MAKING STRUMMED ACOUSTIC 2

STRUMMED ACOUSTIC 2 is the result of the second collaboration between Native Instruments and drumasonic, the instrument developers behind the original STRUMMED ACOUSTIC.

Here, Samuel and Daniel from drumasonic explain how they and the Native Instruments sound design team took this second edition in the SESSION GUITARIST series from the drawing board to your DAW.

A NEW SOUND

“When it came to designing Strummed Acoustic 2, we wanted to incorporate a wider variety of musical genres and expand the emotional spectrum. With the original Strummed Acoustic, we tried to make everything perfect, so it sounds very clean and modern. This time we wanted a more rugged sound, something with the feel of classic records of the past.”

THE GUITARS

“We recorded and blind tested dozens of instruments. For the 6-string guitar we eventually chose a Martin O-17 model from 1934. It’s much smaller than the Martin D-28 sampled for the first Strummed Acoustic and its sound is more intimate. We found its age had really given it a rounded and soulful sound, but it turns into a beast when hit harder.

For the 12-string we chose the Guild F412 and we were lucky to find a really outstanding model. It’s a truly iconic instrument, used by a lot of bands in the 70s and 80s. Its rich and open sound works really well with a lot of musical styles.”

GET RHYTHMS

“To choose the content for the library, we did sessions with a lot of different guitarists and built a huge pool of hundreds of patterns across a wide range of styles, old and new. For extra versatility, we also introduced new playing styles like arpeggios, single notes, powerchords and Separate Bass patterns, which weren’t in the original product. These required enhancements to the playback engine in KONTAKT. But overall, we approached the selection process with the mindset of songwriters – rating potential patterns on their emotional impact and constantly trying out those patterns in songs.”

THE SESSIONS

“For the recording sessions, we teamed up with three different guitarists – each brought a fresh perspective and lots of great input. We focused on staying in the creative spirit as we wanted every recording to have the feel of a real take on a real track. So we would always warm up with a jam, and instead of recording to clicktrack, we used various drum tracks to help the guitarists perform each pattern with a distinct attitude. It makes sense that the more musicality goes into the recordings, the more comes out in the final product.

Recording lasted around 6 months, so consistency was all-important. To make sure everything stayed in place, we updated the custom suspension rig we developed for the first Strummed Acoustic. We tried about 10 sets of strings and about 30 different mics through four different preamps. There’s no set recipe, but we strongly endorse the old school approach of finding the best possible mic placement before resorting to EQ. In the end we spent an entire week on the sound check for each guitar.

We finally decided to use just two microphones for each guitar. The Martin O-17 was recorded through a vintage Gefell UM70 large membrane condenser mic and a Schoeps cm 060. For the Guild F412 we chose a Schoeps 211b small diaphragm condenser and an AEA R84 Ribbon Mic. The preamp was an SPL Gain Station 8 and the tubes were driven quite hot to create a bit of edge and dirt for the Martin Guitar. The 12-String was recorded without the tube stage to allow for a more transparent sound.“

FINAL NOTES

"We hope that Strummed Acoustic 2 will help producers create emotionally and dramatically compelling tracks. What really sets it apart is the unique “musical” backbone: we developed complex software algorithms which automatically take care of many details like smooth transitions, authentic sounding stops, fret noises and many other things. It’s the result of meticulously analyzing performances on real acoustic instruments and then emulating them in the most natural sounding way. As a team, we really went the extra mile to take care of the details, which deliver those touches of realism and authenticity that make all the difference.”

ABOUT DRUMASONIC

drumasonic is Daniel Scholz and Samuel Dalferth. SESSION GUITARIST – STRUMMED ACOUSTIC 2 is their second collaboration with Native Instruments after creating the first STRUMMED ACOUSTIC in 2015 and previous years of experience producing their sought-after drumasonic drum libraries.

DANIEL SCHOLZ

Having studied computer science, music theory, ear training and piano, Daniel Scholz works as a teacher at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich, Germany. As a producer, mix engineer, songwriter, and pianist, he has worked with many artists, covering rock, pop, jazz, and acoustic genres. Daniel is the founder, developer, and programmer of the drumasonic virtual drums software and the winner of the 2014 Pensado Break Thru Mixer Award.

SAMUEL DALFERTH

Samuel Dalferth studied violin, music production, and composition for film and television in Germany. His work as a composer and sound engineer is in high demand worldwide, ranging from award-winning jazz musicians to Hollywood composers. He shares his extraordinary approach to sound engineering in university lectures and as a regular contributor to major music technology magazines. Samuel joined the drumasonic team as a co-developer in 2010.

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