Spitfire Audio Fink – Signatures review: Essentials and oddities in one virtual instrument
Can this acoustic guitar toolkit cover all your needs?
Fast and easy to work with
Great sound quality
Offers a wide variety of sounds
Inability to adjust stereo width
A few more strumming and arpeggio patterns would go a long way
Fin Greenall, the Cornwall born and Berlin-based troubadour more commonly known as Fink, has spent a career wringing emotion out of fretboards. Now, the master guitarist has teamed up with Spitfire to release what the artist describes as a “genuinely useful” toolkit of sounds drawn from Fink’s distinctive, self-taught playing style. The result is a beautiful and unusual library that makes writing nuanced guitar parts a quick and painless process.
The library arrives with a clear emphasis on diversity of sound. In comparison to the Session Guitarist libraries from Native Instruments, which dive deep into specific playing styles, Signatures instead offers up a mini buffet of strums, picking, percussion, and even vocals and pads. Standard fare like plucked and harmonic notes sit alongside harder to find samples like thumbed notes, slaps, two-finger chords, and percussion played on the body of the guitar. There are four tempo-synced arpeggio and strumming patterns, and everything comes with three velocity layers and two round robins.
An easily-missed but very nice feature is the ability to choose a custom starting point for each note – allowing you to discard the percussive attack and instead have fun composing with the resonances hidden in the tail-end of the sound. It’s a simple but surprisingly effective way of doubling the sonic possibilities that the library offers.
Recorded in Berlin at Jazzanova Recording Studios, every technique is sampled on three separate guitars and, while Spitfire hasn’t given any details on the microphones used, the sound quality is hard to fault. There’s a warm and emotive Mal Brady nylon string, a bright and pop sounding Martin D28, and a downright seductive 1984 Martin D35, appropriately nicknamed Orwell. Of the three, it’s the D35 that stands out for its tone – a balanced and beautifully resonant instrument that sounds simply fantastic in Fink’s hands.
You can also blend in a re-amped signal from a vintage, late 60s Fender Deluxe using the now-familiar Dynamics slider in the Spitfire plug-in interface. The effect is subtle but definitely adds another layer of sound customisation that helps make this library suitable for both film and TV scoring, and songwriting projects.
Signatures works hard to do a bit of everything. While it’s mightily satisfying to layer up Fink’s whisky-smooth vocals with ambient drones, guitar case percussion, and delicate fingerpicking, we’re left wondering if it might have been more useful to sacrifice some of this variety to instead focus on say, a wider selection of strumming and arpeggio patterns.
The library is billed as a toolkit but is probably better understood as a starter kit, albeit an excellent one. If you’re planning to extensively use acoustic guitar samples across multiple scoring or songwriting projects, then Signatures probably won’t hold up as a one-stop-shop. But, if you’re looking to get going quickly then this characterful, diverse, and imminently affordable library is the best thing around by a country mile.
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