Every tour new material requires programming new sounds. I always try to start off using what I aleady have in the rig but many times new gear is needed to get the right sound and perhaps more importantly the right feel while playing. This is a time consuming process as every layer of detail must be examined. Setting levels and basic tones actually take a lot of the initial time. Then what order for the effects? How will it be used on stage and what will need to be automated? Where do the presets need to be stored on the pedalboard. Make sure to back it all up and document the best combinations and pedal settings. Another consideration is the difference in level between guitars. That messes things up quite a bit. So separate presets regained for specific guitars is necessary. Tedious but worth it. Did I mention I am considering playing a telecaster for some of this material?
This time around the challenges were different because not only do I have to create sounds for the new Frank Zappa material we are learning which is drastically different from the sonic palette necessary for the previous Zappa material, I also have to recreate many world famous Jimi Hendrix sounds as well. The Experience Hendrix tour starts very soon after my ZPZ tour so it all has to be done in advance, or at least as much as I can possible do in advance.
While the Fractal Axe EFX II can do an enormous amount of things exceptionally well it does become sluggish when it's asked to do all of it at once! I found myself running out of DSP while trying to make multitasking presets that will work for both tours. Certain textural combinations were easier to create by using some extra stomp box pedals to bolster the complex details I was going for and it allowed the Fractal room to breathe. more