The Best Electric Guitar VSTs in 2023

Here’s the complete list of the best electric guitar VSTs available:

  1. Shreddage 3 – Impact Sound Works
  2. AmpleSounds Ample Guitar G II
  3. Spitfire Audio – Ambient Guitars
  4. Wavesfactory Strum Guitar
  5. Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2
  6. Electri6ity
  7. Sonivox Bright Electric Guitar
  8. Native Instruments Session Guitarist – Electric Sunburst
  9. Music Lab RealEight
  10. Peel Guitar from Spitfire Audio (FREE)

While we’re on topic, check out our free standalone guitar vst amp simulators list!

What Are The Best Guitar VST Plugins?

When looking for the best electric guitar VST, you’ll encounter, what might seem like an unending amount of options. With that in mind, you can’t be expected to try all of the electric guitar vst plugins and decide for yourself.

That’s why we’ll try to run through what we think are the best electric guitar vst plugins you can get today, and why we like them.

So let’s start with our first guitar plugin!

Shreddage 3 – Impact Sound Works

Shreddage 3 Stratus
$129.00

Shreddage 3 allows you to play both rhyhm and lead, with tons of strum patterns and ways to express your great guitar skills.


Pros:
  • Excellent realistic-sounding Fretless Bass in the form of a VST.
  • Keyboard mode is an excellent alternative for using it with a workstation controller.
  • Standard to Virtuoso performance modes help cater to a larger audience.
  • e902 and SM57 mic options along with DI offer more choices.
  • Variety of articulations from legato, to slides to muted playing to harmonics.
  • ā€˜MIDI Guitar Mode' allows you to use your MIDI Bass pickups.
Cons:
  • To go from good to great sounding basslines requires an in-depth understanding of the VST's velocity curves and patching.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AU, AAX
Shreddage 3 Stratus 2

From heavily overdriven rock, to wailing wah-wah sounds of the 70s, Shreddage 3 by Impact Sound Works, is an impressively versatile collection of guitar sounds.

While it may not be the absolute pinnacle in incredibly realistic guitar tones, the playability and customizability of Shreddage 3 is inspiring.

Anything from palm mutes, pinch harmonics, vibrato etc. can be performed with this guitar plugin. In addition to this, you can also choose from different picking and fretting modes, as well as go up and down the neck, and even play with a capo.

You get built-in amps, mics and mic placements in addition to FX and a powerful mix section, to control your tone exactly the way you want it.

That being said, they sell every instrument separately, so we’ve linked to the free version of Stratus, for you to check out.

How Does It Sound?

When trying to emulate real instruments in the digital world, either through sampling, or emulation, the key to making a believable recording is the playability of your instrument.

Shreddage 3 allows you to play both rhyhm and lead, with tons of strum patterns and ways to express your great guitar skills.

Performability is the name of the game. With awesome amps included and plenty of sonic customizability, you can make Shreddage 3 sound indistinguishable from a real guitarist.

AmpleSounds Ample Guitar G II

Our Favorite
Amplesound Ample Guitar G II
$119

This is a very playable instrument and the humanization settings make for even more realistic performances. 

Pros:
  • Ample Guitar II is known for its realistic guitar sound and expressive capabilities. It uses advanced sampling and modeling techniques to capture the nuances of a real guitar, including articulations, strumming, and fret noises.
  • The software offers a variety of guitar models, allowing you to choose between different types of acoustic guitars. This gives you flexibility in creating various tones and textures.
  • Articulation Options: Ample Guitar II provides a range of articulations such as slides, bends, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and more. This helps to make your guitar parts sound more authentic and dynamic.
  • The strumming engine within Ample Guitar II allows you to create realistic strumming patterns easily. This is particularly useful for composers and producers who want to add realistic guitar strumming to their tracks.
  • The software often offers MIDI controller integration, allowing you to control various aspects of the virtual instrument using MIDI controllers, which can enhance the real
Cons:
  • Like many high-quality virtual instruments, Ample Guitar II can be resource-intensive. It might require a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you plan to use multiple instances of the plugin in your projects.
  • While the strumming engine and articulation options are powerful tools, they might have a bit of a learning curve, especially for users who are not familiar with playing or programming guitars.
  • High-quality virtual instruments like Ample Guitar II can be quite expensive, which might be a deterrent for some users, especially those on a tight budget.
  • Depending on the software's update cycle and the company's customer support, there might be occasional issues, bugs, or compatibility problems that could affect your workflow.
  • The realism of virtual instruments is often influenced by the size of the sample library. While Ample Guitar II strives for realism, the overall quality might still be influenced by the size and quality of the original samples.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AU, AAX
Ample Guitar G II 1

Revered in the community, AmpleSounds’ awesome metal and heavy rock tones have been popular ever since being released. With different types of guitars available, our favourite, the Ample Guitar G II is a sampled Gibson Les Paul electric guitar VST plugin.

Included are 6 classic Amp models, from Mesa Boogie models, to Rolands and even a couple Fender heads.

Add to that 7 matching cabinets, with 8 mic options for each in addition to room mics and you’ve got a really customizable sound out of one, legendary guitar.

A Strum Sequencer is also present, with fully customizable rhythm, letting you design full, rocking rhythm sections, as well as screeching solos.

How Does It Sound?

As per usual, AmpleSounds’ sampling is incredible, and makes this instrument sound better than 90% of home guitar recordings.

To play with your tone you also get an 8-band high-order EQ, a compressor, Tap Echo and an IR Reverb machine, with different room algorithms.

This is a very playable instrument and the humanization settings make for even more realistic performances. Whether you’re writing a bright and distorted solo or dark, chugging chord progressions, the Ample Guitar G II gets a recommendation from us!

Spitfire Audio – Ambient Guitars

Spitfire Audio Ambient Guitars
$299.00

A collection of inspiring and modern cinematic guitar sounds, textures and loops ā€” from ambient to apocalyptic ā€” created and performed exclusively by renowned guitar innovator Leo Abrahams, and expertly sampled by Spitfire Audio.

Pros:
  • With over 400 presets, you'll likely have access to a wide range of ambient guitar textures and sounds, giving you a lot of creative options to work with.
  • Spitfire Audio is known for producing high-quality sample libraries and virtual instruments. The sound quality is likely to be detailed and realistic, capturing the nuances of ambient guitar playing.
  • The inclusion of an eDNA synth engine suggests advanced sound manipulation capabilities. You can potentially create unique and evolving soundscapes by using modulation, layering, and effects within the engine.
  • The inclusion of pre-designed mixes can provide you with a starting point for your compositions. This can be particularly helpful for those seeking quick inspiration or looking to achieve specific atmospheric moods.
  • If you're interested in creating ambient music or adding atmospheric elements to your compositions, an ambient guitar virtual instrument can be a powerful tool.
Cons:
  • High-quality virtual instruments like this can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you plan to use multiple instances or complex soundscapes.
  • Manipulating sounds within a synth engine can have a learning curve, especially if you're new to sound design or advanced modulation techniques.
  • High-quality virtual instruments often come at a premium price, which might be a consideration for those on a tight budget.
  • The instrument's focus on ambient guitars might limit its versatility if you're looking for a broader range of guitar sounds.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX
Ambient Guitars Spitfire

A little different from usual, we’re mentioning Spitfire Audio outside the context of their incredible LABS collection (don’t worry, we’ll have something for LABS later on).

In collaboration with Leo Abrahams, Spitfire Audio have sampled a Gibson 335, a Danelectro Hornet and Trussart guitar. Probably one of the most unique and diverse collections of guitar sounds you can get right now, Ambient Sounds is a 50 GB behemoth.

With that being said, this is one of the more expensive downloads on our list, usually going for over $300. If you catch a sale, like there was in Spring 2021, you can get Ambient Guitars for up to 40% OFF.

Whether you buy it full price or wait for a discount, Ambient Guitars is worth the money twice over, giving you incredible depth of new, exciting sonic possibilities.

How Does It Sound?

While these may not be conventional guitar sounds, leaning more towards the ambient, distorted and washed-out, these are some of the most unique guitar tones you’ll ever hear.

We could keep going on about how awesome it sounds, and how unique the characteristics of all the patches are, but, we’ll let Spitfire talk for themselves, with this incredibly Teaser clip.

Wavesfactory Strum Guitar

Kontakt Instrument Strum Guitar
$79.00

Strum Guitar features all major and minor chords, recorded with both upstrokes and downstrokes. everything was recorded on 4 guitars, an electric, acoustic, and an electric 12 string and acoustic 12 string.


Pros:
  • "Strum Guitar" is designed to provide realistic strumming patterns that mimic the behavior of a real guitarist's strumming hand, making it useful for creating convincing rhythm guitar parts.
  • The instrument may offer various articulations like palm muting, open strings, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and more, allowing you to create expressive and dynamic performances.
  • Some strumming Kontakt instruments allow you to customize the strumming patterns, chord voicings, and other parameters, giving you creative control over your virtual guitar performances.
  • This type of instrument can help non-guitarists quickly create chord progressions and rhythm guitar parts without needing advanced guitar playing skills.
  • Kontakt instruments can be used as plugins within popular digital audio workstations (DAWs), providing seamless integration into your music production workflow.
Cons:
  • Like any complex virtual instrument, there might be a learning curve involved, especially if you're new to using Kontakt instruments or if you're not familiar with guitar playing techniques.
  • Kontakt instruments can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you're using multiple instances or adding other virtual instruments and effects to your project.
  • While strumming Kontakt instruments are great for rhythm guitar parts, they might not offer the versatility and expressiveness of a skilled human guitarist for more intricate melodies or solos.
  • High-quality Kontakt instruments can sometimes be relatively expensive, so budget considerations might be a factor.
  • Achieving the most realistic and nuanced performances might require fine-tuning your MIDI programming to match the behavior of a real guitarist, which can be time-consuming.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU
Strum Guitar Waves 1

The Wavesfactory Strum Guitar, is a pack, from their collection of Kontakt libraries. Strum Guitar in particular, includes 4 different guitars and a lot of strumming options.

Strum Guitar features all major and minor chords, recorded with both upstrokes and downstrokes. everything was recorded on 4 guitars, an electric, acoustic, and an electric 12 string and acoustic 12 string.

With an intelligent, built-in sequencer with chord recognition, this Kontakt plugin will analyse and play your desired chords in a realistic way.

Extremely easy to use and master, Strum Guitar is a great option for an electric guitar VST plugin.

How Does It Sound?

The Wavesfactory Strum Guitar doesn’t have to deal with any single notes, or weird polyphony issues. All it does is chords, and it does them incredibly well.

All of the samples in Strum Guitar were recorded through DI (Direct Input), so you can add your own amps, cabs and effects on top, for a truly customizable tone.

One of the better sounding guitar virtual instruments for sure, Strum Guitar is a must-have, in our opinion.

That being said, Strum Guitar provides a dry guitar output, so you will need amp simulators and other ways to alter your tone, to get the best sound possible.

Heavyocity Gravity – Scoring Guitars 2

Kontakt Instrument Scoring Guitars
$99.00

Scoring Guitars 2 builds on the inspiring foundation of the original, featuring over 5 GB of all-new production-ready guitar content. 

Pros:
  • "Scoring Guitars 2" from Heavyocity is likely designed to provide unique and cinematic guitar textures and soundscapes, suitable for film scoring, sound design, and atmospheric compositions.
  • Heavyocity is known for combining traditional instruments with modern sound design techniques. This instrument may offer a blend of organic guitar sounds with processed and designed elements, allowing for creative and experimental sonic possibilities.
  • The instrument provide the ability to manipulate and customize the included sounds, letting you shape the atmospheres and textures to suit your creative vision.
  • Kontakt instruments by Heavyocity often come with a range of built-in effects and processing tools, allowing you to further sculpt and shape the sounds without needing external plugins.
  • Like other Kontakt instruments, "Scoring Guitars 2" can be used as a plugin within popular digital audio workstations (DAWs), providing seamless integration into your music production workflow.
Cons:
  • Heavyocity's instruments can sometimes have a learning curve due to the complexity of the sound design capabilities and the vast array of features they offer.
  • Kontakt instruments can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you're using multiple instances or other virtual instruments and effects.
  • If you're looking for more traditional or straightforward guitar sounds, "Scoring Guitars 2" might not cover those as extensively as instruments specifically designed for realistic guitar emulation.
  • High-quality Kontakt instruments like those from Heavyocity can be relatively expensive, which might be a consideration depending on your budget.
  • While this can be a pro for those interested in sound design, if you're looking for straightforward, ready-to-play guitar parts, you might find the instrument's focus on more experimental textures less suitable.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AU, AAX
Scoring Guitars 2

Similar to Ambient Guitars by Spitfire Audio, the Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2 is a giant pack of edgy, intense and experimental guitar textures.

Aimed at sound designers for film, tv and game music, Scoring Guitars can also be perfect for your next metal project.

With a smooth and intriguing interface, Scoring Guitars excels with it’s workflow and ease of access and customizability. Guitars such as the Gibson 335, Fender Strats and others have been sampled in literally more ways than you could imagine.

How Does It Sound?

Filled with over 360 different sounds, Scoring Guitars 2 sounds absolutely fantastic.

While you might not use Scoring Guitars 2 for a lead guitar solo, they are perfect for creating a foundation to your compositions.

Both sharply produced and inspiring, Scoring Guitars 2 is perfect for cinematic atmospheres and intriguing guitar textures.

Electri6ity

Kontakt Instrument Electri6ity
399.95

Electri6ity contains eight of the most famous and distinguished guitar tones in the history of the instrument. More than 24,000 24-bit samples were taken of each guitar. Three pickup options (front, rear, and mixed) are available on every guitar.

Pros:
  • "Electri6ity" is likely designed to offer a wide range of realistic electric guitar sounds, spanning different playing techniques, styles, and models. This can be useful for adding authentic electric guitar parts to your compositions.
  • The instrument might cover a variety of playing styles such as strumming, picking, palm muting, harmonics, and more. This versatility can make it suitable for various genres and musical contexts.
  • Many Kontakt instruments allow for customization, and "Electri6ity" may offer parameters to adjust articulations, dynamics, and other aspects of the sound to suit your needs.
  • Kontakt instruments often provide MIDI controller integration, allowing you to control various aspects of the virtual instrument in a more expressive and tactile manner.
  • Like other Kontakt instruments, "Electri6ity" can be used as a plugin within popular digital audio workstations (DAWs), providing seamless integration into your music production workflow.
Cons:
  • Using a Kontakt instrument like "Electri6ity" might involve a learning curve, especially if you're not familiar with Kontakt's interface or advanced guitar techniques.
  • High-quality virtual instruments like this can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you're using multiple instances or other virtual instruments and effects.
  • High-quality Kontakt instruments can sometimes be relatively expensive, which might be a consideration depending on your budget.
  • As the name suggests, "Electri6ity" is focused on electric guitar sounds, so if you're looking for realistic acoustic guitar sounds, this instrument might not cover that aspect.
  • While Kontakt instruments strive for realism, they are ultimately based on samples, which might not fully capture all the nuances of a live electric guitar performance.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU
Electri6ity

Electri6ity is one of the best gutar VST plugins for high-gain metal tones, perfect getting some realistic metal vibes.

Hammer-ons, pull-offs, harmonics, slides and mutes, etc. all add to Electri6ity’s incredible playability and performance capabilities. In addition to this, you also have a performance page, where you can find settings like vibrato, strum patterns and master volume

While They tend to keep things simple, if you explore the settings enough, you’ll discover a vast amount of control and customization.

How Does It Sound?

Using more than 24,000 24-bit samples per guitar, the guitar tones have been recreated incredibly well, and offer a lot of articulation options.

With incredibly deep and detailed performance capabilities, Electri6ity is a super playable vst instrument. The amount of samples used also cakes this a very authentic and realistic sounding eletric guitar vst.

Included are a bunch of stompboxes, in addition to more standard reverb and delay units. Shaping your tones however you want them is super easy, and fun to play with.

Sonivox Bright Electric Guitar

Sonivox Bright Electric Guitar
$9.99

The Bright Electric Guitar vs plugin is a modeled after a classic Fender Stratocaster, which sounds crisp and beautiful.

Pros:
  • The "Bright Electric Guitar" virtual instrument aims to provide authentic and realistic electric guitar tones, it can be a valuable tool for producers and composers looking to incorporate authentic guitar sounds into their projects.
  • A well-designed electric guitar virtual instrument can offer a range of tones, from clean and bright to distorted and heavy, allowing for versatility in musical styles.
  • Virtual instruments often allow users with limited guitar-playing skills to access professional-grade guitar sounds, making it easier to create convincing guitar parts without being an expert guitarist.
  • Virtual instruments like this can be used as plugins within digital audio workstations (DAWs), offering seamless integration into your music production workflow.
  • Using a virtual instrument can be more cost-effective than recording or hiring a live guitarist for certain projects.
Cons:
  • Using a virtual instrument effectively might require a learning curve, especially if you're not familiar with the intricacies of guitar playing or the virtual instrument's interface.
  • High-quality virtual instruments can be resource-intensive, requiring a powerful computer to run smoothly, especially if you're using multiple instances or running other virtual instruments and effects.
  • While virtual instruments strive for realism, they might not perfectly capture all the nuances of a live guitar performance, especially in terms of articulations and variations.
  • Virtual instruments are based on samples, which means they might not fully capture the dynamic and expressive range of a live electric guitar.
  • High-quality virtual instruments can be relatively expensive, and the price might be a consideration depending on your budget.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU
Bright Electric Guitar 1

Part of the Sonivox Singles line, the Bright Electric Guitar vs plugin is a modeled after a classic Fender Stratocaster, which sounds crisp and beautiful.

For fans of stratocasters, this will be one of your best options. With deep playability, strum patterns and chord variations, Bright Electric Guitar s a super usable Guitar VST.

Bright Electric Guitar won’t be your most versatile guitar plugin, more suited for clean tones, rather than heavy gain, but it sure as hell sounds awesome.

For the price, you won’t find a better Stratocaster sound.

How Does It Sound?

Recorded by the Boston guitarist Jud Crane, with his Classic Fender Strat with Seymour Duncan pickups, through a Fender Vibrolux, Sonivox’s guitar vst sounds sweet and lively.

While some guitar vst’s can sound muted, Sonivox have made sure that this guitar vst lives up to it’s name, offering a bright and splashy guitar sound.

With multi-velocity mutes and tones, in addition to a great selection of chords, Bright Electric Guitar is awesome to cut through the mix, for some smooth guitar goodness.

Native Instruments Session Guitarist – Electric Sunburst

Session Guitarist Electric Sunburst
$99.00

ELECTRIC SUNBURST precisely captures a timeless, playable electric guitar, ideal for modern productions. It combines a comprehensive library of strumming patterns, picked arpeggios, and genuine riffs with real-time performance controls. 

Pros:
  • "Electric Sunburst" is designed to offer a highly realistic and accurately captured electric guitar sound. This authenticity can contribute to the quality and believability of your guitar parts in music production.
  • The instrument appears to go beyond basic sampling, offering innovative techniques for capturing realistic picking, riffing, and strumming. This innovation could provide you with a more convincing and expressive guitar-playing experience.
  • With 154 included patterns, "Electric Sunburst" seems to provide a wide variety of playing styles and techniques. This diversity could be valuable for producing different musical genres and accommodating various musical preferences.
Cons:
  • While the instrument might offer a variety of realistic playing techniques, intricate articulations might require careful programming and adjustment to achieve the most convincing results.
  • Premium virtual instruments like "Electric Sunburst" might be relatively expensive, which could be a factor depending on your budget.
  • Despite advancements in virtual instrument technology, there can still be limitations in capturing every nuance of a live guitar performance, including intricate playing styles and the organic interplay of multiple guitar strings.
  • The realism and expressiveness of virtual instruments can be influenced by the size and quality of the sample library. Smaller sample sizes might lead to certain sonic limitations.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX, AU
Electric Sunburst

Native Instruments’ Session Guitarist is one of the most famous electric guitar vst plugins. Capturing a classic sunburst Les Paul guitar, with high-end cables, vintage tube pre-amps and high quality converters, the quality of the sound here cannot be understated.

The bridge and Neck pickups were also recorded separately, so that you could take full control over your guitar tone.

Amazingly playable, electric sunburst offers a comprehensive set of arpeggios, riffs, strumming patterns and real-time performance controls.

How Does It Sound?

The warm and rich sound of Electric Sunburst is characteristic of the gear recorded. All nuances of the gutar are reproduced faithfully, offering awesome sound for a fraction the price of a classic Les Paul.

In addition to the dry signal, a condenser mic, mounted above the strings has captured tiny sonic details like string hum and scratch, to further ground your performances in reality.

Great for people, who’ve absolutely no idea how to play guitar, Electric Sunburst offers a lot of easy playability, with riffs, loops, arpeggios etc.

Music Lab RealEight

MusicLab - Real Eight
$139

RealEight provides incredible playability based on easy-to-use keyboard layout as well as the advanced key/pedal/velocity switch system allowing a keyboardist to perform guitar parts with a whole new level of realistic expression.


Pros:
  • The inclusion of an 8-string guitar provides access to a broader range of lower and higher notes compared to traditional 6-string guitars, offering versatility in sound creation.
  • Virtual instruments like "RealEight" can cover a wide range of playing styles, from heavy metal and rock to progressive and experimental genres.
  • "RealEight" may allow for MIDI control over various parameters, offering enhanced expressive possibilities and customization of the guitar sound.
  • Like other virtual instruments, "RealEight" can be used as a plugin within digital audio workstations (DAWs), providing seamless integration into your music production workflow.
Cons:
  • While virtual instruments strive for realism, they might not capture all the nuances of a live guitar performance, especially in terms of intricate articulations and variations.
  • Virtual instruments are based on samples, which might limit their ability to fully replicate the dynamics and subtleties of a live guitar performance.
  • High-quality virtual instruments can be relatively expensive, and the price might be a consideration depending on your budget.
  • Emulating the behavior of an 8-string guitar's different strings might be challenging, and the instrument might not capture all the subtleties of individual string interactions.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST, AAX
RealEight 1

The fifth instrument, in the line of MusicLab’s “Real” Virtual guitar plugins, RealEight is the perfect 8-string guitar VST. Perfect for progressive metal and epic sweeps, 8-strings are characteristic of heavy-distorted sounds in the 2010’s

The biggest difference between RealEight and other VST’s we’ve mentioned up to now, is that RealEight was built for solos.

Stuff like chords detection, harmony etc. is not to be found in RealEight. While you can still strum chords, the main way you’ll be usng this is for virtuosic guitar shredding and riffs that will take advantage of your 5-octave range.

How Does It Sound?

In terms of sound, RealEight delivers above and beyond. From lightning fast tapping, to shredding solos, RealEight offers a positively massive souund

RealEight can be played in 4 different configurations, a single guitar, a double, quad and bass. The Double and Quad modes are essentially like having more than one guitar playing the same notes at the same time.

Needless to say, with Quad enabled, a few amp sims and pedals after it, and you’ve got a certifiably massive sound.

Peel Guitar from Spitfire Audio (FREE)

LABS Peel Guitar
Free Download

Peel Guitar has a single tone mode, which is the aforementioned telecaster tone. The vibrato and distortion on your sound makes Peel guitar great at both standing out in the mix and laying down chords.

Pros:
  • It offers a unique and distinctive guitar sound that can add character and atmosphere to your music.
  • Instruments designed for simplicity, like those in the "LABS" series, are often easy to use and require minimal setup, making them suitable for quick creative inspiration.
  • Virtual instruments like "LABS Peel Guitar" can be used as plugins within digital audio workstations (DAWs), providing seamless integration into your music production workflow.
  • It is offered for free, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
Cons:
  • Instruments designed for simplicity might lack the advanced features and customization options found in more comprehensive virtual instruments.
  • Simpler virtual instruments might not capture the same level of articulation and realism as more specialized and detailed guitar libraries.
  • While instruments designed for simplicity are generally lightweight, they might still use system resources that could impact overall performance if used extensively.
  • It is less versatile compared to more comprehensive virtual guitars.
  • If you're an advanced guitarist or producer looking for in-depth control over guitar performances, a simplified instrument like "LABS Peel Guitar" might not fully meet your needs.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Plugin versions: VST2, VST3, AAX, AU
Peel guitar LABS 1

The second Spitfire Audio entry on our list, Peel Guitar is part of the LABS sampling instrument. This means that this is a free guitar VST.

Created using a Fender Telecaster through a 15W vintage tweed amp, with added tremolo and distortion, the sound of Peel guitar is almost synonymous with British Indie music.

This is a free guitar vst, so, just like other LABS instruments, you don’t get much in terms of tone control or customizability, other than a few knobs and sliders. That being said, don’t let the simplicity of the UI dissuade you, this is one of the best sounding free Guitar VSTS

How Does It Sound?

Peel Guitar has a single tone mode, which is the aforementioned telecaster tone. The vibrato and distortion on your sound makes Peel guitar great at both standing out in the mix and laying down chords.

It’s hard to describe tone, so we’ll let Spitfire talk for themselves.

What is a VST Guitar?

A VST Guitar is essentially a digital guitar, you can play with MIDI. That can be either using a piano roll, to program your guitar notes, or playing them with a MIDI keyboard.

Either you can’t afford a classic vintage guitar and amp, to add to your music arsenal, or you just want something simple to add a few guitar notes in, a digital, VST Guitar is an awesome tool.

Some plugins also come with Strumming patterns, chord detection and other types of assists, that let even complete novices, play the guitar like a touring professional.

Do Guitar VSTs Really Sound That Good?

pexels ketut subiyanto 4651046 scaled edited

Most guitar VSTs in 2023, sound miles better, than what a lot of producers record at home. What sets the great apart from the not so great, however, is playability.

In terms of sound, you’d need thousands of dollars in equipment and vintage gear, to successfully reproduce the sound quality of some of these plugins.

Sound quality does not matter in the least however when your playability is clunky, slow and tiresome. Other than that, you shouldn’t worry about how good a VST Guitar sounds, because truthfully, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway.

How Do I Choose A Guitar VST?

So we’ve given you options, now, to have you make a choice. Let’s look at some things you should consider before buying any virtual instruments.

Features

You want the best bang for your buck, the most fish in your boat. With options, comes freedom. Anything from mic-position, to cab selection to performance options, plays a big part, when getting the best guitar sound possible.

With that said, option paralysis can be a real issue, and you need to consider your needs. If you’re looking for an in-depth monster, with all the possibilities, go for something like Scoring Guitars or Ambient Guitars.

If you want something more simple and laid back, try Electric Sunburst, as well as in our opinion, the best free guitar vst, Peel Guitar from Spitfire Audio.

Pricing

Pricing and Budget are usually the biggest considerations when purchasing anything, not just plugins.

First of all, it’s important to know your budget, what you’re willing to spend for a guitar sound. That being said, it might not always be the best to go with the cheapest option.

Some, cheaper guitar software can sound less than realistic and even robotic. Not to say all cheap plugins sound bad, but in a market where sampling expertise and technique is everything, more often than not, the more expensive option will sound better than the cheaper one.

Importance of sampling over emulating.

When it comes to realism, it’s important to choose the right instrument for the job. It’d be unfair to say emulated instruments sound worse, but in the case of realism, there is an argument to be made.

With Sampling, you can recreate all the tiny intricacies and nuances that go into what humans perceive as “real” sounding. No matter what, synthesized emulations will not bring with them an organic and natural sound.

We’ve tried to include more or less only sampled instruments in our list however, so you don’t have to worry about that šŸ™‚

Trial

Lastly, before you go and buy anything, it’s worth checking if the developer offers a free trial. Try before you buy, and you’ll only be better off for it.

No matter the amount of videos and reviews you’ve looked at, if you haven’t yet used it, you can’t say much about whether it fits your production style or not.

If a trial is available, download it first!

What is The Best Guitar Amp Simulation Software?

guitar rig 5 banner

Having a guitar is one thing, to make your tone even more realistic and pleasant, you’ll need an amp sim.

While you can re-amp your plugins through real amps, usually, it’s just simpler to use a digital amp.

Guitar Rig 5 is probably the best overall collection of amp sims, stompboxes and other signal processing units. With tons of amps and other hardware, you’ll never miss your real amp ever again.

If you don’t want to spend money on an amp sim however, consider going for a Free amp sim. We’d suggest the Blue Cat amps for versatility and quality.

Additionally, feel free to check out our list of the best free guitar amp simulators!

How To Make a Guitar VST Sound Real

Making a guitar VST sound realistic is a balance between your arrangement and mixing.

Guitars only have 6 strings, so you can’t write chords like you do on the piano. We suggest looking up guitar chords and inversions, to use instead. Articulation and strumming also helps to add a layer of realism into your performance.

If you want to learn more about chords, and how to write awesome progressions and pads, we made a great little tutorial for you.

When mixing and processing your guitars, use a good amp sim and cabinet simulator, as well as subtle room reverb, if you want to emulate a real studio recording.

Adjusting your dynamics, either by using a compressor, limiter or saturator, can make your tone more consistent, which will also help to make your sound more realistic.

Finishing Up

Whether you want to add some light Stratocaster chords to your song, or make a high gain metal track, you don’t really need a real guitar anymore.

Virtual instruments have gotten so good, that added processing like amp simlation, can bring your VST instruments on par with a real guitar.

Music Production professionals already use a lot of these instruments, and so should you, even if you already own and play a real guitar.

With a wide range of possibilities on offer, finding the best guitar vst can be tough. With that being said, we hope you found a good addition to your studio setup.

If you liked this article, you’ll probably enjoy some of these as well!

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