Are you looking for realistic guitar VST plugins for your recordings?
Look no further!
I’m going to show the 30 BEST Guitar VST plugins the pros are using in 2018.
The only problem?
And you will undoubtedly agree with me.
It’s REALLY hard to beat the sound of a real acoustic or electric guitar.
Which will sound better than any simulation VST on the market!
But you know what!
You will certainly not find better plugins at the moment.
In other words:
The Definitive Guide: Guitar VST Plugins
- virtual instrument
- acoustic guitars: 6 (see below)
- sound source: combination of samples and physical modeling
- virtual room with adjustable microphone distance
- calculation of the correct resonance
- sound bank: 9 GB
- recorded in Blumlein stereo (no phase problems) and via piezo element
- between 3000 and 7000 samples per instrument
- guitar samples also include articulations and effects (see below)
- is delivered on USB stick
- requires installation of Native Instruments Kontakt Player
- formats: Audio Units (AU), VST, AAX and RTAS
- guitar with nylon strings (finger picked)
- guitar with steel strings (plectrum & finger picked)
- 12-string guitar (plectrum)
- ukulele (finger picked)
- mandolin (plectrum)
- guitalele (finger picked)
articulations and effects (for each string and each fret):
- sustain (Plectrum Dn, Plectrum Up, finger, thumb, Nail Dn, Nail Up)
- muted (Palm muted, hand muted)
- legato (Hammer Up, Pull Of)
- slides (Slide Dn 1 & 2 Frets, Slide Up 1 & 2 Frets, slide in)
- release (Normal, Buzz, Slide Dn, Pick Mute, Finger Mute)
- FX (Pick Noises, Body Knocks, Slaps, etc.)
Acoustic guitars are probably the most difficult instruments to emulate…
But this virtual guitar plugin from Vir2 definitely sounds impressive.
Here are some reasons why…
- It includes 6 different acoustic guitars with an extraordinarily detailed sound which sounds very realistic.
- The plugin has lots of articulations, that “stringy” slide-y sound that you might actually get from playing a real guitar.
- Also, the acou6tics has a library of chord samples, which allow you to program them into your keyboard.
But let me warn you; if you’re playing it solo, as you would think of an acoustic guitar when recorded, you won’t be making some great mileage.
Unfortunately, you won’t get that rasgueado strum sound out of a synthesized acoustic guitar.
But I realize that in the context of a mix, this library definitely sounds great.
If you’re expecting an acoustic guitar performance similar to the sound of Eagles or any acoustic band you know, this isn’t the VST for you. With added polyphonics, you might be playing an instrument with more than four fingers plucking. This might make it appear unnatural.
Honestly, this sampler may not sound good on its own, because it can and will sound heavily synthesized without a proper mix.
Vir2 Apollo: Cinematic Guitars
- collection of virtual guitars
- size: 22 GB
- genre: ambient, new age, dream pop, atmospheric, road-movie, cinematic
- sounds: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, sitar, harmonics
- effects: stereo spread, chorus, rotator, skreamer, compressor, delay, reverb, flanger
- path generator
- phrase builder
- ambient designer
- space amount of factory sound
- Format: Kontakt instrument (5.3.1 or newer)
- including Kontakt Player 5
- for Windows and Mac OS X
- requires: 16 GB of free disk space
Do you need the perfect cinematic guitar to create that big music score?
If that’s the case…
The Vir2 Apollo Cinematic Guitars will work excellent for entire compositions, specially orchestrated ones.
- You get lots of effects including a rotator, a chorus, a stereo spread plug-in.
the overal sound still won’t capture that twang and swing a realistic acoustic guitar has.
But it works for a cinematic approach.
If you need some strange effects, you could even add the Skreamer:
which I think is an emulation of the infamous guitar pedal.
While the swells give you an organ, you could also get a violin if you slow the attack.
It’s an excellent type of effect that I believe you could use efficiently on a cinematic score.
For an acoustic solo performance? I wouldn’t choose this plugin.
- virtual electric guitar software
- 24-bit, 96kHz samples
- different types of instruments and styles
- digital effects, amp simulations and EQ
- playable with a MIDI keyboard or keytar
- stand-alone or to be loaded in Kontakt from Native Instruments
- AudioUnits, VST, RTAS and DXi support
- Mac OSX 10.4 or higher
- Windows XP SP2 (32-bit), Windows Vista or Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit).
If a real sounding acoustic guitar isn’t what you need right now
Your looking at a rad sounding electric guitar!
The Vir2 Electri6ity sounds powerful and big.
Released in 2010, still the best guitar VST for solo guitar.
Of course, signature pedals from Boss, Marshall, and MXR are even there, named differently for copyright purposes.
I think it was even purposely designed for rock pianists that need a powerful solo sound to their songs.
The muting can be heard properly and the artificial harmonics are effective.
I mean, you could even get a dark grunge tuning.
When you need that powefull sound this is my to go to electric guitar.
Believe me; you’ll love it.
Vir2 Fractured: Prepared Acoustic Guitar
As we know how far acoustic emulations go for acoustic guitar VSTs, you’re going to need some painstaking articulation and sequencing to make them sound the way you want them to be.
So instead, it would be best to experiment with their sounds or at least take them as a new-sounding instrument – which honestly defeats the purpose.
So with Vir2 Fractured: Acoustic Guitars, you’re presented with a library of scraped, harmonic-plucked and strummed guitars.
The materials they used included cardboard scrapes, mallets, detuning and even fingernail and metal bit scraping.
It sounds all painful to the ear and something that you won’t do to your guitar, but you do get some effective synthesizer effects that could amp-up your electronic production.
While you might not use them for your guitar score – or maybe not- it can’t still be that solo acoustic guitar you’re dreaming of.
Impact Soundworks Shreddage II
If anything, Shreddage II is a great successor to Shreddage I.
While there’s no big jump regarding the quality of samples as they were already of high quality, Shreddage I had limited articulations and dynamics. Honestly, the guitars in Shreddage I worked best with rock and metal alone. It also sounded quite static with soloing.
Of course, I say that from a viewpoint of someone who had used Shreddage II.
Official publication describes Shreddage II to have covered the entire range of lead and rhythm playing.
They even sampled fret noises and strings and added lots of articulations.
Interface is as friendly as it describes. In addition to just muting and sustain, Shreddage II now has pronounced and obviously multi-layered sampling of staccato, tremolo, pinch, harmonic, hammer/pull and portamento.
The best about it is the ability to get a pitched or unpitched noise sound.
This is when you let go of the guitar and you hear a little noise from the strings. Wow.
PS: more guitar effects!
Impact Soundworks Archtop
Out with the rock and solo guitar playing and now into the world of jazz and mid-sounding guitars.
So why did I love the Archtop from Impact Soundworks?
Despite sacrificing everything because it runs on Kontakt and it has no automatic chord scripting.
I know that sounds like a big problem, but in my mind when I purchased this was to make jazz solos.
The Archtop is a hit list of 10,000 samples that captured a Sadowsky Jim Hall Archtop hollowbody electric guitar.
Upon hitting the first ivory it felt natural to hear the strings clang as they would effectively.
Just like their Shreddage series, Impact Soundworks created a few neck and pick effects.
Other articulations included were regular sustain, sustain octaves and even palm mutes.
You also get both natural and artificial harmonics and portamento
It’s completely expandable and you could re-assign keyswitch assignments making it similar to Shreddage in every way.
Except those samples really sound expressively amazing.
Ilya Efimov Acoustic & Nylon Guitar Bundle
Ilya Efimov’s iteration of acoustic guitars might not be what you expect it to be, but compared to other iterations, this one has enough nuances to make fingerpicking guitar solos sound quite convincing.
But still not as close as it is to real acoustic guitars.
The sample library is rich as it entirely gives the true ambience of acoustic guitar recording and solos.
However, it’s not something I’d say could substitute a well-played and recorded acoustic guitar.
The nuances of proper strumming is missing despite the articulation. But it does live up to the standard.
The Acoustic Complete, an acoustic guitar vst bundle by Ilya Efimov, includes the Guitar, specializing in fingerpicking, and the Acoustic Strum, which focuses on its eponymy.
The strumming is quite convincing if done right.
And when I say done right it would be proper sequencing, similar to the Vir2 acoustic guitar emulation.
Ilya Efimov Electric Guitar Bundle
Ilya Efimov and his gang of Russian producers have actually captured the sound of electric guitars better than acoustic guitars.
Indeed, it is more challenging to sample acoustic guitars and make them sound as realistic as possible.
But electric guitars, Ilya Efimov is one of the best producers for such as it ranks similarly with Shreddage II by Impact Soundworks and even OrangeTree’s Strawberry Guitar.
The Electric Guitar bundle from Ilya Efimov contains an LP guitar, LP strum and a Telecaster Guitar and Telecaster Strum.
The sound of these samples are greatly convincing especially when playing solos.
However, these specialize more on the lighter side of blues, jazz and light-rock.
I wouldn’t recommend its articulations for metal or heavier music.
But still, they’re great sets to play with because you get a different kind of attitude from your guitar player.
For example, maybe Vir2’s Electri6ity guitarist was a bit aggressive (namely they used a metal feature on their guitars).
Here with Ilya Efimov, a jazzy or bluesy player may introduce a different playing feel to a metal track.
Orange Tree Evolution Electric Guitar Bundle
OrangeTree samples could probably have the prize for best, well-balanced guitar in my book nowadays.
The Evolution Guitar Bundle features their Strawberry Guitar.
The Strawberry is a well-sampled guitar but it is neither as glassy as Ilya Efimov’s electric guitar bundle nor as aggressive as Prominy or Vir2.
Instead, it achieves a certain level of dynamic that feels just right to one’s playing style regardless of genre.
You can feel the gliss of the guitar strings while also feeling the lovely muting and articulations in a metal track. In a glam/ grunge setting, the Evolution’s muting simulates some realistic picking action that I could only describe as powerful and useful.
It’s only here where you could use chords and other strumming effectively because of OrangeTree’s well-thought out interface.
Good job guys!
Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for versatility and a great guitar performance than others.
OrangeTree Samples SLIDE Bundle
You’ve probably heard lap steel guitar playing. It’s literally placing a guitar on your lap and using a bottleneck glass to play through the strings.
It sounds a bit strange at first.
The guitar is intended to have a high action for glass to slide through. If you see one, it looks like a keyboard.
Bottleneck or slide playing had been a staple in blues playing especially when players try to reach the higher notes without frets on an acoustic guitar.
So OrangeTree had included both types of slide playing with a lap steel and an acoustic guitar.
You can customize slide articulations with the legato function on your keyboard.
A custom LFO could create a vibrato that sounds cozy and natural.
You could also hear sliding and release noises upon proper setting.
Also, as with almost any guitar sample package, you get a huge amount of effects and even amplifiers that could be useful for your score.
Prominy SR5 Rock BaSR5 Rock Bass
A rock or metal-type of bass guitar can be suitable to any arrangement if used properly.
The bright roundwound string sound coupled with a hefty midrange is a great bass in all forms.
But I’m pretty sure if it’s a sampled Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray bass, you’re not going to say no.
I’ve played bass for quite a while in my life and I’ve gotta say having some deeper low-end in rock and metal tracks definitely work.
With the newer progressive metal genres going on lower to lowest tunings such as Low E, pitching down your instrument isn’t an option; you need a bass that can handle those extreme low ends.
The SR5 Rock Bass has a fretboard monitor to make sure if you’re doing bass solos you’re on the right area of the guitar, a legato slide and a powerful Low B to D# samples, which can come in handy for downtuned songs.
Pretty handy even in an orchestral setting honestly.
Prominy Hummingbird Acoustic Guitar
Again with acoustic guitars? Well, to be honest, the Hummingbird guitar comes closer to the actual sound of fingerpicking until something else completely flushes it out of the water.
Just like its SR5 Rock Bass, Prominy’s Hummingbird acoustic guitar has a handy fretboard monitor to emulate real-life guitar playing.
Realistic strumming and sampled chords make arranging acoustic parts as easy as the other acoustic emulations on this list.
Perhaps what sets it aside from other emulations is that it’s extremely huge at 40GB and that Prominy used a 1963 Hummingbird from Gibson.
That acoustic guitar has been a staple for so many acts during the Flower Power era.
But don’t expect a vintage vibe to its sound. The double tracking option makes sure that doesn’t happen.
And if you have plenty of ideas for guitar percussion, the palm thumping or tapping the guitar body, this i s the right place to be.
The Hummingbird has an undeniably lovely warm sound I’ve come to ultimately love.
While smaller than the other instruments with only about 10.4 GB of sampled sounds, Prominy’s V-Metal doesn’t need much nuance because you would be using it for rock or metal.
Most clean or unprocessed guitars for metal have active pickups, which kill dynamics and ensure consistent velocity.
The ESP Alexi Blacky has a midrange sound that is both beautiful and powerful for rhythm and lead playing.
Now, a bit about electric guitar VSTs.
Prominy’s VST would need some guitar amplifier and pedal emulations to work the way you intend it to be.
There are billions and gazillions of free guitar amplifier and pedal emulations for free or paid over the Internet.
All of these are studio grade equipment-sampled and it only depends on where you want to use it.
Also, you can hear some realistic feedback with V-Metal. Picking positions and articulations emulate the real feel of lead guitar playing.
This is a realistic emulation that is quite useful for heavier tracks or if your orchestration needs some “chugging”.
Prominy SC Electric Guitar
I’ve yet to see a VST emulate a Stratocaster’s bell without overdoing it.
While OrangeTree’s single coil pickup sample delivers immensely for this occasion, it can’t be the only one that satisfying recreates it.
Prominy recreates it. Not satisfactorily but surpassing OrangeTree by a few meters.
Prominy concentrates on emulating a DI recorded Fender Stratocaster.
As this guitar has its own dynamics and character, it would take lots of samples to truly recreate.
So at about 35GB of samples you can use this versatile guitar on almost anything.
And again, I mean versatile. While you wouldn’t tune a real-life Stratocaster to a lower B or even Low D# tuning (around D1), this sampled guitar from Prominy has it. Now that is indeed a curious-sounding VST worth a try.
Just like the “play flawless” approach with Stratocasters, you would hear picking noises, finger scratches and you also get the five amazing pickup positions from a stock Fender Stratocaster.
Prominy LPC Electric Distortion and Clean Guitar
I remember having borrowed a Les Paul Custom when I was in the fifth-grade.
I sucked at playing guitar. But during that time, I understood the instrument’s sensitivities particularly its deep sound useful for jazz playing and other clean tones.
Prominy issues two types of Les Paul Custom emulations.
One is a clean-only version, which would be useful in plenty of occasions you want to use other kinds of plug-ins for your guitar.
There is also a distortion-only version if you’re in a hurry. However, this can limit your creativity given that you could only hear the emulated sound from a Marshall Power Amp Model 9005.
As with all Prominy Models, a fretboard monitor helps you achieve the perfect fret position sound for the guitar emulation.
But instead of spending $600 for two guitars, just purchase a clean only DI version for $349.
You can emulate better distortion than what is offered out of the box.
Prominy LPC Electric Clean Guitar LE
Or maybe just purchase this one that is already-clean and adds more to playing realism than its earlier brother.
With the Les Paul Custom LE, you get more Legato, Hammers, Vibratos, Muting and Picking noise and other guitar articulations for guitar soloing.
I would say that this guitar is better suited for guitar solo playing rather than rhythm because you couldn’t use those articulations unless you’re an experimental or diverse player.
While the sound quality doesn’t change compared to the earlier LPC, solo playing articulation along with its friendly tone towards usual amp simulators make the LPC Electric Clean guitar a better bet than its predecessor.
Amplesound Metal Series
I’ll be honest with you, I’ll be a bit biased with amplesound
I’ve been using their Amplebass, which emulates a Fender Jazz bass, for most of my recordings and songs I’ll tell you that it’s swiftly convenient and is capable of delivering the goods, DI or through a cabinet.
Which brings me here to tell you all about the Amplesound Metal Series
Actually, the Metal Series is a single guitar.
You’re probably familiar with the ESP Eclipse I, a souped-up Les Paul made to grit, not to jazz or just plain rock.
The Eclipse I is emulated with different types of articulations including sustains, hammers, slides and artificial harmonics.
Of course, there’s its all-powerful palm mute.
But the Eclipse is quite awesome with its default drop C tuning; typical for downtuned metal guitars.
But unlike Prominy’s Fretboard monitor, Amplesound’s Metal Series works with Capo Logic, which automatically shifts the bar chord depending on where the last note ended.
For example, if you went to the 7th fret E and make a D chord, it may use the nearest fret with the desired octave of D.
Users can always fix this in the configurations.
But indeed, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen this feature anywhere.
Amplesound Acoustic Guitar Series
Amplesound also has a huge selection of sampled guitars, which again aren’t as convincing as you might want them to be.
But it’s nice to get great emulations of Taylors, Martins, a Guild Acoustic Bass and even a rare Alhambra Acoustic Guitar.
If you’ve heard one of these instruments, you’ve probably understood how they can be used in plenty of mixes.
Unfortunately, sampling can always limit the actual articulations.
We’ve succeeded in most drum samplers, but acoustic for piano is a little troublesome.
The emulations are accurate and the sampled chords and strums are by far clear and sound excellent.
But that’s only when you use them in a mix.
They can be inefficient as solo instruments.
But they do get the crisp and warm sound of Martins and Taylors.
The Alhambra classical guitar sounds excellent with its nylon snaps.
Definitely keepers for cinematic scores or if when you really need a classical guitar setup.