Original URL: http://egnatia.ee.auth.gr/~nalevrid/enf/guitar.html

Temple Of MOD - MODs And Guitar
The ones who tried to implement guitar parts in a MOD , know that module files have a very bad relationship with guitars . The explanation is quite simple . Guitar is an instrument that allows the player to form his own playing style . A guitar player can use techniques such as slide , pull-off , hammer-on , etc . All these factors cannot be easily represented with numbers . So what can we do? There are two ways to deal with the problem . The first is to include the guitar parts in the module and try to make it sound as near as possible to a real guitar and the second is to play the guitar parts on a real guitar and mix them with the module (where you have the rest of the instruments)  . Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages .

- Guitar In A MOD

    The first (and most frequently used) solution is to include the guitar parts within the module . There's nothing special you have to do . Just place the notes on the tracks like you do with all other instruments . However , there are a couple of things you should keep in mind .

  • First of all you need guitar samples that sound as real as possible . 99% of the guitar samples most people have , sound nothing like a guitar . If you own a guitar , the best thing to do is to make your own samples using a sound recorder (like the one included with windows - though there are countless better programs) . If you own an electric or an acoustic with pick-up just plug it on the line-in of your sound card and start recording . If your guitar doesn't have that ability you can always use a microphone . However , there are much better solutions which you can check out if you visit a guitar store . Keep in mind that if you want the guitar parts to fit with the rest of the instruments you have to tune it before sampling and always play the C note or a C chord . If you own an effect processor or effect pedals you can customize the sound the way you want it before recording it . If you don't , you'll have to do that using a wav editor .
  • We assume you now have your samples but they don't have the effects you wanted either because you don't have an effect processor or because you didn't create the samples yourself . A wave editor can help you customize the sound afterwards . Programs like Cool Edit Pro , Sound Forge , etc support digital effects . So you can add delay , reverb , flange , distortion and many other popular effects . However , you'll never emulate a real effect processor this way . The problem is that sound editors apply the effect on the single sample you have . Processors apply the effects on the whole progression of notes . So , for example , you can't create the jet sound by applying flanger on your sample with Cool Edit . Delays and reverbs work fine .However , since the release of Buzz (windows tracker) things are starting to change . Buzz , allows the user to apply digital effects on the whole progression of notes (a whole track for example) . It works like a combination of a tracker and an effect processor . So , check it out if you're having problems with the guitar sound .
  • Now , you have the sample you like and you want to implement it in your XM or IT . Traditional trackers like FT2 and IT support some "effects" . We're not talking about digital effects such as reverb or chorus . I would say these are more like playing styles . Tracker effects is a very large topic so I won't get into it here . The best thing you can do is to take a look to your tracker help file . Another , good source would be the Tracker's Handbook which includes a chapter dedicated to the tracker effects .
  • Another good solution would be to record certain chords and include them in the module . For example if you want a Dsus4 chord in your song you'll have to play it on the guitar and sample it . Most times it works better if you record a single stroke . You can also record small riffs but you have to play them at the same speed with the rest of the song . A metronome would be helpful for this .
  • Arpeggios sound quite good if you use a good sample . However , you'll have to split the arpeggio to 4-6 channels . This will make sure that the 1st note will be mixed with the 2nd and so on , which is what happens when you play it on the guitar .
  • Solos are very hard to represent within a mod . Since a solo usually includes sliding , bending , etc you'll have to record a different sample for every playing style . Another solution would be to record the whole solo and synchronize it with the rest of the song , but this would increase a lot the size of the module . If you have only one sample to use in a solo , the best thing you can do is to use the tracker effects to represent the playing techniques . However , don't expect miracles .
- The song can be distributed as mod file which is usually small .
- The composer can re-edit the song .
- You'll never be able to make the guitar sound real . 
- The guitar parts need a lot of tricks to sound good (effects , 3-4 samples for the same riff , etc)


- Guitar On Another Channel

    The most "professional" way to mix guitar parts with your modules is multitrack recording . This means that the guitar and the module are recorded separately and then mixed together . The first thing you need is obviously a multitrack recorder . There are quite a few programs for this job like Cool Edit Pro , n-Track Studio , etc .
    Let's see how this works . First of all you need to convert your module to wav . This can be done easily with standalone utilities like XM2WAV or (better) using MOD players that can convert the modules to wav files . Mod Plug Player and Winamp are two of the best programs that have a Wav writer . Now you can open the wave file on your multitrack recorder and assign a channel for it . So you have all the instruments , except the guitar , on your first channel . You can use the second channel to add the guitar . While playing-recording the guitar you can hear the other instruments . This way you'll be able to synchronize the guitar with the rest of the song . You can do that several times until you get the guitar parts played perfectly . Then you'll have to set the correct volume for the guitar channel so that it fits with the rest of the instruments . Now you're ready to mix the channels and get a wav file that contains both guitar parts and the rest of the instruments . If you thing that you can improve the final wav file , you can use a wav editor like Cool Edit Pro to produce the sound you want (increase bass or treble , reduce noise-hiss , add digital effects , etc)
    If you want to distribute the file you can encode it to mp3 (using one of the many mp3 encoders available) . Also you can burn an audio cd with your tracks if you have a cd-recorder .
    Provided that everything went fine , the outcome should be nearly as good as most of the songs recorded on professional studios with expensive hardware .

 - The outcome can be very realistic . If the rest of the MOD is good , the song will sound like a professional recording . 
- You can use several tracks to record 2 or 3 guitars , eg. an electric and an acoustic guitar . 
- You can only distribute your songs as mp3 files which are usually much larger than MODs .
- You can't re-edit the song once it's done . You'll have to record the song again . 


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