PreSonus Blog

The Presence 12-String Electric Guitar

 

It’s difficult to sample a 12-string. The core Presence content includes a 12-string acoustic guitar, but there are no 12-string electrics—so let’s construct one. 

 

One of my favorite guitars ever is the Rickenbacker 360 12-string. Back in my touring days, it travelled tens of thousands of miles with me (Fig. 1). 

 

Figure 1: The mighty Rickenbacker 360 12-string guitar. Nothing else sounds like it.

 

I thought it would be a challenge to try and emulate that iconic sound with Presence. Listen to the audio example, and hear the results.

 

 

How It Works

 

The sound starts with one Presence instance, which uses a 6-string electric guitar preset. Then, we create a second, multi-instrument track with two Presence instances that use the same electric guitar preset. Transposing one of the instances up creates the octave above sound; however, a real 12-string guitar doesn’t have octaves on the 1st and 2nd strings. So, we use the final Presence for a unison sound, and edit the ranges in the multi instrument so they don’t overlap.

 

Step-by-Step Guitar Construction

 

  1. Create an Instrument track with Presence, and load the Guitar > Telecaster > Telecaster Open preset. This guitar sound is closest to a Rickenbacker, but we’ll do some EQ tricks later to get it closer.
  2. Create a new Instrument track with Presence, and load the same preset. Drag a second instance of Presence into the same track. When asked whether you want to “load the instrument or combine the instrument Presence,” choose Combine. This opens the Multi Instrument window. Load the same preset into the new Presence instance as well.
  3. In the multi instrument, drag the upper end of one Presence key range down to A#2 (we’ll call this the “Octave Presence”). Drag the lower end of the other Presence key range up to B2 (we’ll call this the “Unison Presence”). Fig. 2 shows the multi instrument window.

Figure 2: The multi instrument window has two instances of Presence—one for the octave above strings, and the other for the unison strings.

 

  1. Open the Octave Presence preset. Set Transpose to +12, and Pitch Fine Tune to +5 cents. Then open the Unison Presence preset, and change Pitch Fine Tune to -2 cents.
  2. Insert an Analog Delay in the multi Instrument channel , with the settings shown in Fig. 3. The reason for the 20 ms delay is because the higher string in a pair of strings gets hit just a little bit late. (We can’t use the Delay in Presence itself, because the mix needs to be 100% delay—no dry sound.) Without this delay, the emulated 12-string doesn’t sound right.

Figure 3: The Analog Delay emulates the delay caused by hitting the octave strings just a little bit later.

 

Note the High Cut setting—this reduces some of the brightness caused by transposition. The Width settings give a big stereo image, but for a more “normal” sound, turn ping-pong mode to Off.

 

Your mixer should look like Fig. 4, with two channels (basic guitar, and multi preset).

Figure 4: Mixer channels for the 12-string guitar.

 

Additional Tweaks

 

The Pitch Fine Tune settings in the multi instrument instances emulate the reality that a 12-string is seemingly never in tune, which accounts for that beautiful shimmering effect. Feel free to adjust your virtual 12-string so that it’s more or less in tune.

 

Another important tweak is to set the multi instrument channel’s fader about -6 dB below the main guitar sound. The octave strings on a 12-string are thinner than the strings with standard pitch, so they generate less output. This isn’t true of the 1st and 2nd strings, but that’s fine. With the octave strings a little lower, there’s a better balance.

 

Bring on the EQ

 

And finally…the coup de grâce to get us closer to the iconic Ric sound. On the main Presence instance, use the EQ in the Bass range. Boost 3 dB 3200 Hz, and pull the lowest slider down all the way. On both multi instrument instances, pull down the highest and lowest sliders (Fig. 4). Then, insert a Pro EQ in each mixer channel.

Figure 5: These EQ settings help get “the” sound. Clockwise from top: EQ on main Presence, EQ on the two multi instrument Presence instances, and Pro EQ placed on both mixer channels.

 

The narrow cut in the Pro EQ at 3.27 kHz helps reduce what sounds like some bridge “ping” in the original Telecaster samples. But all the EQ settings shown are suggestions. Between the broad EQ in Presence and the surgical nature of the Pro EQ, you can shape the sound however you want.

  • It may be available only in Studio One Pro. However, the same technique works with other guitars. The Tele sounds most like the Ric, though…

  • Michael Twine

    Hi, I’ve just got Studio One Artist and was keen to try out your tip (always wanted a Rickenbacker!). However, in Presence/Guitar I only see 15 different guitar types. There isn’t a Telecaster. Do I need to download more guitar sounds or are these sounds only available in the full version of Studio One? Thanks!

  • Terry Miller

    You keep outdoing your self Craig. Thanks for this!

  • ST. AUBYN

    I will

  • Leo Bercoff

    What a work! I’m really anxious to test it! Thanks a lot!

  • Craig Anderton

    Thanks for making my day – people like you and Don are why I do this! If you want to hear what I do with all this stuff, check out my latest album at: https://youtu.be/ONQkKQcuego

  • ST. AUBYN

    Maan, how do you come up with these things? Your like that mad genius and i mean that as a compliment. I planned to take some time out and study and apply all your creations within Studio One, Mr. Anderton you are truly amazing. Thanks for your knowledge.

  • Cool, glad you like it! I made a request for the delay mix control in Presence to go up to 100% wet instead of stopping at 50%. That would allow putting all three Presences in one preset, instead of needing to use two tracks.

  • Don Gilmore

    Thanks Craig, this is genius. Have been trying to come up with something like this for years with poor results until now. Your the man who saved the day !