Line 6, Tubetone Flextone HD - 2*head 300W and cabinet 4*12, 2000 – Paul Crook (Meat Loaf)


Line 6
Tubetone Flextone HD - 2*head 300W and cabinet 4*12
The Story Behind

About the Amp:

As stated in the user manual of the amp:

Thanks for buying a Flextone, the flexible Digital Guitar Amplifier System with the killer tone (and you were wondering how we came up with the name). There’s a bunch of stuff we have to talk about and only a few pages to do it in, so let’s jump right in and get started.

What makes the Flextone so different from every other guitar amp? It’s...


Well, just what is it, and why is it so important? (By the way, you sent in that registration card, right? OK, just checking.)

Tubes, we can all agree, are the heart and soul of every legendary guitar amp and are responsible for the warm, harmonic-rich tone quality of those amps. Solid state devices (transistors) are simply unable to duplicate tube warmth and performance. And “hybrids” – a tube in a circuit along with a bunch of transistors – are really a vain attempt at warming up a transistor-based tone. They fall short in any comparison to a 100% tube circuit. So that’s it – tubes or nothin’, right? Well, not any more....

You see, the engineers at Line 6, being an adventurous lot, and totally pumped about this whole guitar tone thing as well, decided to stock up on the coffee, bust out the engineering equipment, and get down to learning everything there is to know about tubes. Riding high on the caffeine wave, they began a three-year project to analyze and map out exactly how different types of tubes respond under various conditions typical of guitar amplifier design. How tubes process an input signal, how the signal is colored and shaped, at what point it begins to distort, the quality and characteristic of the distortion – complicated stuff, but all analyzable as electronic data. A guitar pickup output, after all, is an electronic signal, and tubes are really just a complex form of signal processing.

Having sussed it all out, the Line 6 engineers were then able to apply their digital expertise to develop software which simulates the tube and other circuitry’s signal processing entirely within the digital domain. Cool, huh?

This revolutionary software-based modeling technology, called TubeTone, gives Line 6 the power to create butt-kickin’ Digital Guitar Amplifier Systems like the Flextone Series: value-packed amps with a whole new kind of tonal flexibility.


The TubeTone process allowed Line 6 to create software Amp Models modeled after a collection of amplifiers recognized by guitarists the world over as true “tone classics.” We got these amps together, cranked ’em up, and had a look at the electronic data generated by the tubes, transformers, capacitors, plate and grid voltages, tone control curves – and the whole mess of components and elements unique to each amplifier design. This research led to the creation of TubeTone software Amp Models. These Amp Models were tweaked up through careful A/B listening comparisons to the amps that inspired them, with an ear open for the effects of different volume levels and settings of the originals’ tone and gain controls. The gain and equalization characteristics of the modeled amps were carefully measured so that changes to amp knobs on the models would mirror the effects of these changes on the originals as closely as possible. We’re talkin’ major attention to detail here. Tone control center frequencies, slopes, and cut/boost range were painstakingly analyzed, and we also carefully attended to the effect of presence switches, “bright” channels, and other model-specific factors. Not only that, but since these old amps had highly interactive circuits, we paid careful attention to the way that the setting of one knob will change the way that another knob on the amp will behave. All in an effort to make our Amp Models as much like the amps we modeled as possible.

The resulting TubeTone Amp Models are the foundation of the Flextone guitar amp. Now, then. Here are a couple of things we want to be crystal clear on:

1. TheTubeTone modeling process is a 100% digital software-based technology exclusive to Line 6.
2. TubeTone is not sampling, nor is it solid state; no special guitar, pickup, or cabling is needed. 

The Flextone HD - This is the stereo, 300 Watt Stereo head Flextone. The Headphone, Direct Outs, Effect Send, Effect Return, and the onboard effects are all stereo. The HD can drive 4, 8, and 16 ohm cabinet setups. 

The Flextone Cab 412S - The Flextone Cab 412S is a stereo/mono 4x12" closed- back cabinet loaded with a 2 pair of custom 12-inch speakers, specially designed by Line 6 for use with the Flextone HD.


Note: For the following description of the TubeTone Amp Models, and other references that you will find throughout this manual, please be aware that Fender, Marshall, Vox, Boogie, Soldano, Peavey, Roland, Matchless, Arbiter, ADA, Leslie, and other amplifier model designations, and the names of musical artists and groups, and effects, are all trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Line 6. These marks and names are used solely for the purpose of describing certain amplifier tones produced using Line 6’s TubeTone modeling technology. The TubeTone modeling technology provides the Flextone Series of Digital Guitar Amplifier Systems with a wide variety of sounds and effects modeled after some of the most popular sounds of the classic amps, effects, and artists mentioned here.

Jazz Clean - This Amp Model is modeled after the classic Roland JC-120. This transistor amp was known for a strident clean sound and built-in stereo chorus. When using the Jazz Clean Amp Model, try cranking up the treble for a shimmering clean sound that’ll cut through just about any mix. It’s also perfect for that 80’s “new wave” sound. Alternatively, try backing off on the treble and turn up the bass and mids for a darker jazz tone. It’ll give you an essentially flat response, providing a balanced tone across the fretboard for jazz chord melodies or single-line phrasing.

SmallTweed - Modeled after a 1952 “wide panel” Fender Tweed Deluxe, this Amp Model will snarl with the best of them. The original amp had only a single tone control, essentially a Treble roll off. We set up the Treble knob to give you this Treble roll off when using this Amp Model. Which left us with the Bass and Mid knobs just sitting there. That just didn’t seem right, so we figured out a way to put those knobs to work without mucking about with the authenticity of this Amp Model’s Treble tone control. We set up the Bass and Mid as post-TubeTone controls, which essentially lets you EQ up your tone as you would do on a mixing console after recording your amp. Set the Bass and Mid knobs at halfway to put them in “neutral,” and try the Treble knob somewhere above halfway for a classic Tweed sound.

Tweed Blues - The classic Fender Bassman 4x10 combo was the amp that started it all – instant rock and roll tone. Originally a bass guitar amp, the Bassman became a Blues staple for 6-string guitarists. It has the fat bottom end you’d expect from a bass amp but also has the Fender twang on the top. The Bassman was the “blueprint” for the Flextone’s Tweed Blues. Incidentally, when Jim Marshall built his first amps with Ken Bran they were heavily influenced by the early Bassman. One of the interesting things about the Bassman is just how interactive the Mid and Treble controls are. The Mid control isn’t a bandpass, as in most tone control setups. Instead, it’s almost like a second treble control. The two are additive, so if you’re running the Mid knob higher than halfway up, you’ll find that the Treble Control might give you more bright than you really want. On the other hand, when you turn the Mid knob down, you’ll probably want to boost the Treble.

The Bassman, like many of the amps modeled for the Flextone, didn’t have a master volume. So to get the kind of tone that the Bassman can deliver at higher gain settings, you had to crank it up loud enough to do some serious damage to anyone who might be standing close by. With the Flextone, you can get that kind of tone at a bedroom or studio level – or through your headphones even! Try a drive setting of about 4 or 5 – it’s guaranteed to dredge up the best R&B licks you know.

Black Panel - The Holy Grail for many blues, country, and “roots” players has been a blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb (Of course, now that the Flextone’s here, that may all change). After listening to quite a few candidates for modeling, we stumbled upon an extremely cool ’64 Deluxe. Most players love a Deluxe when it’s turned up to about 7 for a nice gritty sound that cleans up when you back off your guitar’s volume knob just a little. Notice how the tone control response changes as this Amp Model’s Drive is changed; clean settings are crisp and present, while more driven settings will mellow the high end. This is typical of what you get from a Deluxe, and is nicely captured here.

The Deluxe itself has only Bass and Treble controls. Leaving us, once again, with the prospect of a knob with nothing to say for itself. But fear not; in this case, we’ve set up the Mid knob so you can add some post-Tubetone Midrange contouring for a little more flexibility. Once again, set the Mid knob to its “neutral” 12 o’clock position for the classic Deluxe sound. Tweaked up right, this tone will cut through and sing.

Modern Class A - The Matchless Chieftain, which was studied for the Modern Class A selection, is a very expensive handmade amp. Originally designed to sound like a top-boost Vox AC 30, the Matchless doesn’t exactly have a Vox sound, but something unique (largely due to the complicated EQ scheme); the sound is sort of “future retro.” Its soft clipping is typical of Class A amplifiers; almost a “hi-fi” sound in a great rock n’ roll amplifier.

Brit Class A - Modeled after a 1960 Vox AC 15. Vox amps owe much of their unique tone quality to a Class A power amp and were standard issue for English bands in the 60’s. They were actually one of the first amplifiers designed specifically for electric guitar; the other companies essentially got their designs straight from the RCA Radio book. This particular sound is based on Channel 1 of the best AC 15 we could find. Once again, the original amp had only a single tone control – a treble cut. We faithfully modeled that and then slipped in some post- Tubetone Bass and Mid contouring. Set the Bass and Mid in neutral (12 o’clock, or halfway up) and play with the Treble control to get yourself some of those classic British invasion sounds.

Brit Blues - This Amp Model is based on a JTM-45 head with block logo (predates the “scrolled” Marshall logo), complete with a gold Plexiglas (Plexi) front panel, although the sound normally associated with Plexi amps comes from the late 60’s, 50-watt version that was the inspiration for the next in the Flextone’s line up of TubeTone Amp Models. The JTM-45 marked the beginning of Marshall’s transition from a mellower Fender-like tone to the distinctive bright “crunchy” sound of the later Marshalls.

Brit Classic - Modeled after the infamous Marshall Plexi – coveted by tone connoisseurs the world over. By this time (ca. 1968) Marshall had completely changed the circuitry away from the Fender 6L6 power tube heritage and moved to an EL34 tube; another major tone difference was due to the necessary output & power supply transformer changes. (See, we told you we spent some time looking into all this stuff.) All this mucking about added up to create a tone forever linked with Rock Guitar. Amps of this era didn’t have any sort of master volume control, so to get this sound you’d have to crank your “Mark III Super Amp” to max – just the thing to help you really make friends with the neighbors. Hendrix used Marshalls of this era; 20 years later Van Halen’s first two records owed their “brown sound” to an unmodified 100-watt Plexi. In order to get a crunch sound out of a Plexi you would likely crank up the input volume and the tone controls (to 10!). You’ll find that the Brit Classic, in keeping with our basic “make-it-sound-a-whole-lot-like-the-original” concept, is set up to do pretty darned near the same thing. Max out the Mid and Treble knobs and turn Bass to about 9 or 10 o’clock on the Flextone when using this Plexi-inspired Amp Model and you can treat those nice neighbors to a tasty slice of fat rock tone.

Brit Hi Gain - Turn to this Amp Model to conjure up tones of the coveted JCM 800, one of Marshall’s most universally-acclaimed modern amps. This updated version of the Plexi continued Marshall’s heritage with added gain and edge for a new generation of rock guitarists. One of the biggest differences here is that the tone controls are located after the preamp tubes. We worked with a 1990 JCM 800 with Master Volume to develop this model. This is the metal sound Marshall made famous. Although not many people play Marshalls clean, it’s a great tone, so you should also be sure to check out this model with a low drive setting, too. Of course, you can always pump up the drive and rage....

Rectified - This model is modeled after a 1994 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Tremoverb. Boogie made their mark in the late 70’s and early 80’s by adding master volumes and more gain stages to amps with Fender-style circuitry. You can hear the Fender heritage but with more “punch” in the mids. The Boogie Dual Rectifier’s tone controls are post-distortion, and as with the tone sections of most of the amps we based our models on, the individual controls interact with each other and with the drive. When used at its highest drive setting, the Dual Rectifier gives you a lead sound reminiscent of the early Boogies with the characteristic nasal midrange push, but with even more drive and presence than the early Mark I Boogies. Cranking the Rectifier Amp Model’s drive knob will get you into this neighborhood. Try your Santana licks here. With high drive settings, you can scoop the mids and crank the bottom end for some great Seattle grunge sounds.

Modern Hi Gain - We obtained one of the early amp heads Mike Soldano produced when he was based in Los Angeles in order to create the Flextone’s Modern Hi Gain setting. The Soldano sound is intensely overdriven, and also has EQ after the preamp distortion. This oversaturated tone is well-suited to thrash metal and grunge bands, but has also been used more subtly by artists like Eric Clapton. The Soldano amps are very similar to a Peavey 5150; this is a good Amp Model to use if you want to get a current Van Halen or Joe Satriani sound. With the Drive control cranked way up, you’ll get sustain for days.... Go out’n’ave a bite – when you come back it’ll still be sustaining!


While TubeTone modeling was first developed to allow Line 6 to capture classic tones for our Digital Guitar Amplifier Systems, it also has opened the door for us to create unique new tones not possible with conventional hardware – that’s where this whole software-based thing really comes in handy. Informed by the forty years of classic guitar amplifier design that we’ve studied to develop TubeTone, we’ve selected the best elements of various amplifiers and brought them together in the four Flextone Signature Sounds: Flextone Clean, Flextone Crunch, Flextone Drive, and Flextone Layer.

Flextone Clean - To create this Amp Model, we essentially grafted the top end of a JC-120 onto the bottom end of a JTM-45 to give you you the crisp and clear top end of a solid state amp, but with a rich, satisfying tube amp-style bottom.

Flextone Crunch - Our “boutique” sound. Not too clean, but not too raging. We spent some time with a rare Dumble combo, and picked up a few tricks from it to put together this tone. Great for modern blues or jazz, this sound should be like a fine cognac, smooth and warm going down, but with a nice kick. The Mid control is located before the TubeTone Drive, but the Bass andTreble controls are placed after the Drive for maximum range.

Flextone Drive - Our version of the modern, super-saturated, high gain, lead amp; smooth, yet biting. All the tone controls here are post-Tubetone for maximum control with minimum muddiness. Again, this unique overdrive tone was created by merging different tone-shaping elements from different high-gain amps. It’s like playing through a collection of amps simultaneously – a studio technique that has made possible some of the greatest guitar tones of modern recordings (Flextone Layer builds on this idea with even more versatility). With the Flextone, you can get this same kind of rich, multi-amp tone out of one combo, a feat that wouldn’t be possible with traditional guitar amps.

Flextone Layer - Flextone Clean meets Flextone Drive. As we’ve already mentioned, many guitarists and producers have experimented with running multiple amps simultaneously, with each amp making a contribution to the overall tone. Stevie Ray Vaughn, for example, would split his guitar signal to drive a Marshall, Fender Vibroflex, and Dumble Steel String Singer simultaneously to get some of the great sounds on his records. This Amp Model was produced by superimposing a “traditional” clean guitar tone and a particularly tweaked-up

variant of the Flextone Drive. The Drive knob acts as a blender control – fully left you’ve got big bottom 21st Century Clean, and fully right you’ve got paint-peeling Ultra-drive. Set it anywhere in between, and you get to have your cake and smear it all over your audience, too.

Fuzz - Although not technically an amp, we felt that the unique tonal qualities of the classic 1960’s Arbiter Fuzz Face earned it a place among the amps modeled to create the Flextone’s TubeTone Amp Models. This fuzz box used broad frequency transistor-based clipping. The result is a buzzing kind of distortion that has become popular again with the alternative and grunge set. Jimi Hendrix was among the first guitarists to popularize the Fuzz Face in the States, but our model is considerably dirtier than the tones found on “Are You Experienced.” Try playing “Satisfaction” by the Stones, or the lead from “American Woman” by The Guess Who. Liberal use of the Bass, Mid, and Treble controls will let you go beyond the tones that the Fuzz Face could deliver, enabling you to discover your own unique recipe for those elusive fuzz tones in your head. 

There are also many onboard effects. A true wonder box of sounds.

    This Line 6, Tubetone Flextone HD - 2*head 300W and cabinet 4*12 were the touring rig for Paul Crook for Meat Loaf tours. Included is also the floor board controler with still all the presets entered by Paul.

    If you have any questions, please contact us