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Acoustic IRs Impact on Acoustic Guitar Sales?


Crashcup
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So my wife came into my music studio while I was unpacking my brand new Helix Line 6 LT console. Like the proverbial cat with a canary in his mouth, I began sputtering feathery reasons why it was an essential addition for my creativity.  I know she was listening because when I listed “acoustic impulse responses that simulate actual high-end acoustic guitars,” she asked “what the heck is that?”  After offering an enthusiastically elaborate response, my wife asked me a question that I could not answer objectively or without self-serving artifice: “So if you can basically recreate the sound of other guitars, why would you need to ever buy another guitar?”  Ouch!


First, how have, or would, you answer this question? 
 

Second, and more to the point, I’ve read a lot of posts on the topic of IRs, pickups, signal paths, etc, and I understand that different guitars/pickups will sound different when filtered through individual IRs. But, as I understand it, the signal path can be tweaked to more or less compensate for that.  So the underlying question is, like all things digital, do modelers pose what guitar manufacturers might refer to as “A clear and present danger,” to the growth of their industry?  More to the point, beyond those who prefer to play unplugged, why would anyone need more than one (type of) guitar?  (Yes, a heretical concept, but tragically current.)


Cheers!

 

Bill



 

 

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On 5/6/2022 at 10:14 AM, Crashcup said:

do modelers pose what guitar manufacturers might refer to as “A clear and present danger,” to the growth of their industry

 

No.

Guitar players like guitars.

Existential guitar truth #1 - there's no such thing as "too many guitars". No logical reason required to want another beyond "I want it! I have money!".

Existential guitar truth #2 - there's no way a non-musician can fully comprehend this.

 

UNLESS - 

 

Many women have extensive collections of shoes. Or handbags. Some of these cost as much as fine guitars!

If your wife is one of these, or has a friend who has such a collection, that's your out!

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To me, acoustic and electric guitars might as well be different instruments. I play differently on them, I write different types of songs on them, and the feel & vibe are different. For emulating the sound on a gig, that's one thing...but in the studio, they're as different to the way I think as pianos and synths.

 

One person's opinion, of course. But even with electric guitars, they feel like they have different personalities. What I play when I pick up a Variax or PRS or Tele or whatever varies. It's not about the sound so much as the feel. For example, the neck scale makes a difference in playing and tone.

 

I love 'em all :)

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I think sophisticated modelers like the Helix have so many capabilities the it's easy to attribute capabilities to them they don't have.  In the end they model amps and effects, and sometimes those things can roughly recreate the sounds of other things like an acoustic, but it's not a true acoustic sound.  It's a simulated sound that, in my opinion, is not terribly effective but might get you by in a pinch.

It's a far more reasonable statement to say you'll never have to buy another amp or effect because that's certainly the case for many Helix owners including myself.  But trying to use the same preset to get the same sound out of a Les Paul that you would get with a Strat is a fool's errand.  You can potentially have a different preset which might have a similar sound, but it won't be the same because the two guitars are so different in so many ways.  You can make a Helix serve as both a modeler for your guitar and process your voice in a separate signal path, but that doesn't make it mixer by any stretch of the imagination.  In the end it's a modeler for guitars or other stringed instruments.  That's all it does and it does that job very well.

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On 5/7/2022 at 12:15 AM, craiganderton said:

but in the studio, they're as different to the way I think as pianos and synths.

 

I happen to like the sound of (good) digital pianos in the studio. I find them much easier to work with than acoustic pianos. 

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On 5/6/2022 at 5:14 PM, Crashcup said:

First, how have, or would, you answer this question?


I don’t think anyone ever asked Michelangelo (di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni) how many different brushes, or chisels he needed at any given time. You could ask her how many pair of shoes/handbags etc., she actually needs - I mean she can’t wear them all at once.

 

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A buddy of mine named Paul has a large collection of guitars. He is also a guitar tech and I was at his place one day while he was doing some work on my guitar. He was talking about his most recent visit to an auction sale where there were several guitars available. He said he wanted to buy more but in the end he settled on one Les Paul. His wife, overhearing the conversation, said “That’s what I need - one less Paul.”

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It's not a perfect simulation. It's good, but not perfect. That kinda answers it all.

And miking a guitar in the studio, when done right, will always have a magic that a piezo through an IR doesn't have.

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For me, it's about trying to make 'live' sound more natural and removing the compromises inherent even in good pickups.

 

I have a fall ltd Taylor koa from 2005 with the first generation expression system. It does sound good, but flavoring it with an IR takes it from good to great.

 

I'm just about to get one of these so I don't have to lug the Helix around for small gigs where I'm acoustic only:

 

 

 

This isn't a substitute for good recording practices in the studio, it's an enhancement for live. I'm looking forward to making my own IRs and making my guitar sound better on stage.

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For me the acoustic IRs give me super flexibility live. I use a Taylor T5z for performing acoustic and electric type tunes live. My duo also uses looping. With the flexibility of all the available options with the HX Stomp combined with looping it is a great to be able to have a decent acoustic sound in the toolbox.

 

With that said, nothing sounds like a real acoustic, it is so complex to completely imitate IMHO. That is not to say there are some awesome IRs and so on that can sit amazingly in a mix, where they fall down a little is when they are on there own. Just my 2 cents.

 

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I play in more than one band.  In one of them I play almost all electric, but needed acoustic on an occasional tune.  My helix has freed me from needing to bring an acoustic to those gigs, because in the mix (the band has three horns, drums, bass, …) my electric can sound enough like an acoustic that it works fine.  Another band I play in is all acoustic - guitar, mando, string bass, and I play banjo and dobro as well as guitar.  In that setting it would be nuts to play an electric through a helix.  It would feel and sound totally wrong.  Even in the electric band, if we go into the studio on one of those songs when I want an acoustic sound, I’m gonna use a real acoustic 100% of the time.

 

different tools.  Ya don’t pound a nail with a screwdriver.  Except, maybe you do if the screwdriver is all you have because you didn’t feel like carrying a hammer.

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On 5/6/2022 at 12:14 PM, Crashcup said:

First, how have, or would, you answer this question? 

 

 

The same reason you "need" that 312th pair of shoes and the 38th handbag to go with them, dear...

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On 5/6/2022 at 11:45 PM, pianoguyy said:

What good is an electric guitar that simulates an acoustic guitar sound through an amplifier going to do at a camp fire where there is no electricity 

 

 

 

 

Mostly a non-issue going forward, I expect. We spawned an entire generation that never goes outside, and can't make eye contact because their whole existence is virtual. Half of them are allergic to air, and the other half are fat and diabetic by the time they're in middle school. Bugs, dirt, and campfires are scary and "dangerous". Just queue them up for their turn in the safe space, and make sure to celebrate all their "disorders" on the evening news...

 

Oh, and be sure to pay your taxes so their existence is financed... after all, their student loans were expensive, so it's everybody else's responsibility but theirs, now.

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On 5/6/2022 at 8:45 PM, pianoguyy said:

What good is an electric guitar that simulates an acoustic guitar sound through an amplifier going to do at a camp fire where there is no electricity 

 

 

 

Which begs the question, "Does anyone know where I can get an air guitar impulse response?"

 

Thanks to you all for your insightful, informative and witty responses.  I will present them to my wife at our next monthly budget meeting...gulp...right after I install a lock on the door to my music studio.  ;-))

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