Need a guitar part to accompany your voice even if you don’t play yourself?
Item: Native Instruments Session Guitarist, Virtual Guitar Software
Price: $149 (US), £89 (UK)
At A Glance: Native Instruments’ Session Guitarist is a DAW plug-in that is designed to emulate the sound of a perfectly mic’d up guitar player strumming along with the chords of your song. The software captures the sound of a high quality dreadnought acoustic guitar and lets you control every strum, scrape, and accent from an encyclopaedia of strumming. Each strumming pattern is tempo-synched to your host software and you can alter a range of parameters such as the sound of the reverb or emulate the sound of a doubled acoustic guitar track.
High Notes: As well as having a large library of different strumming patterns, it also offers an incredible amount of customisation. For example you can change the accents of the beat, remove syncopations, or simply make them play in half or double time. There are also options for changing how high up the neck the chords are played as well as EQ presets to help it fit correctly in your song. One great feature of the software is that do not need to have pro keyboard skills to be able to input the chords. Although you can input all the chords manually, there is also a mode whereby you select the key of the song and simply push the root note of each chord and it will aim to automatically make them harmonically correct.
Off Pitch: Although Session Guitarist can sound very realistic in a mix, when used in isolation you can start to hear some unnaturalness in the way it changes chords. Also, although this it a slightly unfair criticism, it can almost sound too perfect and well recorded – which can be especially noticeable if you are recording your vocals in a less than ideal method or if like your music to sound a bit “low-fi”.
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Session Guitarist is a useful song-writing tool that helps you to get demos produced quickly. Although folk musicians, for example, would probably want a more authentic guitar part; for singers and songwriters working in more electronic or pop styles, the sound on offer here would most likely fit in perfectly to their finished tracks. It is important that you record your music to a click track if you want to a use the software, however it will follow any tempo or time signature changes you program into your song’s master track. There are other pieces of software that aim to emulate the sound of an acoustic guitar, however Native Instrument’s Session Guitarist offers a combination of good sound quality and a great, easy-to-use interface.
Manufacturer’s Website: http://www.native-instruments.com