I will present 14 sound examples which illustrate the work of two Steinberg VSTi instruments - Virtual Guitarist and Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition. They represent short arrangements which made in different musical styles. Most of them have two part musical structure, so you can play them in loop mode. It can be used with up to 4-5 guitar tracks in one example (both simultaneously, and by turns). Unfortunately it was impossible to make short time examples in order to let you see all the functionality of the program. So I had to make examples long enough, approximately 30-40 seconds each.
Besides a mix of each arrangement, I also made separate examples of guitar tracks used. When I worked with Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition, I turned off the integrated effect processor, this way all guitar tracks were recorded dry. I used the effects while mixing, but tracks themselves are presented in their raw form. Any effects you will hear (like wah-wah) were present in the original, and are not a result of the effect processor.
Every example also has a MIDI file with it. The file contains MIDI sequences of Virtual Guitarist tracks (all other tracks of arrangements were removed). So, not only you can listen to the work of VSTi`s, but also find out (for example, in the key editor of a sequencer) exactly how it was made. MIDI files contain anywhere from one to up to five tracks - exactly as many there were in my arrangements. These tracks have no any subsequent editions - they were just imported from my projects. Each track contains information about the kind of instrument and player used. Thus “VA Traditional” means that this particular track should be assigned Traditional player, which is part of the Virtual Acoustic module. Furthermore, “VE” means that this track is assigned to Virtual Electric part of the Virtual Guitarist, and “VGEE” denotes Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition. Unfortunately, I forgot which Chord Set was used in different arrangements - so you must choose it yourself (try XXL - you won't be disappointed for sure). I did not use 16-channel control mode, so don’t assign 16th MIDI channel to instruments. Regular features appeared more than sufficient, and as a result I decided against creating my own patterns (although I wanted to try them out at first). Also note that these MIDI files can sometimes play incorrectly in different sequencers - some chord may fail to switch to the next, one or several notes may not play at all. But you can fix it quite easily - just give positive or negative delay to the track, increase ore reduce note duration, switch Latch mode off and on, and so on. In my sequencer all tracks played normally.
I made all arrangements in Emagic Logic Audio Platinum 5.5.1. I used new excellent VSTi's Steinberg Groove Agent as the drum module, some Emagic instruments (ES2, EVB3, EXS24 with Akai and Sample Cell sample libraries), Native Instruments FM7. All mixes were created in my favorite Magix Samplitude 7.1.2 Professional. I used its own set of effects and several plugins from Waves, DSP-FX and TC Native. Generally I tried to avoid excessive use of effects during mixing, just the necessary minimum.
I do not recommend using various media players for listening examples. Microsoft Media Player, WinAmp and others often “omit” first seconds of sound during playback. It would really be better to load examples in any available audio editor, like Sony Sound Forge, Adobe Audition, Steinberg WaveLab, etc.
The comp track is played by Energy player from Virtual Electric module. It sounded rather shrilling, and I had to decrease the level in high-middle frequencies during the mix.
The second guitar (player Sweet Chords from Virtual Acoustic) plays… solo. And I did not use any advanced control modes (like 16-channel mode). Everything was achieved just by switching the original presets. But if you have patience, perseverance, and some fantasy, I think you can create any slide-guitar solo you want!
For musical development I used two-voiced presets of the player (7 Brothers and 8 Sisters) in second half of the form.
The comp track is played by the acoustic player Boogie from Virtual Acoustic module. Slide-guitar Mean Reso from Virtual Acoustic plays typical riffs. Look at the last measure in the first chorus of the comp track (VA Boogie) - eighth note pulsation has been achieved by increasing tempo rate to 2x using an envelope of the MIDI-controller 73. Second half of the form is more “electric” and “drivy”. Rock-Modern player from VGEE plays motor rhythm and another VGEE player Blues Boogie performs riffs in hi registry of “his” guitar. This arrangement was not intended for looping, so you can listen the authentic mute sound at the end of it.
Main guitar track played by Fingerpicking player from Virtual Acoustic instrument. Look at the single bass notes before some chords - you can play alternate bass note in a chord using the same technique (I made a separate example for this case). In the second chorus two more guitars enter, Rolling from Virtual Acoustic and Rock And Roll from Virtual Electric, adding some blues character into the country sound.
This example contains three different guitar tracks. In the first chorus RnB Soul “guitarist” from Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition plays mainly single voiced riffs and solo phrases. In the second chorus RnB White Soul player from VGEE plays fat riffs with complete chords. During both parts you can hear the third Wah Soul player from VGEE, which plays various phrases and licks using wah-wah.
This example contains four guitar tracks, performed by players from Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition. The comp track is played by Funk Complex in the first chorus and by Funk Medium in the second. Players Wah-Single Note (first chorus) and Wah-Complex (second chorus) perform simple solo part with wah-wah effect.
The comp track in the first chorus played by acoustic “guitarist” Teenie from Virtual Acoustic (double-track). It also appears at the last measure of the second chorus, but I removed these chords from separate example of the guitar part, because otherwise there would be a long pause in the sample. The second chorus is presented by the comp track, played by Folk 1-5-8 from Virtual Acoustic module (double-track), and the solo track, where player Pop Independent from VGEE played simple riffs on a guitar with light overdrive.
The comp track is played by Funk-70s from Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition in the first chorus and Funk Basic from VGEE in the second chorus (both with double-track). Players Smooth from Virtual Electric (first chorus) and Funk-Single Notes from VGEE (second chorus) perform simple melodic line.
Nylon Guitar Ballad
The given example illustrates Virtual Acoustic's Traditional player's ability to play an alternate bass note in a chord (by the way, Fingerpicking from VA is able to play the same way). The secret is rather simple - you must take an alternate note just before the chord. Not too early, however; listen closely and look in a MIDI-file to find out how I accomplished this. The dry sound of nylon strings is diluted with Dream Chords player from VGEE (double-track), which plays slow arpeggios.
Arpeggio Guitar Ballad
The main guitar track played by Virtual Acoustic's Arpeggio using 2x tempo mode. In the second chorus it plays two voice patterns, 6 Dual and 7 Duet. One more track is played by Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition's player Brit1 in the first chorus and Brit2 in the second half of the form.
Hard Rock Ballad
Acoustic player Mellow from Virtual Acoustic Guitar starts the example. The second chorus sounds heavier because it contains two overdriven guitars, Ultra II from Virtual Electric and Heavy-Hard from Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition (double-track). In my humble opinion, the part 5 Steps from player Ultra II sounds too flat and indistinct. Maybe while creating the player developers of the VSTi gave his guitar too much overdrive. For the purpose of comparison, I suggest trying player Heavy-Hard from VGEE, as it has much more natural sound.
The third part of the form sounds more expressive than second chorus. Player Heavy-Hard from VGEE (double-track) presents more rhythmic variations, and “guitarist” Heavy-Monster provides typical hard rock pulsation.
Primitive enough, albeit also a classical example of this particular style. The typical heavy metal pulsation is created by the Ultra I player from Virtual Electric, and it is diluted a little in the second part with the long fifth of Heavy-Monster player from VGEE (double-track). Take a look on the glissando slide down after the last fifth. I think that player Ultra I (like Ultra II) is way too overdriven. Periodically you can even hear a pick-up noise, which survived all recording, editing and processing.