DAW for beginner guitarist recommendation?

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!

DAW for beginner guitarist recommendation?

Ableton Live
7
11%
Bitwig Studio
3
5%
Cakewalk by Bandlab
9
15%
Cubase
3
5%
Digital Performer
0
No votes
FL Studio
2
3%
Mixcraft
1
2%
ProTools
0
No votes
Reaper
16
26%
Reason
6
10%
Studio One
14
23%
 
Total votes: 61

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF
11260 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 4:26 am

My son has just purchased his first electric guitar - Ibanez GRX70QA; using his first temp job salary! - and we decided that until he's sure he's serious about learning it, he'll just use it with a computer (a PC laptop) and audio interface. In my plugin collection I had Positivegrid' Bias FX2, Waves' GTR3 and Presonus' Ampire so I installed them on his laptop to play with in stand-alone mode.

But eventually, he'd like to have a DAW installed too so that he could record, comp & arrange his playing.

I showed to him: Bitwig, Live, Studio One and Reason. I also have Cubase and FL but they're way too complex, IMO. He surprisingly liked Reason the most! He said it's ...the "most intuitive" with "everything looking like an actual device", the cables on the back triggered a "wow!" response. Thinking further, there's other benefits to Reason: tuner on every channel; great native pitch correction, warping and audio quntize; intuitive pitch to MIDI conversion; battery of really good devices - amps, effects, instruments - in-the-box; and THAT mixer!

Obviously, as it is well known, Reason's sequencer is a bit behind the times in certain aspects, but for simple arranging of few tracks it's more than adequate I think? Blocks mode is great for structuring the arrangement. All basic editing is available (cutting, reversing, stretching, fades & x-fades, clip gain)

What YOU guys (& girls) think? I made a bigger DAW list for your convenience, too.
Music tech enthusiast
DAW, VST & hardware hoarder
My "music": https://soundcloud.com/antic604

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF

Topic Starter

11260 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:22 am

Those voting Reaper - can you elaborate please? :pray:

I've been using multiple DAWs for almost 5 years and I still get easily lost in Reaper whenever I try to do almost anything that's intuitive elsewhere. But my workflow is focused on MIDI, so maybe it's really much easier for pure audio recording, editing & arrangement?
Music tech enthusiast
DAW, VST & hardware hoarder
My "music": https://soundcloud.com/antic604

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
88712 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am

isn't cakewalk free?
id say, go with that and try all yours, see what fits.
there is no one "guitarists" daw, other than obviously needing audio recording and editing, the rest is personal choice.

chk071
KVRAF
30702 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:33 am

If he likes Reason, and it gels with him, I would go on using that. Especially as it also seems to be your DAW of choice, which means that you can show him stuff, if he has questions. ;)

And, forget the Reaper votes. It's KVR, so, there'll be a lot of them, for no apparent reason. :D
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

User avatar
The Noodlist
KVRAF
4585 posts since 16 Aug, 2017 from UK

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:41 am

I'd be tempted to get a Presonus interface that ships with Studio One Artist, it's the most user-friendly DAW I've encountered.
I'd also check out Vurt's recommendation , the free Bandlab by Cakewalk.

I voted for Bandlab, that's if you are already happy with your audio interface.
Currently trying to turn noise into music. :neutral: Is boutique the new old?

User avatar
elxsound
KVRAF
7490 posts since 18 Aug, 2007 from NYC

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:43 am

antic604 wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:22 am
Those voting Reaper - can you elaborate please? :pray:

I've been using multiple DAWs for almost 5 years and I still get easily lost in Reaper whenever I try to do almost anything that's intuitive elsewhere. But my workflow is focused on MIDI, so maybe it's really much easier for pure audio recording, editing & arrangement?
I haven't voted yet, but I do often recommend Reaper because of its low cost, buuuuuut, you are absolutely right that it's pretty convoluted (IMO f**king opinion, so back off Reapernites). Reaper is very capable, but spending some time learning it and then sticking with it makes it easy to customize and simplify as needed. Not a bad choice at all.

As Vurt mentioned Cakewalk is free.

For beginners, I always find it hard to recommend payware just in case they walk away from it.

Additionally, there are lite versions of Bitwig, Ableton, Pro Tools and others. They're very good at being straightforward for recording and provide a great place to confidently grow out of.

If you give something too complex, they're likely to focus more on the software than the guitar which (IMO) would be a shame. Then again... If he finds Reason easy, hey... that's a plus.

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF

Topic Starter

11260 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:51 am

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
isn't cakewalk free?
Sure, but I've enough DAW licenses to just "lend" him one ;)

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
id say, go with that and try all yours, see what fits.
Nah. My initial impression was that it's much more complex - in a good sense, but not as first software - than most DAWs, on par with Cubase.

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
there is no one "guitarists" daw, other than obviously needing audio recording and editing, the rest is personal choice.
I know, but I think the answer would be different if I asked for hip-hop or EDM.
Last edited by antic604 on Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Music tech enthusiast
DAW, VST & hardware hoarder
My "music": https://soundcloud.com/antic604

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vurt
addled muppet weed
88712 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:53 am

antic604 wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:51 am
vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
isn't cakewalk free?
Sure, but I don't care. I've enough DAW licenses to just "lend" him one ;)

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
id say, go with that and try all yours, see what fits.
Nah. My initial impression was that it's much more complex - in a good sense, but not as first software - than most DAWs, on par with Cubase.

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am
there is no one "guitarists" daw, other than obviously needing audio recording and editing, the rest is personal choice.
I know, but I think the answer would be different if I asked for hip-hop or EDM.
well, as a guitar player...
none of the 3 hosts i use were available to vote for :P

User avatar
donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
9778 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:55 am

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:27 am

there is no one "guitarists" daw, other than obviously needing audio recording and editing, the rest is personal choice.
I'd agree with that. You're basically doing the same things, only with guitar recordings. As long as the audio handling is up to scratch and the latency etc (as I'd imagine they all are these days), then it's what suits the way you work.

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF

Topic Starter

11260 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:56 am

vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:53 am
none of the 3 hosts i use were available to vote for :P
LOL. I still have no idea what you use :D
Music tech enthusiast
DAW, VST & hardware hoarder
My "music": https://soundcloud.com/antic604

User avatar
donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
9778 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:58 am

antic604 wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:56 am
vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:53 am
none of the 3 hosts i use were available to vote for :P
LOL. I still have no idea what you use :D
Telephone exchange.

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
88712 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:05 am

antic604 wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:56 am
vurt wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:53 am
none of the 3 hosts i use were available to vote for :P
LOL. I still have no idea what you use :D
its not important :hihi:

orion is no longer available, bidule probably not great for a beginner.
samplitude though, straight forward linear type of thing

i actually do most guitar recording using guitar rig tbh, you can set up your fx chain, recorder and boom!
might be good for learning too, once he's got a few chords or riffs, nice rack of fx to rock out post practice 8)

sjm
KVRAF
2171 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:08 am

I use FL Studio, and I wouldn't recommend that in this situation. Audio recording in FL isn't as streamlined as it could be. It's fine, I can work with it, but the strength of FL Studio is in the piano roll (for me).

That *can* be of relevance though, if he wants to get serious programming his own drum parts etc. I've mucked around in Reason, and the piano roll seems pretty horrid to work with. I wouldn't want to be doing complex programming in that. But if he's happy with drum loops, ready made MIDI grooves etc. - which are great for jamming over - it's probably not a biggie.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that there is also the bigger picture: if the primary aim is to learn guitar, then having something inspiring that makes recording easy is the most important thing. You can just throw in some placeholders for jam tracks etc. and focus on the guitar. But if there's a desire to be creating all parts of a track from scratch - drums, bass yadda yadda - then what's easy for the first 6 months isn't necessarily the same as what's best for actually creating a selection of finished tracks 2 years down the line.

If you're just lending your own DAWs and not spending any money, it probably doesn't really matter though. Go with what clicks now, and if needs change in 6/12/24 months, all the fundamental knowledge gained in Reason will translate to any DAW. While there's an initial learning curve that comes with switching DAWs, it's much less than coming in as a noob with zero experience at all. And it's really easy to kill creativity and motivation if you're fighting the tech. So that initial "Wow!" factor probably goes a long way to making him actually want to create music and actually play and learn the guitar.

My 2 cents.
Voted KVR's resident drunk Robert Smith impersonator (thanks Frantz!)

https://soundcloud.com/steevm/

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF

Topic Starter

11260 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:15 am

sjm wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:08 am
...Go with what clicks now, and if needs change in 6/12/24 months, all the fundamental knowledge gained in Reason will translate to any DAW. While there's an initial learning curve that comes with switching DAWs, it's much less than coming in as a noob with zero experience at all. And it's really easy to kill creativity and motivation if you're fighting the tech. So that initial "Wow!" factor probably goes a long way to making him actually want to create music and actually play and learn the guitar.
Yes, that's what I'm thinking too. Thanks! :tu:
Music tech enthusiast
DAW, VST & hardware hoarder
My "music": https://soundcloud.com/antic604

User avatar
The Noodlist
KVRAF
4585 posts since 16 Aug, 2017 from UK

Post Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:25 am

sjm wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:08 am
And it's really easy to kill creativity and motivation if you're fighting the tech. So that initial "Wow!" factor probably goes a long way to making him actually want to create music and actually play and learn the guitar.

My 2 cents.
That's my thought on Reaper, being used to the ease of Studio One. But, Reaper is really efficient when using those pesky Acustia plugins.
Currently trying to turn noise into music. :neutral: Is boutique the new old?

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