EQ Magazine review of Performance Loops Acoustic Guitars

Article Author
EQ Magazine Craig Anderton

The “performance loops” concept strings together compatible loops to create complete compositions. The loops are taken from multi-track recordings of songs, yielding various chord progressions but also, several loops are repeated with small variations. The loops are basically rhythm guitar parts using 6-string (474 MB; mono, stereo, and double-tracked), 12-string (112 MB; stereo and double-tracked), and nylon string guitars (53 MB; various samples). Several styles are represented (ballad, rock, folk rock, some country, funk rock, some Latin, etc.) in both audio and acidized WAV form (the acidization, which is hard to do with sustained sounds, is very well done).

Recording quality is excellent, but more importantly, there are variations to the guitar sounds – some of the acoustic guitars are bright, others have a somewhat more “midrangey” sound. All of them work well. Mode-wise, although the voicings are generally major, there’s liberal use of tonic/fifth and suspended chords so they’re compatible with minor moods.

The main advantage, yet also disadvantage, of the performance loops approach is that the loops define the song. For example, in the 100 BPM 12-string selection, there are several chord progression loops (A to C, A to G, C to D, D to A, D to E, F-D-G-D, G to C), and loops that vamp on D, E, A, and C. If you want to go from, for example, Am to F, you can’t get there from here without transposition and cut/paste.

This type of CD really shines for situations where you need to come up with a quick acoustic guitar track (“Hey, we need 2 minute of acoustic guitar to accompany our promotional video ‘Napa Valley Wine Tasting,’ can you get it to Fed Ex by 5 PM?” With this CD, you can say yes.) However, because of the variety of loops and the acidization, you can get more versatility out of these parts than expected. There are sprinklings to individual chord hits and other goodies to add more interest.

This is a fine example of a production-oriented CD. Songwriters will find it of very limited use – but those doing audio-for-video, or who need to add acoustic guitar accents to existing tunes, will find it useful indeed.