The making of Guitar Gadgets

Hello again !

I thought it would be a good idea if I tell you more things about Guitar Gadgets, and how I developed it.

In my new projects, leading me to open a business probably in 2015, I want to focus on serious issues that exist today with standard music production software. One of these issues is what I call the “Fun Factor”. For me, making music with computers should be more fun, and a lot of elements are preventing the musicians to enjoy the process. So, my idea with Guitar Gadgets, which was called “Fun Factory” before I decided to give it a better name, was to develop an effect which would be very fun to use for guitarists and say synth players, in various ways.

I’m a guitar player myself, and I know how much it is more amusing to “jam” with a guitar amp simulation when you use some effects such as reverberation, chorus, delay etc. The thing is that the “Fun Factor” is higher when what you play provides as much “feedback” as possible.

The feedback, defined this way, is what you hear when you play, and your ability to make a sound that you like while playing music. The worst feedbacks happen when you don’t hear very well your playing, because your monitoring speakers suck, because you have more than 20 ms of latency, because your guitar skills are not very good, your guitar itself is bad, or you use a very bad guitar amp / cabinet simulation… And the best feedbacks, on the other side, happen when you like the sound you get, because it inspires you, it gives you new ideas to jam, or because you enjoy playing with people or a backtrack, and your skills are good enough for your ears. Maybe you like the way the guitar cabinet make your whole body reacts to the sound with the volume knob put very hard. And you have a crowd reacting each time you touch one of the guitar strings !

So, in short, I wanted to develop a plug-in which may give you more of that feedback. And creating effects was one of the ways to do that. Obviously, when you play with richer sounds, improved thanks to reverberation, delay or phaser effects, you can “feel” a little more what you do. If you have a new effect which give you interesting sounds that you have not heard yet from your playing, or which react strongly according to what you digits are doing, you feel a new control from your hands, and some inspiration coming from the new sound territories you have put your feets on. If the sound you got from your playing make you smile or laugh, you will be able to play with a new effect or new gear for hours, just for pleasure. That’s where I wanted people who try Guitar Gadgets to go…

I planned to develop a lot more of these effects, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it on time because of the Developer Challenge deadline. Moreover, I had began to develop a “gamification” system, a few challenges you have to take up to unlock gradually all the gadgets from the software, such as “playing the first notes of Smoke on the Water”, or “playing for 10 minutes with one of the effects”. But I wasn’t satisfied enough with what I did to keep it. I have just left one of these challenges, and I will talk about it later !

The last thing I had an interest in with Guitar Gadgets is the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Everybody knows how much it is important nowadays to have a GUI in plug-ins which looks beautiful. I remember someone told me about a scientific experience where people had to decide between two plug-ins the one which sounded the best. They told that they prefered the most beautiful one, and they were surprised to learn at the end of the experiment that their DSP algorithms were exactly the same ! So I decided to improve a little my skills with Photoshop to be able to create user interfaces which look “not amateurish” at least.

Screenshot2

I got a Wacom graphic tablet for my birthday also, so I decided to try something new with Guitar Gadgets. I wanted funny and interesting pictures for each pedal, to improve the feel that you are using “false but real guitar effect pedals”. So I have retrieved a few nice real guitar pedals, and I tried to “draw” them with the graphic tablet, in a realistic but also “cartoonish” way. And to add something more, I wanted to put some animations, like in video games, or some smartphone applications. It’s not something that I used to see in music creation software, but I definitively think that can also improve the “feel” when you use a plug-in.

Well, I told you more things about Guitar Gadgets and my ideas for the Developer Challenge. Obviously, the result would have been better if I had more time, but I’m seriously thinking about improving it, by adding some features like MIDI Learn or 4+ effects chaining, and all the effects I have not been able to develop. It may be a new freeware plug-in, or a commercial one when I will be able to launch my new business. Would you be interested by that ?

In a next article,  I will talk about the only “gamification stuff” I have kept in Guitar Gadgets, how to unlock it, how to use it, and how I developed it🙂

2 thoughts on “The making of Guitar Gadgets

  1. Hi, congrats for a very appealing result, it does have a fun factor to it.
    I enjoy playing with it, and looking around for sounds to get inspired for new musics.
    I was wondering how did you develop it ? what technologies you used ? C++ and what framework ?

    Great stuff, thanks for sharing

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