Software By Nick Magnus Fed up with guitarists? Overwhelmed by huge sample libraries? Just plain disappointed with your own ham-fisted guitar skills? The continuing determination of software developers to virtualise the real world can be seen as either a blessing or a curse, depending upon the perceived benefits such inventions may offer aas strum acoustic session your particular field of interest. Musicians who work to short-notice deadlines and non-existent budgets and those of us who delight in techno toys may aas strum acoustic session be intrigued by the latest aid in the quest to tackle the problem of simulating the most difficult technique to reproduce on a keyboard:
Software By Nick Magnus Fed up with guitarists? Overwhelmed by huge sample libraries? Just plain disappointed with your own ham-fisted guitar skills? The continuing determination of software developers to virtualise the real world can be seen as either a blessing or a curse, depending upon the perceived benefits such inventions may offer to your particular field of interest. Musicians who work to short-notice deadlines and non-existent budgets and those of us who delight in techno toys may therefore be intrigued by the latest aid in the quest to tackle the problem of simulating the most difficult technique to reproduce on a keyboard: Of these, Musiclab’s products are designed to allow for spontaneous real-time ‘strumming’ by the player, and it is with this same aim in mind that AAS have designed their Strum GS1 software.
However, unlike the Steinberg and Musiclab instruments, which are wholly sample-based, the sounds produced by Strum are physically modelled, having never been anywhere near a microphone, a plectrum or a can of Fast Fret. This is not altogether surprising, since Applied Acoustics Systems are purveyors of other well-known physically modelled instruments such as the Tassman modular synth, Ultra Analogue synth, Lounge Lizard electric piano and String Studio string modelling synth.
It is from the last of these that Strum presumably takes its inspiration. Indeed, if you buy Strum directly from the AAS web site shop it is available only as a download — although boxed versions are available from their distributors.
When the program is first run, entering your serial number generates a ‘challenge’ code. Registering this code on the AAS web site prompts a ‘response’ code by return email. Paste this into the program and it’s activated permanently. Windows and Mac versions are available separately, and either one includes a license for two computer installations.
The Big Picture Strum opens in quite a large x pixel window — if you haven’t been seduced into having a second monitor to display your plug-ins by now, perhaps this will clinch the deal, especially if you are confined to the limited screen real-estate of a laptop! The majority of this window is occupied by Strum’s controls, while the left-hand area contains the preset browser.
This is always visible in the plug-in version and can only be resized or hidden in the stand-alone application.
The main instrument area is divided into three sections: The upper area is all about on-board sound processing EQ, reverb and other effects and the lower area governs the various performance aspects of Strum. The Presets Unlike sample-based instruments, Strum presets load as instantly as selecting a synth patch.
The supplied presets represent three types of guitar: These are sub-divided into several folders, with ‘steel’ having the most presets overall. Apart from the ‘resonators’, the guitars come in a variety of small, medium and large flavours, as well as with different pick positions, and all offer a choice of fingered or plectrum tonalities. Interestingly, there are no harmonics, and neither is there a string guitar — presumably the latter would be a more complex sound to model than a six-string guitar.
Whether AAS rise to this challenge in the future remains to be seen! You can, of course, save your own sounds to the preset library, and Strum provides all the tools you need to manage, import and export preset libraries.
There is more to Strum than just strumming, so it seems apt to begin by examining the lower performance section. Strum’s playing techniques share much common ground with its closest rival, Real Guitar. This essentially involves playing the desired chord shapes with the left hand while ‘strumming’ them with the right hand using trigger keys. In the case of Strum, the ‘chord zone’ lies between E2 note 40 and Bb4 note 70 whilst the ‘trigger zone’ keys lie between B4 note 71 and C6 note Various techniques for playing Strum become increasingly apparent as you get familiar with the trigger keys and how they relate to the various performance parameters.
The Strum interface, showing basic global modelling parameters and the preset browser to the left. This is permanently on display in the plug-in version, but can be hidden in stand-alone mode. Regardless of technique, however, the underlying process is the same: The chord display in the lower central area shows the current chord’s name above a graphical fretboard; Strum is capable of recognising 84 different chord types, in all keys.
If presented with a chord not found in its database, the words ‘no match’ are shown, and Strum will make a valiant attempt to interpret exactly what it is you meant. Strum will also interpret a combination of the root and octave plus an intermediate note commonly the 5th or 4th as a power chord. The trigger keys themselves each have specific functions: C5 and D5 are for playing full-bodied ‘strums’, producing downstrokes and upstrokes respectively.
C 5 and D 5 function similarly, but produce palm-muted strokes, while F 5 and G 5 do the same for muffled or ‘scratched’ strokes. A 5 acts as a full mute, silencing any currently sounding notes. The six white keys from E5 to C6 behave just like six individual guitar strings — as long as a chord is held, each ‘string’ can be played individually, allowing for arpeggiated and picked patterns.
In this case, the state of the Auto button is of particular significance. If this is left on, any chord or note played in the chord zone sounds immediately — which is fine for when you’re strumming, but not so convenient if you wish to arpeggiate a chord using the E5 to C5 trigger keys. Alternatively, when Auto is off, no sound is heard until the trigger keys are played, allowing you to silently voice a chord just before you start to play the arpeggiating trigger keys. This also allows for hammer-ons and pull-offs within a chord without retriggering all the notes this applies to strumming as well.
This ‘silent voicing’ option is not offered by Real Guitar. In the chord display area, just below the fretboard graphic, are two six-segment bars with movable endstops. These are used to restrict the number of strings that sound during strumming. The upper bar represents ‘normal’ behaviour, while the lower bar offers an alternative typically smaller string range. This range can be accessed in two ways: This helps to add a useful degree of variety to strum density, but it would have been nice and would sound more naturalistic to have the string range variable via key velocity, with adjustable sensitivity, as a third method.
Perhaps AAS might consider this for a future update? As mentioned earlier, chord voicings are determined by the ‘Type’ and ‘Playing Position’ parameters. Type offers five choices. Movable-Root is comparable to playing barre chords with the root note always at the bottom, while Movable-Lowest is for barre chords with the lowest played key at the bottom.
The Movable types do not use any open strings, and are especially useful for playing the same arpeggio patterns in different keys. Open-Root and Open-Lowest both use a mixture of open and fretted strings, and are generally sounded using the first three frets — good for that full-bodied ‘folky’ sound. The Drop-Lowest option produces a lighter voicing of chords of up to four notes.
The difference between that and simply restricting the string range is that Drop chords lower the second or third voice of a chord by an octave. The Playing Position parameter only applies to the two Movable types, and allows you to determine the lowest fret on which the lowest note plays. Playing Position settings have to be made manually — there is no Auto position sensing as on Real Guitar, although you can vary the position in real time using a MIDI controller.
Pitch-bend range can be set to between one and 12 semitones, with a choice of smooth bends or chromatic slides. One bug came to light here: Aftertouch can also be used to bend pitch smoothly upwards over a two-semitone range — but again, when Strum’s depth sensitivity is at percent, the full aftertouch pressure brings it just a tad sharp.
Setting the depth sensitivity to The basic speed of strummed strokes can be adjusted to suit the tempo of your track. Additionally, strum speed can be controlled bi-directionally via velocity, enabling slower strums at lower velocities, with the speed increasing as you play harder, or vice-versa. As well as strumming and arpeggiating, Strum is also quite adept at playing solos, melodies and two-part harmonies.
This shifts the chord zone down an octave the trigger keys are not affected , effectively adding an extra octave at the top end. However, there is a significant restriction. Because playing three or more notes causes them to be detected as a chord, this unfortunately means that Strum cannot be played in polyphonic ‘freestyle’, unlike Real Guitar, which features a dedicated, fully polyphonic Solo mode.
Also in the performance section is Detection Time, which sets the amount of time taken for Strum to interpret a played chord before making any sound.
Higher settings are helpful for less sure-fingered players, but at the expense of a noticeable delay. Finally, for invoking vibrato via the mod wheel, controls are provided for setting speed and maximum depth. I was relieved to find that the pitch modulates in an upward direction only, as it would be on a real guitar! It should be noted that none of the performance section’s settings are stored within a preset — they operate globally upon the instrument as a whole, and apply to any selected preset.
This is frankly baffling, as you are bound to create precise performance settings that suit specific sounds or applications, and will almost always want to recall them along with a preset.
Even though all settings are recalled when the Strum plug-in is reloaded as part of a DAW project, you are forced to make performance setting changes manually, when necessary, if you’re using Strum as a stand-alone application in a live situation. The Sound Modelling While some users will be happy to simply load a preset and get on with the music, others will be overcome by the urge to tweak.
To this end, Strum provides fairly comprehensive access to its sound modelling engine. The ochre ‘guitar body’ section is home to seven edit pages, including a ‘basic’ page that is displayed whenever Strum is instantiated. Pages are selected by clicking on the ‘All’ buttons at the top of the body. This part of the Strum interface can be toggled between a simple set of 11 controls for all six strings or detailed editing parameters for each string — as shown here.
The basic page All contains 11 controls that affect all strings, and thus the overall sound. The ” buttons reveal detailed, identical controls for each individual string; a total of 30 controls per page.
I won’t attempt to describe what they all do the PDF manual explains everything scientifically and at great length but rest assured you can tweak all the elements that make up the sound to your heart’s content. Here it’s theoretically possible to create anything from a jumbo acoustic to a charango or ukulele — or something that doesn’t even exist in reality. While these are individual string settings, you can apply any parameter changes to all six strings by holding down the Control key while making adjustments.
Moving back to the basic ‘All’ page, you’ll notice that its controls are also present on the individual string edit pages. They provide quick access to a selected range of parameters that affect the overall character of the sound, adding or subtracting ‘offset’ values to the individual strings’ parameters. One aspect notably missing from the sound are the squeaks, string releases and other noises that characterise guitar performances, lending Strum an almost pathologically squeaky-clean quality.
It’s true that some guitarists will go to great lengths to eliminate such noises by recording small sections on parallel tracks, doing drop-ins and spot erasing. Yet in the quest to create believable guitar simulations in the past, I’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to do the exact opposite! On my ageing 2. Occasional stumbling occurred, notably when changing chords during real-time performance — although this didn’t seem to affect sequencer playback.
When Strum was running alongside other virtual instruments and the total CPU count had risen particularly high, my sequencer host, Sonar, would sometimes freeze when the song was closed, producing the dreaded ‘not responding’ message.
If I attempted to use the pitch-bender while strumming full chords, Sonar’s audio would break up and eventually disappear altogether, even if the CPU meter was running well below the point where you might expect this to happen. The review software otherwise seemed stable enough for a Version 1.
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Strum GS ACOUSTIC & ELECTRIC GUITARS. Your new session guitarist. Strum GS-2 is a plug-in for the production of guitar tracks. With a huge collection of acoustic and electric guitars, automatic chord recognition, sophisticated chord voicing, integrated strumming and picking action, MIDI riff library, amp and effects, playing guitar on a keyboard has never been so easy. next · top § Strum Session § Combines an acoustic and an electric guitar in the same package. With chord recognition, chord voicing, strumming and picking action, MIDI riff library, amp and effects, playing guitar on a keyboard has never been so easy. AAS Strum Acoustic Session SONAR Edition by Applied Acoustics Systems is an extremely convincing acoustic guitar synthesizer designed to allow anyone to easily create realistic nylon- and steel-string guitar tracks. Use your MIDI keyboard or MIDI loops to add acoustic guitar to your productions.
VIDEO: Aas Strum Acoustic Session
AAS Strum Acoustic Session SONAR Edition by Applied Acoustics Systems is an extremely convincing acoustic guitar synthesizer designed to allow anyone to. Your New Session Guitarist. Combines an acoustic and an electric guitar in the same package. With chord recognition, chord voicing, strumming and picking.