Simple Pop Guitar

Strumming performances of a Taylor guitar...

The story

Regarding the last sample instrument I built, Micah’s Choir with Sons of Serendip, Christian Henson said that it represented the next chapter of sample instruments where the performance of a musical sound is inserted at a different place in the music creating workflow. With current sampling methods, we make generic and relatively simple samples so that they may be “performed” by the programmer/producer at their DAW.

With Micah’s Choir, the “performance” was captured in samples; so the producer has to work with whatever they are given as would be the case if the actual musician is in front of the producer. In other words, the producer doesn’t get to completely perform each note. This results in more realistic and natural sounding compositions.

It’s a subtle distinction that can have some blurred lines. However, I’ve been experimenting over the past year on how to further clarify the distinction, and I’ve come up with a few sample instruments that do just that. One day, I hope to release them commercially. But here’s one I’ve been experimenting with that I thought I’d share with Pianobook: Simple Pop Guitar. Once perfected, I’ll re-record the samples with more professional recordings. Simple Pop Guitar is very niche, but works decently.

I pulled out my Taylor guitar and a Neuman KMS103 mic and recorded chords, rather than individual notes. However, I didn’t record just chords. Remember, the next chapter is to sample performances. So I recorded rhythmic strums. Now, I’m not a guitarist, and don’t have the best equipment to record guitar, but this is more a proof of concept.

Alright. Some notes:

– Play guitar with left hand. It was recorded in the key of C. Use the tuner knob as a capo to change the key.
– Pads on right. They were created using the guitar itself. I layered it with a pad from another library I’m working on. You can mute the pads if you like. Just click on the pad button.
– Reverb: Just a simple hall reverb.
– Velocity moderates how “full” the guitar strumming is. It also determines the attack of the pads. Play soft for a more pad-like feel. Playing harder allows more subtle melodic soft “synthy” lines.
– At the lowest velocity in the guitar, you get a “final chord” to end the strumming. But you really got to hit the note very lightly.
– ModWheel fades in the guitar and filters the pads.
– Playing the guitar in legato-fashion smooths out chord transitions.
– Playing detache generates round robins and restarts the sample.
– This patch will time sync to your DAW. It is, however, recorded in 4/4. You could play it in 3/4, but you’d have to play in a detached manner, otherwise the samples won’t sync properly. It’s hard to explain, but try it and you’ll see what I mean.

Some final thoughts: This style of sampling also places the samplist in a different place in the workflow; in order to create performance samples that work with each other, you have to think like the producer/composer. But unlike a producer, you can’t focus on the one song in front of you, but on as many songs and song variations as reasonably possible, considering the probabilities of certain chord changes or performance methods in a particular genre. This style of sampling also imposes limits on the end-user/producer. In a sense, the samplist is collaborating with the producer. This tradeoff can be beneficial for the producer in a couple of ways: (1) More realistic mockups and productions, and (2) time saved.

I’ll eventually add more samples in different keys, modes, rhythms, etc. This is just a proof of concept. Enjoy! And leave comments and feedback!

(PS…I included the file as a Kontakt monolith as well, in case you don’t want to fiddle with file paths)


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

  • Fun library for those of us who aren't guitarists

    This is a fun library with some syncable strumming patterns. They synced well for me across a wide range of tempi. It's fun that the patterns vary with differing velocity levels. These patterns are well recorded and the programming works well. The only real issue I see here is that unless you want everything you write to sound the same, these aren't going to be sounds you return to over and over again. I could see using them on one project, maybe two, and then moving on. The inclusion of the pad is nice, but it seemed incongruous to me. I probably wouldn't have thought to use a pad with these types of strumming patterns. Overall, very nice library, thought!

    Sam Ecoff24 October 2021
  • Limited strumming guitar chords

    This is a rather simple patch with just a few strummed chords in a typical pop rhythm. You might notice that the strummed parts are tempo-synced, but unfortunately the very first strummed chord - the one who goes a little harder - goes out of sync, so it pretty much beats the purpose. The pads included are a bonus, but they don't offer much. The newer CAGED instrument from the same artist is more sophisticated although considerably harder to perform with.

    Alex Raptakis19 October 2021
  • Very Usable Strummed Chords

    This pack has a very small group of very usable chords that are supported by the pads underneath. Not sure what the intension was with the notes left of the red chords, but it would have been great to get single guitar notes here. It would be more natural to have the pads on the left, and single notes on the right, with chords in the C3 block. Overall though, solid effort with some great country/ pop uses.

    Angus Roberts-Carey11 October 2021