Free Plugins—Guitars

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   Dynamics 101




     I usually will download the midi file for the song with the accompaniment so as I learn the song, I can play along with the drums, bass, etc. to get the timing down. Well, every midi file I found didn’t have the intro and I was forced to create a midi file from the transcription in the magazine by putting it into Sonar note by note  I learned a few of things from this exercise—1) Eric Johnson is a guitar god and 2) it’s going to take me while to learn this song and 3) Sonar’s midi editing and automation can produce a really authentic sounding midi file provided you have the right plug-in.


    Back to the guitar plug-ins—What I was looking for was a plug-in that produce the sound of a clean, undistorted, electric guitar because it would give me the flexibility to use different  amp/cabinet models to closely simulate Eric Johnson’s signature two amp sound. He uses a Marshall amp with a Marshall cabinet as well as a Fender Blackface by splitting the signal from his guitar and sending it to both amps.


    No such plug-in exists outside of some sample playback plug-in (probably the subject of my next plug-in review. What I did find was everything from absolutely horrid to nearly passable. The best of the bunch was DVS Guitar. It’s sort of close to the sound I was looking for but still not as good as the overdrive guitar from Sonar’s TTS-1 Synthesizer. I kept trying to tweak it to get what I wanted but no cigar.


    I tried some plucked string synths that had pretty convincing sounding acoustic guitar sounds but fell short when I tried to get an electric guitar sound. Anyway, what I settled on was Sonar’s TTS-1 and then added a Fender clean amp sim plug-in to the output.  It even has pretty decent pick attack sound and the tone is not exactly like his Highness Eric’s but it’ll work for what I’m doing.


     Click here to hear what I’ve done


    Next month—samplers

      I didn’t publish an article last month on free plug-ins as I’ve been doing for quite some time because I’ve been looking for a good electric guitar plug-in. I still haven’t found one but these articles are about reviewing free plug-ins so here goes.


    After thumbing through some old guitar magazines, I came across one that had the transcription and tablature for “Cliffs of Dover” by Eric Johnson. I’ve taught myself “Mood for a Day” by Yes and “Scuttle Buttin’” by Stevie Ray Vaughn so I figured, why not.