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All my music of the last ten years falls into chillout, or classical really. Rarely voices, apart from the show tracks and stuff like that - but the stuff I put out there is slowish mainly, and orchestral or synthetic in nature. My guitars get used live with the band, but my own recordings are pretty old-fashioned. I'm happy with this.

I have tons of sounds - VSTis I use in Cubase but I'm getting more impressed with the guitar ones - better each time I buy one, and I just bought a new one based on the telecaster sound. Even though it went against the grain I did a couple of guitar songs - no words of course as I cannot do lyrics, but when they were done, a guitarist friend asked what guitars from my collection I'd used. The answer er, none of them - made me wonder if others are doing the same thing, playing guitars from a keyboard not your fingers?

For those not up to speed on guitar VSTi's try these two and have a listen. For the guitarists - feel free to pick out 'give aways' but I wonder if non-guitarists would notice?


ronmac Fri, 03/05/2021 - 07:23

You won't fool many guitarists by using VSTis, but who cares?

Audiences are very forgiving of articulation, sweeps, etc. They are more critical of poor arrangements and mixes.

It all has to be taken in context. If it is used for "background" listening or thematic purpose, especially if it is supporting film/video, no problems. If it is aimed at a critical audience (musician or audiophile) they will likely be harsh critics. But who cares? That crowd often can't agree on what a proper speaker cable is, and what differences they make!

I certainly wouldn't use VSTis to produce a solo acoustic guitar album, but for a well arranged and played layer within a cinematic track, no problem.

Davedog Fri, 03/05/2021 - 09:06

Paul. Both of those tracks sound great. VSTs have come a long ways.
I think the actual "fakeness" shows up not so much as the sound of it but how its played. There are stretches and counters you simply cannot play on a guitar that are baby steps for a great keyboardist. By the same token a great keyboardist who knows how the instrument he's using the emulation of is actually played and voiced naturally will have a leg up on others using the technology.

So arrangement and intent are a big part of how the effect will sit with the listening public.

I would bet that most live performances over the last 10 years have some sort of VST based following track on most instruments on a bands stage. With the technology why not? My keyboard partner and I have a Duo we have occasionally played out with. It involves a lot of prep and you gotta know your parts! We don't believe in cheesiness so all the songs have to really hit hard. From my part, it's kinda nice to have a duplicate VST ghosting my live part. I have to be good enough because the ghost doesn't make mistakes!

There's an entire industry these days associated with large studios making samples that will be written as code for VST based algorithms. Thats how we can get the actual guitar sounds of players we admire in a handheld ZOOM box we can play over our phone.

But you still have to play it. An no amount of expertly made science is gonna solve that one.

paulears Fri, 03/05/2021 - 10:53

If you've tried them - the real effort is in the editing - this one, for example takes a chord you play and converts it into 4 different ways of spreading those notes about on the neck - or you can turn it off, and it will play exactly what you play. You can program so much. Needless to say, I didn't remotely scratch the surface. A year ago they were nowhere near as good. For stuff buried in a mix, I think I'd probably use them - the only instrument so far that I've not even got a good half emulation is the saxophone. I'm still having to play the damn things and then fix my mistakes - the VSTis I have are only good for backing stuff. Whenever I get work come in the needs sax solos, I know it means real old fashioned hard work. A 'Baker Street' sax preset would be great. I'm a bit depressed my son didn't recognise the solo I pinched. I mentioned George Harrison and got a blank look? Beatles? Oh yes, I've heard of them......... Heard OF them????