What has only three strings and has a sound somewhere between a banjo and a guitar? No, I’m not talking about student violins, I’m talking about the McNally Strumstick, or more specifically the Diatonic D Grand, our victim today.

We’ve recorded just about ‘all she wrote’ on this instrument- picked, plucked, bowed, and more, with sampled releases, easy string selection via modwheel, two mic positions, and at up to 3 velocities and 4 round robins- 1,700 samples and 20 articulations in all.


Developer: Versilian Studios LLC.
Software: Kontakt FULL 5.6.8+ Required
Format: .nki (Kontakt instrument)
Samples: 1,700 Samples; 3,400 Files (?)Samples are individual performances, not including duplicates from multiple mixes or mic positions. The File count is the total number of sample audio files in a product.
Filesize: 1.4 GB of HDD space (+1.3 GB for installation files)

HDD of 7200+ RPM or SSD recommended
Modwheel-equipped controller recommended

To our UK & EU Customers:
For VAT purposes, please purchase this item on Loot Audio & Best Service


From Rags to Riches

The instrument sampled was a spruce-top diatonic ‘D Grand’ model strumstick we found at a tag sale.

The user had replaced the original strings with their own mix of banjo and guitar strings,
giving it a particularly interesting sound.

While not precisely true to the original intentions of the designer, this instrument provides a lot of interesting character not available in a properly set up guitar or similar.

No Such Thing as “Simply”

Sampling was done over a six hour period (with breaks for the sake of the fingers) in a studio environment.

A total of 20 unique articulations were recorded on the full diatonic range of each string at 2-8 RR for all non-fx techniques and up to three velocity layers.

Releases were also sampled, to allow the strings to be damped properly.

The Little Details

The recordings are centered around the main pair, a set of Rode NT5’s set up in a NOS array approximately 18″ from the instrument facing towards the center.

At 6″, an Aston Spirit (multi-pattern large diaphragm condenser) was placed in cardioid mode, facing roughly towards the center of the instrument, in order to pick up the full characteristic of the instrument.

Capture was done using an Antelope Orion Studio Rev. 2017.

To Bowed and Beyond

In addition to your typical finger plucks and picked strums, we also included some truly esoteric strumstick goodies- bowed articulations including standard arco, tremolo, and trills performed in da gamba fashion, slide effects and chords, and a full range of different hammered dulcimer mallet techniques.

The centerpiece of the instrument is the string selection method, operated with modwheel. The idiomatic technique is achieved by pushing the mod-wheel all the way up to emphasize use of the top string, but moving it to the middle and bottom will emphasize the middle and lowest string, respectively.



  • Picked – Normal (Open/Stopped)
  • Picked – Vibrato (Open/Stopped)
  • Picked – Slide Up/Down
  • Picked – Chords (RR Alternating)
  • Picked – Chords Modwheel
  • Picked – Chord Slides


  • Fingered – Normal (Open/Stopped)
  • Fingered – Slide Up/Down
  • Fingered – Chords (RR Alternating)
  • Fingered – Chords Modwheel

Extended Techniques

  • Extended – Bowed – String 1
  • Extended – Bowed – String 3
  • Extended – Bowed – Drones
  • Extended – Bowed – Tremolo
  • Extended – Bowed – Trill (String 1)
  • Extended – Crazy Tremolo
  • Extended – Fret Tremolo