Logic Pro X: Stringed instrument programming examples

Stringed instrument programming examples

The tasks outlined in this section provide programming guidelines, tips, tricks, and information to assist you in creating stringed instrument sounds in Sculpture.

Create a bass sound

  1. Load the #default (or your vanilla) setting file.

  2. Choose the +1 Oct. parameter from the Transpose pop-up menu at the top of the interface, and play a few notes around C2.

    The general color of an acoustic bass is already there

  3. You can certainly drag the ball on the Material Pad toward the Nylon corner, but first choose Pick from the Object 1 Type pop-up menu.

  4. Play your keyboard, and adjust the ball position while doing so.

  5. Take a look at the Strength, Variation, Timbre, and VeloSens parameters of Object 1, and adjust each in turn, to taste.

  6. You may also want to adjust the amplitude envelope Release parameter (the vertical R slider in the section to the right of the circular Material Pad).

  7. To make your bass more woody, adjust Object 1 pickup position toward the right (drag the #1 slider in the Pickup section, which is at the left side of the interface). At extreme positions (the left or right end), you’ll find that the bottom end of your bass is lost. Try it out.

  8. Adjust the position of Pickup A and Pickup B by dragging the horizontal sliders. As you’ll hear, you can quickly recreate a picked acoustic or electric bass sound.

  9. To instantly make the sound a hybrid (or full-on) synthesizer bass, click the Waveshaper button (directly above the circular Material Pad and choose one of the types from the Type pop-up menu above the button.

  10. Choose Save Setting As from the Settings pop-up menu and save your settings with new names as you go.

You’ll probably come up with several new sounds in just a few minutes. Each of these can be used as is, or as templates for future bass sounds you create.

Create a guitar sound

Guitar, lute, mandolin, and other plucked-type instruments, including harps, can be created from this basic setting.

  1. Load the #default (or your vanilla) setting file.

  2. Set the Voices parameter to a value of 6—there are only six strings on a guitar. Obviously, pick 7 for a banjo, or as many as possible for a harp.

  3. Set Object 1 type to Impulse, if not already chosen.

  4. Activate Object 2 and set its type to Pick.

  5. Move Pickup A position to the extreme right.

  6. Move Object 2 Pickup position to a value of 0.14.

  7. Activate the Body EQ, and select one of the Guitar models.

  8. Adjust the various Body EQ parameters. These have a major impact on the overall brightness and tone of your guitar sound. (Try Model Guitar 2, Intensity 0.46, Shift 0.38, and Stretch 0.20, for example.)

  9. Set Fine Structure to a value of around 0.30 to 0.35—let your ears be the judge.

  10. Drag the Spread Pickup semicircle vertically to increase the perception of stereo width (a value around the 10 o’clock/2 o’clock mark is nice).

  11. Activate the Filter, and select Lo Pass mode.

  12. Adjust the Cutoff and Resonance parameters to taste (try both at 0.81).

  13. Adjust the Tension Mod slider upward, and play the keyboard to see how the momentary detuning effect caused by this parameter affects the sound. Set it to an appropriate amount.

  14. Set the Level Limiter mode to “both.”

  15. Choose Save Setting As from the Settings pop-up menu and save the setting with a new name.

You may notice that a different approach was taken in the creation of this setting. The reason for this is the major impact that the Body EQ model has on the sound. In some cases, like this one, it may be better to work slightly out of sequence, rather than to strictly follow the signal flow.

Create other guitar-like sounds

Do any of the following:

  • Adjust the Object Strength, Variation, and Timbre parameters.

  • Reposition the Material Pad ball to create a completely different tone to your guitar.

  • Use Delay or Vibrato to emulate the double-strike picking of mandolins.

Create a solo string sound

Solo stringed instruments that are played with a bow, such as violins and cellos, can be created in much the same way. This sound can also be played polyphonically.

  1. Load the #default (or your vanilla) setting file.

  2. Set Transpose to −1 Oct.

  3. Set Object 1 type to Bow.

  4. Play the lower half of your MIDI keyboard, and you’ll hear a viola/cello-like sound, which could obviously be improved.

  5. Set the Object 1 Velosens slider to match your playing style and that of the music, as you’re playing the keyboard. Adjust later, if necessary.

  6. Drag the Tension Mod slider slightly upward, so that the arrowhead covers the “D.” This emulates the momentary detuning effect of the bow stretching the string.

  7. Move Pickup A to a position around 0.90.

  8. Move Object 1 pickup position to a value around 0.48.

  9. Activate Body EQ, and select the Violin 1 model.

  10. Set the Body EQ parameters as follows:  Intensity 0.73, Shift +1.00, and Stretch+1.00.

  11. Adjust the Fine Structure slider to taste.

  12. Drag the Spread Pickup semicircle downward until the light blue dots reach the 10:30 and 1:30 positions.

  13. Set the Level Limiter mode to “both.”

  14. Choose Save Setting As from the Settings pop-up menu and save the setting with a new name.

Customize your solo string sound

Do any of the following:

  • Set up a modulation, such as a vibrato, that is introduced into the sound after a short period.

  • Follow the example above to create higher-pitched solo string instruments, but pay special attention to all Keyscale parameters. Careless settings can lead to an out-of-tune violin or viola.

  • Use the Body EQ to alter the sound. Take care with settings because they can have a large impact on the upper octaves in particular.

  • For a truly radical change (using the example settings above), change Object 1 type to Pick, and you’ll have a round and rubbery synth bass sound in the lower octaves and a passable harp across the rest of the keyboard.

Published Date: Aug 9, 2019