Review: Evolution Hollowbody Blues by Orange Tree Samples


Evolution Hollowbody Blues can transports your listeners from the streets of Chicago to the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Housed in Orange Tree’s powerful Evolution engine, Hollowbody Blues is a gem and instantly evokes the genre.

Jump to the Demos of  Evolution Hollowbody Blues

Jump to the Videos of  Evolution Hollowbody Blues


Review: Evolution Hollowbody Blues by Orange Tree Samples

Orange Tree Samples has released the fantastic Evolution Hollowbody Blues, a multi-sampled virtual guitar library housed in their Evolution Engine for Kontakt.

The Hollowbody Blues guitar library was sampled from a 1963 Gibson ES–345 at Rosewood Recording in Provo, UT by Guy Randle. The guitar itself was played by Rich Dixon who has an extensive pedigree in recording, performing and teaching jazz theory and improvisation.

The ES–345 has long been a staple of blues giants like B. B. King whose beloved “Lucille” was a black ES–345. It also found its home in Rock & Roll, being a favorite of players like Chuck Berry, George Harrison, Steve Howe (Yes), Alex Lifeson (Rush) and at times even Keith Richards of The Stones.

Evolution Hollowbody Blues sell for $179 from Orange Tree Samples


.If you have seen SLR reviews of the Evolution series guitars ( StrawberryModern NylonRick 12Steel String Acoustic  ), you know I am a big fan of the guitar libraries from Orange Tree Samples. I was pleased to find Hollowbody Blues is another fine addition to the developer line up.

Capturing the timeless guitar tone of blues legends, Evolution Hollowbody Blues instantly evokes the genre upon playback.

This sample set is spot-on with the detailed and extensive deep-sampled articulations. This library can create some very real blues guitar from playing straight on the keyboard. The way the engine is setup you have unlimited options for ways to control articulation switching via the mapping feature.

One of the secrets to the Hollowbody Blues’ realistic playback is the huge selection of articulations including palm mutes, mutes, natural harmonics, tapping, string slaps and guitar body hits. Each of the articulations can be mapped to Velocity, Keyswitch, Controllers and more.

The first versions of the Evolution Engine had allowed you the articulation mapping, but the addative of the “random” mapping on the new OTS guitars offers a truly unique and arbitrary triggering based on a percentage that really adds to the realism of playback of the instrument.

Evolution Hollowbody Blues as comes with a full FX rack. As you may have read or heard me mention before, I am not a fan of using effects in the Kontakt engine and typically stick with using premium plugins for effecting my signal chain, however, the Evolution engine’s great set of stomp boxes and amps do just the trick too and seem to really work for this sample set. The Evo Hollowbody premiers a new effect the “Spring Verb” as well as new guitar cabinets with new mic positions options inside the “Cab” effects. Owners of previous OTS Evo libs are in luck as the developer will be releasing updates for all older Evolution guitar libraries down the line.

With the addition of new cabs and reverbs the effects really add a lot to what you can do with Hollowbody Blues. This is best showcased in the numerous Kontakt snapshot presets, which are spot -on for conjuring up a wide array of timbres across the blues spectrum.

As with the other Orange Tree Samples libraries, the samples really come to life because of the features of the Evolution engine the instrument uses. If you haven’t been following along, Orange Tree has released 11 guitar libraries in the Engine so once you get past the little learning curve to understand the way the instrument is set up, you have the option of spanning the guitar galaxy that Orange Tree has sampled using the same engine functionality.

One of the things that works really well on this blues colored sample set is the Strumming and Pattern engines. With the Evolution libraries, you have the ability to jump back and forth between strumming, using dedicated strum key-switches, or using the Strum/Pattern Player.

Spending a little time programming original patterns or selecting from the pre-loaded preset strums/patterns you can hear this instrument hold it’s own up against many real guitar tracks.

The Hollowbody Blues is further enhanced by the Evolution engine’s fantastic body resonance and physical modeling scripting, options for adjustment between a separate bridge and neck pickup, multitracking and pick modeling. The list of control parameters seems bottomless on the tiny SETUP screen. The dozens of options can be changed to sculpt playback and suit your performance needs.

If the Evolution Engine ever gets an overhaul, one thing I would like to see is more of the parameter controls instantly accessible on single pages in the GUI. Although I am used to the layout, scrolling down the massive articulation lists on the PLAY panel or diving into the controls to scroll down options in the SET UP panel, it seems like there could be a more user-friendly way to access your controls without so much scrolling.

Just like fans of the blues are devoted to the genre, I find myself now a few guitars deep championing OTS and the Evolution engine.

When I first heard about Hollowbody Blues I was at a crossroads. Did I need a dedicated Blues guitar library? But the tone and functionality have won me over.

Hollowbody Blues is a real gem and a great addition to the Evolution line.

As with all our reviews be sure to check out the official demos and videos below to ensure that the instrument is right for your unique needs.


Evolution Hollowbody Blues is a Kontakt Player instrument. It requires a total of 9.3 GB of free disk space in order to download and install the sample library. The total size of the download is 4.55 GB, and after installed the library occupies 4.75 GB.


Evolution Hollowbody Blues sell for $179 from Orange Tree Samples

Demos of Evolution Hollowbody Blues by Orange Tree Samples


Videos of Evolution Hollowbody Blues by Orange Tree Samples