Making soundfont; advice for looping?

• Oct 27, 2015 - 00:40

Hi everybody, I'm making a guitar/bass soundfont with my own samples (Using amp modeling plugins from ignite amps-- great stuff!) and I want to know what you guys think:

How is polyphone's auto-loop feature? I've been using it because I suck at looping things myself, but of course it makes plenty of errors, so I'm looking for advice about how to loop my samples.

Also: any general advice? Tutorials or links to send me to? What does the MuseScore community want from an electric guitar soundfont? My goal is to make something I can use to write metal with a little more fidelity to the sound, but I can make anything from a clean sound to a jazz sound or metal or rock sound. I'm currently planning to do distortion guitar, overdrive guitar, palm mute, guitar harmonics, and maybe a new 'dead notes' sound. Well, I've got cheap instruments but I think I can do a good job and I want some feedback about what people want.

I'm doing this in my free time but I'll post a link to it when I'm done, along with the custom instruments.xml I use so I can switch voices on guitar (Like for palm muting). At any rate, I need advice about looping the samples.


IMO most auto-looping algorithms suck big time! And Polyphone's is no different.

The problem with them is that they usually don't use a big enough time range for the loop, so it often loses the natural timbre of the instrument.

I would have thought that as you are making a bass/guitar soundfont then looping would largely be un-necessary as these instruments have a natural decay. Consequently recording samples which decay naturally will give the best results, and the SF2 inbuilt amplitude envelope generator will take care of shorter notes.

If you really want to use looping then I would recommend using Audacity to find the loop points as it will find zero crossing points for you automatically. I usually take a loop area of around 10k from somewhere in the sample where it has reached the sustain phase, using Audacity's zoom to find points where the waveform begins to repeat itself. I then use the "Find Zero Crossings" tool to shift the beginning and end points to zero crossing points, and usually that's the job done - you then audition the loop in Audacity to check for clicks and artefacts. Usually all that remains to be done is to copy the loop start and end points into Polyphone or Viena or whichever SF2 editor you are using.


I find looping easier in Viena because the "Smooth Loop" feature sounds fairly natural still. DON'T USE AUTO-LOOPS EVER!!

For guitar and bass, looping is fairly unnecessary, but it could help with certain features depending on how much you want to do (presumably not much). Distortion and overdrive electric guitar may benefit from looping, if you need help, post the samples and I (or maybe ChurchOrganist if they want to) could help loop them and let you compile them into instruments/presets.

Thanks everybody! I'll be using this advice. I wanted to loop the overdrive/distortion samples because I was having to use a compressor/gate and couldn't get a pleasing decay (and because sometimes people can sustain their guitars for pretty much forever). But I'm replacing my old wire that was all noisy and hopefully will be able to dial back the gate.

I might ask for advice in the future about all the other arcane-looking settings in Polyphone, if I can't figure it out.

I'm going to use the looping advice for other things besides the guitar, but I want to make a guitar soundfont first-- there's enough violins and stuff out there already!

This is my plan for the guitar soundfont:
1 distortion/clean/jazz/overdrive on each pickup (neck, center, middle), including palm mute, harmonics, and dead notes. That should give us all something to work with!

In reply to by StringContrabass

Thanks! The method I'm using for sampling is open notes, then third fret, for each string, and finally the fifth, ninth, twelfth, etc. frets on the high E string. That way the samples are mapped to the correct strings. I'm not sure about using velocity layers, at least not for overdrive/distortion. For those there's only one volume, LOUD.

Eventually I plan on making a natural harmonics sf2. But college is getting in the way (just started this semester).

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Good point about open strings. My goal is to make something for metal really, since that's what I play. I use the bottom 2 strings open a LOT. But I will definitely sample the first fret, too. It doesn't make a huge difference with a lot of gain, and in the "demo" I made a few days ago, it sounded pretty decent. Especially the palm mutes. Who can tell an open palm mute from a fretted palm mute? Especially with high gain.

As for chords, I won't be doing that! They never sound natural on a computer unless you get special software. And anyways I'm focusing on electric guitar, there's plenty of great soundfonts for Acoustic and Nylon, probably. At any rate I've been using Drop C tuning so it wouldn't have the same open notes in the first place! But I'll do one in standard tuning if I get enough requests. After I actually do it, that is. School has been eating my time, along with procrastination :P.

Thing is, I don't have a Taylor Guitar or anything like that. So no one would be satisfied with samples from my acoustic. I'd be HAPPY to accept donated samples if anyone has a nice steel or nylon string acoustic. But I need to focus on the primary goal and get that done first!

TLDR; I'm focusing on metal-- so I'll sample the open fret and the first fret

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I'd love to, if only I had the right kind of guitar. I think it would sound good in Drop D. But I'm gonna focus on "solo" lines like riffs and melodies. Of course Musescore is never gonna handle a real guitar solo until slides/bends/wammy bar and effects pedals are implemented.

The problem I encounter with the stock electric guitar soundfonts is that I can't write harmony lines for them satisfactorily. Whenever they play the same note it sounds like it comes from the middle speaker. I'd like to record several similar tones so I can write harmony parts that pan correctly.

Here's a sample of my "demo" (I'm gonna re-record the samples after thouroghly cleaning the wires/jacks, etc to reduce noise).

Note that this is MY intellectual property! But I plan on releasing the soundfont CC-0.

It's a WAV file so I had to upload it zipped.

Attachment Size 1.65 MB

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