"Already extensively reviewed (in...
"Already extensively reviewed (in January's 'Sample Shop' column) as a sample CD, this is a class act. An extra 400 samples have been added, to make a grand total of over 1700. To recap, the CD comprises loads of authentic-sounding JB and '70s funk guitar licks played by Vlad Naslas. It's mostly made up of easy-to-use rhythm work, but there is plenty of adventurous stuff in there too.
Unable to look at every volume on the CD-ROM (it would take just under forever to do so). I checked out the first one on each partition. (Note: auditioning took place on an Akai CD-3000, using the Akai format of the CD-ROM). Partition A, volume 001: two programs held 10 matched tempo "rare groove" funk guitar loops (at four bars, pretty long), with variations and fills. Loop start points had not been pre-trimmed to the bar start; rather they were au naturel. Some valve amplifier hum was in evidence.
On partition B, volume 001, as with the previous volume, both programs started on C2. I think that it would have been cleverer to lay them across the keyboard, so that one program number/MIDI channel could offer simultaneous access to all samples. There were only six loop samples this time, but they were all good.
Partition C featured one program only, but 20 samples this time, but they were all good. A Telecaster played '70s wah-wah licks and fills. Partition D, volume 001, hosted some fabulous single-pole pickup work, DI'd via a squeaky-clean FET preamp. Samples were presented in stereo through a fast slapback/chorus FX unit, which sounded suspiciously like my old analogue ADA STD1; wide and bright, with warmth and body, and without too much distracting top end. The 23 samples will enable you to lay down a convincing early '80s funk track. Great.
Partition F's program 1 was a queer fish; six almost identical samples of a rock/funk lick played through a triggered wah-wah device. Program 2 had an absolutely huge loop played through a splendid OTT multi-effect with pan, chorus and multiple delays, which ensured that there was not much room left for any other instrumentation. Volume 001 on partition G had three programs and 15 samples. I struggled to place that familiar constricted sound; was that a voice box doing the filtering and modulating? Whatever it was, it is also to be found on 'Haitian Divorce" by Steely Dan.
On partition I, the format changed slightly. Until this point there had been around 15 volumes per partition. Partition I had just five, so I guessed it was the end of the line. One program has nine samples of fresh DI'ed distorted dives and feedback. The Program numbering was lost when volumes were loaded, a quirk of the CD-ROM/CD-3000 v1.0 software. I'm told the problem does not occur with other Akai samplers, that Akai have been informed, and that the software anomaly is being corrected.
Conclusion: I'd forgotten how good the Funk Guitar sample CD was. The CD-ROM gives you more and is well presented. The playing is very, very good. Samples are chosen to meld with most funk and even some rock styles. Sounds are authentic in the main, and there are very few fillers. Having said that, at a quarter of the price, the sample CD version probably gives more than a quarter of the value of the CD-ROM, since longish loops may often be auditioned more efficiently from an audio CD, and the sampling involved is not very onerous. CD-ROMs score more heavily where complex layers and multisamples are the order of the day."
Overview - Solo guitar riffs, licks, and...
Overview - Solo guitar riffs, licks, and effects suited for styles ranging from funk and soul to rock and blues. Contents: 1,500-plus tracks divided into eight categories; Rare Groove, Funk & Fusion, Crisp & Dry, Funkin' Heavy, SFX, Talk Box, Vocoder, and Pick & Mix. Tempos range from 75 to 135 bpm.
SOUND QUALITY: 4 stars.
SELECTION: 5 stars.
FORMATTING: 3 stars.
BANG FOR THE BUCK: 4 stars.
"Zero-G's Funk Guitar has been around for a couple of years, but for whatever reasons has avoided our scrutiny... until now (cue diabolical laughter). Don't let the disc's title mislead you. Many of these licks, riffs, and effects are perfectly suited for other musical styles (blues, soul, R&B, jazz, rock, hip-hop, techno, you name it).You'll hear motifs reminiscent of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, the Doobie Brothers, Prince, the Jackson Five, and more. According to producer / performer; Vlad Naslas: "I tried to cover as wide a range of styles as possible, from the rawness and feel of the classic '60s and '70s soul and funk, through the more clinical '80s sounds, to new programmed and off-the-wall stuff."
What you won't find is musically related material played back-to-back in different key signatures (as in Bass Legends , reviewed May '95). A few scales are provided, but for the most part you'll need a sampler or computer editor capable of time compression and expansion if you want to use a riff in more than one key and maintain the same tempo. How good is the guitar playing? Depends on who you ask. In addition to the usual Keyboard suspects who listen to review discs, a few six-string slingers from our sister publication Guitar Player got in on the act this time around.
The most positive comments we heard from the latter were "competent playing", and "fairly authentic figures." Most of the feedback, though, (no pun intended) was more critical. "I am not impressed" and "could have been played tighter, more on the money." Human looseness is what many sequence-maniacs crave, however, as long as it's not too loose (which this reviewer doesn't feel is an issue with this disc). ER thinks Funk Guitar is "a great resource for the loop freak. In the '70s," he adds, "a single guitar player would easily play this many variations in the course of a gig. here in the '90s, each riff can be an entire song. It all sounds like the same player, but it really grooves." A mixture of tones and effects appears on Funk Guitar, from squeaky -clean to mud-caked fuzz. Wah-wah, phase shifter, filter, octave divider, talk box, and vocoder are among the effect types offered.
The end of the disc offers some pulsating, rhythmic oddities, great for trance and ambient styles. A majority of the meat-and-potatoes riffs, though, seem to emanate from the same clean set-up. One GP editor commented, "The tone is reminiscent of the perky Funk sound derived from plugging straight into the board - that chirpy, dry, certainly not ampy sound that's been heard on records from Slave to Michael Jackson." No real complaints from the Keyboard side in terms of tone. We can think of lots of ways to take signals, especially clean ones, and twist them digitally into unrecognisable hairy monsters.
Funk Guitar supporting documentation is excellent. Each track is given a name, and whenever appropriate a suggested loop point, key signature, tempo, and effects lists. In all, there are 23 pages of information - quite a lot compared to most CDs we review. Okay, Funk Guitar may not be the ultimate funk guitar resource, in our opinion, but it is a darn good one. there's a bucket load of material well-suited for a variety of styles. Just don't expect to hear alternate versions of single riffs in several different keys. We'll certainly put this one to good use, but we'll keep an eye open for other guitar-only discs as well."
Well, it's funk, as you'd expect but...
Well, it's funk, as you'd expect but don't be misled into thinking that that's all you can do with this CD.
Essentially, this is a collection of classic-sounding rhythms and effects running from 70s disco and fusion through to 80s dance sounds, replete with bags of off-the-wall effected sounds including stuff like vocoded guitar and gated loops.
With 80-odd minutes containing some 1,240 samples, there's plenty of quantity for your coins, but many of the samples do tend to be similar, so you'll need to be predominantly inclined toward funk/jazz to get the most out of this one.