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How do you guys simulate guitar strumming on sequencers?


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I'm always looking at ways to record 'traditional' music using only a sequencer and keyboards, simulating guitars, bass, drums, woodwinds. What's been bugging me lately is how I simulate guitar strumming. My bass and drums skills are definitely improving, so I'll concentrate on what's not.

 

So I guess following dB's old thread, "how do you do drums?"... I'm asking: "how do you do guitar strumming?"

 

My 1st attempt was a mixture of pathetic/ridiculous/humorous. Since then I've improved the technique a little bit, but not anywhere where I like it to be. I tried the rhythm&chords cw plug in, and while it was still a big improvement, it still didn't quiet do it. A while back I had posted a thread asking about keyfax twiddly bits midi 'loops', but I've yet to try it. How do you guys do it? I have a reasonable concept of chords in a guitar, and how what happens when you play chords, but I'm still not getting very far.

 

No matter what I do, it still sounds mechanical and sterile. If I find a midi file that has a decent strumming pattern I save that as reference, but I still haven't found anything that really knocked me out. I am wondering if I'm expecting too much.

 

I've played guitar before (my brother's a guitar player so I used to fool around with his guitar), and I'm actually considering just buying a guitar and practicing :-)

 

I want to avoid using regular loops for now (ie acid).

 

I'm basically a DIY musician, and this will probably stay this way for a while. I've learned a lot about music just trying to simulate how different instruments are played, and this has been anything short of fascinating.

 

I guess while we're at it, suggestions for a cd-rom for a k2000 with good guitar sounds.

 

Suggestions?? Thanks

 

Rod

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I don't know how helpful this is, but I have developed a two-handed technique where I put one of my hands over the top of the other, and use one to strum up and one to strum down by rolling quickly up with one, and quickly down with the other.

 

I used to do a demo of the Who tune, "Overture from Tommy" with the QS8 (I can hear the sound of Jeff Tascam Guy and Synthetic going "Nooooo! Not the Tommy sequence!) , and I used to use this technique for the Pinball Wizard lick at the end of the tune - I got a lot of positive feedback from it.

 

I find in general when doing keyboard guitar that if you use one hand from E1 to G2, and the other hand from E2 to G3, and then keep them there, just changing your voicings when you change chords, that you are forced to voice the chords in a very similar manner to playing most open chords on a guitar.

 

Hope that helps a bit,

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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I've never used this piece, but maybe some of you have--the Oberheim Strummer. It was supposed to take keyboard midi input and simulate strumming and guitar voicings. Did it live up to expectations?

K.

 

 

 

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I find in general when doing keyboard guitar that if you use one hand from E1 to G2, and the other hand from E2 to G3, and then keep them there, just changing your voicings when you change chords, that you are forced to voice the chords in a very similar manner to playing most open chords on a guitar.

 

One other note - this hand positioning works very well for me to emulate picking a guitar - I find that the key is alternating left-right-left-right (kinda like playing bongos), using your left as if it's on the E, A, and D strings, and the right as if it's on the G, B, high E. I find that this makes for some very believable guitar parts, especially using an acoustic sample.

 

One other note - whenever possible, use a Real Actual Guitarist - they're really not bad when you get to know them... http://cwm.ragesofsanity.com/otn/wink/1bluewinky.gif

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Another way to do it is to find a sample library which has strums instead of picked notes. I used to have a great sample of a strummed Mandolin for my Mirage. One octave had every major key strummed down, the next octave had major keys upstroke, then minor down, then minor up. You could strum a chord by alternating octaves. I'm sure you could find this in a sample library, if not it would be an easy thing to sample yourself.

 

The worst thing about the Tommy sequence was the "blurp Blurp BLURP!" french horn part. I got a little bit older every time I heard it. The guitar was very fine. You should MP3 it, it's a classic. -jl

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Originally posted by synthetic:

I used to have a great sample of a strummed Mandolin for my Mirage. One octave had every major key strummed down, the next octave had major keys upstroke, then minor down, then minor up. You could strum a chord by alternating octaves.

 

I used to do a similar trick with my K2000. It has a mode where you can trigger a sequence by pressing a key, and the sequence will transpose if you play different keys. I did four sequences that did exactly what Synthetic described above, then mapped them across the keyboard so I could basically do the same thing in realtime. It worked quite nicely, actually...

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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I posted here last night but my login was screwed up so I lost it..

 

There are two devices that can help you out, though I don't have personal experience with either one.

 

The old one, and out of production, is the Oberheim Strummer. It's a little box that listens to the chords you play and revoices them as a guitarist would and strums them according to certain parameters. I've wanted one for some time, but never got around to purchasing one. They come up on Ebay once every other week or so, and go for about $100.

 

The new one, or currently made one, is called Digitar and it's made by some Italian company but distributed here by Ilio. I can't find it on their website, but I know that they sell it, as I've seen it in their ads in Keyboard. It's a six stringed box that maps notes you play on the keyboard with one hand onto its strings, and then sends note trigger information as you strum the strings of the box with your other hand.. I think that's how you play it, or else you could have the chords going into it from your sequencer and then strum it without having to do two things at once.

 

 

Then there are also some arpeggiators that do guitar strumming, but they don't come separate from their respective keyboards. The main one would be Karma, of course, which I'm pretty sure will do strumming techniques in addition to arpeggiator-style playing. There are also guitar strum algorithms in the Peavey C8p master controller, the Yamaha Motif (so say their press releases) and I think the Equinox too.

 

 

You may also be able to use Band in a Box or Jammer to do strums.. I know they have their own instrument styles, so it would likely do that.

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Just thought of one more thing: If you couple Dave's idea of using a key to trigger a sequence (I don't know what Kurzweil calls this, but Korg calls it RPPR and Roland calls it RPS) with midi files from Keyfax's Twiddly Bits, you could easily have the best real-time strumming. So if you have a keyboard with this capability, you'd be basically all set.

 

Here's a link to the Guitar volume of Twiddly bits, which has an mp3 demo:

http://www.keyfax.com/keyfax/vol3.html

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I have the Oberheim Strummer and I have used it quite a bit . I am a guitar player more so than a keyboardist . It came with several 20 to be exact preset strumming modes . Barre chords, open voiced Chords, power chords and altered chords . It has 32 changeable parameters which include strum rate, strum velocity, strum direction, arpeggio patter, chord transposition, note low string, note high string, and a bunch more . I have owned a couple of different midi guitars through the years and I have gotten better results using the Strummer as far as clean Midi data with it . Some of the midi patterns available from the companies that sell them out there are quite good .
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Funny, but I never even thought about this until I read about it here. Picking up on what Dave said (no pun intended), when my fingering becomes interlaced -- that's what I call it, anyway -- I wind up with a good pick up, pick down effect. The left hand pushes notes up the keyboard, and the right plays them headed south. The fingers of one hand punch through the gaps in the other. Only thing I've known for sure is, I'm not a good enough guitarist to actually do it on the guitar.

 

This message has been edited by swright50@excite.com on 04-15-2001 at 12:02 PM

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If anyone happens to use Cakewalk, a company called Musiclab released a plugin for it a while ago called "Rhythm 'n Chords" that is specifically aimed at creating strummed MIDI guitar tracks. It's pretty cool.

 

The web site has lots of information, GM Midi examples, and some MP3's, even a video of real-time playing. www.musiclab.com

 

John

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Originally posted by Steve44:

Just thought of one more thing: If you couple Dave's idea of using a key to trigger a sequence (I don't know what Kurzweil calls this, but Korg calls it RPPR and Roland calls it RPS) with midi files from Keyfax's Twiddly Bits, you could easily have the best real-time strumming. So if you have a keyboard with this capability, you'd be basically all set.

 

Here's a link to the Guitar volume of Twiddly bits, which has an mp3 demo:

http://www.keyfax.com/keyfax/vol3.html

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Originally posted by Steve44:

Just thought of one more thing: If you couple Dave's idea of using a key to trigger a sequence (I don't know what Kurzweil calls this, but Korg calls it RPPR and Roland calls it RPS) with midi files from Keyfax's Twiddly Bits, you could easily have the best real-time strumming. So if you have a keyboard with this capability, you'd be basically all set.

 

Here's a link to the Guitar volume of Twiddly bits, which has an mp3 demo:

http://www.keyfax.com/keyfax/vol3.html

 

I second the suggestion re: Twiddly Bits - the guitars volumes are very good. I used the banjo picking bits and guitar strums from Vol 1 for a bluegrass jingle (all MIDI'd - client loved it), and some of the guitar parts from Vol 3 for a "Eagles meets Hootie" MOR rock jingle. I bought the Guitar Grooves disk but haven't used it much, but I don't think I have the right samples to make the funk licks sound the best. Tough to beat the price, around $30.

 

The Proteus 2000 has clever sequences for all its samples especially the guitars (one sounds like the Andy Summers "Every Breathe You Take" arpeggio). I heard great guitar patterns in the Triton and Karma too.

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Ok, there's a lesson to be learned here about posting something on Friday and not checking it the whole weekend.

 

Ok, here we go.

 

Dave - Thanks for the tips. I'll try these and see how they work. I had been gettting half decent results with a hand technnique.. but didn't feel like I was getting much further. Time to practice some more. I've been using a k2000 recently so I'll check what you mentioned.

 

Steve- Thanks for the headsup on the oberheim strummer. For $ 100 it's probably worth a closer look. The name Digitar sounds familiar but I couldn't find anything either. Buying another synth just to do this is probably too much (karma and motif). BIAB is probably worth a look too since I've been curious about this program for a while. (and thanks jonniepain for the review on the oberheim strummer)

 

Or maybe I should stop being a gearaholic and practice some more.

 

Steve, mzeger - About the twiddly bits, that's probably going to be my next purchase.

 

John - I dwonloaded the rhythm'n chords demo a while back, and was only moderatetly impressed. I'm going to keep looking.

 

Again thx for the replies. Rod

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