Pitch Shift Block

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Axe-Fx III

Blocks Guide Description

The Pitch block uses our latest high-speed pitch detection and incredibly smooth shifting to produce a great range of different effects.

List of Types

Be sure to check out the Axe-Fx Wiki for more details

Detune effects use micro-shifts to create chorus or double-tracked sounds. Dual Detune and Quad Detune are used for chorus-type effects based on precision detuning of each voice. Both types include an LFO for modulation, and the Quad type also allows feedback.

Fixed pitch shifters allow you to add parallel harmonies or transpose without using a capo (“polyphonic shifting”). Dual Shift, Quad Shift and Quad Shift Delay provide a range of options including mono- or polyphonic shifts.

Intelligent shifters create scale-based harmonies, where each shifted note is drawn from a given scale/key (with options for both traditional and custom scales). Dual Harmony and Quad Harmony and Quad Harmony Delay provide diatonic or “intelligent” pitch shifting. In comparison to Shift types, the Harmony types use a Key and Scale to determine the amount of shift.

Arpeggiator uses diatonic or “intelligent” pitch shifting with a 16-step sequencer to shift in melodic patterns.

Custom Shifter works with global scales to specify a custom shift amount for each of the 12 chromatic tones.

Virtual Capo can be used to tune up or drop tune the entire guitar.

Whammy effects are designed to be controlled by an expression pedal. Tom Morello with Rage Against the Machine helped put this type of effect on the map, and now it has become a staple, having been adopted by players from David Gilmour to Steve Vai to Jack White. Classic Whammy and Advanced Whammy are single-voice shifters intended for foot control.

Octave Divider effects add one or two voices down. They have been around since before the dawn of digital. Octave Divider provides two voices for easy one and two octave shifts down.

Pitch Crystals use forward or reverse granular time stretching to create their distinctive sound. Crystal Echoes uses splice-based shifting to achieve an effect worthy of its name.

Axe-Fx III Pitch Shift Block Articles

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Axe-Fx II

Owner’s Manual Description

Fractal Audio’s Intelligent Maximum-Likelihood Adaptive Real-Time (IMART) technology provides superb mono or polyphonic pitch shifting. Pitch shift technology creates an incredible range of effects, from shimmering, detune- based chorus to one-guitar orchestrations of complex harmony, to dive-bombing whammy pedals, and beyond. The Axe-Fx II Pitch Shifter gives you all of these sounds and many more,

List of Types

Be sure to check out the Axe-Fx Wiki for more details


Creates chorus sounds with up to two detuned copies of the original signal. The Detune sub-algorithm creates two voices that are detuned between -50 and +50 cents (one quarter step) from the input. This mode is useful for creating double-tracked sounds or chorus-like effects.

Fixed Harmony

Shifts two voices by a constant amount. The Fixed Harmony mode creates two voices at fixed intervals from the note played, with the possibility of using feedback and/or delay to create cascades of upward/downward shifting.

Intelligent Harmony

Shifts two voices to another note in the selected key/scale. The Intelligent Harmony Pitch Shifter block type creates harmonies within a certain musical key and scale. The SCALES parameter taps a small onboard database of music theory data to adjust shift amounts based on which note you play. This makes it possible, for instance, to harmonize a melody around a key center without the shifter playing any “wrong” notes. (With due respect, YOU still need to play the “right” notes for this to work.) Between the actual note played and the two shifted voices, three-note chords can be formed. Crank out some Maiden, Boston, or Thin Lizzy all by yourself!

Custom Shifter

Employs “User Scales” for totally custom intelligent shifting. It’s identical to the Intelligent Harmony Pitch Shifter except that it uses the custom scales tables stored in the global memory.

Octave Divider

Simulates the octave down effects of classic analog stomp effects. The Octave Divider simulates the classic analog effect and works by actually turning the input into a square wave and then dividing the signal by two using flip-flops. Like the classic effect, this effect only works on single notes and works best on notes above the fifth fret. Experiment with pickup selection and effect placement to achieve the best results.

Classic Whammy

Shifts note(s) up and/or down 1-2 octaves with a control that can be assigned to a pedal or other controller. The whammy, first introduced in 1991, is a relative newcomer to the field of guitar effects. The Classic Whammy brings all of the expected sounds to the Axe-Fx II. Its CONTROL parameter is designed to be operated remotely using a modifier, typically assigned to some source controlled by a pedal. In comparison to the Advanced Whammy this type has only a few combinations of octave up/octave down.

Advanced Whammy

Extends the Classic Whammy with custom range within +/- 2 octaves. It’s identical to the Classic Whammy except that its shift range may be set to any custom number of semitones within a range of +/- 24.


Creates exotic “crystal” shifting with long splice times and optional reverse. The Crystals Pitch Shifter is similar to the Fixed Harmony mode but is designed for special effects. It features much longer possible “splice” times inside the shifter, reverse shifting, and a flexible feedback architecture.


Shifts the pitch with a 16-step sequencer to create arpeggios or phrases from single notes. The Arpeggiator uses a 32-step sequencer to control the shift amount of a harmonizer so that complex arpeggio patterns can be created from a single note. Arpeggios “intelligently” transpose inside the designated key/scale as you play different notes. So, in the key of C (Ionian) Major, the note “C natural” will arpeggiate as C-E-G (C major), but the note D natural will arpeggiate as D-F-A (d minor).

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