As a life long guitar player who has slowly drifted into ambient composition, my natural tendency is to take a guitar and then “unguitar” it- whether with pedals, in the DAW, or by some other means. Aside from pedals like the Infinite Jets, Tensor, CT5, etc, what are some of your favorite ways to take a guitar and make it do unconventional things? I don’t own a Norns yet, but it’s the next item on my list for just this reason. Ok, fire away!
I’m a guitarist who went piano but still at heart a guitarist. To be honest, my main approach here is with effects pedals, of which I have too many. Favourites being the Eventide H9 (and various individuals), Strymon, Chase Bliss, Industrial Electric, Catalinbread, etc. All of this you know.
I think the big game changer is going to a modeller. I use an AX8 personally but all the recent ones are good. Once I when ITB so to speak with the guitar it opened up a ton of possibilities for using the software toys we use for everything else. Running Ableton, some form of control and all the crazy VSTs you can shake a stick at while still having the option of a great standard guitar sound and all without an amp or mic in sight has been crazy.
I have not fully explored this yet and I too want a norns, which is on my list. I would say you can experiment (or even stick with forever) a full software modeller as well. There are many that do it as good as the hardware.
Sampling and resampling! So whatever tool at hand. Norns with MLR, Cranes or Glut are very powerful. I also enjoy just recording stuff into Ableton, process the shit out of it, freeze/flatten or resample, and then cut out the parts that sounds «too guitar-y». I like to use Simpler to play back segments. A cool trick with the Grid is to use Simpler and the Polygome M4L in tandem. Re:mix is another fantastic M4L tool.
I have yet to try it yet, but I’ve heard it’s interesting using guitar to play other modules via Ears. You can essentially use the guitar input as a trigger or envelope.
A mini skiff specifically for processing guitar is swimming around in my mind. Something like Adventure Audio Merge>Clouds>Magneto>_______?
Will give this a shot. Many thanks!
I’ve occasionally enjoyed doing Sonic Youthful prepared guitar type stuff, i.e. drumstick between neck and strings, using a screwdriver as a simultaneous bow/slide, etc. It’s pretty fun and best of all requires no financial commitment.
These are excellent thoughts (as always). I’ve been using a Universal Audio OX to track guitar on my current recording project, and it has certainly made it so much easier to get a track laid down (that can then be mangled) without waking the kiddo. I think what fascinated me about MLR is the rhythmic nature of it. Can’t wait to play with that- I might not come out of the cave for a while
This is excellent! I keep seeing people bowing the strings as well. Will probably give both of these ideas a shot tonight now that it’s on my mind!
I just got my first few modules a few months ago and I got them specifically as fx units, for guitar and other sound sources, honestly one of the best decisions that I have made.
I also still use a lot of vcv rack with ableton, and even just with that you can get a lot of cool results.
I also use a pitch to MIDI converter which then allows me to turn a guitar signal into CV/gate to trigger modules like rings, then I take the audio with rings and blend it with the original guitar signal, it all works in real time and you can get some reaaally cool sounds.
obligatory video (in jest or maybe not at all)
I’m hearing you. I love the immediacy of playing guitar.
A couple of approaches that work for me are a Roland GM-70 to convert to MIDI and an elaborate effects chain that uses a compressor triggered by a drum machine.
Both are being used in this video: https://youtu.be/7szBJM1KHOw
I also like using Valhalla’s Shimmer reverb in postproduction to generate a big ambient-style pad sound.
One other idea is to allow nature to play the guitar. I was introduced to this by Garlo at ventdeguitares.com and recorded this guitar tuned to Em being played by passing traffic and then a rain shower.
I get a lot of mileage out of somewhat more conventional pedals but with a lot of alternate routing. I have a 4x4 matrix mixer that I use to route between a lot of signal paths that are usually like: auto-swell->fuzz->wah, delay->delay, a few cassette tape recorders running into each other, giving them all some feedback to themselves, and then out at the end. Helps too to have some ABY things at the beginning of each chain to add other sounds/instruments. I usually have my iPad in there somewhere too.
Stop putting ideas in my head!
Ahh the OX, lucky you, been eyeing one for ages and I am generally a big UA fan, been using the Apollo since first gen.
So you are running at the end of the chain, in through that or in through and re-amp back out for the results? So many possibilities.
At the end of the chain. Essentially, I’m using it to track all of the guitars on this record through my guitar amps at my house without waking my family (I work on this stuff at night and early in the mornings). My home studio is not a great acoustic environment, and I don’t own any nice microphones. So the OX has been the perfect solution for tracking guitars at home and getting great tube amp tone.
That being said, I am super intrigued by the idea of re-amping various software instruments through the AC15/OX just to see what happens (mostly by letting instruments like the Una Corda, which I love, smack into some stompboxes!). A reamp box is on my list!
Mind blown w/r/t that Poison Waterholes video!
I am totally unfamiliar with 4x4 matrix mixers, and see a google click hole in my near future.
I’ve been contemplating some of these to use with my Linnstrument.