Creating a Guitar Tone Using the Line 6 POD X3

by Matthew May

The POD X3 from Line 6 is a very versatile tool for creating electric guitar sounds without the use of an amplifier or effects units. It provides a plethora of options for amp and cabinet models as well as a huge library of stomp effects, modulation effects, delays and reverbs. The POD also provides a two-tone system to combine amp models or swap freely between the two. It is also functional as an audio interface via USB, allowing for quickly and easily recording guitar tracks without the need for a microphone (though it does have a standard XLR input as well). This tutorial will provide a rudimentary explanation of how to quickly and easily create a tone using the POD X3.


1. Turn the POD on via the switch on the right side next to the AC adapter plug.

2. Plug a guitar into Input 1 (Input 2 being the XLR input) on the front right side of the POD, and headphones or speakers into the 1/4” headphone jack on the left side.

a. It should be noted that the POD X3 can output via the Left and Right Output jacks at the rear of the device as well, which can be accessed by the OUTPUTS button on the right side of the main control panel. However, for simplicity, this guide will assume the user is using the headphone jack.

3. Using the dial to the left of the screen with “PRESS TO SAVE” written over it (between the HOME and INPUTS buttons), scroll to an empty “User” patch (from bank 18 to 32). Alternatively, you can overwrite a preset for easier access.

4. Press the PRESS TO SAVE dial to save a new patch, and use the third and fourth dials under the POD X3 logo to make a new name for the patch.

5. Press the AMP button on the bottom of the control panel twice quickly to select an amp model. Use the PRESS TO SAVE dial to cycle through amp models.

a. The first of the dials under the POD X3 logo selects whether to choose from guitar, bass, or preamp models (when using the microphone).

6. Each amp model uses a default cabinet model and microphone emulation. Press down on the cursor pad to the right of the screen, and then use the first and fourth dials under the POD X3 logo to cycle through cabinet models of varying sizes and microphone types.

a. When using the POD as an audio interface, you can also select “NO CABINET” and run the amp sim through a cab impulse for a more realistic sound. The POD can also be run through an actual physical cabinet to bypass the cab sim entirely for live use.

7. After selecting amp and cabinet models, use the main amp dials surrounding the control panel to adjust settings as you would with a typical amplifier to your taste.

8. Apply effects as necessary. This can be done in two ways:

a. Double-tapping the STOMP, MOD, DELAY and VERB buttons at the bottom of the control panel, and using the PRESS TO SAVE dial to cycle through these effects as well as the four dials under the POD X3 logo to adjust specific parameters

b. Selecting specific objects in the signal chain on the home screen using the cursor pad, and double-tapping the ON/OFF button above the cursor pad to edit the selected object. This method allows for editing of some effects that aren’t available via physical buttons, such as the noise gate and compressor, or that aren’t useable without an FBV Pedal, such as wah and volume control.

9. Once effects have been adjusted to taste, press the PRESS TO SAVE dial again to save the patch.


Author: dndrew

Orchestral, chamber and interactive music composer Digital musical instrumentalist Real-time software systems designer Computer music educator

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