Best Electric Guitar VST Plugins – 2020 Guide

Electric guitars can find their way in almost every type of song. They don’t have to be upfront, but if used intelligently can their sonic character will contribute as a very interesting element in song structure. Just think about Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Billy Jean and analyze guitar parts and you’ll understand our words.

Comparison Chart of the Best Electric Guitar VST Plugins

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • The most detailed guitar simulation on the market
  • 8 electric guitars models
  • All pickup positions captured
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  • Ideal plugin for hard rock music
  • 5 guitar amps and 6 guitar instruments provided
  • Bass guitar and drums sound included
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  • Innovative and unique
  • 2.000 samples per instrument
  • Talkbox and wah pedal effects inside
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  • Rock oriented groovebox
  • 1100 guitar phrases organized in 100 styles
  • CPU and RAM-friendly
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  • Heavy music library recorded by real rock stars
  • Several 7-string guitars included
  • Amazing bass and drum sounds
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Can You Really Find Affordable Electric Guitar VST Plugins?

If your music is even slightly oriented towards rock music and you’re not a guitar player, good Electric Guitar VST can be the tool you need in your plugin library. For any other genre, it could work as good as the real guitar.

But, in general, there is nothing wrong with using this software for demo purposes at least. You will be surprised how good it can actually sound. It can help you to create the song structure much faster and will save you money spent on studio recordings or hiring a session guitarist so you can invest when it really makes a difference. 

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

Here are some side notes that may come handy before you decide what are you going to buy:

Learning Curve

You will have to spend some time learning how guitarists think and approach certain song structures if you want to create a great sound. But, don’t worry, learning may require time and serious devotion, but eventually, it will repay you and your song composing skills will improve a lot along that road.

Guitar Skills

There are some wonderful Electric Guitar VST that require you to know how to compose on a guitar. They will deliver incredible sound, but it’s not realistic to expect a newbie to achieve such a result. Luckily, some software provides you with hundreds of record-ready phrases that could put you faster in the right direction.

(Honest) Reality Check

This type of software works great for any kind of rhythm guitars and it can deceive many guitar players. But, recording a solo guitar may require that you rethink the approach. Guitar is a very expressive instrument and some playing techniques may sound artificial unless programmed very carefully. That’s why you should compose lead parts in “safe mode” rather than “virtuoso”. If you need advanced techniques, we would always recommend real guitar players instead.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Electric Guitar VST Plugins

These are some of the best VSTs we could find on the market for you:

PROS

  • All pickup positions captured
  • Polyphonic and Monophonic playing mode
  • Advanced string and fretboard positioning
  • True guitar simulation of 8 electric guitars models
  • Seamless dynamic transitions and various articulation included

CONS

  • Might be expensive for some users
  • Guitar phrases and licks would be welcomed

Features and Specifications

This library provides you with 8 different electric guitar models including Fender Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Gibson Les Paul. Guitars were captured in all three pickup positions and use AMT and VMT features to make smooth transitions from every kind of dynamics and articulations. It also provides you with AI that chooses the best string and fretboard positions based on the notes you’re about to play and what you have already played and adds additional artificial noises created from the pick, fingers, and slide. It can be played in both polyphonic and monophonic mode.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is probably the most detailed sample-based library of electric guitars in the world. Every type of articulation is recorded, even trills and tremolos and you can even slide a complete chord like on a real guitar. Humanization feature works wonderfully making complete recording more “organic” with miniature off-grid playing.

In case you want to use it as a final track, it provides you an instant double-tracking mode, so if you need professional Electric Guitar VST for your songs, you shouldn’t look further. This plugin has probably all you may need for any genre you may think of.

PROS

  • Guitar and bass dual amp configs
  • Clean and distorted playable guitars
  • Bass guitar and drums sound included
  • Huge rock-oriented sample-based library
  • 5 guitar amps and 6 guitar instruments provided

CONS

  • Bass sound could be better
  • More heavy-oriented guitar songs will require additional sound editing

Features and Specifications

Guitars are recorded in dual amp configuration so you can select the source you want, pan them stereo or blend them together. More than 20GB of samples are available and you can pick one of 5 available amps and 6 different guitars, including 7-string Ibanez Universe.

Speaking of other instruments, besides guitar, bass and drums are also included in the package, and drum kits are specially optimized to be used with Roland's electronic drums - V-Drum. All the sounds were extracted from a live playing and implemented by a round-robin method of sample selection.

Why it Stands Out to Us

EastWest decided to provide rock musicians with an all-in-one solution and this is more than a solid try, especially regarding the sound of heavy guitars. It’s impressive when you think about it - within a single VST, you have everything you need to finish your song composing - drums, guitars, bass. And it can sound better than any demo you would record in a non-studio environment.

While it cannot replace the complete sound for the hard rock album it will be more than fine for a film, game, or TV series scoring so that focus isn’t directly upon the music sound.

Best for the Money:
 Sugar Bytes Guitarist

PROS

  • Beautiful graphic user interface
  • 10 effects including iconic talkbox
  • Direct and amp output available separately
  • Innovative and unique approach for electric guitar VST
  • 4 guitars sampled with at least 2.000 samples per instrument

CONS

  • It doesn’t support 32-bit platforms
  • Provided guitars should cover more sound difference

Features and Specifications

There are four guitars available with the announcement of more coming soon. Every guitar has at least two thousand samples covering various picking and strumming patterns.

Presets are organized based on four categories - Sound (selected guitar type and effects), Pattern (for strumming and picking patterns), and Chord (for chord changes). Every category can be combined on the fly and you can store a favorite combo by recalling a certain Global preset.

Speaking of effects, there are 10 in total to pick from including talkbox, wah pedal, typical modulation effects, and two amp models.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This software is very user-friendly and real eye-candy. It’s quite different from other products. Sugar Bytes managed to make guitar work comprehensive for everyone. Pattern presets will be specially praised by complete beginners while advanced players will appreciate the fact that every string can be detuned. It also supports separate outputs for direct out and amps out, so that it can be blended independently, the way it’s usually done with real guitars.

So, with the current price provided, it may be a choice for many users. Even real guitarists may consider using it as it’s so affordable.

Best Rock Electric Guitar VST:
 Virtual Guitarist IRON

PROS

  • CPU and RAM-friendly
  • Rock oriented phrase-box VST
  • Drop D tuning and doubling track mode
  • 1100 guitar phrases organized in 100 styles
  • Built-in amp/speaker emulations and effects section

CONS

  • Only one guitar model available
  • Not so useful for advanced users

Features and Specifications 

This plugin is made as a phrase generator. It provides you with thousands of pre-recorded phrases organized in a hundred styles and it’s up to you to pick the one that suits you most. You can also make it more organic by turning it towards swing or laid-back playing approach.

Effect panel is quite basic including reverb and delay while Thrust knob will turn the overall sound towards a more modern genre. And in case you may need, drop D tuning is also available for such music.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are plenty of advanced VSTs out there that contain so many settings, so it’s quite a relief to have a plugin that works just fine with basic set up. Sometimes, too many options can leave you frozen as you would focus more on choices than writing.

IRON is definitely oriented towards beginners and has a user interface organized in a straight-forward way to improve the overall workflow without significant draining of the CPU and RAM resource. Settings are very simplified so that newbies can start composing straight away while advanced players may appreciate the brainstorming song composing options with so many phrases provided.

Best Metal Electric Guitar VST:
EastWest Ministry of Rock 2

PROS

  • Several 7-string guitars included
  • Wonderful bass and drum sound options
  • Samples recorded by a real rock star musicians
  • The heaviest guitar sound library on the market
  • Realistic articulation and plenty of instrument variety

CONS

  • Patterns would be much of use for this type of software
  • Covered genres are demanding, so it may require more time to learn it

Features and Specifications

This VST contains over 57 gigabytes of samples from various modern and vintage guitars. All guitars come with round-robin sample picking and dual output features. Speaking of articulations, hammer-on and pull-off legato, tremolos, sliding legato, harmonics, and many others are included in more than 60.000 samples in total provided.

Many 7-string models are present in this collection so that necessary low-end sound can be achieved without any need to drop the tune down and it’s well-supported by certain 5-string bass guitar models and carefully matched drum kits with several snare options.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a must-have software for anyone into modern heavy music. Hardcore, heavy metal, this is your pick. It's an all-in-one tool for both beginners or seasoned producers.

While the guitars are as good as in the first software, we must state out that bass and drum sound is significantly improved this time thanks to the new LIVE sampling engine.

And as all instruments were recorded by the real rock stars who know what needs to be done by using a professional heavy artillery sound rig, you can rest assured that the samples provided here are top-notch.

When Would an Electric Guitar VST Come in Handy?

Here are our thoughts about it:

Song Sketching

You can use it either as a “notepad” tool or as a way to describe guitarists what you would like to hear from them in the final recording. It also may happen that you’re a guitarist but you’re on a vacation and you need a quick way to record your sudden burst of ideas. 

Trying Out the Ideas

The best part about Electric Guitar VSTs is that it’s all MIDI. You can try out different riffs and themes and check out how it goes in your song on the fly. Just click with the mouse and change the note order and play it again.

Rhythm Playing

This is something where Electric Guitar VSTs really excel. No matter what effect you use, mild overdrive or heavy distortion, it can sound really convincing. Even if you record a real guitar later those tracks won’t harm overall sound. Double tracking method broadens the stereo image of the song and some of the most iconic songs even used 4 or 6 guitar tracks to get such effect.

Clean Guitar

If programmed carefully and you approach it like a real guitarist would, clean guitar parts can sound as convincing as rhythm parts. 

Are Electric Guitar VST Plugins Hard to Use?

It all depends on your expectations and genre you’re about to record. 

Using it for any kind of pop-rock sound would be a breeze while applying it to a certain heavy metal song that completely relies on a guitar sound it may be really demanding. It would require you to think like a real guitarist and apply different picking or playing techniques and note effects such as vibrato, tremolo. If you’re not aware of such terms and haven’t played guitar before, it may require a lot of work before you understand what you need to do to make your overall sound convincing.

Conclusion

Honestly, it’s incredible how close you can get with software available on the market right now. It’s tough to admit, especially if you’re a guitarist, but we believe using such VST is a way of the future so it might be just the right time to start learning and get a head start.