CheatSheet: Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3

Cheat Sheet delivers concise, explicit information about specific recording/audio-related tasks or processes. This installment describes useful techniques for Guitar Rig 3.
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BETTER SOUND QUALITY

Enable the HI-Q button in the upper right corner to increase sound quality dramatically, especially with distortion and amp effects. However, this increases the power required from your CPU.

SET OPTIMUM LEVELS AUTOMATICALLY

Overloading the internal signal path produces “nasty” digital distortion, unlike the pleasing distortion created within amp modules. There are three places in the signal path where GR can optimize levels automatically to prevent this.

Input module: Click on the left Learn button and strum your guitar at the loudest possible level. GR will adjust the level automatically to avoid distortion at the input, then turn off the Learn function.

Amplifier modules: Once the Input level is optimized, to prevent overloading an amp module click on the amp cabinet’s Learn button, then play at the loudest possible level.

Output module: The Master Volume retains its existing level when you switch presets. The Output module Learn function adjusts the Preset level (which controls the level of individual Presets) automatically for a consistent output level. As with the Input module, click on the Output module Learn button, then play at the loudest possible level.

OPTIMIZE THE NOISE GATE

While not playing your guitar, click on the Input module's right Learn button. This sets the gate threshold above the guitar's quiescent noise level.

PREVENT SPIKES

Engage the Output module’s limiter to tame any possible spikes or transients. However, this does not substitute for proper level-setting as described above.

CHOOSE DIFFERENT SETS OF PRESET BANKS

You might want completely different sound Banks: for example, a set for playing live through a conventional cabinet, and a set for use in the studio. Put the Banks in separate folders, then in GR, click on Options > Preferences. At the bottom of the Preferences section, browse for the desired Bank.

MINIMIZE AND MAXIMIZE BUTTONS

If a module shows a + (maximize) button, click on it to reveal additional parameters. When fully maximized, the – (minimize) button has two states: Click once to hide additional parameters, and again to reduce the module to a size where no controls are available.

EASY PARAMETER TWEAKING

Can’t tweak play guitar and tweak at the same time? Show Tape Deck 1, record your playing, then loop what you played so you can tweak controls while you listen to your guitar. Note: Set the Play switch to “At Input” so your signal goes through the various modules.

TUNE TO ALTERNATE TUNINGS

In addition to Guitar, Bass, and Chromatic, the tuner provides Open D, Open G, Open A, Open E, and DADGAD tunings. Use the drop-down menu under the Tuner label in the module’s upper left.

PRACTICE TO ALTERNATE TIME SIGNATURES

The Metronome module has 28 different time signatures with different accents. Access them from the Metronome’s “Signat” drop-down menu.

FUNCTION KEY SHORTCUTS

F1: Toggles between standard and “Live” view.
F2: Show/hide the “sidekick” (the left section with Browser, Components, Options, etc.).
F3: Show/hide Rig Kontrol in standard view. In Live view, hit F3 to switch GR back to standard view and show the Rig Kontrol.
F4: Hides everything except GR, and stretches it to fit the full available vertical space. This is great for Live view.

CREATE SNAPSHOTS

Snapshots let you create up to four different sound variations within a single Preset and map them to Rig Kontrol 3 (virtual or physical) footswitches 1–4. Set up the controls the way you want, then right-click on the desired footswitch and select “Set Snapshot.” Before doing anything else, you can type in a name. To change the name later, go Options > Controller tab, and locate the switch you want to rename. The field underneath the switch will show Snapshot. Doubleclick on the field to the right and type in the new name. Note: Snapshots are saved with a Preset.

ASSIGN PARAMETER TO MIDI CONTROLLER

Right-click on the parameter, select Learn, then move the controller you want to assign (physical, or virtual—e.g., the virtual Rig Kontrol pedal). Assignments are saved with the Preset.

WHERE’S THE ENVELOPE FOLLOWER?

Under Components, select the MDF tab. The modifier called “Input Level” provides the same function as an envelope follower.

ASSIGN A MODIFIER TO A PARAMETER

Click on the modifier’s Assign button, and drag it to the parameter you want to control (e.g., Pro Filter cutoff frequency). A modifier can affect multiple parameters if desired.

CHANGE MODIFIER AMOUNT AND POLARITY

Use the modifier’s “Targets” drop-down menu to choose a particular parameter being controlled by the modifier. A slider appears; moving it to the right from center increases the modifier’s positive amount, while moving it to the left from center increases the modifier’s negative amount.

PARALLEL EFFECTS

Use the Split component (found in the Tools tab). Drag effects for one parallel chain between the Split A and Split B sections. Drag effects for the other parallel chain between the Split B and Split Mix sections. The Mix section lets you pan the chains, as well as crossfade between them.