There’s nothing like having some guitar sounds at our fingertips to add layers to our songs or even base an entire track around some chord strumming or leads. As seen in our best guitar VST plugins guide, these pieces of software can get pretty costly (especially if you’re like us and tend to just buy a few on a whim without thinking twice — they start to add up!). Today we’re continuing our journey down the free VST plugin world, and today we have the best free guitar VSTi for you.
We were actually pretty surprised at how rare an actual free guitar VST instrument is around the net. We couldn’t find many worth looking aside from about 2-3 plugins, so we’ll list those first. However, we also gave you a few of our favorite free guitar VST amps / FX software just in case you needed one of those as well.
Also because we’re big fans of using one of these few actual free guitar instruments, we recommend ridding their effects or processing and running that raw MIDI track through a more advanced guitar amp or FX rack. If you can make way with paid FX plugins, spending some money on something like Guitar Rig can exponentially help the quality of a MIDI track with some free guitar sounds on it.
Free Guitar VST Picks
- Ample Guitar M Lite II
- Impact Soundworks’ Shreddage 3 Stratus
- Spitfire Audio Labs Peel Guitar
- Amplitube 4 Custom Shop
- Ignite Amps Emissary
- Blue Cat Free Amp
The Best Free Guitar VST
Ample Guitar M Lite II
With really nothing out there to compare in regards to quality, it’s easy to see why Ample Guitar M Lite II is regarded by many as the best guitar VST for free. Its high ratings include criteria such as sound quality, ease of use, features, and presets. Naturally, it scored well for value for money since it doesn’t cost us a cent. All the musician needs is 6GB of free hard disk space to download this handy acoustic guitar VST on both Windows or Mac. You’ll then be able to introduce the sound of the Martin D-41 acoustic guitar into your studio and make it part of your recordings. Ample Guitar M Lite II gives us access to a myriad of choices of presets with drag and drop support, making their inclusion easy and convenient.
The easy to use keyboard has a blue line under the notes the VST can play. There is a yellow line under the keys that offer extra options for the user, which can be identified by hovering the mouse over them. Adjust the panorama and width to add a unique quality to the sound. Do the same using the release, FX, resonance, and fret sound toggles. Also noteworthy, the strummer tab gives us, among many other features, a humanization setting option making the guitar play sound less manufactured. The effects included in Ample Guitar M Lite II are compressor, overdrive, five-band equalizer, chorus, phaser, delay, and reverb. This free guitar VST is jampacked with even more features, and its user-friendly interface means you’ll soon master them.
Impact Soundworks’ Shreddage 3 Stratus Free
This plugin offers the user an extensive sample library for Kontakt, the host for hundreds of outstanding, realistic, detailed sample instruments. Because of its range and flexibility, and the high-quality samples it offers, Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus Free is one of the best free guitar instrument choices available to users. The product boasts an updated version of TACT (Total Articulation Control Technology), which is essential for customizing the mapping and triggering of all articulations. With TACT, you can set your DAW up according to their customized preferences, giving the music they produce a unique, signature sound. The product also features Console, which is a modular FX rack and mixer with a pedalboard, providing full control over the produced sounds, and offering 30 effects modules.
Console also makes it more convenient to save and load FX chains and presets, moving them between projects or integrating them with other Shreddage 3 products. When using Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus Free, you have several options for editing and adjusting sounds, including bite, transposing, selecting up to four guitars at a time, picking modes, and articulations. With so many setup options, this product is popular, although it should be noted that it requires the full version of Kontakt, not Kontakt Player.
Spitfire Audio Labs Peel Guitar
Is there such thing as a free VST instrument guide without some Spitfire Audio LABS in it? Award-winning composer Christian Henson is the co-founder of Spitfire Audio, together with fellow composer Paul Thomson. The pair have produced several instrumental plug-ins, and the Spitfire Audio Labs Peel Guitar is just one among their countless high-end free VST instruments, let alone here is one of our favorite free guitar VST options right now in general. Recorded in 2006 by Henson himself using a Fender Telecaster, an instrument the composer has used frequently during his illustrious career, the VST offers a high-quality guitar sound that British indie music fans know and love. The recording was done using a 15w tweed amp, lending the sound an authenticity that few other VSTs can.
Together with the vibrato and tremolo, the Fender Telecaster play by Christian Henson gives a unique distortion factor that adds depth to any recording. The Spitfire Audio Labs Peel Guitar VST does not require Kontakt to function and is downloadable on Mac OS and Windows. They have their own standalone VST software that organizes all the plugins of theirs that you can use in your DAW (seriously, just download them all). One should not let the simplicity of Spitfire Audio Labs Peel Guitar’s user interface fool them as it still offers plenty of adjustability. As with all Spitfire Audio Labs products, it features a dial to set reverb, and two sliders, one for volume and the other for velocity elimination.
Amplitube 4 Custom Shop
Now we can start to get into some effects, because honestly the previous few were the only free guitar VST we found to be worth it. Let’s kick this off however, because AmpliTube 4 Custom Shop is a powerful and jam-packed program that offers us some of the best FX out there for guitars in a little easy-to-use portal, and many are free. AmpliTube 4 Custom Shop comes with 24 pieces of gear for the user to interact with and can be installed as a standalone application or a plug-in for Windows and Mac. Among the 24 plugins you get from the free download are nine stompbox models, four amplifiers, five cabinets, three microphones, two rack effects units, and a tuner. Each sound on AmpliTube 4 Custom Shop comes from authorized models of some of the world’s best guitars.
Use the amplifiers to adjust gain, bass, middle, treble, presence, and volume. The cabinet settings control threshold, release, depth, panorama, and volume. The rack effects allow for manipulation of gain, frequency, and equalization. The stompbox model settings include chorus, compressor, delay, flanger, diode overdrive, and graphic EQ options to experiment with. There are also options to adjust delay time, filter, feedback, and mix to get the sound you’re looking for. All this is possible using the AmpliTube 4 Custom Shop’s conveniently designed interface that will have even the newest music mixers onboard in no time. Definitely worth the look.
Ignite Amps Emissary
Emissary is one of Ignite Amps’ most popular products, and it is one of the best free guitar VST products when it comes to versatility and sound quality, especially if the sound you’re after is metal. If you’re looking to reproduce the sound of a dual-channel guitar tube amplifier, then Emissary is the product you’ve been looking for. Described as music for the moshpit, Emissary’s newest version has two significant improvements. The first is that the triode modeling engine has had a complete overhaul and recoded to produce better sound and performance while reducing CPU usage.
The second is the improved amp simulation sound the plug-in generates, making it even better than previous versions. You can use the clean function to make adjustments to the bass, mid, treble, and gain in the music. With the lead function, we’re able to manipulate gain, bass, low-mid, high-mid, and treble sounds. Using Ignite Amps’ Emissary, you can also make changes to the depth and presence of the sound, depending on your preference. Emissary has an easy-to-use interface and gives the user many options for sound modulation and reproduction.
Blue Cat Free Amp
The Blue Cat Free Amp delivers a legendary guitar amplifier performance. It covers a wide range of guitar amp tones, from classic clean to classic drive and modern drive, making it versatile and ideal for somebody who wants to experiment with guitar amp sounds. To install Blue Cat Free Amp, easily one of the best free guitar plug-ins available, you need a computer running Windows or Mac OS. Blue Cat Free Amp applies no CPU load to your system when it is idle, with processing terminating when you don’t feed it with sound. Regardless of which amp tone you choose, they can adjust the gain, drive, bass, mid, treble, and volume in each according to their preference. Blue Cat Free Amp also has several preset sounds, including 80s rock and 90s solo.
Featuring handy undo and redo buttons, the VST is easy to use when it comes to fixing mistakes. The user interface consists of three windows, depending on which amp tone you’ve decided to work with. Each is easy to operate and understand, and unlike many other VSTs, this one gives musicians a precise reading of their settings, such as the volume, gain, etc., making it easier to repeat music patterns without too much tweaking.