Zero-G Impromptu Electric Guitars: What is it?
If you’re the kind of musician who struggles with the guitar, because it makes your fingers hurt, you’ll be in great company. Thankfully, Zero-G is at hand to take the hard work out of all that picking, for something laid back, ambient and mostly improvised!
Despite the product name, there is nothing impromptu about the capacity contained within this Kontakt instrument. With over 8GB of sampled content, you’ll be presented with guitars in three specific forms.
The ubiquitous Stratocaster leads the lineup with a second sampled instrument labelled Strat Harmonics, and a final instrument based around an electric baritone guitar. In all cases, sampling has been undertaken at 24-bit/48kHz, with capture from three different signal paths; condenser mic, ribbon mic, and a layer that fully exploits a range of pedals within a pedalboard.
You can play each of these instruments in a conventional picked sense, but the ethos behind this library is one of ambience, hence there are plentiful effects applied throughout.
Zero-G Impromptu Electric Guitars: Performance and verdict
As you explore, you become aware that the programming is such that some notes don’t simply play single strikes. This is where the pseudo-improvised element of the package kicks in. It’s improvised, but not in a jazz sense – it’s far more fluid than that. Zero-G has carefully layered each note to the power of three; the softest layer is sparse and simplistic, with middle/upper layers exuding a harder tone, partly due to an increase in note repetition, accompanied by a harsher pick style, as the volume increases.
Control of these layers is elegantly handled by the modulation wheel, or can be controlled as a MIDI CC from your DAW. This means that by playing a simple chord, you can engineer plenty of movement with the mere touch of the mod-wheel. This can lead to immediate, guitar-centric soundscapes. Balancing signals is also simple, with faders for both mics and a third for the pedalboard. There’s also an additional reverb channel, which operates on a wet/dry basis.
While the initial sonic layers are excellent, there is little control, beyond the modulation wheel, for the musical element of the re-articulations of each note. This is not an issue within more abstract, ambient musical settings, but if you yearn for full control of the notes being played, you’re likely to avoid moving into the upper impromptu layer, for fear of unwanted articulations. Still, the whole ethos of the instrument is to allow it to do its thing.
One of the unmistakable calling cards is offered through granular control, which is most notably used to create some really beautiful washes and effects within the Pads section. These can sometimes feel quite dark too, thanks to the examples of granular treatment, coupled with the extensive collection of effects for creating Lo-Fi and Distortion.
The very notion of an impromptu library does have plus points. Arguably, what you’re getting as part of this suite is a top-notch guitarist, playing in a session environment, providing a ton of content for inclusion in your own music. It’s not what you’d call a phrase library, but the intrinsic nature of the improvised material is such that you might find yourself needing to bend your musical criteria to fit the emitted sound from the instrument.
Granted, Zero-G has provided some single picks, but the strength most definitely lies in the ability to simply let the guitar wash over a given chord, providing immediate interest. This will be a boon for anyone needing this sort of material regularly, or requiring inspiration for a more ambient track. The important thing is that it sounds beautiful and effective; and does it fit in with your particular style of working or production? At such an attractive price, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a try.
As with many Zero-G libraries, Impromptu Electric Guitars delivers a lot of samples across 21 instruments, at a great price. Provided you accept the purposeful design, it gives a good amount of timbral content for more ambient music, or cinematic-leaning.
MusicRadar verdict: This great sounding, guitar-driven ambient machine provides a beguiling backbone for more cinematic tracks.
Zero-G Impromptu Electric Guitars: Hands-on demos
Zero-G Impromptu Electric Guitars: Specifications
- Requires the FULL version of Kontakt 6.5.2
- Total size: over 8GB
- CONTACT: Zero-G (opens in new tab)