For all round sounds
Chris Hein Guitars

This virtual guitar library offers a more varied guitar sound than most, as it features 40,000 samples from nine guitar types – three electric, two jazz, nylon, steel, mandolin and banjo. Composer and sampling guru Hein compiled 18GB of high quality sounds and articulations to offer a fantastically varied set of tones from each guitar. There are hands-on controls for expression and articulation, plus a harmonizer and a useful Slide Mode. There’s also the indispensable Chord Mode which, along with supplied MIDI patterns, makes assembling your own guitar parts a breeze. Add in some great effects and you have pretty much every guitar sound you’ll ever need.

Check out here.

 

For great guitar sound design
Heavyocity Scoring Guitars

Scoring Guitars is one of the more unusual instruments in that it is aimed at film scoring rather than conventional and authentic guitar recreation. You get what Heavyocity describes as the ‘visceral energy’ of the instrument, harnessed over pads, phrases, tempo synced loops, pulses, reverse elements and other atmospheres. The preset sounds and textures all lie within the Gravity engine so you can add effects, change envelopes, randomise and alter them to create sonics that are truly out of this world. So, guitars might be at the core of Scoring Guitars, but Heavyocity has mangled their organic heart to create a sound designer’s dream.

Check out here.

 

For massive metal impact
Impact Soundworks Shreddage 2 IBZ

Described as ‘a legendary 7-string heavy metal guitar’ – the clue is in the name – IBZ is one of Impact Soundworks ‘Shreddage’ range of guitar libraries, which also includes electric guitar and bass titles. This one is specific to metal though – an aggressive ‘injection of liquid metal’, no less – so it might be a little in-your-face if you’re after a delicate sound. That said, there are plenty of options under that chrome hood to change the tone, plus more advanced settings for fret preference, hand size and picking style. Recorded articulations include sustains, those power chords (of course), slides and scrapes. There’s even a custom effects rack for maximum sonic flexibility. Metalheads need look no further.

Check out here.

 

For acoustic strumming
Strummed Acoustic

For all things acoustic, we would, of course, recommend Native Instruments’ very own Session Guitarist Strummed Acoustic. It features just about every sound it’s possible to coax from a Dreadnought acoustic, meticulously sampled over many strumming styles, plus a selection of genre styles to tie them all together. There’s an Auto Chord feature that allows you to play chords with with one finger, and plenty of ‘beginnings’ and ‘endings’ to start and finish your songs. Finally you get voice editing, effects, double tracking and the fantastic Rhythm Search feature – set out a bit like a step sequencer – for matching patterns to beats. As they say, it’s an ‘always-on-call, professional session guitarist’, only perhaps not as expensive as the real thing.

Check out here.

 

The new kid on the block
Electric Sunburst

This new release from Native Instruments is very much the electric version of Strummed Acoustic, with the same advanced strumming engine and fantastic Auto Chord feature. There are 16GB of six-string electric guitar samples with loops and single notes played over a wide range of fret positions. You also get 154 patterns for a large variety of realistic riffs, chords, strummed intervals and arpeggios, and these are handily grouped into 31 song patterns covering a variety of musical genres. Electric Sunburst also features a great suite of effects, five amp models and ten cabinets so there’s plenty on offer to create a wide range of warm electric tones.

Check out here.

 

For a keyboard playing dream
Orange Tree Samples Evolution Electric Guitar Strawberry

Strawberry claims to enable keyboard players to quickly and easily create authentic sounding electric guitar parts without needing to know how to play the instrument at all. There’s a great range of clean tones plus many that make use of the built-in effects and amp/cab emulations. Its ease of use shines through in the Strum and Chord Engines which really help non-guitarists fly – simply hold down a chord and load up one of the many strumming patterns, or have your chords automatically arranged to instantly turn you into a guitar hero (with a keyboard).

Check out here.

 

For huge, out there guitar sounds
Sample Logic Cinematic Guitars Infinity

Before you stress too much over the price, Cinematic Guitars Infinity is actually several products in one: Cinematic Guitars 1, 2 and 3 and a fourth component, Infinity, which has all the content spread over four instruments called Atmospheres, Instrumentals, Loops, and Percussives. You create huge guitar soundscapes by blending and morphing up to eight sound sources within four quadrants that Sample Logic calls Sound Cores. You then go much further with effects on each Core plus a ‘3D Mixer’ to move between them and create evolving sounds. Infinity is all about this sonic movement, animated atmosphere and, well, cinematic sounds. And lots of them – 2,400 trillion in fact!

Check out here.

 

For a complete guitar orchestra
Soniccouture Xbow Guitars

Another of our more experimental choices, Xbow asks what would happen if you played a guitar as you would a violin or cello and then answers the question by sampling just that scenario! It then moves on to other unusual playing styles including using an Ebow (which bows the strings with an electromagnetic field) and a vibrator – yes, a vibrator – to ‘stimulate the strings’ (their words not ours) to result in a constant tremolo effect. We do love this out-of-the-box thinking and the results are truly mesmerising, on occasion rather classical, and obviously very different from the norm.

Check out here.

 

For great guitar rhythm
Sugar Bytes Guitarist

Sugar Bytes Guitarist focuses on rhythmic emulations played on three electric guitars: Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, and a Duesenberg Starplayer Special. It has a large library of presets for each, plus amp simulations, two multi-effects and an auto-wah processor. The central component is an easy-to-use step sequencer for programming notes and the style in which they’re played and strummed. You can choose chords from over 400 presets and put them together with another useful sequencer for complete song creation. It helps to know a little about guitar playing to get the best from some of Guitarist’s deeper features, but non players will enjoy creating varied, rhythmic backing tracks using the straightforward sequencing options.

Check out here.

 

For classic electrics
Vir 2 Electri6ity

One of the most expensive virtual guitar packages, but Electri6ity is all about recreating the authentic tones of eight of the most iconic axes ever built – an ES335, L4, Les Paul, Les Paul P90, Dan Electro Lipstick, Rickenbacker, Stratocaster, and Telecaster. Adjustable parameters include the guitar tone, plus strum and pickup behaviours, and there’s a Fretboard tab that shows you which notes are being played with visual feedback on playing style. It all makes for a great visual and aural experience, not to mention a great learning tool for those unfamiliar with the inner and outer workings of the guitar.

Check out here.