Realistic guitar performances from virtual instruments require flexibility and stability, both of which NI Kontakt can provide. So, these top 10 guitar libraries in 2023 can be your go-to for both rhythm and lead.
There are many kinds of guitar sample libraries; some are steel acoustic, some electric, and others nylon/classical. Even within them, you might find libraries dedicated to the rhythm with built-in strum loops or libraries meant for playing leads with realistic bends and hammer-ons. Furthermore, you’ll also find bass guitars in the guitar family.
While it’s not a rule, you’ll generally want acoustic guitars (whether steel or nylon) for softer music and electric guitars for rock, jazz, and pop. Also, note that using guitar amps can make an electric guitar or bass sound completely different. So, make sure you experiment with those to achieve new sounds.
In this article, I have enlisted libraries of a wide variety that fit every kind of need, from smooth rhythms for pop music to bombastic leads for scoring films. So, without further ado, let’s get on our list.
The 10 Best Guitar Libraries For NI Kontakt In 2023
1. NI Session Guitarist: Picked Acoustic (Acoustic Guitar Library)
Get results fast with this brilliant picked acoustic guitar that makes performance easy.
The Picked Acoustic Kontakt library features a classical Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar, much-loved for its clear sound. The library comes in two versions: strumming and melodic modes. The first features a built-in strumming and fingerstyle arpeggio library that you can perform by playing chords on your keyboard.
The melodic mode features articulations to create acoustic leads. Furthermore, the library also employs multiple mic setups that you can select and blend. Beyond that, you can add effect plugins to build unique guitar tones for your project.
Overall, this library can fit as both an accompaniment instrument and a heartfelt soloist.
- Dedicated Modes
The library comes with a dedicated instrument for pattern-based and melodic performance each. The patterns include 194 picking and strumming loops covering a wide range of genres. Similarly, the melodic mode features open, muted, flageolet, and tremolo articulations, each with fingered and picked variety. Furthermore, you can add vibrato, hammer-ons, slides, accuracy, and pull-offs for authentic performance.
There are three microphone setups in the library: Condenser, Dynamic, and Ribbon. The Condenser setup uses two condenser mics for a natural stereo image. And Dynamic employs a dynamic mic as well as a tube condenser mic in figure-8 polar pattern for adjustable stereo width. And finally, Ribbon uses two ribbon mics for a classy, vintage sound. I personally love the last one for solo guitar arrangements.
- Onboard Effect Processors
The mic setups allow you to adjust the stereo width and add doubling to modify the tone. However, it’s the built-in effects that add drastic flavors to the sound. Add the proprietary REPLIKA delay plugin, plate reverb, chorus, compressor, saturator, and more to create the guitar sound you want.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.1+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
You’ll enjoy the sound of this classic instrument if you are a fan of 70s and 80s music. The guitar itself is pristine with no weird resonance and Picked Acoustic samples it very well too. It sounds natural as a backing instrument, but the melodic mode requires careful programming to avoid sounding robotic since it doesn’t have a humanize feature.
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2. NI Session Guitarist: Strummed Acoustic 2 (Acoustic Guitar Library)
If it’s purely strumming guitar you need, Strummed Acoustic 2 has you covered with its two guitars.
Strummed Acoustic 2 is a dedicated library for playing plectrum strummed patterns. It features two esteemed guitars: the Martin 0-17 and the Guild F-412. The first is a warm-sounding traditional 6-string, while the second is a vintage 12-string from the 60s.
Each instrument features a range of strumming patterns ideal for any genre like rock, pop, folk, country, bluegrass, Latin, etc. You can play each pattern in any fret position to get the style you like. Try using a higher position for the chorus part, and let it chill with a lower position during the verse part.
Out of the dynamic patterns available in this library, you can select 8 of them for performing per instance. You can use key switches, modulation wheel (CC #1), and pitch wheel to switch between the selected patterns. You can also quickly crossfade chord voicings and add accents to make the performance even more natural.
- Intuitive Browser
The built-in library browser lets you find a matching pattern by tapping a rhythm on your keyboard or clicking the tap button on the screen. Furthermore, you can also filter the results by musical characteristics like articulations, time signatures, etc. The feature makes it easy for you to find the correct rhythm for your project as quickly as possible.
Strummed Acoustic 2 allows you to add doubling for stereo width. Similarly, you can control the pan of the high and low chord voicings (fret positions) to add extra stereo depth. And finally, you can use the built-in preset EQ, compression, and reverb to create different kinds of sound.
- Separate Bass
This feature lets you add a new bass pattern played on the lower strings to your rhythm. It’s handy for genres like country, folk, bluegrass, and even pop if you use the guitar alone as your accompaniment. After setting up a pattern, you can play the notes you want as the bassline. However, if you are after realism, it’s a good idea to avoid going overboard with this feature.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.1+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
Strummed Acoustic 2 is excellent for adding clean strums to your production without spending too much time on the performance. Every pattern feels natural and generally works well in the mentioned genre.
Thanks to the multi-sampling and fret noise feature, I found that even the patterns I created in the piano roll feel pretty natural. Overall, you are getting two excellent-sounding guitars with fantastic performance for a very reasonable price.
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3. Sketch Nylon (Acoustic Guitar Library)
If you compose classical guitar pieces or would like to incorporate fingerstyle guitar in your music, this library is a fantastic option.
Sketch Nylon was released as a cheap but highly usable nylon guitar library for sketching ideas. However, the in-depth sampling and flexible sound make it one of the best guitar libraries around in this price range. Note that this library is meant for fingerstyle playing, which means you won’t find a strumming pattern builder or similar features.
The comprehensive set of articulations sets this library apart from many other options available in the market. You get 14 articulations, including general ones like mute, slides, and mordent (pull-off trill) to apoyando (rest stroke), gliss, and tirando (free stroke). Furthermore, you can control the speed of the recordings on 7 of the articulations: slide up fast/slow, mordent 1&2, triplet, and glissando up/down. Other than that, there are percussion samples playable using midi input.
There are two round robins per note and multiple velocity layers: 5 for tirando/apoyando, 4 for mute/flageolet, and 3 for vibrato. While I wouldn’t say that you’ll get flawlessly natural sounds out of the box with these moderate numbers, it sounds excellent when mixed with other instruments and even played solo if performed carefully.
- MIDI Pack
Sketch Nylon comes with a MIDI pack that includes 5 styles: samba, Bossa Nova, Choro, Frevo, and Baiao. You’ll find a total of 41 kinds of accompaniments with 4 chord types (Maj, min, 7, mb5) for each accompaniment. Since they are midi files, you can drag-and-drop them into your DAW and edit to taste.
Sketchsamples recorded this Takamine guitar with microphones and a piezo pickup. So, you can blend the two with individual faders in the library. Similarly, it comes with 12 kinds of convolution reverb impulses as well as a simple 3-band EQ.
The library requires Kontakt 6.1.1+ (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
Sketch Nylon does what it’s made to do exceedingly well. If you want a guitar library that has a distinct classical/folk vibe without costing a lot, it’s hard to beat this one.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see almost every kind of articulation you’d need to make a guitar arrangement or perform tabs.
And while the slide articulation makes you fiddle around with the speed control a little, I don’t think it’s much of a hassle unless you’re performing an entire concerto in one go.
Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)
4. Heavyocity Scoring Acoustic Guitars (Acoustic Guitar Library)
Hear the steel and nylon-like never before with this modern instrument that keeps media composers in mind.
Scoring Acoustic Guitars isn’t your ordinary guitar library. It’s a library with over a hundred pre-recorded phrases and tons of effect processors to create new and exciting sounds. You’ll find floating pads made of granulated guitar samples and tense pulsing of tempo-synced guitar rhythms.
Similarly, there are melodic phrases and pulses, rhythmic harmonies with three nylon guitars and steel guitars, and so on.
You can probably tell by now that you’ll not find traditional strums or a regular sampled guitar for playing melodies. However, if you’re after a library to evoke emotions, have a look at its key features:
Since the library is packed with a ton of pre-recorded phrases, pulses, and so on, you don’t need to worry about programming new performances. Get inspired by what’s offered, add effects and motion using the Gravity engine, and finish your score.
- Instant Modification
Many of the sounds like the “complex pads” include three layers of sound: nylon guitar, steel guitar, and synth. You can control the volume and pan of each layer, and on the EQ/FILT page, you can modify the EQ and add various kinds of filters to create your tone. Furthermore, the “Punish” knob lets you instantly set how heavy and hard-hitting the sound is.
- Sample Manipulation
Of course, on top of the more “global” manipulation we talked about previously, you can edit the sample recording’s pitch, starting position, and so on. It also features an amp envelope that can be triggered using a selected key switch if not used globally.
You can create patterns that manipulate the volume, pan, and pitch over time on the Motion page. It also allows you to trigger the patterns using midi keys with all the standard modes like latch and retrigger. Also, it’s worth mentioning that each of the three sample layers has a separate sequencer.
Scoring Acoustic Guitars requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.4.2+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
If you are a media music composer or an experimental producer, I suggest checking it out. However, if you are looking for a standard guitar library, this one will not work for you at all.
There’s quite a variety of sounds you can make with this library, but as a guitarist, I don’t really see much use of it other than to save time.
I would recommend it for score composers who don’t play the guitar, though, as it opens up a whole new world of sound.
7 Best Heavyocity Kontakt Libraries For Music Production
5. NI Electric Mint NEW* (Electric Guitar Library)
The latest addition to Drumasonic’s family of Kontakt-based guitar instruments was sampled from a vintage guitar made in the USA.
The Session Guitarist Electric Mint delivers classic tones to modern compositions, with patterns and in-built MIDI chord progressions for any style, whether you’re spinning silky licks and soulful grooves, tearing it up with a screaming solo, or sitting in the pocket with popping funk lines.
Six strings were revolutionized by the ELECTRIC MINT model and are now at the center of modern popular music. Its three interchangeable pickups allowed for unprecedented tonal versatility, and it quickly became the instrument of choice for some influential guitarists throughout the past five decades.
- Amp and Speaker Options
Extending the capabilities of the original Session Guitarist, this new version adds several amp and speaker cabinet emulations, as well as new effects like the Supercharger GT compressor, a ‘Cry Wah’ auto-wah, and convolution reverb that can simulate the sound of amps being played in different rooms.
In addition, there are 71 built-in sound presets ranging from new DI signals to distorted, high-gain tones, and you can access them via a dedicated Amps and Effects tab.
A skillful sampling of all five possible configurations of the original instrument’s three single-coil pickups gives players access to a wide range of tones suitable for many styles. You can adjust the instrument’s pickup position, volume, and tone controls via a Guitar Settings tab in the GUI.
For example, you can adjust the microphone’s volume independently to blend in with the amp simulation. In addition, you can alter the decay time of muted notes and set your volume for fret noise and the noise floor. Finally, you can find a tuning control from “precise” to “sloppy” in the last tab.
- Playback Engine
The tremolo bar feature allows for more precise control over pitch expression, and the enhanced playback engine lets players produce ultra-realistic funk patterns. In addition, users can adjust the performance tab’s humanize, swing, feel, and shift parameters to make their programmed parts sound more natural.
- Midi Patterns
Use the new genre tabs in the browser to jumpstart your creative process, and click on a song preset to hear a preview of the patterns and effects before you commit to them. Learn a variety of voicings and phrases for each pattern, and then drag and drop them into your DAW to use as the basis for your original compositions. The enhanced playback engine in ELECTRIC MINT creates authentic-sounding funk beats.
The engine creates convincing hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, legato, and more when played on a melody instrument that you can play with fingers or a plectrum. In addition, you can adjust muted note decay, emphasis placement between downbeats and offbeats can be changed, swing and humanize can be fine-tuned to fit the composition, and the pitch can be vibrated using the tremolo bar or the player’s fingers.
The library is available for Kontakt 6.7 or higher. Kontakt 6.7 is available for Windows 7 or higher 32-bit and 64-bit and macOS 10.10 or higher 64-bit. It comes in VST 2, AU, and AAX formats.
Seventy-one factory-installed sound settings span from clean and DI to gritty and high gain and a variety of lifelike articulations that let users start crafting licks, grooves, and solos immediately.
The instrument improves upon its predecessors in the SESSION GUITARIST series by including an array of amp and speaker cabinet emulations and new effects like the SUPERCHARGER-GT compressor, auto-wah ‘Cry Wah’ effect, and convolution reverbs that allow you to recreate the sound of amps in different rooms.
6. NI Electric Vintage (Electric Guitar Library)
Rhythm or lead, this library can do it all.
Session Guitarist Electric Vintage recreates the sound of one of the universal favorite electric guitars from the late 50s, the Fender Telecaster. It features a versatile engine capable of playing lead melodies and strumming with a massive library of patterns, including strums, arpeggios, and riffs.
The Telecaster sounds unique thanks to the nasally, twangy sound of the single-coil pickups. While it’s a natural choice for funk and sometimes pop genres, it also works superbly for hip-hop, rock, and EDM pop, especially when you tweak the built-in virtual amp and effects.
The library features 231 patterns ranging across a wide variety of genres. You’ll find a combination of strumming, open and muted chords, riffs, arpeggios, and more. You can also assign key switches to each pattern you want and play them in a sequence to create unique rhythms. And, of course, changing the chord voicing (fret position) is a whole new playground.
Of the two instruments included in this library, the second one lets you perform melodies while combining them with patterns. You’ll find multiple articulations like open, muted, flageolet, tremolo, and slides, and you can also perform bends using the pitch wheel. Similarly, switch between finger and plectrum stroking to find your preferred tone.
You can switch between the bridge or the neck pickup in the Guitar Settings page and enable doubling. Furthermore, you’ll find some more settings like muted note length, fret noise, and detuning. These come in handy to add realism to your guitar sound.
The Amps & FX Browser page lets you select various effects like distortion pedal, modulation, EQ, compressor, reverb, delay, and tape effect. Furthermore, you can select virtual amps and cabinets for both tasteful, clean sounds or high gain overdrives. However, if you already own some guitar amp software, I’d suggest using those instead so that you’ll have a wider variety.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.5.2+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
Electric Vintage feels comprehensive for most music production, and the recording is top-notch. So, even as a guitarist, when I want the specific tone of the Telecaster, I can easily see this library coming into use. I also love NI’s pattern browser, where I can play a rhythm on the keyboard to find a matching pattern.
Although, I must mention that most of the patterns are in a 4/4 time signature with a few 3/4. And best of all, the price is very reasonable.
Top 6 Electric Guitar VST Plugins (Best PAID & FREE Picks)
7. NI Electric Sunburst Deluxe (Electric Guitar Library)
Spice up your tracks with the polished sound of a Les Paul guitar using this library.
As with our previous NI libraries, Electric Sunburst Deluxe operates in the same concept. It features two instruments: a pattern player and a melody performer. The patterns range from simple feel-good rhythms to arpeggios and hard-rock riffs.
Other than the performance itself, the library also features multiple pickup options, virtual amps, stompbox models, and more. The effect processors, albeit simple, pair pretty well with the sound of the Les Paul, so you’re sure to get effective sounds out of the box.
- Pattern and Melody
As I’ve mentioned, there are two instruments dedicated to each style of performance. You’ll find 237 patterns, including strums, riffs, arpeggios, and open chords. And it even features “reversed patterns” to create interesting sounds. Furthermore, the patterns are grouped into song presets. Similarly, the melody mode features articulations like open, muted, flageolet, and tremolo, along with a finger stroke and plectrum mode.
- Guitar Settings
This page lets you control the pickups. True to the guitar itself, you can choose either the bridge, neck, or both pickups, and you can control the volume of each. Similarly, you can also blend in a condenser mic recording to add further realism. And finally, it allows you to control the decay length of the muted notes, velocity sensitivity, fret noises, and tuning.
While the built-in amp and cabinet models are the same ones as in the Electric Vintage library, I did enjoy the sound better in this library. You can also add stomp effects, including distortion, compressors, EQ, chorus, phaser, delay, and so on. And, of course, if you own a guitar effect plugin, you should experiment using it with this library to create original tones.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.2.2+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
If you love the classy sound of Les Paul, you should give this library a try. It manages to capture and emphasize the tone excellently. The melody-performing instrument’s bends and vibratos are superb, and you should be able to create catchy melodies with pattern breaks in no time.
And I must mention that the library is a deluxe version of the cheaper Electric Sunburst, which you should also check out. The difference lies in the number of patterns and playability of the melody instrument.
Top 12 Plugins For Mixing Guitar (Acoustic, Electric & Bass)
8. NI Session Bassist – Prime Bass NEW*
Prime bass emulates the single could electric bass guitar from the 70s.
The library/instrument provides great flexibility and ease of use for various bass guitar tones and playing styles. It makes programming realistic and groovy basslines extremely simplified. You need a good amount of time to explore the depth of the plugin, but once you do, you will realize the immense potential it offers to music producers and sound designers.
Prime bass has some great factory presets categorized as direct, hi gain, experiment, amped, and more. In addition, Song Browser lets you browse through categories like Rock, RnB, Reggae, Blues, FX/Perc, Funk, Disco, Electro, Latin, etc., which has a collection of 81 songs presets. You can also select the playing style between slap, plec, and finger and choose time signatures between 4/4, 3/4, and triplets.
- Amps and effects
The plugin consists of amps and effects of a huge variety, such as Cat, Distortion, Skreamer, and Lo-Fi in the distortion category, choral, flair, phasis, and rotator in the Modulation category, compressors like super char, solid comp, fast comp, limiter, and tape, and many more such plugins in the categories EQ & Filter, Reverb & Delays, and Amps and Cabinets.
- Customizable Performance
Sample libraries usually take a lot of work, especially for creating realistic grooves, articulations, and playing styles. But Prime bass allows you to customize your performances with controllers like humanize, swing, feel, and timings. In addition, you can adjust latch mode, pattern sync, default mode, and tempo.
- Additional Features
The plugin has a massive loop library of over 8,000 loops and phrases that lets you pick up realistic and human-played basslines. These are arranged in 355 patterns presets, under categories like open, muted, plec, finger, and slap.
Prime bass requires a minimum of 10 GB of hard disk space and the Kontakt 6.7 version, but it’s also compatible with the free version of Kontakt.
The plugin also has playing modes by which you can play the root notes, and the plugin will keep the groove and feel consistent. With so much content and high-quality and well-recorded sounds, all these features make it the best bass guitar Kontakt library.
9. NI Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass (Bass Guitar Library)
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
This library delivers the punchy and thunderous bass sound of a renowned icon.
Scarbee Rickenbacker is a sampled bass guitar library featuring the Rickenbacker 4003, officially approved by the manufacturer. You’ll find both fingered and picked sounds in this library, as well as an extensive collection of articulations and techniques.
Other features include an advanced round-robin system that ensures a realistic sound even when repeating a note many times. I would say that the library is geared more towards rock and pop, but of course, you could use the instrument for any other genre like jazz, funk, and EDM.
Furthermore, its interface is neat; you just need to click on an element (like the bass or the amp) on the interface, and its settings page pops up. It makes for a straightforward workflow.
- The Bass
Clicking on the bass guitar on the UI brings up this page, and you can specify whether you want the neck, bridge, or both pickups here. You can also control the volume and tone of each pickup. And finally, the Rick-O-Sound button enables the stereo panning of the neck and bridge pickups to create an iconic wide and fat sound.
- Amp, Cab, and Effects
The ‘Jump’ amp simulator appears when you click the amp on the UI. It’s sweet-sounding and can handle anything from subtle boost to driven crunch. Similarly, clicking on the cabinet below the amp brings up multiple choices. There are 7 cabinet options, including icons like the Fender Tweed 4×10” and Marshall 4×12”. Finally, next to the cabinet, you’ll find a tape emulator, compressor, and an EQ.
Scarbee Rickenbacker also nails the performance part by incorporating a ton of articulations. What’s even more interesting is that most of the articulations don’t require you to trigger them using key switches. For example, playing a note overlapping another note results in a hammer-on or a pull-off automatically. And if you do so fast, you’ll get a grace note up. Similarly, holding the sustain pedal down while playing overlapping notes 3 frets apart results in slides. The velocity of the target note determines the speed. There are plenty more intelligent features in the library that make it extraordinarily playable and natural.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6.4.2+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
The Rickenbacker 4003 is known for being easy to mix, and the library reflects it. The sound is crisp yet thunderous when combined with the built-in amp. Similarly, when performed right, the bass is compelling and sounds fabulous.
A minor complaint would be that while the UI design is a lot of fun, opening one gadget at a time can be somewhat tedious when you’re mixing.
10. XPERIMENTA XBass (Bass Guitar Library)
This is a dirt-cheap bass guitar library with an expensive sound.
XBass provides the sound of an Ibanez bass guitar, and it’s ridiculously simple to operate, yet it’s surprisingly expressive. It features five dynamic layers, with slap sounds at the highest velocity and ghost pickings (soft muted) at lower velocity. The latter helps make the instrument highly natural.
Furthermore, it uses key switches to trigger articulations. Other than the bass guitar, the library also features some built-in effect processors. Overall, the library is very flexible and delivers a wide variety of bass attitudes.
There are two dedicated articulations in the library: sustain and staccato. However, if you count the slaps and the muted sounds mapped to the velocity, there are really four articulations in total. Furthermore, you can set the minimum velocity below which the ghost mutes start playing, and you can also change its volume.
The playing noise is as much a part of the performance as the actual notes themselves. Hence, XBass provides two kinds of release noises: the left hand and the right hand. The first is the noise of a bassist holding the fretboard to stop the strings, whereas the latter is that of the playing fingers.
And finally, there is an EQ & FX page, where you’ll find 4-band EQ, saturation, and cabinet models. There’s also an Air and a Size knob that controls the amount of excitement and bass boost, respectively.
The library requires Kontakt 5.5+ (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
XBass is a light and effective bass guitar library at an unbelievably low price. It sounds excellent for just about any genre, and the recordings are crisp and expressive.
While there aren’t some expensive features like slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, you can still make do since the bass guitar usually stays in the background.
The 3 Best Free Guitar Libraries For NI Kontakt 2023
1. Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus
As the name suggests, this library delivers the sound of the Fender Stratocaster.
Shreddage 3 Stratus Free is a free version of the paid Stratus instrument. It includes most of the features in the paid library. The difference is that the free version only has the neck pickup and almost no articulations. Even so, the library has 3 dynamic layers per note with 4 round robins and a separate upstroke and downstroke layer.
So, it has up to 24 samples per note, which makes it sound very natural. The library has a clean guitar sound. So, despite the name catering to rock and metal, you can use this library for softer music like jazz and pop.
However, I must say that the lack of articulations is debilitating when it comes to performing melodies.
While the library doesn’t have many articulations, you will find that this library is suitable for shredding (playing fast). Under the performance tab, you will find a dedicated section, Shred. And this is where you will find a knob called Offset, which allows you to deemphasize the sound of the plectrum. It is necessary to make a convincing shredding performance.
the library includes five articulations: sustain, choke, release (pitched/unpitched), and mute. What’s interesting is the level of control you get per articulation. You can trigger each articulation using a key switch, midi CC, or a velocity range. Furthermore, you can change the volume of each articulation, control its offset, and change its dynamism in the Table tab.
The library also features a comprehensive strumming mode. It allows you to play chords on your keyboard and automatically translate the voicing to the guitar. Then, you can use key switches to trigger downstroke, upstroke, and muted strokes. You can also control the dynamics and speed of the strum using either velocity or MIDI CC.
The library requires Kontakt 5.7+ (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
Overall, if you own Kontakt, this library is an excellent instrument to add rhythm guitars to your track. It may not be as well-equipped for playing melodies, but what it does do, it does well. I like the strumming feature and the precise controls over the articulations.
If you make rock or metal music, you might find this guitar library useful for playing fast runs and solo parts as well.
2. DAOWAVES CYBERNEZZ RG 2075
Cybernezz RG 2075 is a heavy-hitting overdriven guitar library with deep sound sampling.
The description for this library claims it’s based on an additive physical modeling synthesis, although the image and the name suggest an Ibanez Gio from the RG series. Either way, the library delivers a distorted guitar sound with some basic controls triggered by MIDI CC controls.
- Deep Sampling
While there aren’t articulations in this library, the sampling is impressive. Each note in the instrument features 6 round-robins with 13 velocity layers. Repetitive rhythms will come across as super smooth and natural-sounding without you having to create dynamism using velocity manually.
You can control various configurations of the guitar using MIDI CC. For example, CC 1 controls the whammy bar (vibrato), CC 73 controls the amp boost, and CC 75 controls the cabinet shape. There are several other controls that you’ll find on the GUI of the library.
The library requires Kontakt 6.5.3+ (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
As far as guitar libraries go, Cybernezz is pretty simplistic. You can get decent-sounding power chord strikes and lead parts. However, the file size is 12 GB! I feel like many people won’t consider a library as simple as this one worth the drive space. I suggest checking out the demo video before you download it.
3. YummyBeats Modest Guitar
Bring in psychedelic and ambient vibes with this guitar library.
As the name suggests, Modest Guitar is relatively straightforward. It features three kinds of guitars with multiple samples and four round-robins. You can switch between each type of guitar using three dedicated key switches. Some of the samples have performance noises, which can add to the psychedelic vibe of this library.
- Acoustic Guitar
The first guitar type is the Ac. Guitar, which is a typical sustain guitar instrument. You can use this instrument to play leads or even manually create strumming rhythms. I like the sound for soft arpeggios with some reverb.
This instrument plays the flageolet articulation or harmonics. It makes a soft kind of sound that works best for arpeggios or creating soft guitar scapes. Adding a lot of reverb and some chorus to this articulation creates an almost pad-like sound.
- Psychedelic FX
This instrument features reversed guitar samples that sound excellent for creating pad sounds or underscores. I would utilize this library as a free alternative to the Heavyocity Acoustic Guitars in this article.
The library requires Kontakt 5+ (NOT the free Kontakt Player). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
If you like experimenting with guitar sounds, then I think you would love this library. However, the lack of essential articulations doesn’t work well for playing rhythms or natural lead melodies.
Then again, if you aren’t playing something complex, try combining velocity dynamism and pitch bends to create convincing lead parts.
1. Orange Tree Samples Evolution Flatwound Bass (Bass Guitar Library)
This library is an in-the-box solution for any kind of virtual bass guitar needs.
Evolution Flatwound Bass presents a Fender Precision bass guitar with its P-style pickup, known for its clear single-coil-like sound but with the noise-free attribute of humbuckers. The library features Orange Tree’s powerful engine with multiple articulations and audio effects.
You can get virtually any kind of bass sound from classic rock and jazz to R&B and funk.
Combine the many sounds you can create with the engine along with the chain of the built-in effects, and you can quickly achieve sounds that define creativity.
Of course, if you’d rather not spend time sound designing, the library also comes with many presets, most of them titled for specific genres.
Most of the performance part is covered in the PLAY page, which is the first page you’ll see when you open the library. You’ll find a list of articulations and settings there that you can assign to velocity ranges, key switches, a sustain pedal, random, or midi CC numbers. The articulations include the basics like sustain (finger or pick), mute, and harmonics, but also picking style, legato level, dynamism, bends, vibrato, and so on. These also include detailed settings like vibrato speed and width or the legato range.
On the TONE page, you’ll find a bunch of effect processors like reverb, EQ, wah-wah, chorus, distortion, and amp, and cabinet models. The effects are undoubtedly high quality, and you could use them exclusively for the entirety of the mixing process.
Nuances like the pick position and picking styles are some of the main reasons behind realistic bass programming. And Evolution Flatwound Bass allows you to control almost every aspect of playing bass guitar. You can create instant octaves, automatic grace notes, natural harmonics, or randomize the picking.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 5.7.0+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
People have often highlighted Orange Tree Samples as one of the creators of highly natural-sounding guitar and bass guitar virtual instruments. And the Evolution Flatwound Bass makes it even more valid.
Once you’re done learning the basics of the library, it feels like working with a real-life bassist, thanks to the detailed level of controls.
The mixing effects are excellent, and you won’t have to leave the library to achieve a decent sound.
9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins (And 2 Best Freebies)
2. Orange Tree Samples Evolution Strawberry (Electric Guitar Library)
Evolution Strawberry is an extraordinary guitar library capable of being your full-fledged personal guitarist.
The best guitar library in the world only sounds as realistic as the performance itself, and with that said, Evolution Strawberry is one of the only libraries that sound truly convincing. The only part where you might be able to tell it’s a virtual guitar is the note bend, which requires an exponential pitch bend curve to nail the realism.
The library features a meticulously recorded clean guitar sound, which can then be spiced using the onboard effects and amp simulations. Overall, it features everything you’d need to make rhythm guitars and near-perfect lead melodies for virtually any genre.
The library features a number of guitar-specific articulations like sustain, half palm mute, full palm mute, mute, squeal, vibrato, etc. You can also assign each articulation to a velocity range, key switch, sustain pedal, or any midi CC control number you want. I absolutely love this feature when I’m playing the library with a keyboard.
- Strum Engine
The STRUM page opens the strumming engine of this library. Here, you can create or select strum patterns from the presets. There are six pattern slots that are triggered by key switches. You can create new patterns easily by adding up/down strums across the sequencer grid. Also, you can select the range of strings it plays and the strum-time per stroke, which is incredible.
I think the chord engine also deserves mention here. You can either let Evolution Strawberry detect chords automatically, play only the notes you have held, or create custom chords.
On the TONE page, you will find various effect processors, amp simulations, and cabinet models. The effects include distortion, tremolo, wah-wah, reverb, compressor, EQ, chorus, flanger, etc. Furthermore, on the SETUP page, you’ll also find a pickup selector, double/triple/quadruple tracking, pick models, humanization, and many more.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 5.5.1+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
It’s challenging to fit Evolution Strawberry in a short review, but I hope the description above helped show you how capable and versatile the library is. You can play this instrument easily even if you’ve never touched a guitar or know how it works.
And thanks to the strumming engine, you can create riffs and rhythms instead of relying on pre-recorded phrases.
3. Naroth Audio Mood Guitars (Various Guitars)
This guitar library is dedicated to modern hip-hop/electronic producers who need a large variety of sounds with a Lo-Fi vibe.
Mood Guitars is a guitar library featuring five guitars with multiple articulations. The sounds are more keyboard or synth-like rather than standard guitars. So, you’ll find a huge use for this library in modern genres like hip-hop or trap for making beats. The library shines particularly with jazzy or bluesy chords with many effects to bring up the Lo-Fi vibes.
- The Guitars
You’ll find an acoustic steel, nylon, Fender bass, Fender Stratocaster, and a Fender Telecaster in this library. Each guitar features sustain and harmonics articulations, except for the Fender bass, which has three articulations: fingered, picked, and harmonics. Most of them sound soft and delicate, so they’re great as background instruments.
- The Moods
As the name suggests, each guitar comes with three moods: Clean, Mood 1, and Mood 2. Here, Clean is obviously the raw samples. Mood 1 adds some saturation and slight chorus to make the sound more pleasant, whereas Mood 2 adds even more effects to make the sound wobbly and weird. The harmonic guitars begin sounding almost like Fender Rhodes Mk II with effects at that point.
- The Effects
You will find a stereo imager, an amp envelope, a convolution reverb, a tape emulator, and an echo on the UI. The reverb and echo feature three kinds of characters each. Finally, there’s a section called Layers, where you can add a pad sound, vinyl noise (dust), and tape noise.
The library requires Kontakt Player or Kontakt (version 6+). Kontakt is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only.
You’ll find this library useful for various work, from Lo-Fi lounge beats to even film scoring. The sounds are delicate and beautiful, and with effects, they start sounding otherworldly.
You can’t really use Mood Guitars for playing lead parts, but they sound perfect for adding ethereal backgrounds to a track.
And there you have our pick of some of the best guitar libraries for Kontakt. Note that some of them require the full version of Kontakt, and those will only work for 15 minutes (demo mode) in the free Kontakt Player.
Our list features almost all kinds of instruments in the guitar family for convenience. The NI Session Acoustic Guitars and Strummed Acoustic 2 have built-in libraries of riffs and rhythms. So, they are ideal for people who aren’t used to writing guitar parts. I’d also recommend them for people who don’t have much time to spend on arrangements.
Similarly, the NI Electric Vintage and Sunburst Deluxe are outstanding electric guitar instruments that can create mix-ready guitar parts in minutes. However, if you’d rather have a lot of control and flexibility, nothing beats Orange Tree Samples Evolution Strawberry. It lets you control just about every aspect of playing the guitar.
If you enjoy experimenting, I recommend checking out Heaviocity Scoring Acoustic Guitar and the free Modest Guitars. And I very much enjoy the NI Rickenbacker Bass for dynamic bass parts.
However, after being introduced to Xperimenta XBass, I think it’s also a mighty contender that delivers quick and effective results. Select your instrument of choice based on the level of flexibility and sound you want.
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K. M. Joshi is a multi-award-winning composer and sound designer, specializing in film, game, and TV audio. He enjoys making cinematic music, rock, blues, and electronica. Read more..