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User Guide
by Peter Gorges
The information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not
represent a commitment on the part of NXTGN Music Technology GmbH. 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 NXTGN Music Technology GmbH.
©2015 NXTGN Music Technology GmbH. All specifications subject to change without
notice. Virtual Guitarist is a registered trademark of NXTGN Music Technology GmbH. All
other commercial symbols are protected trademarks and trade names of their respective
holders. All rights reserved.
Virtual Guitarist IRON
Table Of Contents
Table Of Contents ............................................................................................................... 2
Welcome to Virtual Guitarist IRON ................................................................................. 4
About the Virtual Guitarist series .................................................................................... 4
You and us ............................................................................................................................ 4
Looking for quick help? ..................................................................................................... 5
Interactive Overview .......................................................................................................... 6
Quick Reference .................................................................................................................. 7
What is Virtual Guitarist IRON? ........................................................................................ 9
Virtual Guitarist vs. A Real Guitarist........................................................................... 9
What is “IRON” about? .................................................................................................. 9
Why so few controls? .................................................................................................... 9
Trial and Authorization ..................................................................................................... 10
Trying, Buying, Authorizing ....................................................................................... 10
Where to put the Content .......................................................................................... 10
Controller hardware for Virtual Guitarist IRON ............................................................11
Native Instruments KONTROL integration ..............................................................11
Start Playing! ....................................................................................................................... 12
Walkthrough ........................................................................................................................ 13
Make a sound and learn about chords and key ................................................... 13
Try the presets ............................................................................................................... 14
Tell your player what to play ...................................................................................... 14
More performance tweaking fun .............................................................................. 14
Find your guitar sound ............................................................................................... 15
More sound tweaking fun .......................................................................................... 15
Playing with the built-in effects ................................................................................ 16
Save the best for last .................................................................................................. 16
Reference Guide ..................................................................................................................... 17
Menu Bar .............................................................................................................................. 17
Loading Presets............................................................................................................. 17
Save / Save as … ...........................................................................................................18
Bell icon – Notifications ............................................................................................. 19
Speech Bubble Icon – About Page ........................................................................ 20
Style Bar ............................................................................................................................. 20
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
STYLE ............................................................................................................................. 20
KEY .................................................................................................................................. 21
CHORD .......................................................................................................................... 22
Interactive Keyboard ....................................................................................................... 22
Common Phrases........................................................................................................ 22
Style Phrases ................................................................................................................24
Chord Range .................................................................................................................24
Fingering scheme ....................................................................................................... 25
Performance Controls ..................................................................................................... 25
Latch ............................................................................................................................... 25
Speed .............................................................................................................................. 27
Swing .............................................................................................................................. 27
Feel .................................................................................................................................. 27
GUITAR / AMP Section ................................................................................................... 28
THRUST ......................................................................................................................... 28
GUITAR .......................................................................................................................... 29
AMP ................................................................................................................................ 30
DRIVE ............................................................................................................................... 31
Guitar Modes ....................................................................................................................... 31
Drop D.............................................................................................................................. 31
Doubling .........................................................................................................................32
Effect Section .....................................................................................................................32
Delay ............................................................................................................................... 33
Chorus ............................................................................................................................ 33
Reverb............................................................................................................................. 34
Master Volume ................................................................................................................... 34
MIDI Learn ........................................................................................................................... 34
Automation .........................................................................................................................35
MIDI Controllers .................................................................................................................35
Pitchbend .......................................................................................................................35
Modulation .....................................................................................................................35
Aftertouch ......................................................................................................................36
Expression .....................................................................................................................36
Sustain Pedal ................................................................................................................36
FAQ ....................................................................................................................................... 37
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Welcome to Virtual Guitarist IRON
We hope you will enjoy this powerful addition to your musical palette, and we
thank you for becoming a part of the UJAM community of music creators!
About the Virtual Guitarist series
The original Virtual Guitarist series was a best-selling virtual instrument
developed by Wizoo and distributed by Steinberg. The last version, Virtual
Guitarist 2, was discontinued in 2007.
Since then, people have been asking for a Virtual Guitarist 3.
In 2013, the core team behind the original Virtual Guitarist gathered again, and
finally it’s here. The new Virtual Guitarist is not just an evolution of the original. It
is a whole new generation of Virtual Guitarists, IRON being the first of them. With
an all-new concept and technology Virtual Guitarist instruments now offer vastly
expanded realism, musical and sonic capabilities with the same ease and speed
of use the legacy instruments were so famous for.
You and us
Virtual Guitarist IRON was built by musicians for musicians. We at UJAM are a
pretty diverse bunch – from DJ to guitarist to weekend producer to Oscar-
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
awarded Hollywood composer. We build every product for ourselves, and, like
you, we’re all users of Virtual Guitarist IRON too.
That means that before we even start developing, a lot of thought and discussion
goes into finding out what you, the user, will expect from the product, what
problem it solves, which controls we can remove to make the product more
inviting and simpler, which hurdles we can move out of the way between you and
a perfect track.
Virtual Guitarist IRON is optimized for one clear, powerful purpose: To produce
great-sounding guitar tracks without distracting you from the complex endeavor
that producing a song is.
We hope that Virtual Guitarist IRON transpires that philosophy in everything you
do with it.
Naturally, we’re always open to new ideas and critique, and you are always
encouraged and welcome to talk to us:
• Send us an email:
[email protected]
• Visit our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/vrtlguitarist
• Catch us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/vrtlguitarist/
Looking for quick help?
If you’re just looking to figure out something quick, there are three ways to get
there:
• The Interactive Overview is a screenshot of the user interface. Clicking on a
control there takes you straight to its explanation.
• The Quick Reference has super-short explanations for every control
• The Walkthrough is a guided tour where you’ll try every control on the Virtual
Guitarist IRON screen once – the quickest hands-on experience possible.
If you’re looking for in-depth explanations of all functions and controls, head
straight for the Reference Guide further down.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Interactive Overview
Clicking on any control on the image below will take you to the reference
explanation of this particular feature.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Quick Reference
Area
Parameter
Menu Bar
Preset
Explanation
Click name to open menu for browsing and loading a
new Virtual Guitarist IRON preset
Save
When editing a user preset, click to save your preset,
replacing the previous version.
Save as
Click to save your preset under a different name and optionally - assign a category. Edits to factory presets
can only be saved as user presets (factory presets
cannot be overwritten).
Bell icon
Will illuminate for notifications such as product updates.
Speech
bubble
About-Page – information about licensing status, portal
to other services such as website, this manual or product
support.
STYLE
Loads a Style (collection of 11 phrases, accessible via the
Style Phrases section of the keyboard) .
KEY
Allows you to set a fixed key, limiting the selection of
possible chords to that scale.
CHORD
Displays the chord currently selected by MIDI notes or
clicking a key in the Chords Range.
Common
Phrases
Keys in this area select generically useful phrases that
don’t change with the Style and can be combined with
Style Phrases.
Style
Phrases
Keys in this area select phrases of the currently selected
Style.
Chords
Latch
Playing in this area
When active, Virtual Guitarist IRON will keep playing
independently of keys held, until you deactivate Latch or
press the Stop Key.
Speed
Lets you switch the playback tempo to half, normal or
double time.
Swing
Controls syncopation (often also called Shuffle). Slide to
the right to syncopate off-beats.
Feel
Controls timing. Set to left of center for a “pushing” feel,
to the right for a laid-back (dragging) feel.
Style Bar
Interactive
Keyboard
Performance
Section
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Area
Parameter
GUITAR/AMP
THRUST
Explanation
A unique effect that adds sweeping harmonics to the
guitar signal as you turn the knob. Assigned to Aftertouch
by default.
GUITAR
Selects a guitar pickup setup, changing the guitar tone
(before amp).
AMP
Selects one of 5 amp/speaker combinations. Amp
settings are sorted from clean to heavily distorted.
DRIVE
Increases the overdrive level (amount of distortion) of the
guitar amp.
Drop D
Tunes the strings of the entire guitar down by two
semitones, which makes the guitar sound fatter at the
same pitch. The low range is extended down from E to D.
Doubling
Creates a drastically fuller and wider sound by adding a
second guitarist with a separate amp setup, and panning
both signals hard left and right.
Delay Mix
Delay Type
Dials the delay effect in.
Selects one of 6 guitar-typical delay types, ordered by
note resolution (delay repetition length).
Chorus
Adds a guitar-optimized Chorus effect. Turn clockwise to
increase rate and depth.
Reverb
Dials in a guitar-amp typical spring reverb.
Volume
Pitchbend
Wheel
Controls the master output volume.
Modulation
Wheel
Turn up to gradually add palm-muting. The maximum
position will produce dead notes.
GUITAR
MOD
Effect
Section
Wheels
Bends the overall pitch by ±2 semitones.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
What is Virtual Guitarist IRON?
Virtual Guitarist IRON is a software instrument doubling as a professional guitarist
in a music studio, with you being in the producer chair.
Virtual Guitarist vs. A Real Guitarist
If we denied the huge differences between a software and guitarist, you
shouldn’t trust us.
If you have all the money, time and patience in the world plus a recording studio
and a professional guitarist available, we would always recommend: Go for it!
But for most people, most of the time, that’s not the case:
• Maybe you have no access to a (professional) guitarist.
• Maybe you want to just work out ideas totally by yourself.
• Maybe you’re a guitarist but want to quickly lay down a track without the
hassle of setting up.
• Maybe you want to use MIDI-controlled guitar tracks as source material for
electronic manipulation.
In these and many others scenarios, Virtual Guitarist IRON is a great alternative
to the real thing.
What is “IRON” about?
Virtual Guitarist IRON focuses on Power Chords, the key ingredient of Metal, but
generically used for powerful sounding distorted rhythm tracks in almost every
genre of modern music.
Why so few controls?
We are all musicians and we know that the time for learning a user interface is
better spent making music.
Therefore, the user interface of Virtual Guitarist IRON is designed for maximum
ease of use and minimum distraction.
It is also fail-proof in that no matter how you set up the controls of Virtual
Guitarist IRON, the result will never be musically or technically wrong – without
sacrificing any creative freedom.
You can trust in the fact that tracks produced with Virtual Guitarist IRON are
realistic, professionally produced guitar tracks.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Trial and Authorization
We have designed the entire process of downloading, activating and authorizing
Virtual Guitarist IRON with a strong focus on simplicity. It’s important to us to
make it as easy as possible for you to get your hands on Virtual Guitarist IRON and make it your own if you like it.
Trying, Buying, Authorizing
We only want you to spend money if you’re absolutely happy with Virtual
Guitarist IRON. Therefore, we grant you a 30-day trial period, during which the
plugin will run without any limitation.
When opening Virtual Guitarist IRON during the trial period (or when clicking the
Authorize button in the menu bar), you will see this overlay which
• displays information about your trial status,
• provides a link to the Virtual Guitarist website where you can purchase a
permanent Virtual Guitarist IRON license after or during the trial period,
• allows you to enter your credentials and authorize Virtual Guitarist IRON once
you’ve purchased it.
Trial Screen
Where to put the Content
The actual guitar goodness of Virtual Guitarist IRON – the audio content - is
packed into a so-called blob file named VG_IRON.blob which is about 3 GB big.
You can keep the blob file anywhere you like (e.g. on a separate content drive).
During standard installation, it will be put into the following locations on your
main system drive:
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
OSX
/Library/Application Support/UJAM/IRON
Windows
/ProgramData/UJAM/IRON/
Installing to a different drive
If you wish to install the blob file onto a separate drive, you can set a different
content installation folder in the installer. Just click the “Change Install Location”
button in the “Installation Type” page of the Virtual Guitarist IRON installer and
point to your desired location. You can always change the location afterwards
(see below)
Changing the content location after installation
You can always move the VG_IRON.blob file after you have installed Virtual
Guitarist IRON:
• Move your file to the desired location (different folder or different drive)
• Launch your DAW and open Virtual Guitarist IRON. It will present you with a
dialog asking for the file location. Simply point to the new location of the
IRON.blob file – done.
Controller hardware for Virtual Guitarist IRON
Virtual Guitarist IRON requires MIDI note input for playing and recording musical
performances, and optionally Pitchbend, Modulation and Sustain Pedal data for
added realtime variation.
If you have a MIDI controller (keyboard), this will be the easiest and most
straightforward MIDI input method and it’s most fun as this way you control your
guitarist in realtime.
Of course you can also control Virtual Guitarist IRON by using MIDI step
sequencers or by entering MIDI notes manually into MIDI tracks.
For getting to know Virtual Guitarist IRON and for testing purposes, you can also
use the Interactive Keyboard in the top half of the Virtual Guitarist IRON window.
This works best with the Latch function enabled.
Native Instruments KONTROL integration
Virtual Guitarist IRON is fully NKS-compatible for superior integration with Native
Instruments KONTROL technology.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
This means that when using MASCHINE or any of the KONTROL-S keyboards,
Virtual Guitarist IRON will offer added functionality:
• Native Map: You can edit Virtual Guitarist IRONs parameters using the
controller knobs
• Light Guide: On KONTROL-S keyboards, LEDs with color codes matching the
Virtual Guitarist IRON user interface guide you to the Common and Style
ranges as well as the Chord range.
• You can browse Virtual Guitarist IRON presets in the Native Browser,
including categories.
Virtual Guitarist IRON in the KONTROL Browser
These features are available in the KONTROL Software as well as in all popular
DAWs that feature KONTROL integration, such as Ableton Live, Steinberg
Cubase/Nuendo and Apple Logic.
Start Playing!
Before we look at things in more depth, let’s first explore how to play Virtual
Guitarist IRON, as that may be all you need for now.
The top half of the Virtual Guitarist IRON window is dedicated to the guitarist’s
performance – in other words: How he plays. Here, you’ll find two musical core
aspects you can control: Phrasing and Notes. The Interactive Keyboard is split
between a Phrase Range (left) and a Chord Range (right).
The basic principle is simple:
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
• When you press keys from C4* upwards, Virtual Guitarist IRON will start
playing a phrase with the chord determined by the notes you play. When you
release the key(s), playback will stop.
• MIDI notes below C4 don’t represent musical keys but switches varying the
phrasing of your player in realtime. This is a powerful way of making your
performance more interesting and dynamic.
• By turning up the Modulation wheel, you can morph from normal to shorter to
dead notes – another powerful way of varying phrases.
If you know these things and can switch presets, you know all you need to start
producing with Virtual Guitarist IRON.
*C4 is one octave above middle C. The MIDI note number is 72. Some DAWs
refer to it as C5.
Walkthrough
Note: Keywords printed italic refer to parameter or section names you will also
find elsewhere in this manual.
If you’re pressed for time or if you already know the basic concepts behind
Virtual Guitarists, then this Walkthrough may be all you need for now, and you
can come back later to look up deeper explanations as you need them.
We will take a quick tour across all controls of Virtual Guitarist IRON. After this
you will have a good basic understanding of Virtual Guitarist IRON.
We assume you have Virtual Guitarist IRON opened in your DAW. Ideally you
have a MIDI controller connected, otherwise use the Interactive Keyboard.
Make a sound and learn about chords and key
• Play C4 or a higher note. Your guitarist will start playing. It will display the
current chord in the CHORD display which is part of the Style Bar above the
Interactive Keyboard in the upper half of the Virtual Guitarist IRON window.
The Interactive Keyboard also doubles as a display for the MIDI notes Virtual
Guitarist IRON is receiving. The keyboard is divided and properly labeled with
the functions of the corresponding note ranges.
• By playing more than one note, you can play different intervals and even
create melodic riffs.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
• Set the Key value in the Style Bar to D to force Virtual Guitarist IRON to play
only chords in the D scale. Set different keys playing the same notes. This will
change the chords played – watch the CHORD display too.
Try the presets
• At the top of the Virtual Guitarist IRON window you can load presets. A preset
is always a complete setting of Virtual Guitarist IRON, i.e. it will change the
performance as well as the guitar and amp sound. At this point, just go
through different presets and try different Style Phrases to get an impression
of the musical and sonic palette of Virtual Guitarist IRON.
Tell your player what to play
• Activate the Latch button right next to the Style Bar. Now Virtual Guitarist
IRON will keep playing even if you don’t hold a note. Let it keep playing.
• Now play a note in the correspondingly labeled Style Phrases range of the
keyboard, C3-B3. Go from C3 upwards and see how the phrasing gets more
intense. These are the phrases you can exchange by loading different Styles.
Let’s do just that now:
• Load different Styles using the STYLE menu to the left-hand side of the Style
Bar. You will notice that your guitarist masters a vast range of playing
techniques and musical genres.
• Now try keys in the C#1-B2 range, labeled Common Phrases. These phrases
will always be there no matter which Style you’ve loaded, and can be freely
combined with the Style phrases.
• Interrupt your player temporarily by holding the Silence key (C1). It will
continue when you play another note. Now stop your player by pressing or
clicking the Stop key (B2).
You can use the Silence key in Latch Off mode too to mute your phrase but keep
it running. This is different from lifting the key and playing it again as that will
restart the phrase.
More performance tweaking fun
• Keep Virtual Guitarist IRON playing and slowly turn up the Swing control right
next to the Interactive Keyboard. As you will notice, this will delay the offbeats until the phrasing resembles a ternary feel that is common in Swing
music (hence the name), often also called Shuffle or Groove depending on
your DAW.
• The Speed switch lets you set Virtual Guitarist IRON to half- or double time.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
• Now experiment with the Feel slider right next to the Swing control. It makes
subtle changes to the timing, creating a rushed or relaxed feel. Play a drum
loop along for better comparison.
Find your guitar sound
Now that you know your performer, let’s look at the bottom half of the Virtual
Guitarist IRON window. Here you set up your guitar, amp and effects.
• Set your player to Latch and keep playing while you tweak controls
• First, play with the GUITAR rotary switch. Notice how it changes the character
of the guitar sound and compare your impression with the knob labels.
Technically, the GUITAR control switches between different guitar pickups. The
pickup is an important element of the guitar sound.
• Now experiment with the @AMP rotary switch. In the real world, this would
require an engineer to frantically set up different guitar amps and speaker
cabinets per your request. Here, you just turn a knob.
• Notice how the amps sound heavier from Clean to Metal.
• Set the AMP rotary to Cream. Now turn the DRIVE control clockwise, starting
from the leftmost position. Notice how the sound gets more distorted.
• Play with different combinations of the GUITAR, AMP and DRIVE controls. This
way you get a good impression of the sonic range of Virtual Guitarist IRON.
Virtual Guitarist IRON features a built-in amp simulation replicating various
vintage tube amplifiers speaker cabinets. Advantage: The amp sound is not
baked into the guitar sound - you have full control over the amp sound, and the
complex interactions between guitar and amp are happening in real time as you
play.
More sound tweaking fun
• Hold D4 (any preset is fine) and activate Drop D at the bottom left of the
Virtual Guitarist IRON window. Notice how the phrase drops by an octave –
this is the so-called drop tuning that expands the note range by tuning the
strings of the guitar two semitones lower – on real guitars, it’s often the E
string only. This setting also fattens up the sound and works best with high
overdrive levels in the Crunch and Metal AMP settings.
• Keep playing a phrase and push the Doubling button. This adds a second
guitar player with a separate guitar and amp setup, and places both at the
outer positions of the stereo image, for a dramatically more vivid and powerful
sound.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Playing with the built-in effects
We strongly encourage you to use your go-to effects when perfecting your guitar
tracks. However, in order to save you time and create a more interesting range of
instantly accessible presets, we have included the three most important effects
right on board: Delay, Chorus and Reverb.
• Turn up the left Delay knob to dial in an Echo effect. To match the delay to
your song, use the right knob to selects the note resolution that works best for
your song’s timing and feel.
• Turn up the Chorus knob to add sweet modulation to the sound. It’s all a
matter of taste, but Chorus works best with lower DRIVE settings in the Clean
and Crisp AMP settings.
• The Reverb adds ambience to the guitar sound. The built-in effect is a springtype reverb that’s optimal for guitar. If you’re not using external plug-ins, you
should always dial in a tiny little reverb, otherwise the guitar sound might be
too dry and artificial.
Save the best for last
Maybe you’ve noticed that we have somehow ignored the THRUST knob so far.
This knob is a unique feature of Virtual Guitarist IRON. It adds harmonics to the
clean GUITAR sound that let you drastically alter the sound character.
• You can actually play with THRUST like with a pedal. Set the THRUST knob to
center position, and play with Aftertouch on your MIDI keyboard (or MIDI-learn
any other controller). Sounds great right? Thrust will be more obvious towards
the Metal AMP setting and at higher DRIVE values.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Reference Guide
In the following part of this user guide, every feature of Virtual Guitarist IRON will
be explained in depth.
Menu Bar
The top bar of the Virtual Guitarist IRON interface lets you load and save presets.
It also contains important management functions from checking your trial status
to contacting support.
Menu Bar
Loading Presets
Preset Browser
A preset in Virtual Guitarist IRON is a complete setting of the entire plug
including style selection and all control values. Here’s how you can switch
presets:
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
• Advance to the next preset by clicking one of the arrows left and right of the
PRESET name
• Click on the name of the current preset in the PRESET menu to open the
Preset Browser (see image above).
As you can see, the Preset Browser is a clean, organized list of presets,
categorized by simple musical terms.
Virtual Guitarist IRON ships with over 150 Factory Presets. Take your time
exploring them, as this is the quickest way of getting an overview of what Virtual
Guitarist IRON can do!
If you have freshly installed Virtual Guitarist IRON, there will be only Factory
Presets. User Presets will appear once you have saved your first own preset.
Save / Save as …
You can of course save your own Virtual Guitarist IRON presets. You can name
them and assign a category too.
“Save as …” Dialog
The difference between the Save and Save as … buttons:
• Save overwrites the preset with the changes you just made.
• Save as … lets you assign a name and a category, so does not replace the
current preset.
Factory Presets can only be saved using Save As …, they cannot be overwritten.
Moving, renaming and deleting presets
You can rename, move or delete presets directly in your operating system. You
will find Virtual Guitarist IRON presets in these folders:
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
OSX
Factory
Presets
/Library/Application Support/UJAM/IRON/Presets
User
Presets
/Users/USERNAME/Library/Application
Support/UJAM/IRON/Presets
Windows Factory
Presets
User
Presets
C:\ProgramData\UJAM\IRON\Presets
C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\UJAM\IRON\Presets
Bell icon – Notifications
When you launch Virtual Guitarist IRON, it will automatically check for updates. If
an update is available, the bell icon will be illuminated.
Clicking it will open a dialog that lets you choose whether you want to download
the update now or later.
Update Dialog
We built this mechanism to save you the pain of manually checking for updates
in order to stay current and stay current on the latest improvements of Virtual
Guitarist IRON.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Speech Bubble Icon – About Page
About Page
The About Page is the place for information about your version and licensing
status of Virtual Guitarist IRON. It is also a portal to other services:
• Visit Product Site takes you to virtualguitarist.com with regularly updated
news, videos, tutorials and other helpful stuff.
• Contact Support lets you report problems and ask questions.
• Read User Manual opens this document.
• Acknowledgments – the people behind Virtual Guitarist IRON.
• License Agreement – legalese stuff for gourmets.
Style Bar
In the Style Bar, you choose a STYLE (selection of phrases) and a KEY. It also
contains the CHORD display.
Style Bar
STYLE
A STYLE in Virtual Guitarist IRON is the counterpart to a particular phrasing style
that you ask your guitarist to play. Styles are the “rhythmic vocabulary” of Virtual
Guitarist IRON, which is why we have included 100 of them.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
You can select styles by either clicking the small arrows to skip to the
previous/next style, or by clicking the name of the current Style to bring up the
full list.
Style List
Every style is a set of eleven phrases that you can access via the Style Phrases
area of the Interactive or MIDI keyboard.
In most Styles, Phrases are ordered by intensity/density from left to right.
KEY
This parameter lets you define a Key (scale). With a pre-selected Key, Virtual
Guitarist IRON offers a reduced chord selection consisting only of chords that
work well in this key.
Key
played
Chord
C#
Eb
C
C
D
Csus4
D
Eb
F#
E
F
E
F
G#
G
Gsus4
G
Bb
A
Gsus4
A
B
Bb
B
Exemplary chord mapping for the key of C
Setting a key is useful if you want a simplified method of playing chords or if
you’re controlling Virtual Guitarist IRON from a non-keyboard controller and have
only so and so many pads or buttons assignable.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
CHORD
CHORD is not a parameter but a display. It shows the chord corresponding to the
keys you play (see also Fingering Scheme).
Low/High
For the note range between D4 and G5, the Chord display may show a Low or
High indicator. This happens when there a chord is available in two octaves (Low
and High). This is also affected by the Drop D status.
Chords available in only one octave will show no indicator.
Interactive Keyboard
The interactive keyboard is both a display of received MIDI notes and an actually
functional on-screen keyboard. The left side of the keyboard doesn’t make any
sound by itself. Here, you control the performance of the guitarist by switching
between 34 different phrases. 11 of these phrases are set by the style, the rest
are always available.
Interactive Keyboard
Common Phrases
The lower left of the MIDI keyboard (C#1 – B2) is reserved for a collection of socalled “Common Phrases”. These phrases are “hard-wired” and won’t change
with the STYLE selection.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Common Phrases complement the Style Phrases by phrasings that are more
generic and applicable to multiple contexts.
Phrases are what you make of them. Virtual Guitarist IRON lets you switch
phrases in realtime without interrupting the performance. That’s a great way to
create dynamic and interesting phrasings of your own. For example, insert
Common Phrase #14 every now and then for a beat to add accents, or lead from
a bridge to a chorus with a build-up.
Reference of Common Phrases
#
Group
MIDI note Description
Bars
C1
Silence (phrase keeps playing silently)
C#1
Single Note Vibrato
4
D1
Single Note Quarter
2
Eb1
Single Note Rhythm
2
E1
Long Chord
4
F1
Long Chord With Fill
1
F#1
Chord Rhythm 1
1
G1
Chord Rhythm 2
1
G#1
Chord Rhythm 3
1
9
A1
Chord Rhythm 16th
1
10
Bb
Muted 8th Accent
2
11
B1
Muted Rhythms C2
Muted 8th Acc 16th
2
Muted 8th Open
2
1
2
Single Notes
3
4
5
Long Chords
6
7
8
12
Chord Rhythms
13
C#2
Muted 16th Riding
2
14
D2
Muted 16th
2
Eb2
Off-Beats Reggae 2 & 4
1
E2
Off-Beats 8th
1
F2
Fill 16th
1
F#2
Fill 16th Slide
1
G2
Build-Up Open 8th
1
G#2
Build-Up Muted-Open
1
A2
Dead Notes 4th
2
Bb2
Dead Notes 16th
1
B2
Slide Down
1
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
Off-Beats
Fills
Build-ups
Dead Notes
23 Slide
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Style Phrases
Keys in this area select phrases of the currently selected Style.
Phrases in the Style Range start with the lowest density/intensity on C3 and get
more agitated as you move towards Bb3.
You could generally work your way through a song going from left (intro, verse)
to right (chorus), but of course this greatly depends on the style and your song.
Just know you always have 11 different rhythms plus the common phrases at your
immediate disposal.
The highest key of the Style Range - B3 – is the Stop key. In Latch mode,
pressing this key will stop playback (whereas the Silent Key - C1) will keep
playback going, just with an empty phrase.
Chord Range
Keys in the Chord range function like a regular musical keyboard: You start and
stop the guitarist’s performance and you determine the notes played. It’s like
playing keyboard, except that instead of notes you play rhythms.
Virtual Guitarist IRON creates a special kind of chords: Power Chords. These
sound like full chords, but don’t consist of three or more notes as usual. Power
Chords are two-note intervals that sound like chords because harmonics get
added by the distortion produced in the tube amp, creating the impression of full
chords.
Unlike other instruments, Virtual Guitarist IRON will almost* always play a twonote interval, no matter whether you play one or four notes. This is because three
or more notes - when sent through distortion – would sound mushy and often
unpleasant.
*almost … because there are single notes in selected styles.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
You can hear the original intervals clearly when you set the Amp to Clean and the
Drive control to minimum position.
Fingering scheme
The schematic on the next page shows you which intervals you can play with
Virtual Guitarist IRON.
Here’s how to read it:
• A black dot on the stylized keyboard means “required”, a grey dot means
“optional” (for example, if you use the MIDI file of a synth pad to control Virtual
Guitarist IRON)
• Chord displayed: The resulting musical chord as displayed by Virtual Guitarist
IRON
Performance Controls
Performance controls let you adjust the musical performance of Virtual Guitarist
IRON to your song’s feel and tempo.
Performance Controls
Latch
When Latch is activated, once you press a key in the Chord range, Virtual
Guitarist IRON will keep playing until you press the Stop key.
When Latch is off, Virtual Guitarist IRON only plays as long as you hold at least
one key in the Chord range. Latch is convenient when testing or setting up
sounds, and is more practical if you build a track by manually entering notes into
your MIDI track.
You can use an optional Sustain Pedal as a temporary Latch. Lifting the sustain
pedal unlatches any notes that are no longer held, even if the Latch switch is still
on.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
- 26 -
Virtual Guitarist IRON
Speed
The Speed switch lets you halve (0.5x) or double (2x) Virtual Guitarist IRONs
tempo relative to the song tempo.
th
nd
This way you can extend the style range to 4 - or 32 -note-based, or have
Virtual Guitarist IRON styles play at normal grooves even if you use extremely
low or high song tempi.
Swing
This function, often also called “Shuffle”, delays the off-beats. Virtual Guitarist
IRON will automatically switch the Swing resolution to 8th or 16th note depending
on the selected Style.
At maximum position, the off beat will have the same timing as the last note of a
triplet.
Use this control to match the timing of Virtual Guitarist IRON to a shuffled or
triplet-based song.
Not all phrases contain 8th or 16th note off-beats. In these cases the Swing
control has no effect.
Feel
You can tweak the feel of your guitarist’s performance either towards relaxed or
rushed using this control:
• As you move the slider to the left, the player will play off-beats slightly earlier,
leading to a rushed or driving feel.
• In the opposite direction, off-beats will be slightly delayed, creating a laidback or relaxed feel.
Feel has a stronger effect when listened to against other tracks. If you’re not
sure what it does, try playing a drum loop along with Virtual Guitarist IRON and
tweak the control. You will notice that the off-beats will play earlier or later than
the off-beat drums (usually Hi-Hats or snares) as you turn the control.
To create advanced doubling, create two instances of Virtual Guitarist IRON, pan
both extremely left and right, set different GUITAR and AMP settings and set the
FEEL slightly differently.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
GUITAR / AMP Section
GUITAR / AMP Section
This area is where you tweak the sound of guitar and amp. Virtual Guitarist IRON
offers a large range of sounds from twangy and clean to massively distorted
metal.
THRUST
The THRUST knob is a very unique feature of Virtual Guitarist IRON that lets you
change the sound in realtime. It adds a sense of boosted velocity and energy to
the sound – hence the name.
THRUST adds harmonics that increase in pitch as you turn the knob. In the real
world, these harmonics are created by a special playing technique and are
physical sub-vibrations of the guitar strings. While a real guitar would “skip” to
these harmonics, Thrust adds them.
The THRUST effect depends greatly on the settings of the GUITAR, AMP and
DRIVE controls – from a flanger-like effect in clean settings to very pronounced
harmonics at heavily distorted settings.
THRUST becomes even more interesting when you move the control during
playback. Thrust is assigned to the Aftertouch MIDI controller. Increasing
pressure to your keyboard “turn” the THRUST knob from it’s set position to
maximum.
Advanced tip: Press and hold the Stop key, then play chords while using the Stop
key for finer Aftertouch control.
Be aware that using THRUST in combination with odd intervals can lead to
clashing pitches. True to the nature of string harmonics, the harmonics added by
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
THRUST resemble third, fifth and octave intervals of the base note. If you set
THRUST to a fifth interval but play an augmented fifth, the result will sound
“interesting”, but not necessarily correct.
GUITAR
Electric guitars have one or more pickups – the electromagnetic parts that pick
up the vibrations of the strings and convert them into electric signals.
By choosing and combining pickups, guitarists have a lot of influence over the
characteristics of the guitar sound. Virtual Guitarist IRONs GUITAR parameter
offers you the four most suitable pickup combinations for power chord guitars:
Name
Pickup choice (technical)
What this really means
Twang
Single-coil pickup guitar with less mid
range, similar to a Telecaster or a
Stratocaster with two out-of-phase
pickups.
Bridge-pickup Stratocaster character with
a lot of bite and sharp upper mids.
“Glassy” character with welldefined treble. Use for clean or
only subtly crunched sounds
Bite
Soft
Warm neck pickup sound, very round.
Fat
Rock guitar with bridge Humbucker - lots
of power, lots of mids.
Works best with distorted amp
settings. For tracks you want to cut
through a mix.
For soft, non-aggressive sounds
with a fuller bass. Sounds better
with low-mid distortion.
For fat rock sounds or clean
sounds with powerful mids probably the most universal
setting.
Those descriptions provide just guidelines and technical info. We encourage you
to always try out all pickup positions for any given track.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
AMP
Virtual Guitarist IRON features a sophisticated guitar amp and speaker
simulation. In other words: The amp sound is not baked into the guitar
performance. Instead, as you play, the clean guitar signal is sent to an amp and
speaker where the final sound is produced. Not only does this give you full
control and flexibility over the sound, it also means that the complex interactions
between guitar and amp are produced in realtime for a dynamic and realistic
result.
The AMP knob 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:
Amp Setting
Character
Use...
Clean
California sound, crystalclear treble, 12" speaker
character - the sound those
tweed-covered amps are
legendary for.
For clean to subtly
overdriven sounds, very
dynamic.
Crisp
The amp for that bluesy
character. Class-A circuit,
very smooth transition from
clean to overdriven. 4 x 12"
cabinet.
When Clean is too clean and
Brit is too distorted - this
amp is perfect for hybrid
clean/overdriven sounds
that are so popular in Blues
styles.
Cream
The 60s/70s sound,
providing a large spectrum
from warm, mid-rich clean
sounds to the proverbial
creamy distortion. 2x12"
cabinet.
For mid-heavy power
sounds that are warm, yet
not too scratchy in the high
range.
Crunch
THE classic gold/black
British rock stack you still
see on stages all over the
world. Very "British"
distortion, raw, powerful
character. 4x12" cabinet.
For everything Rock from
the 70s until today.
Metal
Big rock stack pre-loaded
by a distortion pedal for a
fat distortion sound
For everything harder,
including Metal. Use “Drop
D” for extra evil (e.g. Nu
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
with
massive bass and less
mids. 4x12" cabinet.
Metal
DRIVE
The DRIVE knob adjusts the overdrive level of the tube amp.
Simply put: The lower the DRIVE setting, the cleaner, and the higher the DRIVE
setting, the more distorted the sound of Virtual Guitarist IRON.
The effect is very different depending on the AMP you've chosen. Naturally,
cleaner AMP settings such as Clean or Crisp will work better with lower Drive
settings, whereas Crunch or Metal benefit from a higher dose of clean signal.
Guitar Modes
The two knows underneath the THRUST control allow you to retune and
duplicate the guitar.
Drop D
Activating this button tunes the strings of the entire guitar down by two
semitones. This has two effects:
• You can play chords down to the low D.
• The guitar sound becomes fatter and less sharp as in the normal settings. In
combination with Metal and high Drive settings this helps creating typical fat
and evil sounds.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Doubling
Activate this button has the same effect as if two guitarist played your track at the
same time, with minimal variations.
Technically, Doubling adds a second guitarist with a separate amp setup and
places both at the outer positions of the stereo spectrum.
We recommend to use Doubling with care – it’s great to give more weight to
tracks that are a key foundation of your song. On the other hand, a mix gets
mushy pretty quick if you have 2 or 3 doubled guitar tracks playing at the same
time.
Two handy tips:
• To create the impression of two guitarists playing even differently, instead of
using Doubling set up two instances of Virtual Guitarist IRON with different
settings amp settings and pan positions, and pick different phrases for both.
• Add a single guitarist with a sharper sound and less distortion to a doubled
“wall of doom”, place it in the middle, EQ it slightly to attenuate high and low
frequencies but pronounce the mids around 2-3 kHz, and you have a very
effective way of controlling the presence of that guitar track in the mix by
adjusting the single track against the doubled one.
Effect Section
Effect Section
Virtual Guitarist IRON features three guitar-typical on-board effects. They provide
for a greater sonic palette and allow you to create presets that sound perfect “out
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
of the box” – because often you need that little reverb or delay for a particular
sound.
The onboard effects are not meant to replace dedicated plug-in or outboard
effect processors, and we encourage you to route Virtual Guitarist IRON into
external plugins or outboard gear if you need more advanced tweaking options.
Delay
Delay Section
The Delay effect in Virtual Guitarist IRON offers five different, guitar-optimized
th
th
stereo delay presets from 32 to 4 note resolution, as well as a mix control (left
knob).
From Slapback echoes (32th setting) to rhythmic duplication using the longer
resolutions – subtle delay adds width and ambience to Virtual Guitarist IRON
without adding too much wash to the mix.
Chorus
Adds a guitar-optimized Chorus effect. As you turn the knob, the chorus will go
from a subtle slow flanging to a fast, deep, almost ensemble-style effect.
Try the Chorus particularly for adding depth to cleaner or crunchy rhythms. Be
careful not to overdo it – there’s just a fine line between a nicely animated guitar
rhythm and a sticky mush of 80s kitsch.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
Reverb
Virtual Guitarist IRON onboard reverb is – deliberately - not a high-end cathedral
simulation. It is a so-called spring reverb (because in actual guitar amps metallic
springs create the reverberation) and has a nicely percussive and open character
to it that’s just perfect for guitar sounds. Turn up the knob for more reverb level.
Master Volume
The Volume knob adjusts the master output volume of Virtual Guitarist IRON.
Levels inside Virtual Guitarist IRON are usually auto-adjusted, so you will never
have to level-compensate for Doubling or switching amps, but you may want to
use this control to adjust the gain of Virtual Guitarist IRON before sending it into
subsequent audio processors or effect devices.
MIDI Learn
Using MIDI Learn, you can assign Virtual Guitarist IRON controls to controls on
your hardware keyboard that send MIDI controller data. To assign a control, you
usually right-click or ctrl-click a control in Virtual Guitarist IRON to open the MIDI
Learn context menu of your DAW.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
MIDI Learn Menu in Logic
Automation
All controls in Virtual Guitarist IRON can be automated. In combination with the
phrase select keys this is actually a very powerful way of creating more dynamic
performances. For example, automate Thrust and Drive with faders to create
dynamic transitions, or switch-automate Amp or Doubling to drastically change
the sound between song parts.
For instructions on how to activate Virtual Guitarist IRON parameters for
automation, please refer to your DAWs user guide.
MIDI Controllers
Unless you add more using MIDI Learn, Virtual Guitarist IRON supports the
following MIDI controllers:
Pitchbend
The Pitchbend controller (usually a wheel) lets you vary the pitch of Virtual
Guitarist IRON by ±2 semitones.
Modulation
Palm Muting is a powerful method for live-controlling the phrasing of Electric
Guitarist - Power Chords.
The Modulation controller (usually a wheel) controls the Palm Muting that your
guitarist applies to the performance.
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Virtual Guitarist IRON
In the Modulation 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 so-called “dead notes”.
You can add Palm Muting after the fact by recording a separate Mod Wheel
performance on top of your notes.
Aftertouch
Aftertouch lets you realtime-control Thrust. Pressing the key harder has the same
effect as turning up the Thrust knob.
Expression
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 fine-tuning performances.
Note that 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 control, 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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Virtual Guitarist IRON
FAQ
Q:
How does Virtual Guitarist IRON actually work?
A:
Virtual Guitarists are based on realtime performances on a real guitar by
a real musician, specially prepared using proprietary UJAM technology
for realtime playing and adjustment to tempo and other aspects.
Q:
Can I play melodies with Virtual Guitarist IRON?
A:
Virtual Guitarist IRON is a 100% dedicated rhythm guitarist. You can play
melodic themes in very limited ways by playing with intervals, and there
are styles with single notes. But it’s not a lead guitarist really.
Q
What are Power Chords?
A:
A chord, in music theory, is almost always a combination of three or four
notes. A Cmaj chord, for example, consists of the notes C, E and G.
Power Chords are – musically speaking – intervals that sound like chords
because the amp distortion adds “the missing” harmonics. Full chords
played on a guitar usually don’t sound good when distorted.
Q:
I have more questions! Where can I send them?
A:
Please send your questions to [email protected]! We will add
them here eventually!
- 37 -
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