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Topic: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

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  1. #1

    Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    Hereís the story: I have exhausted my equipment budget for the time being without having upgraded my guitar sounds. But I think that I have versions of everything I need to create my own samples. (guitar, preamp/compressor, DAW, sampler, DAC, etc.) So partly in order to improve sound quality (but also to have fun and learn a bit more about sampling) Iíve decided to attempt to construct guitar samples that are better (or at least more to my taste) than what I have now (the guitars included in the Edriol VSC GM sounds). Iíve done a bit of recording and know enough about mixing and mastering to have some inkling of how much I donít know. As far as sampling goes, Iíve successfully imported and used drum samples and that is about it. This is my first attempt to record samples. I intend to get the best samples that I can with a reasonable amount of effort and my current equipment.


    The main equipment for the project consists of a Godin Xsta midi-guitar, Sonar 3 Producer Edition, Vsampler, a TubePac preamp/compressor, a laptop (a P4 and 1 gigabyte of RAM), and an Echo Indigo io card.

    Currently my plan is to directly connect the guitar (rather than mike an amp) and to use Sonar to record the samples. I know that it is possible to route the signal through the preamp/compressor but I donít know if this is necessary or desirable. I plan to do a series of projects: a one sample wonder and a multiple sample (perhaps octaves and fifths) project for various colorations. If the load on the cpu is light enough I might consider doing a one sample per note project. I donít plan to worry about various articulations, if I want a lot of articulations Iíll record direct rather than through midi.

    One question I have is related to sustain. The Godin is remarkable in my experience for the duration of its sustains. How long should a sample be? I could use Sonarís audio editing tools to fade out an overly long sample (although this would be tedious with a large number of samples).

    Another question is with respect to multiple samples. Are there any rules of thumb as to how many to do and how to space them? I am particularly concerned about the tradeoff between the quality of the sound, the amount of effort, and the ram and cpu requirements since I will also be running GPO, RM IV, and Albino.

    I would appreciate any advice you might have on how to make the best use of what I have to achieve my goal.

  2. #2
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    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    I gotta tell you, it's a brave and noble concept to do a project like this, cuase you figure you can take your time and do a bang up job... The problem is guitars... They are really a problem to create a realistic instrument, no matter what great samples you make yourself... My advice, in spite of having no money, is perhaps get some inexpensive guitar sound fonts... I think Sonic Implants or somebody had sound fonts that sounded very good, but were not that expensive... I mean, like cheap... You can spend your time making music instead of cursing why after all that work, your guitar still doesn't sound good...

    Here's my other question, if you have a guitar and you can play it, why aren't you recording it instead? Just wondering... I know that this may not be what you wanted to hear, but creating a realistic guitar sample is like practicing self dentistry, the results will not likely be what you expected...

  3. #3
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    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    I finished recording my guitar lib about 2 months ago. I basically went direct from my strat through a Boss SE-70 to the computer and I think it turned out ok. One think I did do was use a limiter on the samples to make sure that they wouldn't completely take over a mix, but I am not sure if that is unusual or not. I wouldn't do anything less then one sample every minor third (I actually did that plus uppick / downpick, PM, taps, ect.) but this is just if you want it to sound halfway realistic (while it still isn't nearly as good as actually playing).

    For each note and articulation, I let it run it's course. The strat doesn't have alot of hangtime so the longest was about 30 seconds and I would say that should be good if your guitar hangs FOREVER.

    Anyhow, good luck. In term of time it took me about a week to program just the distortion stuff (but that was including chords and everything). I still haven't even messed with the clean samples yet.

    If you want, you could wait until I can release this one I have, since it will be free but finding a host for it is going to be hard because the distorted stuff alone is about 600MBs. Could be 6th months, you never know. Have fun!

    James W.G. Smith

    (BTW, anyone even interested in a free guitar lib made for sketching out stuff? Might be good to find out before I go through the trouble to upload it.)

  4. #4

    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    Tradivoro

    Why do I want guitar sounds if I play? One thing that I enjoy doing is creating quasi-fugues and other traditional concert hall forms that use augmented rock/country swing instrumentation: Guitar, bass, drums, maybe piano, maybe violin, maybe clarinet, maybe whatever. But I grew up as an improviser. As well as various rock, folk, and blues influences I listened to and was influenced (to extent of my abilities) by Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and Ravi Shankar, as well as the wonderful melodies of Bach and Mozart which I think also seeped into my playing in some fashion (loved-and still love-Bachís fugues and Mozartís melodic sense of humor is delightful.)

    To make a long story short I have a hard time playing the same melody twice (it is so much more interesting to play with it, to modify it, to transform it.) So Iíll record (using midi-guitar) extensive improvisations which I will then mine for themes for which I will then construct supporting melodies and which I will then develop with the help of midi-editing tools. I have also constructed themes using a keyboard (which I do not use anywhere near as fluently as guitar) or note by note with the mouse (which can result in some interesting things but the results tend to be a bit more mechanical, a bit stiffer, than what I come up with using the guitar.) I like these quasi-fugues and other quasi-traditional forms and it amuses me to use non-traditional instruments but since it is hard for me to play the same melody twice I just canít play them. So I need guitar sounds at least for these longer pieces. I agree that it is a rather bizarre situation.

    As to your advice about feasibility of the project, I can be quite persistent if I think a project is feasible and worthwhile but your observations have the ring of truth. I guess the VSC guitars might be tolerable or if I find some good inexpensive ones that would be good too. I still may give it a try but I am considering reconsidering. Thanks for good advice.

  5. #5

    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    James W.G. Smith

    Thanks for the good information. If I do decide to go ahead with the project it is important to me that the samples sit well in the mix so your point about the limiter is very apropo. And it is good to have some idea about how many samples would be required. As to the time it took you, was that a week of a couple hours a day? More? Less? If I go ahead I will be doing only notes (no chords) and only clean (using some of the Sonar plugins to add distortion if I want it).

    Thanks again for the information and good luck on your project.

  6. #6

    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    Quote Originally Posted by James W.G. Smith
    (BTW, anyone even interested in a free guitar lib made for sketching out stuff? Might be good to find out before I go through the trouble to upload it.)
    I would be interested - the sooner the better too.

  7. #7
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    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    Hey Chet, I can see why the midi guitar would work for you... Actually, I know you don't have the bucks now, but that Realguitar that they've been advertising of late here is about the most realistic guitar I've heard, you may just want to try the demo... In the meanwhile, I hope the project goes well for you...

  8. #8

    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    tradivoro

    Thank you for the kind words and good advice.

  9. #9

    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    James W.G. Smith

    Excuse me for not mentioning it in my first reply to your post, but in regard to your kind suggestion regarding your guitar samples, I would indeed be downloading it if I had broadband. Unfortunately I'm still using dialup and 600 + megabytes would be a long download.

    Have you considered starting a thread with respect to your project? I'm sure that there would be a great deal of interest if it was brought to people's attention.

    In any case, thank you again for your good advice and kind wishes.

  10. #10
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    Re: Advice regarding do it yourself guitar samples

    I'll start up a thread after I cut all the clean samples and write up some demos (I only have one and I don't own it anymore, source for a film). I figure that it would be a problem for people with slow connections but usually everyone knows SOMEONE with broadband...

    In any case, didn't mean to highjack this thread .

    Chet:
    That week was about 8 hours a day actually, but keep in mind that I was working with ALOT of samples (over 1,000) because of the chords and effects. It's a really good idea to sample Palm Mutes though if you use them alot (like I do), because it changes the sound drastically. Same with harmonics. But single notes will be fine.

    To give you more of an idea, just the strait picked notes and pm samples equal about 230, so that shouldn't take too long. Keep in mind I didn't sample the whole string (except for the high "e" string) and this is doubled for stereo playback of two guitars. It can get kinda boring though when you are only picking the strings for a few hours .

    James W.G. Smith

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