Do you use virtual acoustic guitar plugins, or electric guitar VSTs, when you produce your music in your DAW? Are they good enough to fool the listeners that it is a real guitar?
Mike here, and I have been using virtual guitar instruments for a while now in my productions.
The reasons for this are many, but mainly: it saves time. Also, I am not skilled enough to actually record those guitar performances, so I either need a guitarist (which costs money and time to sync the collaboration) or I need a virtual guitar plugin.
Virtual Guitar Plugins work
Good news! Virtual guitar plugins have come a long way the last years, to the point that if you program the performances well you are able to make it sound very authentic. So much so that the average listener won’t even have a clue that it is a “fake guitar”.
The Performance is Key
What you need to understand to make your virtual guitar parts work, is that any acoustic instrument performance will have lots of minor and human imperfections. In the timing, in the groove, in the dynamics and so on.
The great thing is that most of the new virtual guitar libraries and plugins have controls to adjust “humanisation levels” for various parts of the performance.
Rhythmic vs Melodic
The easiest virtual guitar parts to get away with are still the rhythmic parts. Like strumming chords, or playing arpeggios. Very expressive melodic parts are much harder to program, but even that is possible today.
However, it will require both time and practice to learn how to write those parts. Mainly it’s about controlling all the performance techniques a guitar can add. Like slides, bends, hammer-ons and pull-offs, vibrato and so on.
Best Virtual Guitar Plugins
Now when choosing a virtual guitar VST plugin or sample library, you should listen to the demos carefully. What does the particular guitar plugin seem to excel in when it comes to the sound and performance style?
I have tried out several guitar plugins myself, and the difference can be quite large. So I recommend doing your research before you choose. However, I will give you a list of developers of virtual guitar plugins now, to help you find a good one for you.
Virtual Guitar Developers
Good luck, and have fun performing virtual guitars in your music! =)