Real Guitar 2L
Used alone or as a plug-in, the Real Guitar virtual instrument lets you imitate basic guitar techniques such as strumming, plucking, sliding, bending or muting using a standard MIDI keyboard and controllers such as the Sustain Pedal,
Pitch Bender, Modulation Wheel or Aftertouch.
The sample library features eight guitar types including picked and fingered steel-strung guitars, picked and fingered nylon-strung guitars, a 12-string guitar, and an alternative picked steel-strung guitar with a doubled version that sounds like two guitars playing the same thing. To add realism, samples were taken from every fret of all six strings of each guitar, and Automatic Fret Noise and Release Noise are provided so you hear all those little squeaking sounds that real guitarists make while they play.
The user interface is simple and clear, with a guitar fretboard running across the middle of the window. When you play a note, it appears as a green dot on the fretboard. There’s even a ‘capo’ strip that prevents you playing samples on any fret below the capo. Press Auto and Real Guitar automatically recognises fret position changes in Solo and Harmony modes and moves the capo along the fretboard. Deselect Auto and you can manually change capo position by Control-clicking on any fret. This feature lets you play ‘open’ sounding notes and chords in different keys.
Switch mode from Solo to Harmony and the lower section of the window displays a set of buttons that let you choose the harmony interval. Choices include fourths, fifths, octaves and power chords. We chose fifths, played E, G, A, and immediately heard the first three chords from “Smoke On The Water”.
Choose Chords, play one note on the MIDI keyboard, and a full chord rings out. Real Guitar recognises 26 chord types including seventh, ninth and altered chords, in any inversion and voicing, and a Chord/Bass option lets you construct ‘slash’ chords such as D/F#.
And there’s more. Press a sustain pedal connected to your MIDI keyboard and you can select different playing articulations, including palm mute, body slaps and harmonics. A library of MIDI patterns includes strumming styles for blues, rock and latin. Unfortunately, a number of these were missing and many of the patterns sounded inappropriate for the style they claimed to represent.
Real Guitar is useful for many things, such as working out passages using harmonics and body slaps, and lots of non-guitarists out there will love the idea of playing guitar strums using their MIDI keyboards.