Built my dream guitar rig, now I’m selling it — Part 4: One year later with the Fractal Axe FX…was it a keeper?

In March 2017 I made the massive leap to a fully digital guitar rig. I can now document my year long journey from Axe FX newbie to massive digital convert.

Jonathan Thomas
Jun 30, 2018 · 5 min read
Fractal Axe FX II XL

Big investment

I had to sell a lot of my old analog gear, including my amp and pedals, to get back some of the money I spent on the Axe FX II XL. It was a huge make or break investment of time, money and loss; of things I’d come to cherish. Ultimately, it paid off. Within weeks, I’d grown to love the sound I was getting out of an all in one unit.

Why an Axe FX?

I grew up with guitar magazines and Fractal’s Axe FX always took pride and place on the inside cover or somewhere inside. The likes of John Petrucci, Steve Vai and so many others raving about how good and realistic it was. It was an expensive investment but honestly, I didn’t really pay any attention to the competition, the Fractal is what I wanted.

A year of Axe FX

I loved it from the outset. It delivered everything. High gain, pristine clean and everything in between. It delivered all the delays and modulations I could ever dream of and the reverbs were incredible too. I didn’t struggle to recreate my favourite pedals or tones. It was a fantastic year of creating new sounds.

Why did I sell the Axe FX?

So, it’s January 2018 and I’m having serious doubts about the portability of my rig and was toying with the idea of buying an AX8 to see if I could fit everything I do into a small floor board sized package. I came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be powerful enough for my FX needs, and the extra horsepower of the flagship Axe FX was where I’d have to stay if I wanted millions of reverbs and delays to run in tandem.

Fractal Axe FX III

Did I miss the Axe FX?

At this point, I’d been messing about with plugins for about two months. I’d found some lovely reverb plugins and some great delays. The only thing missing was the core tone. I quickly realised that maybe I didn’t need to spend as much as £2700+ on the new Fractal unit to get what I wanted.

What next?…Kemper?

Sounded like an amp to me…worth a punt, read this to see how it worked out… https://medium.com/fretboard/built-my-dream-guitar-rig-now-im-selling-it-part-5-kemper-is-it-a-keeper-a32eb8f2e058

Did you enjoy this? Read the rest too…

Red Chair Riffs

For guitarists.

Jonathan Thomas

Written by

User experience designer and guitarist

Red Chair Riffs

For guitarists.

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