Review: Evolution Jumbo 12 by Orange Tree Samples


Orange Tree Samples delivers another amazing instrument, this time adding an acoustic 12 string to the Evolution lineup. With amazing fluidity and playability, you will be blown away by not only the sound but the realism with which you can create a truly vibrant musical performance.

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Review: Evolution Jumbo 12 by Orange Tree Samples

As a guitar player, I think it’s fair to say that I’m generally overly critical of sampled guitars. Nearly all of them that I’ve played have been, though perhaps good at doing one specific thing, more or less robotic and not realistic sounding. Prior to this review, I reviewed another one of Orange Tree’s guitars, the Evolution Infinite, and was blown away. Because of that, when I was given the Jumbo 12 to review, my expectations were very high! Just like the Evolution Infinite, this instrument knocked my socks off with its realism and playability.

Evolution Jumbo 12 sells for $179.00 from by Orange Tree Samples


As I mentioned in my intro, as a guitar player I am extremely critical of sampled guitars and find that they tend to land squarely in the uncanny valley. I recently reviewed the Evolution Infinite and this opinion of mine was changed. I was extremely excited to get my hands on the Jumbo 12. My thinking was that perhaps the reason the Evolution Infinite sounded so realistic was because it was an electric guitar and so they were able to hide the realism tells and flaws behind heavy distortion.

With Jumbo 12 there was nowhere to hide, amazingly, nothing bad to hide.

Surely an acoustic guitar like the Jumbo 12 would be unable to sound as realistic. After all idiomatically there would be no distortion. Just a clean acoustic tone. Nowhere to hide. Though this is true and with the Jumbo 12 there was nowhere to hide, there was also, amazingly, nothing bad to hide. The instrument sounded quite simply like a real guitar! As with their other instruments, they can take some programming and midi massaging to achieve this realism. This may lead some new users to begin noodling with it right out of the box and finding themselves a little disappointed because it doesn’t instantly sound hyper-realistic. The reason for this is that a guitar is not a piano. The two instruments create sound very differently. Hitting a key on your midi controller which triggers an audio file of a guitar string being plucked won’t in and of itself blow your mind. The absolute magic of this instrument, however, is that they give you all the tools you need to create an extremely realistic sound. It may take a little time but it would be time well spent.


The main window in the interface allows you to control how the different articulations are triggered. You can set velocity ranges to control, for example, when palm muting transitions to a regular attack. I really appreciate that instead of telling you how to play their instrument, they allow you to tell the instrument how you’d like to play it. This kind of design philosophy, regardless of the obviously high quality of their instruments, is in and of itself enough to set them apart.

The instrument’s Evolution guitar engine is found across all their guitar libraries, which is nice so that if you buy a new product, you’ll be up and running immediately without any learning curve. It also ensures that midi programmed for one of their guitars will play back well when copied to another one of their guitars.

Something that struck me immediately was how fluidly and intelligently the instrument was

Something that struck me immediately was how fluidly and intelligently the instrument was able to determine if I intended to play a legato line (and as a result had overlapping notes) or if I intentionally played overlapping notes because I wanted them all to ring out. This feature and its seamless and almost invisible implementation is perhaps at the heart of why the instrument sounds so good. There is an entire tab in the interface dedicated to changing the tone of the instrument complete with many effects including distortions and reverbs. The guitar they sampled is a beautiful Taylor 335 which has a wonderfully large sound. This naturally great sound combined with the large collection of effects allows you to really get in there and shape the kind of tone you’re after. If messing about with the effects isn’t for you, then have no fear because they have included a huge number of preset snapshots to choose from which can serve either as a wonderful starting point for your own tweaks or as a totally usable sound.

The set up window was a wonderful example of them going above and beyond. Not only is the instrument standardly usable but they offer you the ability to change to alternate tunings such as drop D or adding a capo. Anyone who has played a guitar can tell you that playing an identical passage with and without a capo sound totally different tonally. This is a very nice feature and one that I haven’t seen in other guitar libraries.

The strum and the chord panels can be thought of as essentially one panel. The chord panel gives you control of how or if the engine sees the chords you’re playing.

For example if it’s set to Held Notes Only, when you’re strumming chords, it will strum literally the notes you’re playing into the keyboard. In contrast, Automatic Chords intelligently detects which chord you’re playing, regardless of the voicing and has the instrument perform an idiomatic guitar voicing of the chord. It even reads the inversions you play! Guitar can often be a mysterious instrument to someone coming from a piano background for example. The voicings that are easily playable on piano may be either impossible or extremely difficult and unnatural on guitar. Because of the Automatic Chords function, even someone who has never picked up a guitar in their life can still have the instrument generate natural sounding and playable guitar chords!

The instrument handles strumming in several ways. The first, is with the two strum keys mapped to two keys directly below the range of the guitar. They repeat the notes that were previously played. One of them triggers an up-stroke and the other triggers a down-stroke.

Using these, one is able to perform any strumming pattern quite easily. They can also be used to perform a tremolo or a passage reliant on repeated notes. The second way to achieve strumming with the library is within the strumming window. Here we have a huge collection of presets with strumming patterns programmed in. These, like with the tone snapshots discussed before, can act either as a starting point for your own custom patterns or as finished and ready to play patterns. You can have up to 6 strumming patterns loaded up at once that can be key switched between.

As with the Evolution Infinite electric guitar, when I had finished playing with the Jumbo 12, I had a huge smile on my face and didn’t want to stop. Orange Tree Samples has managed an incredible feat of sampling and scripting with this instrument and created a truly useable guitar. Perhaps Orange Tree Samples will be the reason people stop cringing when they think of “sampled guitar”. With the tools they have created with these instruments, they have enabled non-guitarists to produce realistic and beautiful sounding and idiomatic guitar music. Anyone who purchased this library would be glad they did.


Weighing in at 4.76 GB, Evolution Jumbo 12 is a sampled 12 string acoustic guitar.. It features a wide array of articulations including sustains, palm mutes, mutes, harmonics, and grace notes. As well as the standard attack articulations the instrument also features legato which is capable of both slides as well as hammer ons and pull-offs. The instrument requires Kontakt 5.7.0 and will work perfectly well with the free kontakt player.

Evolution Jumbo 12 by Orange Tree Samples can be purchased for $179 from Orange Tree Samples.

Evolution Jumbo 12 sells for $179.00 from by Orange Tree Samples


Demos of Evolution Jumbo 12 by Orange Tree Samples


Videos of Evolution Jumbo 12 by Orange Tree Samples