Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig Hero video contest winners were unveiled today. At the top of the charts, players not surprisingly demonstrated fine craft, sharp execution, great playing, and so on. But let’s skip straight to the oddities in the bunch. Like the girl with the violin on a pogo stick. And there is an appearance by the NS/Stick, which earns stringed-geek cred the more-predictable entries lack.
Now, normally I’m not so interested in the online contests various developers produce. But these entries stand out enough to have a good look here. Word of warning: you may be less inclined to buy a boxed copy of Guitar Rig as to buy yourself a nice, new pogo stick. (I could use the exercise… hmmm… Santa?)
The Pogo. Yes, the self-dubbed “Pogo Girl” is a very young girl playing violin and Guitar Rig in her living room. For some reason, the embittered YouTube world has savaged her in comments and given her a 2.5-star rating. I think she deserves far better. You know what I was doing at her age? Playing the piano. Sitting down. Now, granted, today I’d probably make a much more entertaining YouTube video on a pogo stick, but that’s because it’d include extended slow-motion footage of me falling off said pogo stick. And that’s even before I try to play an instrument at the same time. So, Pogo Girl, we salute you.
By the way, novelty of this aside, guitar amp emulators can sound fantastic with instruments like violin or even sitars. I’m sorry to see more alternative instruments didn’t make their way into the NI contest results. And to Pogo Girl, I have two words for you: contact mics. Feed the sound of pogo stick through Guitar Rig, too, and you’ll have a real hit on your hands.
The Preset Cliche Man. This brilliant entry had the brainstorm of dressing up as the stereotypical players most associated with each of the presets. Lesson learned: don’t use presets. (Well, that’s the lesson I take away, anyway.) Now, on some level, this is actually a parody of Guitar Rig. I think. It’s actually possible these presets are so powerful, they will transform you into these dudes when you play them. Since I’m about as good with frets as I am performing open heart surgery, I can’t tell you – I leave that to you to find out.
Just be careful. I’ve seen Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Once you transform, you may not change back.
The NS/Stick. The most interesting entry musically to me was this extended composition on the eight-string NS/stick [wikipedia], as performed by “eccentric master” Sekiguchi Takao. Yep, leave it to the Japanese dude to do something musically inventive. (Tokyo readers, and you know who you are, I’m totally ready to come tour to your fine town. Just say the word.)
The instrument itself here is as interesting as the software: it’s a tapping instrument designed by Emmett Chapman (of Chapman Stick fame) and Ned Steinberger (of Steinberger instruments and Spector bass fame). The NS/Stick is a cross-breed between the two. It combines two awesome things into a perfect fusion, kind of like waffles and fried chicken. In fact, I’d wager that musically speaking you don’t get much closer to waffles and fried chicken than the NS/Stick itself.
So, did any CDM readers get into the top ten list?
I’m genuinely a big fan of Guitar Rig; it’s my personal favorite of the amp simulators and I’ve used it in a number of my own pieces. But I imagine this contest may prompt someone to say “ha! I’ll go use the 14-stringed microtonal instrument to record a composition with Pd and SuperCollider.” If that’s you, do send us the results. (Did any CDMers ultimately enter the NI contest, out of curiosity?)