Ebow Piano

A piano played with an ebow...

The story

I’ve bought this ebow a long time ago to add a little avant-garde extended technique to one of my piano pieces. It worked well but I encountered a few limitations using the instrument in an acoustic way.

First of all I realized that the ebow doesn’t work on all the piano strings (it’s made for guitar after all) so you’re stuck on using only the central part of the piano; the other limitation was that, having only one ebow, I could only produce one “ebowed” note at a time, to get polyphony I should have bought other ebows, but they’re quite expensive so I didn’t at the time. Only recently, by discovering the Pianobook site I realized that making a sample instrument would solve both of these problems.

This is my first virtual instrument (I hope I didn’t make any mistakes with the patch!) so having to sample just a few notes was a good thing for me. I’ve recorded the C3 string, pedal up, with the ebow in harmonic mode, so you actually hear the first harmonic of that string (C4). I’ve also recorded some release triggers since the note is actually activated by a key press and not by the pedal. This is the sound you can find in the first patch I’ve made, the “Pure” one. I’ve noticed that it sounded very synth-like so I did a second sampling session and this time I’ve started messing with my hands on the strings creating some “evo” samples like in Spitfire’s Scary Strings and that’s what you hear in the other Kontakt patch, and also my favorite.

It’s a very noisy and lofi sample instrument but I’m very happy with the results, it’s always fascinating to me how piano strings sound without being activated by hammers, so I think I’ll use it when I need some sort of thick/flautando piano pad. I hope you enjoy it too!

Reviews

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Its an ebowed piano!

    Really inspiring and original sound that evolves and moves. I've used it on loads of tracks to add atmosphere and movement without sticking out. Can get noisy when holding down notes but I kind of like that effect. I tend to map a low pass filter to the mod wheel

    Jim Sanger17 October 2021
  • Great ambience

    This is a great ambient tool that focuses on a minimal dreamy sounscape. The original version is a little too harsh for my ears, but the "less fundamentals" one is very usable and fun to play with. Sadly there are no options to play around, such as attack or release, or even dynamic control with the mod wheel. There is also no GUI whatsoever, probably because of the complete lack of controls. It is still very enjoyable though and I can see how many people can enjoy this.

    Alex Raptakis13 October 2021