Table of Contents
The days where musicians having to learn every instrument are over. Electric guitar VSTs are being added to producers arsenal all over the industry.
The reason is simple: you can instantly test out your newest songs with guitars and you can even play them with your keyboard.
Today we are going to be taking a deep look at the best electric guitar VSTs both free & paid. All of the options listed are highly regarded & great for different genres.
My Favorite Electric Guitar VSTs – A Quick Glance
|Budget Pick||Bright Electric Guitar||
|Film Scoring||Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2||
I still remember the first keyboard that I purchased had electric guitar sounds on it. They were pretty terrible compared to the VSTS that are out today.
It is my opinion that the best electric guitar VSTS actually sound incredibly realistic. You can get a wide variety of sounds and change from a wide variety of amps with some VST’s.
*These VSTs are not in ranking order as some of them are just different styles and it will come to personal preference.
At the bottom of this article, I have included my favorite free guitar plugin. This is great for those who want to test the waters before spending money.
I recently did a review on my favorite electric piano plug-ins that you can check out here. These have some nice grit and are being used all over the industry today.
What’s The Use Of Electric Guitar VSTs?
These VSTs are so realistic that producers are using these sounds in the final versions of their songs.
They have a huge range of purposes as you can use them to write with, but also use them as your main guitars.
Is this a little discouraging to guitar players? No, I don’t think so. People will always desire real instruments, but there will always be a demand for VST’s as well.
I feel like we’re living in a world where they both coexist. It will just depend on the producer or the band’s preference.
How Do They Work?
Just like every other VST. You simply draw in the MIDI and then you can manipulate the sound with your VST. With a lot of the guitars, you can dive super deep into the customization.
What To Look For In Guitar VSTs?
You will immediately be able to tell the quality of the VST based off of how the pre-sets sound.
If you are digging the pre-sets, you will definitely dig the final products. The sound is obviously the most important factor of the equation, so make sure you really love what you’re hearing.
Some VST’s come with more effects than others. These allow you to customize the sounds to your liking.
Guitar Amp Sims
Amp simulators do exactly what you’d expect; simulate amps. The more amps you can choose from in a VST, the better in my opinion. You will most likely find some go-to’s that you really enjoy.
I recently did a review on my favorite bass guitar VSTs, check them out here. These are very similar to electric guitar plugins, only bass guitars.
These can get expensive. Make sure you’ve done your research and feel confident with the purchase you choose.
Some of the programs will allow you to try them out for a month or so with a money-back guarantee. If cost is an issue, maybe go this route.
Depending on which VST you choose, you can sometimes change up the guitar that you’re using.
This will result in a completely different sound that you could find yourself really digging for certain styles.
Best Electric Guitar VST Plugins
Below is our list of all of our favorite electric guitar VSTs. Each plugin has a use for different styles of music. If you’re looking for free guitar VSTs, continue to the bottom of this article.
Electri6ity – Overall Best Electric Guitar Plugin
This plug-in is brought to you by Big Fish Audio and it is personally one of my favorites. Electri6ity is relatively easy to use and it comes with 8 different virtual guitars that are out of this world.
The sounds are simply great. I honestly think this sounds as close to a real guitar as you can get. When you use this in your mixes, you can’t really tell a difference and they actually sound rather good to me.
If you’re a producer, you know that recording a great guitar tone can be tricky. This virtual guitar sounds great immediately and it comes with a ton of effects and amps.
What I like
It loads up easily with Kontakt and it has a simple layout. From the sounds to the interface, this virtual guitar simply rocks.
Recorded variations per each sample
- Downstroke/upstroke / Picked/strummed / Seamless velocity layers
If you’re looking for an all-around electric guitar VST that you will use for many years, this is a great choice. All of the sampled guitars are recorded clean and this allows you to filter them and change the effects to your liking.
Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2 – Best Electric Guitar VST For Film
Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2 is a fantastic guitar vst. If you are into film scoring or you're just looking to develop some crazy cool sounds, this is worth checking out.
Scoring Guitars 2 is brought to you by Heavyocity. This company is one of the premiere companies when it comes to cinematic productions and this electric guitar plugin is stunning.
It has a smooth interface, and it really provides for a nice workflow for your productions. If you’re looking for some heavy guitars that are reminiscent of Hanz Zimmer, this is your choice.
You can expect pulses and phrases with this plugin. They are short and sound crisp. There are a lot of minor chords presented to you and I’m personally a big fan of this.
Scoring Guitars 2 is your choice for cinematic music production. You will get a ton of use out of this plugin for different genres as well.
Bright Electric Guitar – Sonivox (Best Budget Electric Guitar VST)
Bright Electric Guitar is an emulated strat that sounds beautiful. If you’re a fan of strats, this could be to your liking. You get a lot of different strum patterns and variations of chords with this plugin as well.
Stratocasters aren’t for everyone, but I have found that people who enjoy them, truly enjoy them. They have a bright twangy tone that I personally do enjoy. This VST crushes it in the sound department and it’s crazy that this is a cheaper plugin.
What I Like
The price and the sounds. For this price, it’s tough to compare to it. Especially if you’re a fan of strats. When it comes to electric guitar VSTs, I love the pure simplicity and beauty of this Stratocaster.
- Mutes – 3 different velocities
- Tones – 3 different velocities
This plugin isn’t for everyone, as I doubt metal producers would be into it, however, if you’re into strats, you’ll dig it. The sound quality that you get for the price is the main selling point with this plugin.
Shreddage 3 – Impact Sound Works ( Metal Guitar VST)
Impact Sound Works are the creators of this plug-in and it is pretty awesome. Founded in 2008; it instantly became one of my go-to’s for when I needed some serious metal guitars.
Shreddage 3 has been long-awaited and for good reason; it seriously shreds. If you listen to the samples, you will find yourself actually thinking that your listening to some of your favorite classic metal bands.
For metal, this easily one of the currently available. It’s rather new and the technology and sounds it brings present that. I am a big fan of the clean tone on some the presets. I feel the human dynamics in it even though it’s a plug-in and that’s something that is very hard to capture.
What I Like
The layout is very simple and easy to navigate through. You can tell that Impact Sound Works spent some serious time here. VST’s can be confusing, so when something is laid out in an easy fashion, it really goes a long way.
They also have some great basses that sound pretty great.
Shreddage 3 delivers a powerful punch with endless possibilities. If you’re a fan of metal guitars, give this plug-in a try.
Orangetree samples have some of the most realistic sounds on the market. They do other VST’s as well. They have a bunch of different sample packs for guitars that you can choose from, Rock Evolution just happens to my personal favorite.
The reason why I have the Rock Evolution sample pack up here is because of the sound. This is one of the most realistic plug-ins for the electric guitar to date. OrangeTree samples make some outstanding VST’s and this another one of them.
The crunch that you get on the electrics are is jaw-dropping. When using this plug-in you’re going to think that you actually recorded a real guitar.
What I Like
You can easily do articulations like palm mutes, divebombs, string slaps, and natural harmonics. The sample sounds come with different abilities in the picking. You can change the direction of the picking easily.
There is a built-in effects engine that gives you some great blues tones that you can use right off the bat.
The mapping system is very in-depth and allows you to set how you want to change articulations.
Overall, I am a big fan of the Rock Evolution pack. The sounds are top-notch and the effects and customizability don’t fall short either.
AmpleSounds are known for their metal and heavy rock guitar tones. With this plug-in, they have sampled the Gibson Les Paul. If I’m ever working on harder rock songs, I find myself going to this plug-in often.
If you’re also a fan of acoustic guitar VSTs, Ample Sounds makes a great acoustic guitar plugin. You can read more about acoustic guitar VSTs here.
The Ample Guitar G II sounds very close to a Gibson Les Paul. If you’re a fan of this guitar, then chances are you will dig this plug-in. Some of the pre-sets take some tweaking to get them sounding more realistic, but after some practice, it will sound great.
What I Like
You Get a ton of different effects pedals that really change up the tones quite nicely. This plug-in is great for solos and also for chugging along with darker chord progressions.
The humanization settings are awesome. They really help make this plug-in feel real and in-depth.
AmpleSounds is revered in the VST community for having some great realistic samples. I think this is a great instrument pack to try out. If you’re not a fan of metal guitars, I would recommend checking out their Stratocaster sample pack.
Overall, this is a solid VST that is worth a try. It’s a deep program with lots of different effects you can dig into.
Chernobyl Studios Metal Guitar – Best Free Guitar VST
I recently stumbled upon this option and I was pretty surprised that it was a free option. If you watch Youtube videos and compare, the tones that you get with this free guitar VST are pretty great. I personally would describe the tones as brutal in a good way.
The downloading might be a little bit confusing, and you will want to make sure that you’re using an up to date version of your DAW. If you’re using dated software, it may not work.
Pretty surprising in this department to me. I wasn’t expecting them to have the grit and tightness of a paid guitar plugin.
What I like
The fact that is a free electric guitar VST is a huge plus. It also doesn’t hurt that it sounds ripping for metal music.
If you’re working on a metal mix and on a budget, check this plugin out. You should easily be able to use this plugin and you might fall in love with it seeing how it is free. Follow the steps from the link and you should be all set.
Free Electric Guitar VSTs
Below is a list that includes some great free options. If you’re on a budget, have no worries.
- Cute Emily Dirty (Windows & Mac) Easy to use, decent quality
- Boogex (Windows & Mac) Easy to use free plugin that gives you a minimalist approach
- Bluecat (Mac & Windows) free amp simulation plugin
- NRR-1 (Windows & Mac) 3 channel pre-amps
Are Guitar VSTS Believable?
Absolutely. We’ve all heard recordings of bands who aren’t familiar with recording. Typically, the guitars sound pretty bad. It takes practice to learn how to record real instruments properly in order to get a good tone.
VSTS can immediately sound better than a real guitar. While some people may disagree with me here, I believe that you can do a lot with VSTS and that they can greatly help a recording.
Do I Need A MIDI Controller To Use A Guitar VST?
Technically, no, you don’t. However, I would recommend one. I think MIDI controllers are amazing for music production.
If you have a controller, you can simply play the notes on your keyboard, rather than having to hit computer keys.
Something has always struck me the wrong way when writing in melodies or playing them on a computer. While a lot of people still do it, I just really love playing the notes on the keyboard. With that being said, I am a keyboardist, so it definitely benefits me.
Electric guitar VSTs can be incredibly diverse in the fact that you can find different plugins that work better for different genres.
You will notice above that I talked about Shreddage 3 being great for metal. That was specifically designed for metal music and it does a phenomenal job for that style.
If you’re into a different style of music, you can more than likely find a plugin for that style.
There are many different options when it comes to electric guitar VST’s. The most important thing you can do when deciding is to figure out what style you prefer. All of the plug-ins are going to be better at certain things.
Do you have any guitar VSTs that you go to frequently? If so, which ones? Let me know in the comments below!