Guitar Strumming Plug-ins


#1

I’ve noticed what sound like guitar strumming plug-ins used on some tracks. I’ve never used any myself, but I can see the advantage of using something like this to quickly make some rhythm guitar parts if there was a way to make them sound convincing/realistic.

So the question is: What plug-ins are available? Which are the best and worse? How would you make these sound anything near realistic?


#2

My favorite things are def stuff by Ilya Efimov ( http://www.ilyaefimov.com ). There are some guitar libs for Kontakt and they sound pretty cool in my opinion.


#3

http://www.native-instruments.com/#/products/producer/powered-by-kontakt/scarbee-funk-guitarist/

Sounds pretty convincing if it is the strumming style you’re after!


#4

Forgot another interesting little thing… :slight_smile: Poetic Acoustic Guitars - http://www.timesconcept.com/EN/heaudio.asp#

also sounds not bad and very flexible.


#5

I’ve tried Ilya Efimov, sounds good but you have to take time to adapt the patterns to your needs. I’ve tried it in my track In your smile (I don’t link it not to do self-promoting), but in the end I kept it just to see how it sounds, and then I recorded a real acoustic guitar on it. You can hear it a little alone just in the bridge of the song.
I’m curious about Orange Tree’s acoustic guitar, the demos sound good, but I’ve tried their electric version which disappointed me a little…or maybe I’ve not tried it enough to appreciate it.


#6

Try this:
MusicLab RealGuitar

Really cool plugin. :wink:


#7

Strumming guitars vst are expensive. I tried several times the Steinberg Virtual Guitarist, and seemed very good. Effective for fast works. But I was told that is not versatile enough to love it!


#8

This is the best by far:

http://www.vir2.com/instruments/electri6ity


#9

MusicLab Real Guitar is decent, as is electri6ity, but that’s it, they’re just decent. Decent is not good.

Guitar strumming just hasn’t been done well yet. They all still sound kinda crap. You would have to record hundreds of variations of each chord and each strum pattern to get a remotely accurate sample library AND then be able program it correctly - and no-one has attempted this yet.

I would rather have a beginner guitar student play some simple strums on my music than use a sample library (and I am a big fan of sample libraries in general).

I guess it depends on how the end product (the music) is going to be used. If it’s just some generic background stuff that isn’t going to be used prominently, than fine, but I don’t know, I just can’t bring myself to use guitar VST’s. Guitars, violins, and the trumpet are still the instruments that have not been sampled well by any company yet.


#10
garethcoker said

MusicLab Real Guitar is decent, as is electri6ity, but that’s it, they’re just decent. Decent is not good.

Guitar strumming just hasn’t been done well yet. They all still sound kinda crap. You would have to record hundreds of variations of each chord and each strum pattern to get a remotely accurate sample library AND then be able program it correctly - and no-one has attempted this yet.

I would rather have a beginner guitar student play some simple strums on my music than use a sample library (and I am a big fan of sample libraries in general).

I guess it depends on how the end product (the music) is going to be used. If it’s just some generic background stuff that isn’t going to be used prominently, than fine, but I don’t know, I just can’t bring myself to use guitar VST’s. Guitars, violins, and the trumpet are still the instruments that have not been sampled well by any company yet.

Yup, I can always tell within a second when someone is using one of those strum sounds. I guess if you don't play guitar its better than nothing.

#11

I’m not agree gareth, I test every strum plugin and I think electricity has done a very very good job, of course you need to work hard to get realism and a couple of good vst amps like waves GTR.

Just my two cents


#12

By the way, I have lots of friends who are excellent guitar players, and I sometimes fool them (because I have a real guitar to play with), they can’t always distinguish the real from the vst… And no, they are no deaf, they are really good musicians. :slight_smile:

I think it depends how hard you work with the plugin.


#13
Sonicbyte said

I think it depends how hard you work with the plugin.

Sure, and by the time you have a decent result, and found the correct amp setting, etc.etc. you could have recorded the track at better quality (even using just a direct input and a virtual amp) with a real guitarist. I think there would even be time for the guitarist to drive through Los Angeles traffic, spend 5-10 minutes recording the strums, and then go for lunch afterwards and go home, in the time it takes to do the same thing with a plugin.

Also, I’m pretty good and fast at using virtual instrument technology, if I thought there was something good out there, I’d use it all the time like I do with other libraries. I agree that with all plugins that it takes time to get a good result from them, but in this case, the use of time is not efficient - both in terms of labour AND cost. Guitarists are not expensive to hire. On the other hand, let’s take Spitfire Audio Albion or ProjectSAM Symphobia. These sample libraries are good, but take effort to make them sounding great. It’s worth the time, because to find 60 players in an orchestra AND pay for it (and prepare the sheet music, engineer, venue, etc…), would be horribly inefficient.The performance would of course be more realistic, but also impossible and too expensive to do every time.

With guitar, the case is different, I don’t think there is a strumming library that is more cost/time efficient than hiring a real guitarist.

And you’re not the only person who has friends that are excellent guitar players. I never said Electricity was bad, I just said it was decent. Most pro guitarists I know think that the plugins sound fake. What they think though doesn’t matter, because usually our clients can’t tell the difference - but that’s not really the discussion here.

It’s simple physics at the end of the day. There are SO MANY ways to strum a guitar that it simply cannot be simulated efficiently by any sample libraries. Now, if you’re doing simple riffs or power chords, that is different, but we are talking about strumming. Even 8Dio’s Songwriting Guitar (which is pre-recorded strum loops) sounds stupid after a while because it is the exact same loops being triggered. There is no variation. The strum loops are convincing, but it’s meaningless because the same strums occur. It’s the same with these sample libraries.

It’s for this same reason that sampled violin is so hard to do. When the violin bow hits the string, a computer cannot accurately simulate the MILLIONS of different ways the horsehair from the violin bow attacks the string. So it never truly sounds like a violin. When you’re dealing with wind instruments or percussion instruments, there is a far more limited scope in how each instrument sounds, so they are ‘easier’ to sample and sound more convincing.

If you were to actually sample it (violin/guitar strums) properly and take into account all of the variations, you would have a sample library of TERABYTES in size. Add in the scripting, and you have a computer killer.

Additionally, when dealing with electric guitar it’s a little bit easier because you can use the amp sounds to cover up the bad strumming, but with acoustic guitar…no way…impossible. MusicLab’s guitar plugin is pretty good for acoustic, but it still sounds kinda lame after more than 20 seconds of listening. You can get away with it for short periods of time, but as soon as you introduce some repetition (and strumming is ALL about repetition) - it sounds cheesy and fake.

Ultimately, I stand by my original opinion, I may spend more on hiring a guitarist each time I want strums, but honestly, I save myself a bunch of extra work, time, hassle, stress, etc… I don’t think there is a quick way to make good, convincing strumming. And that’s what the original post of this thread was about.


#14

Thanks guys for your feedback, I was just interested really if there are any convincing ones. Seems like there is some interesting technology there, but I don’t think I would ever use a guitar vst unless it could be made to sound completely convincing, otherwise I think it could just make your music sound less professional. I have to say though, even though guitar and bass are my main instruments, that Scarbee MM-Bass sounds very inviting!


#15

And the Scarbee Funk Guitarist sounds like it could be quite usable in dance music.


#16

Hey, i’ve never said that a plugin could replace a real human playing a real guitar. It’s obvious, what I’ve said is that some vst are a real good option if you can’t play guitar or can hire a guitar player.

For instance I’ve play my whole life real pianos. And because I don’t have the acoustic necessary to record properly my upright piano, I’ve to use sample libraries, and of course they sound like s#@t in comparison with a real piano. But it’s better than nothing, so in a perfect world nobody should use a sample to emulate any acoustic instrument, but that is not an option for most of the people

Cheers


#17
Sonicbyte said

Hey, i’ve never said that a plugin could replace a real human playing a real guitar. It’s obvious, what I’ve said is that some vst are a real good option if you can’t play guitar or can hire a guitar player.

For instance I’ve play my whole life real pianos. And because I don’t have the acoustic necessary to record properly my upright piano, I’ve to use sample libraries, and of course they sound like s#@t in comparison with a real piano. But it’s better than nothing, so in a perfect world nobody should use a sample to emulate any acoustic instrument, but that is not an option for most of the people

Cheers

Hi Sonic, yep, I totally get your point. You are right, but I just wanted to explore the technology that was available. I think we are all agreed on the limitations, but I just wondered if there were any ideas for being able to use these kind of plug-ins in such a way that they are less obviously synthetic. I would imagine that a less frequent single downward strum might sound more effective then one of the picking or strumming patterns, especially if it was more of a background instrument with maybe some piano on top.

#18

In my opinion, you should always use the real instrument if possible, but like all virtual instruments, it’s about how you play them that makes the biggest difference rather than the instrument itself (unless the sounds are appalling in the first place).

In mosts cases I believe that these plugins use real recordings, so really it should be about trying to make the most of the samples in a way that a guitarist would play. Also, guitars, strings and other expressive instruments where the nuances are important are REALLY hard to play in a natural way with a keyboard unless you know how a musician would play the instrument.

For example, I find that playing a rhythm on some small hand drums first gives me a better idea of how to play percussive lines on, say, some sampled bongos because I know what different parts of the surface should sound like. I try to play my guitar parts as best I can or record someone I know to play them because it sounds SO much better in my opinion, but if I had to use samples, I would try to play them as if I was the guitarist as the human ear is so sensitive to imitations.

All that said, I look forward to checking out the plugins mentioned in this thread and I agree Andy that the Scarbee MM Bass sounds great (I use it whenever I don’t have a bass at hand - same with the electronic piano they make which sounds fantastic).


#19
garethcoker said

I don’t think there is a strumming library that is more cost/time efficient than hiring a real guitarist.

Yes, but what about hiring a real Guitar Hero


#20

Hey Andy, check the way electri6ity works, it has a random strumming system, it never build the chord in the same way, so it sounds very natural