If fear of being a relatively slow guitar learner and months of callouses is holding you back from creating your very own rock symphony, there is, of course, a ready compromise available. Comfortably snug in your bedroom all you need these days is a computer with a DAW software. Here are a few VST guitar plugins that I’ve found come pretty close to the real deal.
One of the biggest pros of Evolution Strawberry is that you don’t essentially need to know any traditional guitar theory. It has an intelligent algorithm that effectively analyses the chord inversions you play on your keyboard and the guitar voicing is determined for you.
In fact, you have an endless amount of options when it comes to the chords that you strum. This includes triads, power chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, suspended fourths, 7ths, etc.
Additionally, there is a customisable sequencer with heaps of preset guitar sounds and wide variety of strumming patterns to choose from. You can also use tune the guitar as you wish, or use a capo, so flexibility is not an issue.
Based on a 1962 Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar, this VST provides richly toned samples with a classic style. The concept is not unlike the Evolution Strawberry. There are four modes you can choose from; solo chord and MIDI. Although comparable in many ways, my own favourite features that set this plugin apart are the song builder tool and microphone mixing capabilities.
Using the song builder you can decide which chord will be played by pressing only one key. Repeat this process a few times with different chord progressions/types and you’ve basically got yourself a solid basis for a song. As for the microphone mixing capabilities, you can play with the adjustment of three different microphone perspectives in great detail if you want to have a more distinct and tailored sound.
If the two options above sound like something you’re interested in, but you need something more affordable, or preferably free, this humble plugin will do just fine. You can choose from a selection of nine primary guitar tones ranging from folk to classical to flamenco to ‘gypsy jazz’, as well as the choice of nylon or steel strings.
Additionally, it has a similar chord converting system to the Evolution Strawberry, so extensive theory knowledge isn’t critical. Unfortunately, its strumming capabilities are generally pretty basic, offering only up and down, though you can play with the chord inversions and adjust the speed. You can fine-tune other elements like the amount of bend, palm muting and harmonics. There are also decent guitar body, string and room parameters that you can tweak if you wish.