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#606007 - 07/11/20 10:35 AM [User Showcase] All Of You
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
ALL OF YOU - new version to "fix" things that have been mentioned

ALL OF YOU - original Soundcloud version



I've always felt that trying to create a realistic sounding guitar track using MIDI was a complete waste of time.
A recent thread elsewhere about creating bends in MIDI or with a mod wheel will take you down that rabbit hole.
And acoustic guitars always sounded like toys. In the past, certainly.
But Peter's recent post surprised me - with a good sounding vst acoustic guitar track. And Mario's current one has one, too.
So I started looking around at what is available these days.
Turns out there is an excellent sounding acoustic guitar from Ample Sound available for free.
(They have a free bass guitar, too)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu2iOQ15AtQ

BIAB acoustic guitars are awesome.
And there is a HUGE variety of styles these days...fingerpicking and strumming that cover most of what you might ever need. The #1 go to for acoustic guitar.
BUT... if you want a particular, distinctive pattern played you need to figure out another way to get it - typically by recording it yourself.
Like a typical Jim Croce song ("Time In A Bottle" or "Operator") or some of the stuff that Bread did ("If" or "Diary").
It would not make sense for PGMusic to try to cover things like that with a RealTrack. An "Operator RealTrack" would be good for ONE song - "Operator".

I wondered if you could cover this need using a vst guitar (MIDI)...

SO I wrote a song that required that kind of distinctive picking pattern.

You can use a keyboard (MIDI controller) to play the Ample Guitar vst, but you need to be a pretty good keyboard player to pull that off. And you have to understand how to pick guitar to get that right. (Guitar chords are not all configured the same on a keyboard the way piano chords are). I am a good acoustic guitar player and I know my way around chords on a keyboard well...and I still found it difficult.

There is also an extensive "strum machine" with the vst - which includes a library of patterns - but fingerpicking styles aren't well represented. There is a learning curve to get to a point where you can use this effectively in a DAW.

After fooling around with the Ample Guitar enough to figure out how to use it, I decided to input the MIDI using the mouse (in my DAW - Studio One) to emulate exactly the way I play.
Since this was the first time I had ever done anything like this, it took me a couple of days (I got a lot better as I went along).

I added a BIAB bass and a BIAB MIDI Supertrack Strings track.

I also "played" a string solo (and an additional line above the BIAB string track) again using the mouse to input the MIDI.



ALL OF YOU - new version

Lyrics are on the Soundcloud page.



The BIAB stuff:

RealTracks in song: 3502:Bass, Electric, NashvilleRadioBalladA Ev16 075
MIDI Supertrack: 2060Strings, Rhythm PopCountry Ev 120
(rendered with Spitfire BBC Orchestral Strings - also free)

Harmony - created using the Harmony fumnction in RealBand - TC Helicon Audio Harmonies

The other stuff:

Guitar: MIDI programmed input in DAW using Ample Guitar M Lite v2.31
(https://www.amplesound.net/en/download.asp)

Additional Strings - MIDI input in DAW using BBC Orchestral Strings



Hope you enjoy this experiment.
If you have ever felt like trying a bit of MIDI-based guitar, I recommend this free vst.
I've already used it on another "experiment" song...

Thanks for listening.
Comments encouraged.

fj


Edited by floyd jane (07/14/20 08:49 AM)
Edit Reason: add fixed Soundcloud version

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#606008 - 07/11/20 10:41 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
Here are a couple of snapshots of the MIDI for the guitar.

The first 2 are from the original.

The bottom 3 are after "fixing" the issues noted by dcuny.
Looking closely, you should be able to see that there is some "randomness" added to the placement and lengths of notes.
Also, although it has suggested that there was a "consistency" to the volume of notes, that is not really the case (you can see the varying velocities - that do effect volume - in the bottom of the snapshots).



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#606014 - 07/11/20 12:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1165
Loc: United Kingdom
musician17 Offline
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Registered: 05/05/18
Posts: 1165
Loc: United Kingdom
First things first :-) The song sounds really, really beautiful ... the lyrics are particularly stunning. Simple and straight to the heart.

The guitar. I used to write classical music scores - in another life, long ago ... especially before I discovered BIAB. The one instrument I never learned how to write properly for is the guitar - all the "tabs" stuff, etc., leave me totally confused. So ... I am really, really impressed by what you have done here. A tough job, well done ... and the instrument itself sounds really natural, I never would have thought it was a VST if you hadn't told us that ... great stuff! Thanks for sharing the source of this great free resource, too!

I love this forum - only on here one could find stuff like this, so openly and generously shared.

And, again, the song itself - wonderful. Thank you for sharing all of it!
_________________________
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#606016 - 07/11/20 12:15 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
As usual, stellar writing, performance and production.

I really liked what you did rhythmically with:

first time i saw you
you took my breath away
those emerald eyes
and a smile that seem to say


The word "emerald" was highly visual and unexpected, so it pulled me right into the song.

The high vocal at 2:38 was very pretty, loved it.

So as a song - excellent. laugh

As far as an experiment, I think that was successful as well.

I think the MIDI guitar was quite good. There were only a few places where it sounded MIDI to me - the intro, and the section you posted above. In most of the spots, it was when higher strings were plucked together - there's something about the sound on that didn't sound right to my ears.

I generally like to let my guitar notes ring past the chord change to the next "pluck", as if they were on open strings. It helps prevent that "sounds like a keyboard is playing it" sound, although I'm not sure that's what I was hearing.

The other thing is that any time the guitar is playing as exposed as it is, you're going to hear repetition of notes (and timbre) a lot more than you normally would. So doing something like adding a hammer-on, slide, or even a squeak so that the performance isn't exactly the same arpeggio is going to help distract the listener from hearing that repetition.

I really like what you did with the strings at 2:25. But I think the strings let you down there - they sound lovely as a pad, but in motion they sound like they're a keyboard patch. A gorgeous sound, just not entirely authentic.

Do I think any of these nits detract from the song, or would cause anyone other than me to care? Not at all. laugh

As an experiment on what you can attain with free MIDI, I'd call it a huge success. And a very nice song, to boot.
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#606019 - 07/11/20 12:36 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1363
Tangmo Offline
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Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1363
I know you loves you some bad girl songs, but I like these better. Just me. So pretty it brought a tear to my eye. Ok...more than one, and they didn't stay there, either. Beyond that, I ain't saying.

I'll look at your link. The main problem with me and midi is that I really need to start with something, so I'll be looking at midi guitar tracks in BIAB to see what might be editable.

OK, I'm all done and stuff. Carry on.
_________________________
BIAB 2021 Audiophile. Windows 10 64bit. Songwriter, lyricist, composer(?) loving all styles. Some pre-BIAB music from Farfetched Tangmo Band's first CD. https://alonetone.com/tangmo/playlists/close-to-the-ground

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#606032 - 07/11/20 01:22 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: dcuny]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: dcuny
As usual, stellar writing, performance and production.

I really liked what you did rhythmically with:

first time i saw you
you took my breath away
those emerald eyes
and a smile that seem to say


The word "emerald" was highly visual and unexpected, so it pulled me right into the song.

The high vocal at 2:38 was very pretty, loved it.

So as a song - excellent. laugh

As far as an experiment, I think that was successful as well.

I think the MIDI guitar was quite good. There were only a few places where it sounded MIDI to me - the intro, and the section you posted above. In most of the spots, it was when higher strings were plucked together - there's something about the sound on that didn't sound right to my ears.

I generally like to let my guitar notes ring past the chord change to the next "pluck", as if they were on open strings. It helps prevent that "sounds like a keyboard is playing it" sound, although I'm not sure that's what I was hearing.

The other thing is that any time the guitar is playing as exposed as it is, you're going to hear repetition of notes (and timbre) a lot more than you normally would. So doing something like adding a hammer-on, slide, or even a squeak so that the performance isn't exactly the same arpeggio is going to help distract the listener from hearing that repetition.

I really like what you did with the strings at 2:25. But I think the strings let you down there - they sound lovely as a pad, but in motion they sound like they're a keyboard patch. A gorgeous sound, just not entirely authentic.

Do I think any of these nits detract from the song, or would cause anyone other than me to care? Not at all. laugh

As an experiment on what you can attain with free MIDI, I'd call it a huge success. And a very nice song, to boot.


David - Thanks for the detailed comments.

In my first experiments with this - just a few chords - I did, in fact, extend the notes to ring longer - which made a big difference. I neglected to do that much when I input this song. So I have gone back and done that to some degree...

If you happen back by, I would appreciate you letting me know if this fixed that:

http://www.floydjane.com/Songs/All.htm

(I tried to fix the strings as well - so feel free to comment on those, too. Not sure I got them any better. This is all new to me... and I appreciate your input)

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#606033 - 07/11/20 01:29 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16014
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 16014
Loc: Hamlin NY
Floyd, you did a fantastic job on the MIDI guitar track. It did sound like a real guitar. If you had a better guitar VSTi, one with many layers, it would sound even better.

Oh yea, that song was excellent also.

PS - I won all of Ample Sound basses and they are excellent. They are my go to basses when I'm not playing mine. Sometimes I convert mine to one of them to get the sound I am looking for.
_________________________
Laughing at your mistakes lengthens your life. Laughing at your wife's mistakes shortens it!

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB and RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software and some hardware.

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#606063 - 07/11/20 03:39 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4327
Loc: Sacramento, California
Originally Posted By: floyd jane
If you happen back by, I would appreciate you letting me know if this fixed that...

I'll be honest - I can't tell if it's better because of changes (it sounds like you might have softened the volume on the guitar higher strings), or just confirmation bias. wink

Either way, I enjoyed listening to it several more times. You really did an excellent job with the guitar and strings. laugh
_________________________
-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#606064 - 07/11/20 03:43 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3584
Loc: Missouri
Torrey Bliss Offline
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Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3584
Loc: Missouri
Sounds like you did a pretty good job of pulling that off Floyd! The song is wonderful...I had to stop and remember to appreciate your wonderful writing and performance instead of trying to critique the guitar! That tune is beautifully arranged and performed! The guitar could possibly benefit from a touch more reverb on it to smooth out the slightly detectable midi-ish sounds (Just my preference) but man it's close to the real thing now! Thanks, T
_________________________
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www.soundcloud.com/torrey-bliss



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#606098 - 07/11/20 11:26 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 3299
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
rayc Online   content
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Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 3299
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
Excellent.
You've taught yourself a new skill and demonstrated it with aplomb.
Beautiful song.
I struggled with MIDI recently to create a Hammond organ track in the style of The Stranglers...OH MY that was a silly thing to do...I spent days writing the midi with a mouse and then couldn't find s sound that worked...
I survived with a nil return but your excellent work has given me hope (or perhaps despair).
_________________________
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rayc
"What's so funny about peace, love & understanding?" - N.Lowe
Pop on over to The Recording Rebels for positive, honest commentary, critiques and support. https://therecordingrebels.com

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#606101 - 07/11/20 11:46 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 06/04/20
Posts: 180
Loc: Texas, United States
TexasFrets Offline
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Registered: 06/04/20
Posts: 180
Loc: Texas, United States
Beautiful song. Love your singing. Great job with the midi guitar.

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#606111 - 07/12/20 02:07 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 3931
Loc: Ontario, Canada
BlueAttitude Offline
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Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 3931
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Man, I'm looking at your second post, looks like pure torture having to draw in all those notes!

Guitar wise it sounds pretty good to me. To my ears a little more reverb might make it better. My go to for acoustic guitars is CLA Unplugged, I use that always on acoustic guitars. I think I hear a little timing issue right at the beginning, just before the phrase starts again, but I'm listening extra closely. But overall it's quite impressive.

But most important, WOW, what a wonderful song!

Just love your vocal, especially when you go up around 2:40 or so. Great tone, and great phrasing.

Good one, floyd, listened a few times.

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#606132 - 07/12/20 08:08 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1520
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Tano Music Offline
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Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 1520
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Lovely song, despite it being an "experiment"!
Your work is inspiring me to investigate this area of guitar vst's also.
Thanks for doing this--I think it helps and educates all of us on the forum.

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#606134 - 07/12/20 08:11 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7792
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7792
I can only imagine the time you spent on this ....wow. Mousing in the notes takes a huge effort and amount of time. I know. I used to build tracks that very same way back before I found PGM. My hat is off to you on that aspect of this alone.

The song is a great song. I love it. Nice work on this aspect as well.

I also kinda wonder what this would sound like if you plugged in a really well sampled acoustic guitar with a better synth driving it. Free is good and yeah, this sounds like a pretty reasonable approximation of an acoustic guitar, but I'm still wondering what it would/could sound like. To me, midi acoustic guitars have a sort of electric piano/harpsichord sound to them. Once you started singing, that tended to hide the midi guitar a bit and it sounded more natural at that point.

Personally, from my experience, I've always had issues with the quality of the tone of midi guitars (of all kinds) and horns. Drums, Piano, and bass tend to sound fairly good and are great in the midi realm.

All that said..... you continue to push the envelope and encourage others to do the same. That's what I like about you. Keep on truckin..... as they used to say!


Edited by Guitarhacker (07/12/20 08:12 AM)
_________________________
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Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.


As the sword chooses the warrior, so too, the song chooses the writer.

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#606150 - 07/12/20 11:28 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: musician17]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: musician17
First things first :-) The song sounds really, really beautiful ... the lyrics are particularly stunning. Simple and straight to the heart.

The guitar. I used to write classical music scores - in another life, long ago ... especially before I discovered BIAB. The one instrument I never learned how to write properly for is the guitar - all the "tabs" stuff, etc., leave me totally confused. So ... I am really, really impressed by what you have done here. A tough job, well done ... and the instrument itself sounds really natural, I never would have thought it was a VST if you hadn't told us that ... great stuff! Thanks for sharing the source of this great free resource, too!

I love this forum - only on here one could find stuff like this, so openly and generously shared.

And, again, the song itself - wonderful. Thank you for sharing all of it!


Thanks, James!

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#606179 - 07/12/20 03:36 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4354
Loc: Sydney Australia
PeterF Offline
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Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4354
Loc: Sydney Australia
floyd,

First lovely song, beautifully performed and written.
You did an excellent job (and that looks like a lot of work) with the acoustic, it would be hard to get a real guitar to sound so sweet recorded at home.

Excellent work.

Peter

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#606185 - 07/12/20 04:36 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 2979
Rustyspoon# Offline
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Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 2979
FJ,
SUPER tune from start to finish! Really no point to dissect it it is great as a whole.
Some complex experiment you got going there! I can not believe you done it in such short period. I have and tried Ample guitar before, but for much simpler stuff. You really showed what it can do. I am amazed! Thank you for the full write up. I really have to look deeper into these amazing guitar VSTs.
Thank you for sharing!

P.S. (seems) you take critique well, so I will say this. The only thing I would probably change is string "tone". It sounds a bit synth(ish), compared to the rest, which has very solid acoustic feel. Regardless of that, to me this definitely among top 10 of songs I have heard by you.

Misha.

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#606211 - 07/12/20 08:54 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 04/02/19
Posts: 535
Loc: Canberra, Australia
Leon1 Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 04/02/19
Posts: 535
Loc: Canberra, Australia
Hi Floyd
While I don't feel qualified to comment on the technical aspects, from what others say I can only admire the amount of work you must have put in, and the guitar sounds pretty good to me.
The song is well written (of course) and in my view the vocal is right up there among your best.
Regards,
Leon

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#606289 - 07/13/20 01:03 PM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: dcuny]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9501
Loc: Florida
Originally Posted By: dcuny
Originally Posted By: floyd jane
If you happen back by, I would appreciate you letting me know if this fixed that...

I'll be honest - I can't tell if it's better because of changes (it sounds like you might have softened the volume on the guitar higher strings), or just confirmation bias. wink

Either way, I enjoyed listening to it several more times. You really did an excellent job with the guitar and strings. laugh


Thanks for the follow up, David. The guitar is at the same level. I think extending those notes just gave it the "blend" that the sound needed - a "softness".

The free version only provide notes on the first 4 frets of the guitar and then all the way up the high E string. So those first couple of chords have those last 2 notes played on the same string. There is a setting that tells it not to cut them off - so that they can "ring". That is likely why they caught your attention when they were not long enough.

I did a few more tweaks (the previous ones were done in a rush) and I think the guitar is sounding good enough to fool most anyone. A few more tweaks on the strings, too...

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#606355 - 07/14/20 03:39 AM [User Showcase] Re: All Of You [Re: floyd jane]
Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 3275
Loc: York, England
ROG Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/11
Posts: 3275
Loc: York, England
Hi Floyd,

First of all, it's a beautiful song and the performance, the arrangement, the mix, are all
up to your usual excellent standard.

So, about the MIDI guitar. Couldn't fault the sound - astoundingly like the real thing
and easily the best I've heard. What I did notice was that the note entry by mouse made
the playing almost too perfect. As a guitarist, you'll know that it's impossible to play
with timing to that resolution and in fact, we wouldn't really want to because that's
where we get a lot of the expression from. Similarly with dynamics, the mouse entry sounded
like all the notes had the same velocity. That's not to say that it didn't work - these are
minor things and when the guitar was mixed with the other instruments it wasn't a problem at all.
I'm not sure that there's an answer to this. Playing in live from the piano keyboard, maybe, but
as you said the chord inversions don't exactly lend themselves to the piano.

It's certainly given me something to think about, thank you.

Cheers,
ROG.

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