patch w/ ambient switch
24:38 – How to set up a true transparent boost on the Helix
25:28 – Demo of the boost switch
28:14 – Quick demo of the Bassman amp model
28:59 – 808 drive through the Bassman amp model
30:31 – Klon through the Bassman model
32:41 – How to add/move an effect block and assign it to a switch
34:12 – Demo of the Bassman model with the 60’s bias tremolo
35:41 – Thoughts on the ‘feel’ of the Helix
36:10 – Thoughts on playing ‘real’ (a.k.a tube) amps vs modelers
38:26 – Thoughts on the price of the Helix
40:01 – Final thoughts

Overall, one of the take-aways that Bryce and I had was this thing is just fun to play. It sounds great. The design is top notch. It’s super easy to use, and it’s very inspiring. Well done Line 6!

8 Responses to Line 6 Helix – First Impressions and Reivew

  1. Richard Putman Oct 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    Love the Helix review. Looking to see more on this as well as more cool patches for the HD500x. I have an HD500x at home and a HD500 at church so I don’t have to lug my “pedals” back and forth. I did want to comment that on the HD500 and HD500x you can assign multiple things to a single footswitch. I do this all the time. With one footswitch I set it to turn off a couple of pedals and turn on one or two more…and then I can toggle back if I like. Of course you can’t do this with 32 things like on the Helix, but at least with 8 or so. The volume boost trick on the helix is most excellent. You can create a similar effect with the HD500(x) by adding a vol pedal that limits the volume down from your “9.3” to “8.3”, then when you turn it off it jumps back up to the 9.3. Hope that makes sense.

    You mentioned the Variax. I have the James Tyler (JTV-59) version and have been playing for about 1.5 years. I tried a lot of the models at first then mostly just played on the magnetic pickups. However, this last Christmas break I discovered the real coolness of the guitar which is the ability to create you own custom guitar. You pick the body, the pickups, the placement of the pickups, the wiring of the pickups, and the base volume you want. I was trying to mimic a Deusenberg guitar that I heard online one time. Not sure how close I came to that, but ended up with a great guitar sound that I worship with 80% of the time now.

    Richard Putman
    Elec. Guitar for Woodlawn BC
    Austin, TX

    • Brian Nov 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

      Thanks Richard! We are still planning to create HD500x patches, as well as more Helix patches. I didn’t realize you could do all that with the HD500x – shows what you can miss if you don’t read the manual :).

      I need to try out one of these new Variax’s – lots of people have suggested I give them another shot after seeing this video and hearing my comment on them.

  2. John m Oct 22, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    Hey guys…..great tutorial on the helix……/what model was Bruce’s reverend guitar…..thanks much for all your work and dedication to fellow musicians and to the Lord.

    • Brian Nov 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

      Hey John – Bryce is playing a Reverend Avenger (USA model)

  3. Dave B Dec 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    Great review! Just in time since I need a better solution for my live church gigs. I have a Fuchs OD50 amp with Tc electronics G system and connected distortion pedals but the set-up is too complex to take to church every week. Now when I play live I use my old ‘blue’ Vox 60 VTX and VC12 pedal (OK, I heard your comments and agree that it’s not the greatest set-up but with tweaking you can get some decent sounds) but even that simplified rig is not working for me.

    For versatility I also use a Variax JTV59 (which I think is a great guitar) so a multi-effets pedalboard that has Variax connectivity is ideal.

    My question is, how does the Helix compare to the Line 6 Firehawk? Have you tried the Firehawk? Also, have you used the Helix in front of a clean amp or is it best used through the house sound-system?

    Thanks guys.

    • Brian Jan 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      Hi Dave – I believe the Firehawk uses POD HD tech, so the Helix is going to sound a lot better – similar to how it would compare to the HD500x.

  4. Anthony Aug 17, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Has anyone tried using a Headrush pedalboard for worship? I am trying to decide between the Headrush & a Line 6 Helix.

    • Mon. Dec 4, 2017 at 5:00 am #

      Go with the Helix bro. and if you can spare, use the full board.(though, i’m using the LT but it’s great as it is.)

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