A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS OPERATION MANUAL

A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS OPERATION MANUAL
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST POP CHORDS
OPERATION MANUAL
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part of Propellerhead Software AB. The software described herein is subject to a License Agreement and may not be
copied to any other media except as specifically allowed in the License Agreement. No part of this publication may be
copied, reproduced or otherwise transmitted or recorded, for any purpose, without prior written permission by
Propellerhead Software AB.
©2015 Propellerhead Software and its licensors. All specifications subject to change without notice. Reason,
Reason Essentials and Rack Extension are trademarks of Propellerhead Software. All other commercial symbols
are protected trademarks and trade names of their respective holders. All rights reserved.
A-List Electric Guitarist Pop Chords
Introduction
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords is the third Rack Extension instrument in the A-List series for Propellerhead Reason
and Reason Essentials - after Acoustic Guitarist and Electric Guitarist "Power Chords". Think of Electric Guitarist Pop Chords as a professional session guitarist, playing electric rhythm guitar on a top-notch instrument hooked up to
hand-selected vintage amps and cabinets, and performing exactly as you wish, while giving you full control over
musical performance and mix.
Whether you want to add realistic rhythm guitar tracks to your productions, use it as an inspiration for writing songs
on a train or plane, or as source material for creative sound design - it will get you from idea to result as fast as
possible.
At the core of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords - and all instruments in the Propellerhead A-List series - is the idea that
you can create professional sounding instrument tracks exactly the way you would get them from an A-List player in
the studio. There, you'd give them a lead sheet, adjust sound character and mix, and tell your session guitarist what
kind of musical style and performance you're expecting, and a great player would deliver that.
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords does exactly that for you: the lead sheet becomes MIDI notes in your Reason tracks
(or played live on a MIDI controller), there are controls for sound character and mix, you load styles and select
phrases in real-time, and there are performance controls to vary the performance.
Whatever Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords does, it does extremely well, fast, and asking absolute minimal effort of you.
We never sacrificed instant gratification and simplicity in favor of a more complex result!
What does Pop Chords mean exactly?
"Pop Chords" means that this guitarist is at home in a full range of electric rhythm guitar flavors needed in pop and
rock music across decades - from clean to crunched, from chords to octaves, from British to American. It even does
Europop. All styles function across a wide range of tempos; for most styles there's also a double or halftime version.
Chords have been recorded distinctly at mid range, sitting perfectly between bass and melody. On top of the chord
styles, there are Octave styles - rhythmic phrases played by single-note octaves, covering almost three octaves of
range and extending your Pop Chords guitarist's repertoire by melodic riffs as well as the rhythmic arsenal for all
kinds of disco, funk and soul. There's even a few bonus single notes for rock eights.
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A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Try it now - it's easy and fun!
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords is designed for creating stunning dynamic performances using only a MIDI keyboard
(even Reason's on-screen keyboard if you know how to switch octaves), and very simple commands. The perfectly
played phrases and styles all come built in. All you need to do is provide chords, pick phrases and optionally make
(real-time) adjustments. You can even dynamically control palm muting of the strings for dynamic expression and
creation of your own phrasings.
Here's how it basically works - and we encourage you to try it now.
1. Create an Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords device in the rack.
It will load a default style that's all you need for now.
2. Start playing on your connected MIDI keyboard.
D
Hit a key or chord from the note C4 and upwards and Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords will start playing.
D
Activate the Latch switch so it keeps playing.
D
Hit the note B3 when you want to stop the playback in Latch Mode.
D
Move the Mod Wheel or apply Aftertouch on your MIDI keyboard.
You can live-control palm muting using the Mod Wheel or Aftertouch. Turning up the Mod Wheel gradually
increases the pressure of the palm, Aftertouch switches between no and full pressure.
D
Vary the phrasing.
Pressing keys (or generally: sending MIDI notes) between C1 and Bb3 selects phrases. The lower two octaves
select a set of standard phrases, the C3-Bb3 octave selects phrases of the currently loaded style.
D
Change the sound character.
Use the Guitar and Amp selectors and the Crunch control to vary the overall tone of the guitar sound.
D
Add a second guitar player.
Activate the Doubling switch in the performance section to activate a second player (similar to overdubbing in the
studio), with the players panned left and right in the stereo image.
Background
It is important to know that Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords does not emulate a guitar. It does not let you edit individual
notes, but it also does not require you to know to play a guitar on a keyboard, or to think about how to emulate
realistic strumming or typical guitar voicings. It has all that built in, simply because it is based on actual rhythm guitar
recordings, not samples of individual notes.
What Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords emulates is therefore a studio guitarist who already knows how to play. Because
when you have an idea in your head and want to lay it down, the last thing you want is struggle with MIDI editing and
trying to make a MIDI performance sound realistic. What you need is a professional player recording your idea the
way you want it. That's exactly what Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords does.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
5
The foundation of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords is real performances on a top-notch electric guitar, played by a
professional guitarist, and a sophisticated amp/speaker simulation for a wide range of styles and colors.
The performances have been recorded with direct-from-guitar, and are live-processed through built-in pickup,
amplifier and cabinet emulations for maximum realism and flexibility. You can tweak and perfect the sound character
for your musical taste and mix.
During the sessions for Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords, thousands of phrases were played and recorded, totaling
more than 10 hours of guitar performances. Those were then meticulously selected, adjusted and prepared in a
sophisticated and unique way, allowing us to create a Rack Extension that can play virtually any guitar phrase at any
tempo and always sound like an original performance.
Panel overview
The Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords front panel contains the following sections:
1
2
3
4
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords front panel sections.
• 1. Source section (for selecting guitar and amp character, adjusting Crunch and choosing drop tuning).
• 2. Performance section (for telling the "virtual player" how to interpret MIDI data and how to play).
• 3. Mix section (for adding basic guitar-type effects and adjusting the volume of the audio output).
• 4. Patch selector (for browsing, loading and saving patches).
Loading and saving patches
Loading and saving patches is done in the same way as with any other internal Reason/Reason Essentials device see the “Sounds and Patches” chapter in the Reason/Reason Essentials Operation Manual pdf for details.
!
6
On instantiating Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords, or when loading Combinator Patches featuring Electric Guitarist
- Pop Chords, it can take a few seconds until all content is loaded into RAM.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Panel controls
Source section
In this section you set up the overall guitar sound by selecting a guitar/pickup character, an amp setup (a
configuration and setting of amp and speaker cabinet), setting the Crunch (overdrive/distortion) level and applying
drop tuning. These settings are highly interactive - as are the originals. Guitarists and sound engineers will know and
apply certain classic combinations of amps, guitars and Crunch settings, and you will find many of those in the
patches. But that doesn't mean you should not experiment - in the end, the only thing that counts is that it works for
your song.
Guitar
The lever switch labeled Guitar lets you select different pickups - as on the original guitar. It offers four distinct
choices:
Switch position
Description
Use...
Neck
The pickup with the thickest, roundest
sound. Nice low end and warmth.
... for mixes where the guitar has a bit of space and doesn't have to stick through
lots of other mid-range rhythmic tracks.
Middle
In the middle between Neck and Bridge ... pretty much everywhere where you need a guitar that's not too dominant on ei- just enough bite and warmth.
ther side of the frequency range.
Dual
Glassy, with attenuation in the high mids ... wherever you need a silky, glassy sound, for example in Disco and all funky
("scooped"), therefore not too sharp.
styles, particularly clean to lightly crunched.
Bridge
Cuts right through, accented mids with ... when you need the guitar to be clearly audible to dominant, particularly with
not too much bass.
higher Crunch levels.
Amp
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords features a perfectly customized guitar amp and cabinet simulation - this means the
amp sound is not baked into the recordings. Instead, clean recordings are sent into algorithms emulating real amps,
giving you full control and flexibility when it comes to setting up, adjusting and realtime-controlling your amp sound.
The Amp rotary switch lets you choose between five amplifier presets for a large range of musical styles. Each preset
is a pre-configuration of an amp and a speaker cabinet, including pre-set internal parameters that provide the right
character and range of sonic possibilities for each preset:
Knob position
Character
Clean
D.I. signal without any amp character. ... simply when you want a clean signal, or when you want to send the Pop Chords
As you turn up Crunch, more of the sig- signal into an external amp.
nal gets routed into a speaker cabinet.
Use...
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
7
Knob position
Character
Bite
We won't mention the F-word, but it's a ... for a wide range of applications from clean to crunch, when you want the guitar
typical combo amp with a 1x12 speaker to cut through.
cabinet built in the U.S. - lots of bite and
presence.
Use...
Crisp
The british say "crisps" when they mean ... whenever you're after well-defined guitar sound with just enough roughness
that still covers a wide frequency range.
hearty and crunchy potato chips, and
that's what this british Class-A valve
amp is all about.
Cream
A creamier variation of Crisp in that it ... when you're not as much after presence and bite than after beef and a satugives up a bit of presence in return for rated character with average crunch.
added warmth and roundness, partly
provided by a larger speaker cabinet.
Rough
The proverbial british rock amp with a
very unique character in the clean-tocrunch range, with a typical british
roughness. We won't say the M-word,
still.
... for that crunchy roughness that only a big stack delivers, serving a wide range
of styles.
Drop D
This switch lets you activate what guitarists know as Drop D (or Drop) tuning. In Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords, all
strings get tuned down by 2 semitones, the lowest string plays D.
Therefore, when Drop D is activated (pitch is unaffected, of course), Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords sounds a little
thicker and warmer in general.
Crunch
This knob adjusts the overdrive level and therefore the amount of distortion of the guitar signal. The effect is very
different depending on the Amp setup you've chosen. Naturally, the Guitar and Amp settings at the lower end of the
switch will work better with higher Crunch settings, whereas the top ones benefit from a higher dose of clean signal.
Performance section
This section is a mixture of selectors, knobs and displays for selecting, adjusting and monitoring the musical
performance.
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A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Key
This control sets a key for the song, forcing all chord input to the most useful chords in the selected key.
• In the Off (-) position, all chords in all keys are available:
Played Note:
C
C#
D
Played back Chord:
Cmaj
C#maj Dmaj
Eb
E
F
F#
G
Ebmaj
Emaj
Fmaj
F#maj Gmaj
Ab
A
Bb
B
Abmaj
Amaj
Bbmaj
Bmaj
• In any other position (C, C#, D, Eb etc.), only the chords matching the set scale are available (see below).
Using the Key parameter is very handy if your keyboard skills (or musical skills) are basic, or if you want to simplify
chord input in general, as it will "quantize" all chord input to chords that aren't entirely wrong for the given key.
When a key is set, these are the chords Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords will play depending on the actual input shown in the key of C:
Played Note:
C
C#
D
Eb
E
F
F#
G
Ab
A
Played back Chord:
Cmaj
Csus4
Dmin
Ebmaj
Emin
Fmaj
Fsus4
Gmaj
Gsus4 Amin
Bb
B
Bbmaj
G7
The currently played back chord is always displayed in the Chord display (see below).
Chord
This is not a control, but displays the recognized chord. Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords recognizes and plays ten chord
types. More on chords and how to make best use of them in “Chord Sets and Fingerings”.
Styles and Phrases
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords is designed to produce rhythm guitar tracks, synced to the sequencer’s tempo. As the
term indicates, a rhythm guitarist mostly plays phrases, not melodies. A phrase in this context is a rhythmic sequence
of strummed chords.
!
That said, Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords offers Single-Note and Octave styles which allow you to create rhythmic melodic figures. Octave styles are marked with OCT in the Style name.
A style in Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords is a collection of phrases of a certain musical context. Styles are given
descriptive names. Phrases, although, are not named but numbered.
• From left to right, phrases become more intense - i.e. denser and more animated. You can add to the dynamic
expression of a song by selecting phrases accordingly: As you move from intro to verse to chorus, move right
on the phrase selection keys and vice versa.
• The Phrase playback is always triggered by the MIDI Note On; it’s not synced to the sequencer’s bar position.
The reason for this is you might not always want the phrase locked to the bar position. This way you can be more
creative with re-triggering the phrases and get more “live feel”. If you want it locked to the bar position in the
sequencer this can still be achieved by positioning the trigger notes and/or switching from the silent phrase at the
right moment.
If you change MIDI notes in a legato fashion (tied), the new notes will continue the “phrase-sync” from the previous
note.
Octave Styles
Octave styles cover a range of almost 3 octaves. Use them to create melodic riffs. They also complement their chord
pendants very well. Check the Combinator presets included with Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords for examples.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
9
Style
In this menu, you can select one of the almost 100 phrase sets called "Styles". Each style features 11 individual
phrases (see “Phrase”). Styles are not editable, but you can build your own by using the CV and Gate inputs on the
rear panel (see below).
The meaning of appendices to Style names:
• OCT: Octave style - this style plays no chords, but single note octaves for melodic riffs.
• HalfT/DoubleT: Half- or double-time versions of a style for a wide range of applicable tempos.
Phrase
This readout displays the phrase currently selected by incoming MIDI note information (see “MIDI keyboard layout”
below for details).
Swing
This knob gradually applies a shuffle feel to the guitar performance by delaying the offbeats.
Depending on the selected style, 8th or 16th note offbeats will be affected. At maximum position, the off beat will
have the same timing as the last note of a triplet.
Not all phrases contain 8th or 16th note offbeats so in these cases the Swing control has no effect.
Feel
With this control you can tell the virtual player to push or play laid back, i.e. it affects the overall timing of the guitar
performance. Right from center, offbeats will be slightly advanced (Push), left from center they will be delayed (Pull).
Latch
Use this toggle switch to determine if Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords should always keep playing or only play when
keys are held.
If on, Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords will keep playing infinitely after a key is pressed, until either Latch is switched off
or the Stop button in the Reason/Reason Essentials sequencer is pressed.
• The Phrase playback is always triggered by the first MIDI Note On; it’s not synced to the sequencer’s bar position.
If you change MIDI notes with Latch on, the new notes will continue the “phrase-sync” from the previous note.
A sustain pedal can be used as a temporary latch (but does not affect the appearance of the Latch switch). Lifting
the sustain pedal unlatches any notes that are no longer held, even if the Latch switch is still on, see “Sustain Pedal”.
Doubling
Use this function to create the impression of two independent players playing at the same time.
When on, Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords will add a second guitar player to the currently selected signal and places
them at opposite stereo positions.
!
10
Note that - when Doubling is active - Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords automatically activates a second, similarly
set-up guitar amp to keep the signals separate and enable the stereo effect.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Mix section
With the controls in this section you can add guitar-typical effects and adjust the volume of the output signal.
Effects
The Effects section adds essential guitar-type effects to the sound:
Effect
Control
Description
Knob controls...
Delay
Delay
Synchronized stereo delay with preset feedback and damping and variable note
values (see Rate below).
Wet/Dry
Switches between the following delay rates: 1/32, 1/16, 3/32, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4.
Delay time presets
Chorus
Rate
A classical 4-voice Chorus, creating a richer, modulated sound.
Wet Signal, Depth, Rate.
Reverb
A typical Spring Reverb that is often found in guitar amps and is essential for many Wet/Dry, Reverb Time.
classic guitar sounds.
Volume
Adjusts the audio output volume of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords for maintaining an optimal input level into the
mixer or subsequent audio processors.
MIDI keyboard layout
Modifiers & Chords
Phrase 11
Chords
(repeated)
Stop Phrase
Phrase 7
Phrase 9
Phrase 10
Phrase 8
Phrase 6
Phrase 4
Phrase 5
Phrase 3
Phrase 1
Phrase 2
Std Phrase 22
Std Phrase 23
Std Phrase 20
Std Phrase 21
Std Phrase 18
Std Phrase 19
Std Phrase 17
Std Phrase 15
Std Phrase 16
Std Phrase 13
C2
Std Phrase 14
Std Phrase 12
Std Phrase 10
Std Phrase 11
Std Phrase 8
Std Phrase 9
Std Phrase 6
Std Phrase 7
Std Phrase 5
Std Phrase 3
Std Phrase 4
Std Phrase 1
Std Phrase 2
Silent
C1
Chords
(repeated)
Chords
Modifiers
C3
C4
C5
C6
C7
The MIDI keyboard layout for Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords.
• The MIDI keyboard (or - for that matter - any controller that can send MIDI notes) gives you extensive musical
real-time control over Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords.
• With MIDI Notes, you start and stop the performance, you determine the chord that's played, and by selecting
phrases you can vary the musical performance.
• The layout has been designed so even if you have only a 2-octave keyboard, you can control Electric Guitarist Pop Chords in a useful way, particularly when using the octave transpose button that most keyboards offer.
• With a 5-octave keyboard you have full access to as many as 23 standard phrases (always available), 11 styledependent phrases, a "silent phrase" and a stop function.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
11
• Phrases are sorted from simple/left to complex/right, so as you play up the keyboard, the phrases become
denser and more animated.
MIDI Note
Function
C1
Select "Silent" phrase. This is useful for creating gaps in other phrases without losing the phrase position, and in combination with Gate/CV triggering.
C#1 to B2
Select standard phrases - this set is always available, independent of the chosen style.
C3 to A#3
Select 11 different phrases in the current style.
B3
Stop Phrase.
C4 and above
Chord Input. The higher the octave you use, the higher the notes played will sound - within the limits of a real guitar.
Chords will sound higher if you play them in the >C5 octave.
Try Octave and single note styles - up to 3 octaves are available here, allowing you to play melodies and interval jumps.
Building Custom Phrases
The CV/Gate input on the rear panel of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords interprets notes differently than when you
play on the MIDI keyboard. CV Notes from C#1 to C#5 don't select phrases and chords, but individual slices of which
are laid out across the note range.
You can use this feature to create your own phrases by triggering individual "slices" (which are individual strums
extracted from the original performance). Try it with a Matrix pattern sequencer!
Note that the CV/Gate input only replaces the Phrase selection - you still have to play chord notes on your connected MIDI keyboard to get the guitarist strumming away!
!
CV Note
Function
C1
Stop currently playing slice.
C#1 to C#5
Trigger individual slices.
See “CV Input”.
Chord Sets and Fingerings
Chord Sets
Chords take up memory in RAM, therefore Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords loads only four chord types by default,
although it supports ten different chords.
D
To load the Full Chord set, press Tab to get to the rear panel view of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords, and set the
Chord Set switch to Full.
The following selection of chords for the two chord sets is also printed on the rear panel of Electric Guitarist - Pop
Chords:
12
Default Chord Set:
maj, min, 7, sus4
Full Chord Set:
maj, min, 7, sus4
6, maj7, min7, aug, dim, sus2
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Chord Fingerings
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords has a built-in chord detection system that interprets incoming MIDI notes. The picture
shows the fingering schemes for each variation of chords played in the key of C. The four chord variations at the top
shows what is available when you use the Default Chord Set. The remaining six variations becomes available when
you use the Full Chord Set (see “Chord Sets”).
!
Note that the black and white dots indicate the required notes. Grey dots indicate optional notes.
Default Chord Set
Full Chord Set
Chord Fingerings (grey dots indicate optional keys).
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
13
MIDI Controllers
Pitch Bend
The Pitch Bend wheel can be used for creating bending or vibrato. The pitch range is fixed at ±2 semitones.
Mod Wheel
Palm Muting is a powerful method for live-controlling the phrasing of Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords.
• The Mod Wheel controls the Palm Muting that your guitarist applies to the performance.
In the Mod Wheel's default position, no Palm Muting is applied. The further you turn it up, the shorter the notes will
become. The maximum position of the Mod Wheel produces entirely "tone-less" muted strums.
q
You can add Palm Muting after the fact by adding a lane to your Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords track and
recording a Mod Wheel performance on top of your notes. Experiment with multiple tracks with different Mod
Wheel performances for greatly enhanced live feel and two-player impressions.
Aftertouch
Like the Mod Wheel, Aftertouch lets you control Palm Muting, but works like a switch between "no muting" and "full
muting".
Expression
The Expression Controller is used for controlling the volume. The Expression Controller is applied individually to each
strum in a phrase, so the volume of the previous step that is still playing is not affected. This can be useful for finetuning performances.
!
Note that Keyboard Velocity is not used to control volume, as it is difficult to play all notes of a chord with consistent velocity.
Sustain Pedal
The Sustain Pedal replicates the “Latch” button, so you can use it as an additional way of varying phrases in real-time.
Pressing the Sustain Pedal activates latching of chord notes. Releasing the Sustain Pedal releases any latched chord
notes even if the Latch button is on.
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A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
Connections
!
Remember that CV connections are NOT stored in the Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords patches! If you want to
store CV connections between devices, put them in a Combinator device and save the Combi patch.
CV Input
The Note and Gate CV inputs can be used for adding extra phrase creation options by using the CV output from
another CV/Gate device (typically a Matrix or an RPG-8). Note that the Gate input also responds to keyboard
velocity. Please refer to “Building Custom Phrases” above.
Output
On the right are the main audio outputs. When you create a new Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords device, these outputs
are auto-routed to the first available channel in the Reason/Reason Essentials main mixer.
A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
15
Advanced tips
Optimizing chord recognition
Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords tries to be as tolerant to sloppy chord input as technically possible, but particularly
when live-recording to a MIDI track, you may end up with it not playing the chords you had in mind. It's really easy to
fix this situation if you keep a few things in mind:
D
Always quantize your MIDI notes in the sequencer.
Notes with different starting positions can lead to multiple chords getting recognized one after another, or cut-off
chords.
D
Clean up note lengths to make sure there are no note gaps or overlaps.
In the Legato Adjustments section of Reasons' Tool Window you can force legato and remove overlaps. Use Gap
with a minimum value first to “clean up” the note lengths.
Minimizing memory consumption
How much memory Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords requires entirely depends on the settings of the Chord Set and
the Key parameter loaded:
• The Default Chord Set requires about 373 MB of RAM.
• The Full Chord Set increases this figure to around 656 MB.
• When setting a key, the allowed chords are all in the Default Chord Set, so if you have the Full Set selected,
you can save memory by switching back to the Default Chord Set on the rear panel of Electric Guitarist - Pop
Chords.
• If you use several Electric Guitarist - Pop Chords devices in your song, the sample memory is shared among the
devices.
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A-LIST ELECTRIC GUITARIST - POP CHORDS
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