The story

When sampling, we generally sample the instrument or the performance of the instrument. The former gives the composer flexibility but leaves realism quite vulnerable. Sampling a performance, on the other hand, increases realism, at the cost of flexibility. We’re trying a middle approach with this library: The CAGED Guitar.

This middle ground approach could be called contextual sampling, essentialist sampling, or more wordily, reconstructive performance sampling. It involves making a recording of a performance style, deconstructing it analytically, cataloguing the essential elements of the performance that gives it realism, and then sampling only those necessary components. Then you put it back together into a sample instrument.

With CAGED Guitar, we didn’t sample the entire guitar and all it’s articulations. We deconstructed a recorded performance of it, and then reconstructed into a very playable instrument. It’s called the CAGED Guitar based on the 5 most common open chords of the guitar. We are submitting just the open E tuning, as this is part of a larger library we are working on and hope to market some day soon. My business partner, Micah and I started a music production and sampling company this year directly as a result of the inspiration we’ve found at Pianobook and Spitfire Audio. This is our fourth submission, after the Street Organ, Micah’s Choir, and Simple Pop Guitar. We are also in the process of developing several other instruments using the reconstructive performance sampling process and the results are promising!

Here’s how to use it:

There are three octaves on this instrument.
(1) The lower octave contains the root notes of the chord.
(2) The middle octave contained downstrokes of the high string.
(3) The upper octave contains upstrokes of the high string strings.

The best way to play it is with the left hand playing octaves of the downbeat, and the right hand playing the “weak” upstrokes in the third octave. Layer in the first octave downbeat only when necessary to change the chord. Check out this video to see it in action and get a better idea of how it works.

Although we’ve only provided one of the 5 keys we are sampling, you can squeeze out a few more keys using the tuning knob. In fact, Christian Henson will probably encourage you to do that. Obviously, the further away from the root pitch you go, the weirder it will sound. But it does sound somewhat glorious to pitch it down 3 semitones, crank up the reverb and strike the lower octave.

We’ve included a “monolith” version, in case you don’t want to fiddle with file paths.

Reviews for The CAGED Guitar

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • Great Sound but wierdly to play.

    I love this sound. But I can't play it properly. I just thought it was not that great sampled or programmed. But in the video I heard the real sound. Maybe make it a bit easier to play for guitar noobs like me.

    Stephan Scholz14 October 2021
  • Solid guitar instrument with excellent playability!

    Even though this sampled instrument is somewhat limited in which key it was sampled in -- I was actually quite surprised at its playability and just how easily I could play and get a result that sounded like someone was actually performing the guitar in a believable way. I wish I'd learned guitar when I was younger, because I'd love to be able to play the actual instrument. However, I am a percussionist and pianist, and really appreciate this instrument in my collection. This is one of the good ones, and I'm looking forwrad to seeing what the larger library of other sampled keys sounds like when it comes out in the future. Nicely done.

    There are some issues with repeated notes, but if you're playing slower strumming songs, it sounds great.

    Andrew Ernst06 January 2022
  • Great effort on this one

    Clearly a-lot of effort went into making this playable and realistic and your breakdown video was very well done as well. The strumming and muted chords are pretty realistic and theres a good amount of round robins, however, if i didn't watch your breakdown first i could have never known that the sustain pedal controls the mutes or that down and upstrokes were separated by octaves. It would be helpful to put that info in the GUI. This library has alot going for it but certain aspects of it are just unrealistic like how often the fret noise is triggered and even with the round robins it still sounds a bit robotic to me. I play guitar so i would never use this but someone who doesn't might get alot of use out of it. Really good job here

    septemberwalk01 November 2021
  • I like where this is going.

    I'm hoping this is a continuing experiment along with Simple Pop Guitar. I really like the sampled guitar sound and the presence. I think it can be a great background fill.
    I started to get a feel for the interface. My only big challenge was the velocity when I was trying to get a longer strum. I really had to smash down on the keyboard. (I probably can adjust that.)
    I'm adding to this review after playing around some more. I find this sample to be exceptionally more useful with a liberal amount of sustain pedal).
    Great job!

    sardoodle05 March 2022
  • Cool Concept

    I think this guitar library has a lot going for it. It seems like Cordaro has put a lot of effort into this and it sounds really awesome when he plays the guitar in his video. For me personally it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around how to best play it, but that is not the fault of the library. The actual sound is really good, except that the fret noise gets triggered a bit too often, as others have pointed out. Also it is a bit limited as it is only in the key of E. I'm sure the full version will be awesome. In the meantime give this one a try and see if you like the playability.

    AndromedaX825 September 2022
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