Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Thanks for dropping by this blog. I've tried to pick my favorite instruments from the many that have appeared on the blog the last couple years. It's kind of like trying to pick your favorite children. Hopefully you will find some solid and enjoyable Kontakt instruments here. I believe a number of them rival commercial releases and I would love to listen to the tracks you create with them.

In addition to a new Double Bass and reworked Cello (more in a moment), a number of the instruments have been retouched. Both the Salamander Piano and the LDK1609 Violin have been tightened up to allow for more responsive play. All the Taylor Sampled Synths have been edited to be more responsive and 28 presets of a new brand synth added. The WIPs version of the Sonatina Orchestra has finally been completed. A number of instruments have been digitally tuned and have been updated to the latest GUI and scripts.

I've been privileged to work with lots of great samplers and scripters and many others have sampled their instruments and allowed for free redistribution under Creative Commons or Public domain licenses. Thanks to all of them for making these contributions that allow for free musical instruments.

D. Smolken as always has been busy and you will find a brand new Kontakt version of his Meatbass that has already been a big hit in SFZ format, along with a great new version of his Cello along with his Cute Emily Guitar. Check out the Karoryfer website for lots of SFZ instruments.

It was great to work with Project16's bass samples and Quartertone's drum samples. together they make a great rhythm section. Thanks to Evil Dragon for allowing his version of the drumkit to be on the blogs.

Thanks to Mattias Westlund for the Sonatina Orchestra and Lawrence Fritts, Director of the Electronic Music Studios at the University of Iowa, for the Iowa Orchestra. Without these two gentlemen the classical section of this blog would be barren.

I'd like to thank Matt McKay who rebuilt the 'standard' bigcat kontakt script from a most basic interface into a fun one with a nice EQ and lots of reverb settings. He also did a brilliant job on the scripting and GUI for the Bureu Organ which I think is one of the best bigcat instruments ever. Thanks to the sampling of Lars Palo it sounds as good as any commercial organ I've heard.

Thanks so much to Mickaël Ménager for the Electric GUI and scripting used on many of these instruments. He did a tremendous job adding tons of effects and amps.

Finally thanks to 'Big Bob' Villwock the creator of the SIPs and WIPs scripts that I and many others have used in making Kontakt instruments. This gentleman went to his eternal reward recently and will be much missed by the digital instrument community.

And now on to part one of the blog. The Band. With electric pianos, guitars, a great rhythm section, saxes and four pianos, you can rock the house. I like the tighter Salamander Piano for cutting through a mix. So much so that I hand edited 500+ samples and I'm lazy. I also enjoy the Project16 Bass and the Quartertone Drums and think they are some of the best things here.

Electric Pianos

Greg Sullivan did a great job sampling these electric pianos and was kind enough to grant his permission for those samples to be used on these instruments.

The Y Piano is a personal favorite. Greg Sullivan sampled roughly every 4 notes and 4 velocity layers on this piano. Just about every pop and rock act in the mid-70s and 80s seemed to have one on stage as it was the closest you could get to a full Grand Piano without breaking the backs of a roadie army.

The H Planet S Piano has a unique sound thanks to its Sticky Reeds. The H is sampled roughly every 4 notes in two velocity layers. The H was on stage for many rock concerts for decades as it was portable and relatively inexpensive. Script and Shell by Mickaël Ménager.

The W Piano is one of the legendary instruments in modern music history. This piano is sampled at roughly every 6 notes in two velocity layers. The W samples are cited as a particular favorite of Tomislav Zlatic of the excellent Bedroom Producer's Blog.

Thanks again to Greg Sullivan for his excellent samples of these Electric Pianos and for permission to use them to create these Kontakt instruments. Feel free to use these instruments in any projects, but if you want to do anything with the samples directly (like make an instrument in another format) please contact Greg.


Guitars are notoriously tough to get right. I don't know if these quite sound like the real thing, but I have fun playing around with them. Lets start with an acoustic.

Looking around for interesting instruments, I started playing with this SFZ guitar from Markus Fielder. I was impressed by the natural sound. So here is a Kontakt version. It isn't sampled every note, but instead has a fair number of round robins and velocity layers.

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
Exception: The recordings of the sound library may be used for commercial music productions.
Credit:  Markus Fiedler

There are lots of Electric guitars to chose from. The gang at Karoryfer came up with this one called Cute Emily.

I did a Kontakt conversion of the sfz version. It has 4 velocity layers and release samples and a great script and shell from Mickaël Ménager that lets you kick up an amp right in the instrument along with other cool effects.

Creative Commons 3 Attribution Unported
Credit:Karoryfer Samples

This Electro Acoustique has a nice sound and not surprisingly goes well with the bass guitar in the post below.

Some time ago I was fortunate enough to work with Project 16's great bass samples. He mentioned to me that he had sampled his Sherwood guitar, but I was taking a break at the time with some shoulder problems so I never worked with these samples. I've also wanted to do more guitars with the script and shell that Mickaël Ménager has allowed me to use. His scripting of great effects works really well with electric band instruments like guitar, bass and electric piano.

The guitar is fully sampled (though I stretched the notes on the ends) and has 5 velocity layers.

Creative Commons Attribution License. You can use this instrument for any purpose but please give credit to Project 16.

The Bass Guitar

Some time ago, Project16 sampled his Rickenbacker 4001 Bass.  Available as Kontakt and SFZ instruments, you should definitely pick them up if you haven't already.

Project16 redid many Fingered and Picked samples in even higher quality before a rope broke. While this session was never finished, Project16 gave me permission to use the over 1400 samples he had recorded and edited. Using the script and shell by Mickaël Ménager, I've created a new Kontakt instrument called Version 2 to differentiate it from the great Kontakt instruments created by AKJ using the original samples. The two are quite different and both are worth trying.

This is an instrument I've had a lot of fun rocking out with. If you like classic rock and maybe a touch of rock a billy like me this one is a blast. It has enough variations in sound to give good options. I like to use it with the drumkit in the post below since they can both give a good range of sounds and you can kind of 'dial in' what you want. Plus Mickaël Ménager's shell gives all kinds of fun effects to mess around with and amps to try out. Of course you can also run it through your own amp sim.

This instrument has over 1400 samples, every note sampled across three octaves (the top and bottom notes are stretched a bit for extended range) and 5 velocity layers.

The Keyswitches are:
C:   Fingered Bridge Pickup
C#: Fingered Bridge Pickup Muted
D:   Fingered Both Pickups
D#: Fingered Both Pickups Muted
E:   Fingered Neck Pickup
F:   Picked Bridge Pickup
G:  Picked Both Pickups
A:  Picked Neck Pickup

Let's call this a standard Creative Commons License with a request for credit to Project16.

The Drums

Quartertone deeply sampled his drums and put them up on  There are over 2500 samples. The mod wheel controls the pitch of the Kick, Snares and Toms. The lower the mod wheel, the lower the pitch. Check this as when Kontakt loads up for me the mod wheel is always down giving the lowest pitch by default. The keyswitches alter the sound quite a lot. In general the white keyswitches are a louder more open sound while the black keys give things like a Cross Stick Strike. Be warned this is almost a gig download and takes about 500 megs of memory.

I had a lot of fun creating this from Quartertone's great samples and still enjoy using it. The adjusting the mod wheel and the keyswitches almost create a different drumkits and you can dial in a sound that fits many pieces of music. I also hurt my brain learning how the GM drum maps worked, but yes it is all GM compliant so it should work with GM midi patterns.

Soundcloud Demo 

Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, please give credit to Quartertone.

Sometime ago the brilliant Kontakt scripter EvilDragon created a fine Kontakt instrument using these same samples. He was kind enough to give permission to host this drumkit. It is a significantly different version to mine that you should try. It gives you more control over the individual pieces and their volume. I like how you can swap all kinds of things around to customize exactly what sound you want.

SmithULTD / Evil Dragon Kontakt Drums

Based on Samples by Quartertone at
Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, please give credit to Quartertone and Evil Dragon for these drums.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Sax

I've always liked the saxophone. Not really sure why. They can make good lead vocal substitutes and are just fun to play with. Actually the ones that come in the Kontakt Factory Library are pretty good, but I like these better as they seem more real to me and a bit rougher. Unfortunately the samples average about 2 and a half seconds so you can't hold them too long. They should be in pretty good tune since I just digitally tuned all the samples myself, some float a bit, but that is just the sax. Anyway Alto and Soprano Sax in three velocity layers with most of the notes sampled. Over 350 samples total. There is vibrato and non-vibrato on the old key switches.

The Big Bob WIPs scripts let you do the legato thing, adds in fake round robins and if you have a wind controller you can use that to. Big Bob was a generousness fellow who let us instrument maker types use his very cool scripts. Robert D. Villwock was his real name and he passed away recently. Thanks for the scripts and the encouragement for a lot of folks. You can see the memorial thread about him here. I never knew him, but he seems like a great fellow. Rest in Peace.

Thanks to the University of Iowa Music Department, these are Public Domain.

Since you can never get enough Sax, here is another great Alto Sax...

From DSmolken and the gang at Karoryfer comes this Alto Sax. You can find it for SFZ at the Karoryfer site. Mickaël Ménager's script and GUI provide the Electrification of the Sax. For those who want a more traditional Sax, there is also a Big Bob WIPs script Kontakt version without an amp simulation on board. It also lets you use a wind controller and other cool stuff.

Creative Commons: Karoryfer Sounds