(Intro and documentation for the not-yet-released Guitarix version)
Start thinking of Guitarix as just a little amp:
The main controls are
Pregain gain used at amp input Drive, Clean/Dist extra distortion Master gain gain used at amp output
To get a clean signal, you would set Drive and Clean/Dist to zero, Pregain some low value and Master gain a high value (dragging up down or mouse wheel changes the value).
To get a distorted sound, crank up Pregain (and maybe lower Master gain so that the sound level on the meter scale on the right doesn't touch the 0 line). Additionally you can use Drive and Clean/Dist for more and other type of distortion.
You can also switch on Bass boost, Presence and Reverb and change the levels with the wheels. Or click the line with "12ax7" to get the next tube amp configuration (or click with right mouse button to see the whole list).
As an aside, you can also click the status icons on the bottom right (hint: equivalent to keyboard space, ctrl-c and ctrl-l :-)
Now we can try the next level: click on "Preset:", select a factory bank (the ones with "F") and a preset:
The currently selected presets is always shown in the status line at the bottom. Many program actions have shortcut keys. They can be found in the menu. The first 9 presets from the actual preset list can be selected with the corresponding number key.
If you not only want to hear the sound but actually what's going on, click on "Show Rack" (and maybe "Preset" again, to make some more space at the bottom):
The rack units can be switched off/on with the switch at the left, put into a flat or expanded form with the arrow button at the right and moved around with the left or right handle (drag with the mouse). Click on "Effects" if you want to see more units or move some units into or out of the rack. Use "Config Mode" if you need to move around lots of units (in config mode the units are flat and you cannot change any controller but you have a compact view and can drag a unit by clicking at any point).
Actually there are 2 Racks: a mono rack at the upper part and a stereo rack at the lower part (or on the right if you use horizontal mode). Stereo units are marked with the stereo symbol left of the name and can only go into the stereo rack, while the mono units can only live in the mono rack.
Audio Signal flow is from top to bottom and left to right. Order makes a difference if there is a distorting unit in between. A crybaby sounds different if you put it above the amp (pre-amp) or below (post-amp).
Lets start with a factory preset. After you selected one, create a new Scratchpad preset by selecting the scratchpad bank, then clicking on the entry "<new>" on the right list and enter a name. The current settings (from the factory preset) will be stored in that new preset, and then its selected as the current one.
Scratchpad presets automatically store all changed values. You can change some setting, switch to another preset, even exit Guitarix, and when you re-select the preset you will see your last version.
In contrast, other presets banks just hold stored settings, and if you changed something and re-load the preset or change to another preset, all changes will be gone (exiting Guitarix doesn't count, because it saves state and starts at the same point where you left it). If you really want to change such a preset, use the save button. And if you want to make sure you won't change it accidentally, you can lock the bank by clicking on the column left of the bank name. The bank is then read-only and a red "R" will show this status.
So, if you developed some precious new setting, it might be a good idea to create a new bank (with "New Bank"), if you don't have done that already, and save the setting by creating a new setting in that bank. When you created a bank with one or more nice settings, you could share it on the Guitarix forum: just drag the bank from the list to the desktop or into the upload form of the browser. To import a bank drag it from somewhere into the Guitarix bank list.
If you are really productive, you might want to clean up or re-organize some banks. By clicking on "Organize" you enter organize mode. Then you cannot select presets, but rename banks and presets, move them around with the mouse and delete them (but you cannot reorder factory banks).
In organize mode there is a third list on the right: click on the top of the list to select a bank, and copy presets from the preset list by dragging them. If you hold the shift key, the banks will be moved instead of copied (if the source is not a factory or read-only bank).
If you want to make a backup of your banks, you will find them under .config/guitarix/banks in your home directory.
There is a special mode for playing live with Guitarix: clicking on the "Live Play" button opens a full screen window with a big bank / preset display, a tuner, status fields (mute / bypass) and midi controller status (there is experimental support for dimming and blending an ugly green background...).
Functions: On Keyboard
tuner on / off Enter mute toggle ctrl-M bypass toggle ctrl-B bank select keys A-Z (timeout when no preset selected) preset select keys 1-9 (numpad keys also work) preset pick mode Space
Some functions can be connected to midi controllers:
tuner on / off middle click on main switch of racktuner unit mute toggle middle click on engine status icon (status bar) preset select midi program change messages preset pick mode menu options "Liveplay Midi Switch"
The idea of this mode: you need just one (foot)switch, which can somehow notify Guitarix to switch into this mode (at the moment only keyboard space key and devices sending midi control messages are supported, please send your ideas for other devices). Then you can select presets or functions by picking guitar notes.
Note String Function lower than G 1st toggle Tuner G# 1st toggle mute G 1st toggle bypass A to Bb 2nd, 3rd, 4th bank select (max. 14 banks) B to E 5th, 6th until octave preset select (max. 18 presets)
Of course it doesn't matter on which string you pick the note as long as its the same note.
After switching into preset pick mode Guitarix tries to detect 40ms silence (but the threshold is higher than in normal tuning mode). The preset display is displayed dark red "disabled" (this state is a guard for not accidentally triggering some function). Then display switches to red.
Notes must be stable for 40ms. When a valid preset is selected, the display switches to green. Then Guitarix waits for "silence" and then loads the preset and switches back to normal mode. So, "bank picks" will be show the bank names but don't trigger anything. If you play "preset picks" legato you can skim through the preset names, but if you stop Guitarix will load the displayed preset and switch back (or if you are unable to play legato ;-).