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Orchestrating from guitar

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Charles Roe, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. Does anyone else do this, and if so any suggestions. I often find that what sounds good on the guitar doesn't often sound good orchestrated using the same voicings. Sometimes I'll work it out on piano, and go from there, but that adds more time to the process.

    Anyone else have any experience with this, and any suggestions? Thanks.
  2. I'd say that you shouldn't take a naturally-out-of-tune instrument with very limited possibilties of playable voicings and hoping to give it to an orchestra without any change.

    My advice : play piano. It's better, far better.
  3. I honestly haven't figured out a way to do this. I also don't think it's a coincidence that many top guitar players use a piano to orchestrate accompaniment, or otherwise just write on piano and add guitar later. It's non-linear and shape-restrictive. You typically play whatever your tuning makes efficient, and rely on open string usage. I just learned piano -- you really don't need to be overly proficient.
  4. I play both, but I'm more proficient on the guitar. I tend to compose on both. Besides, guitar is sexier. Mike even says so in one of the master classes, but obviously not as versatile with it's range or voicing capability.
  5. hard to write closed voicing on guitar with the same agility.

    and you're more likely to write something that is comfortable more than sounds good. I have attempted to track using a guitar + melodyne... sucked lol
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  6. I've tried and failed to set something like that up multiple times in the past too. But you know what? I tried again with reatune and feeding that into two metropolis ark strings portato long patches (low and high) with some octave doubling on the midi, and I actually can see this being more useful to me for writing monophonic melodies, than my keyboard is. It's janky and laggy as hell, but that doesn't change the fact that playing such a melody on my guitar is still orders of magnitude easier and more intuitive to me and I don't fall into the trap of only using white keys, because it's easier for me because I can't really "play" keyboard. Surely beats entering notes with the mouse to experiment with melodies...
    I've found it works better with medium pitches, so rather than use the low strings for low notes, just midi transpose everything down and play higher.
    But if you actually can play piano/keyboard, keep using that! You're better off 100%, no doubt. It's just that I can only play a bit of guitar and nothing else really.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  7. #7 Kyle Judkins, Jul 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    not to sound defeatist, but you're only delaying the inevitable... keyboards aren't laggy - that's a setup issue.

    playing white keys and transposing is the same thing

    and you have a free hand to use controllers.

    if you can't do any of that, then write it by hand and draw the midi.

    if you can't use a keyboard, and can't actually write music-just want fancy sounds that aren't guitar, then you might as well just pay someone else to write accompaniment tracks.

    you can slow down and quantize/edit to the grid all you need to - but not using a keyboard is going to be pointlessly difficult. If you can't write without an instrument atleast part of the way you probably aren't ready for orchestration in general...

    come up with an idea on guitar if you want and get fast at drawing the midi in? If you can't read music, or dont know what notes you're playing ok the guitar well enough to quickly be able to translate it to paper, then you should rewind to some beginner stuff.

    might seem counter intuitive if you've played guitar for a long time, but writing orchestral music vs riffing on a guitar is like riding a bicycle vs taking a shuttle to space. If your foundations aren't rock solid, everything you try to learn wont stick
  8. I meant the setup of guitar -> reatune -> midi -> kontakt

    That can't be made latency free because you need a time window to detect a pitch from the audio frequency of the guitar signal.

    My keyboard doesn't lag, it's just one of those mini key ones because I don't have the space to have a full sized one on my desk, because for my day job I need to have a Wacom tablet there at all times and I don't want to move a full sized keyboard around. I tried that before, I'd rather go 100% mouse and keyboard.

    That's what I've mostly been doing so far. And I do have the goal to get better at that too. But I see no harm in trying something unconventional once in a while. Like how is this worse than singing a melody (which I also can't do)?

    I feel like you missed my point, but that's fine. If you can play keyboard it's the better solution for you, no doubt, I already said that.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  9. Singing a melody helps a lot because you can do it with no hands - while also playing chords or accompaniment at the same time. Still just singing a melody... if you could only sing - the advice would be the same, get better at piano. A singer trying to compose only using the voice to come up with parts is probably worse than guitar because you'd have to manually sing in each part to even have an idea if it's working or not.

    maybe something like the linnstrument would help you? It's small, from what it looks like(I don't have one, or know a whole lot about it) it's set up in chromatic rows and goes up by 4ths(like guitar strings). I imagine if you got creative you could play it guitar like with the land hand
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  10. I think writing single-line melodies on guitar is a fine idea. It's closer in timbre and sustain than a keyboard is capable of, and you can do things like portamento slides (sort of) that you can't do on piano. Doesn't mean piano is inferior, but I see nothing wrong with writing melodies on guitar especially if intuitive.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  11. I doubt it, based on me having tried a steinberg cmc-pd 4x4 button pad controller, and I'm not gonna drop the 1k+ $ for the Linnstrument, but I appreciate the suggestion. Thanks!

    Yeah, I was surprised how well that even worked on the midi conversion side, just using that totally-not-meant-for-portamento portato string patch.
  12. Hi Charles,
    check this out

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