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 AMBER. After this you will have a good basic understanding of the instrument and how to use it.
We assume you have Virtual Guitarist AMBER opened in your DAW. Ideally you have a MIDI controller connected, otherwise use the Interactive Keyboard.
The video below gives you a 6-minute walkthrough for your quick start into the Virtual Guitarist IRON.
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 AMBER window.
the functions of the corresponding note ranges.
- By playing more than one note, you can play more complex chords. Play C-E- G-B for example to play a Cmaj7 chord, or C-F-G for a Csus4. Virtual Guitarist AMBER will display the current chord in the CHORD display above the keyboard.
- Set the Key value in the Style Bar to D to force Virtual Guitarist AMBER 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 AMBER window you can load presets. A preset is always a complete setting of Virtual Guitarist AMBER, i.e. it will change the performance as well as the guitar and effects. At this point, just go through different presets to get an impression of the musical and sonic palette of Virtual Guitarist AMBER. Optionally, try different Style Phrases by additionally selecting keys in the C#1-Bb3 range.
Tell your player what to play
- Activate the Latch button right next to the Style Bar. Now Virtual Guitarist AMBER 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 (B3).
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 AMBER playing and slowly turn up the Swing control right next to the Interactive Keyboard. As you will notice, this will delay the off- beats 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 AMBER to half- or double time.
- 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
Let’s look at the bottom half of the Virtual Guitarist AMBER window. Here you set up your guitar, its sound character and effects.
- Set your player to LATCH and keep playing while you tweak controls
- First, play with the TONE rotary switch. Notice how it changes the character of
the guitar sound and compare your impression with the knob labels.
- Now experiment with the SOURCE rotary switch. It offers additional variety by letting you select between the more hollow, brilliant Mic (Microphone) and the dryer, more mid-oriented Pickup sound, as well as combinations of both.
- Now turn the SHIMMER control clockwise, starting from the leftmost position. Notice how the sound gets more “shiny”, or “glitzy.
- Play with different combinations of the TONE, SOURCE and SHIMMER controls. This way you get a good impression of the sonic range of Virtual Guitarist AMBER.
More sound tweaking fun
- Activate the Fret Noise button in the bottom left area of Virtual Guitarist AMBER. Now, when you switch between chords, you will hear characteristic fret noises that occur when fingers slide across the fretboard.
- Right next you’ll find Low Tune. It tunes the strings of the guitar (not your actual notes played) down by two semitones. If you play the note D4 and push the Low Tune button, you’ll notice it extends the note range to the lower D.
- Keep playing and push the Doubling button. This adds a second guitar player and places both at the outer positions of the stereo image for a dramatically more vivid and powerful sound. This works particularly well in scenarios where you use a lot of high frequencies from Virtual Guitarist AMBER.
Playing with the built-in effects
We strongly encourage you to use your go-to audio processing tools 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 select the note resolution that works best for your song’s timing and feel.
- Turn up the Chorus knob to add sweet animation and depth to the sound.
- The Reverb adds the ambience of a studio recording room to the guitar sound. If you’re not using external plug-ins, you should always dial in a little reverb, otherwise the guitar sound might be too dry and artificial.
Adjust the guitar sound in realtime
You may have noticed that we haven’t looked at the POSITION knob yet. It’s a very special feature that lets you change the position of the strumming hand, like on a real guitar you’d move between soundhole and bridge. Turn the knob to the left and right, and notice how the character changes. The neutral position of the knob is center.