Composers /bands who don't use samples or orchestral instruments….

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    Thought this might be an interesting thread. Certainly not going to exclude writing for samples strings/brass etc in the future. But can anyone here list examples of musicians that don’t use PRIMARILY orchestral instruments or samples instruments in thier composing and are still licensing stuff like crazy. CAn include singer/songwriters. One such example I can think of is the band Explosions In The Sky, primarily a guitar based band. Others? Anyone who plays primarily guitar and builds their tracks around that? OK to include yourself and how you are doing. I would inlclude pianists in this, even if your piano is of the electronic/software variety.


    Anything here?


    Yeah absolutely. Anything and everything. I LOVE writing orchestral music, and keep buying libraries for doing it, but have not really done anything solidly orchestrally based for years.


    Anyone who plays primarily guitar and builds their tracks around that?

    I guess that would include me 🙂 Most of the stuff I do is guitar-centric. I play all the guitars, uke, dobro etc, the bass and some piano/organ to add some non-guitar textures.

    and how you are doing

    I’ve been fortunate -getting placements in many reality shows from libraries asking for cues with catchy riffs.

    If you’re interested – here’s one of tracks I finished for a PMA library

    <iframe width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=””></iframe&gt;


    LOL! how do you guys embed a coundcloud link?


    wordpress code maybe? lets’s see if this works. If not, my apologies

    [soundcloud url=”; params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]


    Hi Chuck,
    I’m a classically-trained guitarist and a lot of my work is guitar-centered, layered with steel string, electric and several other types of fretted instruments. I use a fair amount of synths and ambient textures along with it. My ideas that need orchestral instruments are on hold until I can get some truly great sounding orchestral instrument libraries. To insert another question, do any members have suggestions of fantastic orchestral libraries?
    How am I doing licensing music? Just ok. Here’s a sample from my most recent album: New World

    NY Composer


    Go to your song cloud song, click on “Share”, then copy and past the blue highlighted URL. 🙂


    thanks Daniel!

    56 Strat

    Guitars, bass and drums is all I do now, it’s also what I enjoy the most. I do common guitar styles. Once I decided to get back to my roots and strip everything down that’s when things started happening for me. I’m getting steady placements in TV including some major network and my sales are decent and steady in RF libraries. Everything is going ok at this point.


    Playing all live instruments, is all I do as well. The styles I specialize in, are all live instrument-centric genres like, country, blues, rock, americana, bluegrass, etc. Have had a bunch of placements. I sometimes wish I could do more of the more “popular” composing styles, with lots of samples and loops, but I think what I do, (and the other folks that play live instruments), sets my cues apart from the rest of the crowd. Just had a library ask what sample library I used for my cues, because I think they were confused how I did it! Simple, play all the parts! You hear cues a lot that composers put together with loops, and attempt to mimic live playing, and in about 3 seconds you can figure out they just pieced some sampled licks together. I think most libraries ( and music sups) can hear the difference. At least I hope!! To me, anyone with a few bucks, can buy the same sample libraries. Nobody has the same instruments that I do, or plays them like I do, for better or worse! So for me the answer is YES, you can get placements without being a sample guru. BTW killer tune Paolo!

    Michael Nickolas

    Loops definitely have a place in-conjunction with live instruments. They are great for adding color. For example you might do a country piece recording live resonator guitar, acoustic guitar, bass and etc. Then pepper it with some pedal steel loops and it really adds something. Many times I’ve had people ask me who’s playing the sax? Or how did you record the fiddle? They are not hearing an attempt to mimic live playing at all, but a natural and real sounding part. I know there are some who can use MIDI effectively, and program realistic string and other parts, but not me. Looking at a softsynth with all the programable knobs and parameters just makes my eyes glaze over.

    Art Munson

    Loops definitely have a place in-conjunction with live instruments. They are great for adding color.

    Yep, I agree with Michael and have had the same experience as he.

    Chuck Mott

    Actually my own stuff, I pretty much play everything but drums. No loops.My pianos, synths, drums are all samples or electronic, for the most part everything I else I play. Well, and horns. Own a mandolin, acoustic, electric guitar, a bass, a uke. I own 8dio dobro I’ve used a few times.

    Not opposed to using samples. They are usually (almost always) mixed with real instruments though, with the exception of some solo piano pieces I’ve done. And usually sampled instruments are thrown into to add color and not added in a way that draw undue attention to themselves. I try to use real ( which for me means tambourine and shaker) percussion when I am using drum loops where it fits. I do co-writes with another composer who uses more electronic instruments and I like adding guitar etc. to those. Best of both worlds. But my personal best seelers/ most placed list generally revolve around guitar work as a central instrument. Beucase I am also playing in a band, I also focus on guitar so my chops don’t fall off and I find myself these days going “old school” and tranbscribing or learning solos note for note. On a Larry Carlton kick now and learning the Kid Charlemagne solo and am going back to looking at some of the mre advanced old TrueFire Mimi Fox vids. I know, thanks Chuck for oversharing,.

    NY Composer

    Ironically, I have been playing drums the longest but it is probably the most sampled instrument we use. (Drum machines, loops, EZ Drummer, etc)

    There’s nothing like the sound of a good REAL drum track. The only problem is the pain in the butt to set up micing etc. My kit is all miced up with a snake going to my board then there are EQ issues that I have to deal with in any song with real drums.

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