Pro Music Guitar Classics
If you work in a music shop which sells guitars, I guarantee that at least once a week someone will say: "If I hear 'Stairway To Heaven' again I'll scream!". And if you're a keyboard player your patience is even more likely to be tested. Well now you can get your own back by playing 'Stairway' and many other Guitar Classics through a synth. In fact, there are 43 songs in Pro Music's current line-up to choose from.
What makes Guitar Classics so interesting is the fact that the guitar parts and solo lines were played in by a guitarist using a MIDI guitar. If you examine the parts you'll find loads of widdly-widdly pitch bends. I know, keyboard players can record pitchbend widdlies, too, but the theory is it's got to be a touch more realistic if it's done with a guitar. I won't argue.
The drum parts have been quantised and the velocities tweaked a little - as have the instrument parts, though they still look (and feel) pretty real-time. The files are configured to Roland's GS standard and are as much a tribute to the GS sounds as to the programming itself (credit where credit's due, lads). In fact, all you need do is whack up the volume, get out your old tennis racket, adjust the angle of your bedroom mirror and voila - virtual reality!
You get a track printout with details of MIDI channels, the sounds required (if you don't have a GS instrument) and so on. The files are available in Steinberg and C-Lab formats, for various hardware sequencers and in MIDI file format for the ST and PC. Some pieces actually use more than 16 tracks so you need a 16-track plus sequencer or version 3.1 of Notator, which has a 32-Track per Pattern option.
Pro Music sent a good selection of tracks for me to wrap my lugs around (including the inevitable 'Stairway') - 'Born To Run', 'The Final Countdown', 'Jump', 'Layla', 'More Than A Feeling' and 'Tom Sawyer'. They also included some of their more mainstream material (what could be more mainstream than 'Born To Run'?-Ed) - including 'When You Tell Me That You Love Me', 'Wuthering Heights' and 'SOS' (the Abba song). All are programmed to the same high standard.
My only gripe is the lack of a melody line. If you don't want it, fine, you can always mute it. But it's got to help anyone wanting to learn the songs for performance (and let's not forget those MIDI file aficionados who play the files just for the hell of it). Shame. That apart, I was more than a little impressed with this collection, particularly since the songs are licensed through the MCPS - so everybody wins and you have no performance liabilities. Now, when is someone going to do 'Smoke On The Water'?
Price : Guitar Classics and Soloist MIDI Files £4.95 each (minimum order of four)
More from : Pro Music, (Contact Details).