Songwriter’s Corner – Native Instruments Strummed Acoustic Review


Strummed Acoustic is a new KONTAKT instrument (compatible with the free KONTAKT 5 PLAYER), developed by Drumasonic for Native Instruments. It provides a library of popular acoustic guitar strumming patterns (no single notes here), fully playable on convenient key switches.

How does it work?
Using Strummed Acoustic couldn’t be simpler. The color-coded keyboard layout lets you control strumming patterns and endings with your left hand while playing chords with your right hand.
Using the modulation and pitch wheels, you can easily adjust the voicing (or playing position, from low to high) and the accent strength.
The tabbed interface allows you to switch between the pattern screen (where you can browse through a huge number of pattern categories), the sound panel (where you can fine tune your guitar sound, using eq, comp, reverb, etc.) and the playback one (where you’ll find important features like swing, humanize, timing, etc.).
In the top area of the screen, you’ll find some real time information (the chord you’re playing, its voicing and accent) and the preset dropdown. Strummed Acoustic provides an extensive range of presets (natural, doubling, etc), based on different settings in the aforementioned sound options panel.

Rhythm Finder
Remember the clever search feature in EZdrummer 2? Here you’ll find a similar technology that makes a product like this even more helpful.
Finding the pattern you need is super-easy, thanks to the Pattern Browser. Just type in the kind of pattern and accent you have in mind and Strummed Acoustic will show you a selection of patterns, sorted by similarity to your search query. Brilliant!
As you can see in the video below, everything is very intuitive and in a matter of seconds you should be happily strumming on your keyboard.

How does it sound?
Natural and professional are the first words that come to mind. The pristine and consistent recording quality and a high-end dreadnought acoustic played by an experienced studio musician make Strummed Acoustic an absolute standout.
The performance and the transitions are quite natural and smooth (especially once you get familiar with some of the options). You can’t create new patterns from scratch, but I doubt you won’t find something that fits your needs here. There are tons of patterns and styles, including 3/4 or 6/8 tempos.
Several presets use the doubling option, but if you (like me) prefer a more natural sound, you can disable the doubling with one click.

Why it matters?
I can hear you, right now you’re probably thinking ‘Why on earth would I need some acoustic guitar patterns?’. Well, if you’re a good guitar player with a solid recording setup and good sounding environment, you won’t need something like this.
If you’re not, and you need to add some backing guitar tracks to your productions (be it a song, a jingle, etc.), a tool like Strummed Acoustic will be an invaluable resource.
On the more experimental side of things, it can also be a cool source for some twisted ambient-electronic tracks. I had great fun tweaking its parameters in real-time while sending its output to FX tools like Sonic Charge’s Permut8, Audio Damage multiple plugs, etc.
After all, the fact it’s an acoustic guitar plugin doesn’t mean you’ll have to use it to cover Kings of Convenience!

True to its name, Strummed Acoustic is a great resource for songwriters, producers and why not, experimental musicians (ah yes, it even plays elaborate chords!). Well-thought features like Humanize (not a simple randomizer, FYI) and Offset help make the performance as realistic as possible (experiment with the settings until you find your sweet spot).
While all this may look like a simple achievement, after using Strummed Acoustic for some time you’ll realize that it’s the result of an amazing design work. The guys at Drumasonic have patiently distilled the best and most useful features, filtering out what would be redundant or not strictly necessary. Great job, Daniel & Samuel!


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