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Welcome! I created this Kickstarter project to bring GuitarMonics, SoundCues' first virtual instrument, to life!
Welcome! I created this Kickstarter project to bring GuitarMonics, SoundCues' first virtual instrument, to life!
118 backers pledged $8,045 to help bring this project to life.

About

GuitarMonics: The First Virtual Instrument From SoundCues project video thumbnail
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$8,045

118

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What is SoundCues?

SoundCues, LLC is a new company that I formed in 2013 to begin bringing cool new virtual instrument products to market for composers and musicians around the world.

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What Is GuitarMonics?

GuitarMonics is a virtual instrument built for Native Instruments' Kontakt sample software (version 4.24 and higher) created with only the natural harmonic notes that can be produced by a guitar, spread across a 4-octave range. Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and electric bass guitar versions will be sold separately as well as a bundle at release by April, 2014.

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What Is A Virtual Instrument?

Here is a quick video I created illustrating the basic idea of what a virtual instrument is, and how it can be created from a real instrument:

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Every day, composers who write music for film, television and video games typically start the process with their computers using software products called virtual instruments. As mentioned in the video, they can be representations of real instruments such as guitars, pianos, orchestral string sections, etc. that sound extremely convincing, and many times are used in final music deliveries in place of live instruments.

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GuitarMonics Video Demo

Here is a brief video example that I put together showcasing two instances of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument (acoustic and electric guitar versions). The only additional thing outside the natural sound of these products being used here is a delay plug-in I set up to achieve the syncopated rhythm:

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Demo Tunes Featuring GuitarMonics

Here are a few music demos featuring the GuitarMonics virtual instrument:

GuitarMonics Demo - composed by Mark MacBride

Target Of Interest - composed by Jeff Broadbent

Green Meadows - composed by Inon Zur

GuitarMonics Demo - composed by Neal Acree

Christmas In Conway - composed by Geoff Zanelli (a pre-release version of GuitarMonics was used in music written for the Hallmark Hall of Fame television special, Christmas In Conway, which aired December 1, 2013 on ABC).

Out There - composed by Assaf Rinde (full mix)

Out There - composed by Assaf Rinde (GuitarMonics-only mix)

Grande Valse Brillante - composed by Frédéric Chopin

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What Will This Project's Funding Goal Cover?

With this being the first product I am bringing to market, there are many steps that must be completed for release, which include:

First and foremost, the Continuata service setup for electronic delivery / watermarking in efforts to reduce piracy.

The remaining recording, editing, noise-reduction, and mastering of the audio necessary for completion (specifically the amp version of the electric guitar and entire DI / amp electric bass guitar).

Also, it covers additional artwork creation and some advertising costs.

Finally, the printing & shipping costs for the reward tiers for the shirts, hoodies, and jackets.

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Where Do The Additional Funds Go If The Goal Is Exceeded?

In the fortunate event the project's funding exceeds the original goal, extra money will go 100% towards the development of future SoundCues products and business operations, including (but not limited to):

Future recording sessions (musicians, studio, engineer, and/or remote facility rental costs).

Instrument purchases or rentals for sampling.

Additional advertising / promotion around the web and at industry trade shows / conferences.

Registering trademarks of company and product logos.

Additional / upgraded recording and computer hardware and software.

Editorial, noise reduction, and software programming services.

I have also been giving Stretch Goals some thought as well. One idea is to include a post-release free update for the 3-instrument GuitarMonics bundle that includes a 12-string electric guitar, and possibly a 12-string acoustic as well. Let's see how the project goes!

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The Audio-Centric Details (Non-audio / music professionals can skip this section unless truly interested in the nitty-gritty details of the virtual instrument)

What Is GuitarMonics...Exactly?

I'll start with the original concept I had for this: having been a guitar player for years, I always thought that finding an efficient way of playing the instrument's open-string harmonics across a multi-octave range would make for a great sound, effectively becoming a unique instrument in it's own right.

Normally, there are only a handful of strong, natural open-string harmonics per string which makes it difficult to play whatever notes you like during a performance without resorting to pinch artificial harmonics or multi-fingered right / left hand technique that requires quite a bit of practice.

All 3 GuitarMonics virtual instruments loaded up in Native Instruments' sampler software, Kontakt.
All 3 GuitarMonics virtual instruments loaded up in Native Instruments' sampler software, Kontakt.

The GuitarMonics virtual instrument is actually 3 individual instruments which will be sold separately and combined as a package specifically for use with (arguably) the most popular sample software out there - Native Instruments' Kontakt (version 4.24 and higher).

There are 3 dynamic levels recorded with 5x round robin (any one of 5 variations will play every time the note is pressed), resulting in a natural, organic sound when quick repetitions are played.

They are:

1) Electric Guitar (clean stereo amp & mono DI versions for amp simulation flexibility, multiple pickup selections)

2) Acoustic Guitar (stereo)

3) Electric Bass Guitar (clean stereo amp & mono DI versions for amp simulation flexibility, multiple pickup selections).

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The Recording Details, Gear Used, & Tech Specs

I carefully recorded these instruments' harmonics, using only brand new sets of open strings for maximum decay, re-tuning each string in half-steps as I went, to achieve a nearly-chromatic sampling of a 4-octave note range. This was mapped across the keyboard from C2 to C6 (the actual notes range from C3 to C7, but those octaves are less-convenient for keyboard-based composers to use). The 4-string bass will be lower in pitch, of course, with less of a range.

The Ibanez 540R electric guitar and Lakland Skyline 44-60 electric bass were both recorded direct with a Studio Projects VTB1 DI preamp with amp simulator software & hardware in mind (e.g., Guitar Rig and Axe-FX), offering greater flexibility for the composer's palette. These mono DI samples were then re-amped & re-recorded through a Star NOVA 5-watt Class A tube amplifier for a clean, stereo amp version.

The Martin DM acoustic guitar was recorded in stereo at StudioWest by Grammy-nominated engineer, Kellogg Boynton IV, to Avid Pro Tools HD 10 at 32-bit float / 192kHz using a spaced pair of Audio-Technica AT4050 microphones (cardioid pattern) via two 500-series Shadow Hills Mono GAMA preamps (using the Nickel transformer setting).

All noise reduction was meticulously performed within iZotope RX2.

Detailed, sample-level editing was performed within Sony Sound Forge Pro 10 and Audacity.

All mastering (and DI recording) was performed in 64-bit Steinberg Nuendo 5.5.6 at 32-bit float / 96kHz with RME audio hardware and KRK monitoring.

All stereo instrument patches are perfectly phase-aligned and will collapse seamlessly to mono, if desired.

The virtual instrument's final resolution is 24-bit / 48kHz.

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Risks and challenges

With the virtual instrument itself already about 3/5ths completed, there is very little risk remaining to be concerned about as far as the product side of things is concerned. Shooting for an April 2014 release.

Once funded, I will continue working on the Amp version of the electric guitar instrument and starting the electric bass guitar recording / editing / denoising / scripting shortly thereafter.

In addition to that, I will proceed with setting up the Continuata watermarking / delivery back-end and get that integrated into my store on the website. The website itself is still under development, and is currently scheduled to be completed and come fully online in March / early April.

Also, I will be placing the order for the SoundCues apparel that accompanies the reward tiers. This process (once I finalize the designs) is an average of a 7-10 day turnaround, which should fall right into place (if not a bit early) for a May 2014 shipment.

Since finishing up the virtual instrument itself is looking to be right on track, getting these other moving parts into place so they all come together at once is the main risk I am concerned about. That said, all parties know their roles, and will be executing on my mark just as soon as things are funded!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU! With a minimum pledge of just $1, I thank you for contributing to the release of this first virtual instrument from SoundCues.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    GUITARMONICS SOLO PRE-ORDER - PICK ONE! By pledging $25, you will receive ONE copy of 1 of the 3 individual instruments of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). Please note with your pledge which instrument you would like delivered: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, or Electric Bass guitar.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SOUNDCUES T-SHIRT! By pledging $35, you will receive ONE custom screen-printed SoundCues T-Shirt (includes US shipping). In addition, ONE copy of 1 of the 3 individual instruments of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). Please note with your pledge which instrument you would like delivered: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, or Electric Bass Guitar.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    GUITARMONICS BUNDLE PRE-ORDER! With a pledge of $50, you will receive what is essentially a pre-order of the complete GuitarMonics 3-instrument bundle containing the Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Electric Bass Guitar for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). You will also receive ONE SoundCues T-Shirt (includes US shipping)!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    GUITARMONICS DOUBLE-DIP! By pledging $80, you will receive TWO copies of the complete 3-instrument bundle of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). This is a great option for composers that have an assistant or secondary computer that may require similar virtual instrument setups for across them for session compatibility. In addition, you will also receive TWO SoundCues T-Shirts (includes US shipping)!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SOUNDCUES HOODIE! By pledging $100, you will receive ONE custom screen-printed SoundCues Hooded Sweatshirt (includes US shipping). In addition, TWO copies of the complete 3-instrument bundle of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). If desired, the Hoodie can also be converted to THREE SoundCues T-Shirts (includes US shipping)!

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    LET'S CHAT! Are you interested in sound design? What about sample library creation? By pledging $175, I will offer personalized feedback on a sound design demo you're working on or discuss anything regarding video game sound / sample library / audio-related you'd like, by phone (US residents only) or email. In addition, TWO copies of the complete 3-instrument bundle of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not be available for the free Kontakt Player). In addition, you'll receive THREE SoundCues T-Shirts or ONE Hoodie (includes US shipping); your choice!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    IN MEMORIAM! By pledging $250, your name will be emblazoned on a SPECIAL THANKS page within the virtual instrument's PDF manual, immortalized for all to see, showing that YOU helped bring this project to life. In addition, TWO copies of the complete 3-instrument bundle of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not available for the free Kontakt Player). In addition, you'll receive either FOUR SoundCues T-Shirts or TWO Hoodies (includes US shipping); your choice!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SOUNDCUES JACKET! By pledging $500, you will receive a custom SoundCues jacket with "ELITE PRODUCER" emblazoned on it, to the awe of your friends and family (includes US shipping). This will let everyone know that you contributed greatly to the first product release from SoundCues! In addition, TWO copies of the complete 3-instrument bundle of the GuitarMonics virtual instrument for Kontakt 4.24+ (not be available for the free Kontakt Player). Finally, your name will be emblazoned on a SPECIAL THANKS page within the virtual instrument's PDF manual, immortalized for all to see, showing that YOU helped bring this project to life. If desired, this tier's apparel can also be converted to SIX SoundCues T-Shirts or FOUR Hoodies (includes US shipping); your choice!

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Funding period

- (30 days)