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Smiley Smile Stuff => General On Topic Discussions => Topic started by: Greg Parry on April 05, 2021, 11:21:51 AM

Title: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Greg Parry on April 05, 2021, 11:21:51 AM
Along the lines of EastWest's Fab Four library (, what instruments would you include in a Beach Boys sample library?

(For non-musicians who are unsure of what I mean, a sample library is music production software which uses samples of actual instruments which can then be played on a keyboard or programmed by midi)

All samples would be processed through vintage gear so the instruments have an authentic period sound out of the box. These parameters can of course be adjusted to taste.

My initial list would be:

Drums / Percussion

  • Denny's Drums (A library of Dennis's kit sounds circa 1963 - 1964).
  • Hal Blaine Strikes Again (Hal's kit sounds circa 1965 - 1967).
  • Bag of Tricks (Dip into Hal's bag for all your other percussion needs).


  • Brian's Bass (Played with thumb, obviously).
  • Pick of the Pops (Picked bass with adjustable tape delay).
  • PianoBass (Pre-balanced piano and Fender Bass combo for that Pet Sounds vibe).
  • Danalectro (To round off the above bass combo).


  • Brian's Baldwin (Struggling with your magnum opus? Pare it back Smiley Style, every patch included).
  • Brian's Home Tuned Piano (Get wild, honey).
  • Plucked Piano (Played with authentic Bobby Pins. This time no one needs to climb into the piano).

Stringed. I'm no expert on guitars, so perhaps others can chime in here, but to start off

  • 12 String Electro Mandolin (Wouldn't it be nice to have a VST of this?).


  • Brian's 3-Sax combo (Mix them low, good to go).


As there are now some very impressive vocal sample libraries, perhaps some sound-a-likes could be found for each Beach Boy, allowing you to build your own backgrounds.

Each patch contains the right amount of oohs, aaahs, bops and dits. The sustained notes can be played legato

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on April 05, 2021, 01:00:26 PM
Not to make this into a Beatles vs. Beach Boys debate, but it is funny that they are considered sonically interesting enough to have a sample library and a coupe gear books and whatever, and the Beach Boys aren't (or haven't been).  I have been trying to build the case, with an evidence based approach, that the Beach Boys sonic work, first Brian's efforts, then the band's in conjunction with great engineers like Desper, is unique and special enough to be recognized on a bigger scale.

In my efforts to show this, I have pretty obsessively accrued a lot of virtual instruments / sample libraries for the very peculiar sounds that I can't recreate analog-ly.  For me, that tends to be the large instruments I can't own right now -- multiple pianos, string bass, analog electric pianos, etc.  So I've spent a lot of time hunting for some of these things.  Pianos are infinitely frustrating.  The virtual instruments all have strengths and weaknesses.  Too bad you can't have the strengths without the weaknesses!

If anyone is interested in recommendations, I'm happy to contribute.

Anyway, it's a fun list.  I'd add the following:

-Fender and String Bass mix
-Dano fuzztone for GV and Smile - like lines

Hammond and Vibes combo
Really high quality vibraphone
Hammond Organ patches dialed in for different song vibes - SUSA solo, what have you

Bass Harmonica
Easy to manipulate tannerin-type continuous sine wave type thing

For Horns, you really need a few distinct sections:
Classic Steve and Jay - Two Tenors , Tenor/Bari, or two Baris
Today Trio - two tenors and a bari
Expanded section - Trumpet, two tenors, and a bari, option for bass sax
Clarinet quartet for YSBIM and IJWMFTT vibes
Flute section for GV, Caroline No, or I'm waiting for the day vibes
A la carte selections from entire woodwind palette above

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Joshilyn Hoisington on April 05, 2021, 01:55:50 PM
You also need the Marocco/Fortina patch; two accordions available either solo, or in combination that you can tweak to get a certain vibration in the room.

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Sam_BFC on April 05, 2021, 02:25:53 PM
Pet Sounds instrumental guitar through Leslie (is the You're So Good To Me guitar also played through a Leslie?)

With reference to the sound used both on BWPS and the God Only Knows remake of the What Love Can Do era, a less aggressive sounding harpsichord patch would be good (not to open up the old "fake harpsichord" debate).

There are so many fantastic organ sounds (were they all Hammond up to around the end of 1966?) to mention; SUSA, Good Vibrations (more than one in that song alone, some virtual instruments do come with a Good Vibrations patch, I think), Here Today, That's Not Me, in fact most of Pet Sounds album...even the guitar sounds have something quite unique about them from song to another...

Resident experts like Joshilyn have invested so much time to get pretty close to many of these sounds, might the EW people struggle to get close to some of them even with their resources? Perhaps they could with the help of Joshilyn and others.

Given that EW own the legendary studio in which so many of these great sounds were created, seems a no-brainer that they should create a library of this kind, even if it is for a more general west coast 60s theme rather specifically Beach Boys. Is the Fab Four set the only one of its kind? A little odd that EW produced that rather than Abbey Road themselves.

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: guitarfool2002 on April 05, 2021, 04:55:19 PM
Just my own two cents, and it goes back 30+ years of chasing classic tones lol:

Trying to get a sample of classic guitar sounds in a workable, authentic sounding format is almost impossible. I'm not as invested day-to-day in the technology as I was years ago, so I'm asking honestly of anyone out there: Are there *any* keyboard-based samples of guitar sounds which actually sound like a guitar to be convincing enough to add to a track? If there are, I'd love to check some out. Because no one has captured a guitar sample that sounds good, especially for strumming or specific single-note playing beyond random hits or stabs. The instrument is too quirky overall to capture it, let alone to capture a sound close to what Billy Strange or Glen Campbell played in 1965. Or even a Leslie guitar...the sustain and the way the sound reacts through the Leslie with the Doppler effect is the killer app which I doubt would translate via samples. You just can't match the sustain accurately.

For guitar parts, and replicating those parts, I'd say get a guitar or hire a guitarist lol. Then run that through a sample-based program or effects designed to capture those specific sounds. No keyboard can get them, in my experience, but am happy to be proven wrong.

Bass is a little easier to capture with a keyboard-based rig overall, and the fact that most of the classic Beach Boys bass lines were played very staccato and muted, with very definable effects added on the tail end. But if you're trying to do upright with a lot of gliss and slides, good luck unless you are a really, really skilled and obsessive keyboardist who can use a pitch wheel meticulously.

Having a package of the Baldwin, the home detuned piano, good classic Hammond and Leslie sounds with drawbar adjustments available in real time...that would be nice for anyone who is a fan and keyboardist, and such a package is available. These sounds were captured for the Smile live tour and processed with Kurzweil instruments, as were the various melodic mallet percussion instruments made available for the live stage and sample-based sounds. I know the person who did this work for the band personally, he's one of the best in the business.

Now a pure fantasy, I mean pure fantasy beyond what exists now, would be to have a program set up to sample and capture the timbre of each Beach Boy's voice and range, and be able to sing a note into the processor, set the 5-part harmony notes of the chord, and have an instant Beach Boys harmony stack on your own vocal parts. I mean, that would freakin' rule to be honest. If that ever comes out in a workable piece of technology, I have the copyright for the idea right here in print.  :lol :smokin ;)  Who among us who both records and/or plays and sings music has not wanted to have those glorious harmonies backing us up on a track? It will probably never happen for obvious reasons, no more than a program would allow you to sing in Sinatra's voice or Elvis' voice.

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Greg Parry on April 06, 2021, 01:21:52 AM
Thanks for the contributions.

Joshilyn, I'm always very interested in your meticulous work. A list of your recommendations would be most welcome. I already use the Spitfire harpsichord library you mentioned on one of your videos, and it is very convincing with the right processing. For tack pianos I use either a fortepiano library, or Wavesfactory's W-Honky. I also use a Cimbalom library which I picked up years ago which combines quite well with the other two for that Smile sound. For kits I use the Abbey Road 50's and 60's kit, or Tea Towel Drums again by Wavesfactory. The latter is very Beatlesque. I've never found a particular Hal Blaine sounding kit, but of course, it all stands or falls on your processing chain. Likewise with horns. I use the Broadway Big Band library which is actually great, but doesn't have that vibe I'm after.

As stated though, processing is all important. I turn all the instruments to mono first, and run them through a vintage channel strip emulation. I quite like the Abbey Road REDD, but my go to is funnily enough an SSL strip, which has nothing to do with vintage Beach Boys but I really love the saturation and eq. For tape emulation, I flit between the J37 and Sketch Cassette. The latter has the best tape compression and saturation I've ever heard, but its not subtle. For compression I'm in love with the RS124 at the moment. Again, its not subtle but its the best 60's sounding emulation I've ever heard. Reverb I struggle with. I'm not impressed with the Abbey Road Plates and Chambers. I tried the Valhalla set as everyone raves about them, but again.....not for me. I tend to just use the Fabfilter Pro-R, as it is unobtrusive and very eq-able. I'd love to try the Capital set or the Ocean Way, and hope to get an Apollo in the near future so I can access all the UAD goodies.

Sam, there are lots of great B3 emulations. I use the Native Instruments one and with some serendipitous fiddling most of those classic Brian Wilson sounds from Surfin' USA up to Good Vibrations can be recreated. A Baldwin though......

Guitarfool, I'm intrigued by the Smile tour library. Please share more about this. (I also have some feedback about the Kurzweil samples from persons close to the tour, so perhaps that is a conversation for PM).

Regarding electric guitars, you're absolutely right. You can just instantly tell its a sample library. I find one of the problems with guitar libraries, and this applies to a lot of other instruments too, is that they don't respond well to eq, especially of an additive nature. You find you're basically stuck with what you've got, which isn't helpful in a busy mix.  I use the Electri6ity set, and it's passable for demos, especially the Telecaster and the Lipstick patches. With acoustic guitars however, have you tried the Amplesounds sets?  The strumming patches are unconvincing, but for finger picking these libraries are much more realistic, especially with some judicious processing. I also find this with other acoustic string libraries such as mandolins and harps. Acoustic stringed instruments whose voicings lie in the higher register seem to survive sampling with a higher degree of authenticity. This is why I'm hopeful a convincing Wouldn't it be Nice intro sound can be successfully sampled.

As for the vocal library, I think the answer would lie in finding sound-a-likes. Didn't a singer appear on here some years back who had am uncanny youthful Brian-esque timbre? As companies like Realivox have demonstrated, some very realistic backgrounds libraries can be created. The success seems to lie in how realistic the legato and portamento is. A Beach Boys style library, where each patch exists as both single tracked and double tracked is more than possible if the right performers were to be found.

As for a fully digital version of particular voices, we're not there yet, but we're closer than we were. (

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: onkster on April 07, 2021, 05:37:00 PM
Plus: some Banana and Louie!

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Pablo. on April 08, 2021, 06:01:41 PM
There are VSTs for Moogs and Arps, so you can get those farty bass sounds and string ensembles from the Brian's Back Era. It would be nice to have a preset to emulate the sound Earl Mankey got on those Love You snares, although I'm pretty sure it's easy to emulate if you know your way around processing.

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: Chris Brown on April 08, 2021, 08:57:18 PM
Great topic - there are some cool sounds in EW's Fab Four library, and a Beach Boys equivalent would be fantastic.  I think the combo sounds that Joshilyn suggested in particular would be neat to be able to play around with.  There are different sounds scattered within the EW libraries that can give you a decent approximation at times, but it would be wonderful to have them all right at your fingertips, particularly in conjunction with the different echo/reverb options in Spaces II.

Title: Re: Beach Boys Fantasy Sample Library
Post by: UK_Surf on April 12, 2021, 01:34:46 PM
Personally, I would like the 'real life water sounds' Stephen Desper reportedly recorded in the field (or a stream near the field) for a Chamberlin sample suite for Cool Cool Water (and/or its variants), and then never use them!

Yep, BW was creating sample libraries in the 60s....