Tutorials

Sound Better, Faster!

Part 1 – Producing Stunning Guitar Tracks Without Playing Guitar

Welcome!

In this first installment of our Virtual Guitarist tutorials, we’ll start showing you how you can produce convincing guitar performances within a few minutes, and without playing the guitar.

But enough talking already – take a listen to this clip now:

Actually, the name of the clip comes about because it was the result of my first encounter with an early Virtual Guitarist IRON alpha version.

What you hear was produced solely by Virtual Guitarist IRON, as you can see as you follow the action on the plug-in interface.

If you like, play the clip a few more times and watch out for automation controlling knobs and switches.

You might think this performance was probably the height of what Virtual Guitarist IRON can do, and that it took a lot of time and expertise. But actually, it was pretty easy, took only 15 minutes to create, and we’ll share the files with you so you can download and play with the clip, and use it as a template for creating your own stunning guitar tracks.

How it’s done

In a nutshell, this is how the clip you just heard was done:

  • In Virtual Guitarist IRON, I picked a preset to define the general phrasing style and the overall, rather hard rock sound character.
  • Next, I picked a phrase (by hitting a MIDI note below C4) and laid down a few notes (MIDI notes C4 and above).
  • Then I subsequently added parts to the performance, always using a phrase switch to pre-select VG IRON’s phrasing, like the single notes in the middle part or the fast shredding towards the end.
  • Finally, I added all sorts of automation to blow extra life into the performance – from pan to tempo to amp drive.

And that was pretty much it.

Use the clip in your own music!

Got a DAW and know how to create and edit an instrument track? Then why not play with the clip yourself and make it your own?

It’s easy:

  1. Download the trial version of Virtual Guitarist IRON  if you haven’t got the plug-in already. It’s free, and it runs for 30 days – without any limitation.
  2. Install it, open your DAW, and find Virtual Guitarist IRON in your list of virtual instrument plug-ins, and open it on a track.
  3. Download the MIDI file: vgi1-baby-cry
  4. Drag the MIDI file to the Virtual Guitarist IRON track
  5. From the Preset menu in Virtual Guitarist IRON, load the preset “Indie Staccato” from the “Introduction category, which is pretty close.

Optionally, adjust the following controls: Guitar to “Bite”, Drop D “On”, Doubling “Off”, Delay Time to “8th”.

Play!

And there you go! If you like, analyze the MIDI file for the difference between MIDI notes that select phrases, and MIDI notes that actually play notes. C4 plays a role here!

If this inspired you to go ahead and get to know Virtual Guitarist IRON a bit better, click onto the “I” bubble in the plugin window, then “Read Manual”, and follow the quick Walkthrough from page 13.

So, I hope you had fun. In the next part, we analyze in-depth the techniques used in creation of  this clip and how you can learn from it for your own Virtual Guitarist IRON experience.

The Author:

Peter Gorges is the co-inventor of the Virtual Guitarist concept in 2001, a sound-designer, writer, studio keyboardist and serial music technology entrepreneur. His company Wizoo released the very first Virtual Guitarist with Steinberg, and he’s also the co-founder of the team behind the new Virtual Guitarist series.