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Two banjo virtual instruments on a computer screen.

4 fun tracks with banjo and guitar – #DreamState revisited

A guitar virtual instrument on a computer screen. The title of the instrument says "EVOLUTION STEEL STRINGS".

I don’t count myself as a banjo or guitar player. Yet they keep showing up on my tracks…

Back Down the Road a Bit

Two virtual instruments on a computer screen. The one on the left says "Artist Series - Tina Guo - cinesamples". The one on the right says "RealGuitar Classic".

About a year ago, I started to release a series of four albums in the DreamState series: Dreams, Liminal Space, Lucid Dreaming, and Awakening. At that time (and still to this day), I was deeply focused on the inspiration from dreams. Hopefully, some of that shone through the tracks that I wrote.

At the same time, I pushed myself to learn and use the music technology available to me. Some of that is pretty boring and geeky. But I will enjoy sharing these bits of banjo and guitar tech with you today. I think they’re really fun.

Guitar Evolution

As I’ve matured as a musician, I continue to focus more on the piano (and keyboard). I’m not really a guitarist though I used to play one for the portability. My shift away from guitar means I’m really appreciating the great virtual guitars available.

On “Lucid Bossa Nova”, I featured a great sounding Evolution Steel Strings by Orange Tree Samples. Orange Tree always does an excellent job of sampling instruments. Plus, I’m accustomed to their interface. Check out the animation showing where the strings are being held down.

It’s not all banjos and guitars

Not all virtual instruments have flashy animation. Some just sound good. I’d say that’s the case with Tina Guo cello by CineSamples. This VI has been around for a while, but still holds up fairly well.

I used this cello side-by-side with RealGuitar “Classic” (aka classical) from Music Lab on the track Morning’d Better Come. Music Lab put some nice touches in this VI including the animated guitar image.

Banjos R Us

I think the banjo sounds so cool. In addition to several songs that include real, live banjo played on them, I have just as many with virtual banjos. Plus, I’ve already done a comparison of three virtual banjos. Please read and hear it here.

From Banjo to Guitar

Now, I’ll shift back from banjo to guitar. It’s possible that I may have saved the best for last. Ample Sound makes excellent banjo and guitar (and other) VIs. Above, you saw and heard their banjo. In “a day in the recording studio of an indie musician” I shared a video of their China Dongxiao (flute).

Now for one of their incredible metal guitars. They named this one Hellrazer and for good reasons. I did not use any tricks to create the introduction to “Be You” using only this guitar. With nine strings, I had plenty to work with. Check it out.

5 thoughts on “4 fun tracks with banjo and guitar – #DreamState revisited”

  1. Hi, Stan. For the barely above-amateur acoustic-guitar player, what would you recommend as a practical add-on bass and drums software? I’m looking for something small, plugable, maybe a belt clip on, to provide some a bass and drums base for some of my songs. A tall order for under $100 perhaps but you’re a better position than the store’s sales guy to recommend me something.
    Thank you so much. Cheers

    1. Wesley,
      I can’t find anything that will play preset bass and drum sounds/loops in a free-standing setup for under $100. There are software plugins that would do this on a computer, but you didn’t ask for that.
      You could (as I did for many years) use a looper pedal to create all the sounds live on the guitar. TC “ditto” will do this for about $100.
      https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DittoLooper–tc-electronic-ditto-looper-pedal
      Here’s a real guitarist (using the same looper pedal I used for a decade) playing a cool looped piece:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxdAqDC9sHw
      Hoping this is helpful,
      Stan

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