On the hunt for killer tone but don’t want to break the bank? Look no further!
This list of the 12 BEST Free Guitar VSTs in 2020 will help you quickly find the plugin you need.
The Best Free Guitar VSTs
Whether you need an amp simulator, an effects suite, or a virtual instrument, we’ve got you covered.
Just click the buttons that match what you’re looking for. The list below will zero in on plugins that suit your needs.
A quick heads up, the virtual instruments on this list are great for what they are. These free plugins will spark your creativity.
Don’t expect the height of realism from them. Instead, use them as creative ways to set your songs apart from others.
Unrealistic doesn’t have to mean bad.
Your Stock PluginsMost DAWs come with everything you’re looking for. There are guitar synth presets, sample libraries, and loops to draw from. Your DAW likely has virtual stomp boxes and amp sims to run these sounds through. So you may not need to download anything else. Experiment with the tools you already have.
Ample Guitar M Lite IIThis is a high-quality acoustic guitar sound. The tone is a little tinny, which makes it perfect for busy mixes. I find it works especially well for pop or pop-adjacent tracks. But if the acoustic is supposed to be a focal part of your mix, it may not be the best fit. If you just need a background acoustic to add high-end shimmer, Ample Guitar M Lite II has you covered!
DSK Dynamic GuitarsDSK has created tons of beloved free instruments. And Dynamic Guitars is one of their most popular offerings yet. It’s three instruments in one. You can choose between steel, nylon, and acoustic guitars. Each one has a distinct tone, giving you plenty of room to experiment! I find the steel guitar is best for in-your-face riffs. While the acoustic and nylon presets are more laid back.
Spitfire Peel GuitarSpitfire’s LABS series is bursting with inspiring sounds. Peel Guitar may be free, but it’s premium quality. It’s a clear-toned telecaster with vibrato, tremolo, and a touch of distortion. It shines over orchestral scores but can be used for any genre you like!
Shreddage 3 Stratus FreeShreddage Stratus is actually a Kontakt Library. So you’ll need Kontakt for it to work. But the free version is so good, it deserves a spot on this list. Shreddage 3 Stratus Free lets you add tons of nuance to a performance, making it sound more realistic. For example, you can automate bite and vibrato or change the picking mode. And turn on “poly input” to convert the chords you play into voicings that would make more sense for guitar.
Pettinhouse Free GuitarsPettinhouse has a few free guitar VSTs to choose from. Their acoustic, funk, and warm jazz plugins all bring a unique flavor of guitar to each song. In my opinion, the warm jazz is the most unique. It’s got a soft, clear electric tone that other libraries are missing.
Blue Cat Free AmpBlue Cat’s Axiom is one of the best guitar effects bundles out there. Luckily for us, they’ve made a few of the amp sims available for free. This bundle comes with three amp models: classic clean, classic drive, and modern drive. You can get plenty of different tones with the help of these three amp sims.
STL Ignite Emissary 2.0The guitar scientists at Ignite Amps have built a few free sims that sound terrific. Anyone writing heavier music should definitely check out the Emissary. It’s easy for distorted guitars to sound flat. But the Emissary breathes plenty of life into recordings. Make sure you download the newest version: Emissary 2.0. With the 2.0 update, the Emissary has gotten a complete tech overhaul. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, it now sounds even livelier than it did before. The tube saturation has also been improved, and you can save and share presets you create.
FreeAmp3FreeAmp3 is an all-in-one package that includes a guitar synth as well as effects and amps to run it through. It definitely sounds like a synth. You wouldn’t want to use this in place of a guitar. But its unique sound opens up other possibilities. When you add effects to it, you can create interesting guitar-synth hybrids. These sounds are perfect for adding ear candy to the mix.
Revalver 4ReValver 4, Peavey’s guitar effects bundle, is an incredible piece of gear for anyone on a budget. The free version comes with a handful of amps and effects to get you started. A lot of their best features are behind a paywall, but you can choose to get them in bundles or one by one. It’s a great option for anyone who wants to gradually scale up their rig over time.
AmpliTube 4 Custom ShopIf you’re just figuring out what kind of guitar tones you like, this is a great place to start! The free version of AmpliTube comes with 24 pieces of gear at no cost. Plenty to play around with and figure out what sounds good.
Guitar Rig 6 PlayerThe free Guitar Rig 6 Player is a solid bundle for both effects and amps. It comes with an amp sim, a matching cabinet, and 13 free effects. The Guitar Rig 6 Player is perfect for beginners. If you’re just getting started with digital guitar effects, Guitar Rig is a great option.
SimulanalogSimulAnalog’s plugins don’t exactly look all that inspiring. But what they lack in beauty, they make up for in tone! This bundle comes with three different distortion pedals, a phaser, and a modulation plugin.
You can start getting great tones without spending an arm and a leg. These 12 free guitar VSTs will help you get going if you’re on a budget and want to be strategic with your spending.