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