Wedge Force Earl Gray Synthetic Guitar Review

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There have been a number of guitar synth software plugins hitting the market over the last year.  Admittedly, being a guitar player, I used to have mixed feelings about guitar synths, but the more I travel for business, I am finding that it can be a really useful and convenient tool to help with songwriting and dialing in a good sound on my laptop DAW, without needing to haul around a huge pile of gear and guitars.

With that use case in mind, I have been exploring and comparing a lot of interesting new guitar software that I previously might have turned my nose up to, as a lifelong guitar purist. I will admit, however, that I am pretty picky about tone, so it takes a lot to get me excited, but it has been an interesting learning experience and an adventure exploring making guitar music without a guitar.

Yes, it has been a bit of a moral dilemma sacrificing the actual recording of myself playing an instrument, but the tradeoff is that it can also be really inspiring, fast, great sounding guitar tones and a lot of accidental brilliant ideas that have come out of using guitar synth software, so consider me a convert and a fan.

EARL GRAY Synthetic Guitar

With that said,  I recently stumbled across a new company called Wedge Force who have just released a new product called EARL Gray Synthetic Guitar.

Priced at $149, the EARL GRAY Synthetic Guitar is a standalone and plugin guitar synth that offers some interesting tonal features. It plays a bit more like a traditional piano, than other guitar synths, meaning that it sounds best when playing individual notes like a guitar solo, than trying to simulate actual guitar cords or strumming patterns. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, however, merely different, because the software offers an interesting amount of tonal control over the sustain and feedback of the notes, which is primarily done using Wedge Force’s Synthetic Force Engine.



Synthetic Force Engine

The Synthetic Force Engine utilizes a combination of 96 KHz, 24 bit, Uncompressed pre-sampled guitar waveforms with synthesized sounds, which, according to Wedge Force: “The pre-sampled waveforms sound great when a single note is played but when multiple notes are playing at the same time they sound unnatural because they lack the harmonics unique for each combination of notes. This is why we added the real-time generated harmonics in the mix.”

The interface features a selection of 9 Mod Pinch Harmonic settings, and the effect of the Synthetic Force Engine can be heard clearly when holding a note and scrolling the mod wheel on your keyboard. The sound creates a variety of palm muting and squealing harmonic feedback notes which sounds very similar to holding a distorted guitar note and letting it feedback.



Filters & Effects

Earl Gray comes with a 10 band velocity map, bridge and neck pickup slider, pitch bend, palm muting via the sustain pedal and built-in effects, including: Overdrive, Distortion, Flanger, Delay and 9 Band EQ. The effects can be turned off by turning the Master Volume knob down.

There are both a direct input and mic slider, which are useful for using Earl Gray in combination with other guitar effects processors, such as Bias FX.

Midi

Clicking the Midi button on the guitar, opens the midi map interface that allows you to map any of the controls to different parts of your keyboard.


Plugin and DAW Support

The software comes in standalone form as well as plugin support for AAX, VST2, VST3 and AU, and supports the following DAW’S: Pro Tools, Cubase, Garage Band, Sonar, Logic Pro X. I was able to load it up in Propellerhead Reason 10 with no problem.



System Requirements

Earl Gray Synth runs on both Mac and PC. Supports 32bit and 64bit DAWs.

Minumum PC System Requirements:

  • Processor:   CPU 2.5 GHz
  • RAM:   8 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk:   5 GB HDD
  • Video Card:   Any
  • Supported OS:   Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows
  • Additional Requirements:   Professional sound hardware interface is recommended for best performance and sound quality

Minumum Mac System Requirements:

  • Processor:   CPU 2.5 GHz
  • RAM:   8 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk:   5 GB HDD
  • Video Card:   Any
  • Supported OS:   Mac OS Sierra 10.12, Mac El Capitan 10.11, Mac Yosemite 10.10, Mac Mavericks 10.9, Mac Mountain Lion 10.8, Mac Lion 10.7, Mac Snow Leopard 10.6, Mac Leopard 10.5, Mac OS X
  • Additional Requirements:   Professional sound hardware interface is recommended for best performance and sound quality.

Kickstarter Campaign

Wedge Force recently launched a new kickstarter project in order to secure more funds for further development of several additional products including: Metal Bass, Progressive Metal Guitar, Single Coil Solo Guitar, Semi-Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, as well as a V3 version of their Synthetic Force sound engine.

Pros

  • A great sounding, affordable rock guitar synth plugin that offers a nice selection of string tone variations.
  • Great for skilled keyboard players who need a decent sounding guitar solo on your recordings.
  • Seamlessly works with nearly any digital audio workstation with no apparent CPU drain.

Cons

  • Chords sound a bit muddy and piano like
  • I would like to see additional features such as strumming patterns, arpeggios or one note chord playing options.

Where to Buy Earl Gray Synthetic Guitar

For more information about Earl Gray Synthetic Guitar, to download a demo, or to purchase the software, go to the Wedge Force website.

60%
60%
Good

A great sounding, affordable rock guitar synth plugin that offers a nice selection of string tone variations. Chords are a bit muddy and could use some additional arpeggio features.

  • Rated
    6
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About Author

Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of Modern Musician Magazine, AR/VR Magazine, CMO & Creative Director at booomVR, an author, publisher, musician, & artist. He Loves coffee, guitars and making cool stuff.