Or is it…?
Out in the wonderful word wide web, there are a load of free widgets that’ll give you all the tone you need, without costing you anything. We picked our current top 6 and have listed them below (just ’cause we’re nice like that):
Ignite Amps make real live amps, so they know a thing or two about tone. “The Anvil” offers incredible sound quality, especially considering it’s free.
The name “Guitar Suite” makes it sound like the sort of plugin that should come with a butler and a hot-tub. The thing is, it pretty much does: offering simulations of stomp boxes including the Boss DS1 and SD1, the Ibanez Tube Screamer, and the Univox Univibe, alongside solid virtual Fender Twin and Marshall JCM900 amps.
LePou plugins are built by a guy in France who hasn’t even got round to registering his domain yet, he’s that obsessed with building amazing VST guitar plugins. His plugins range from emulations of classic amps to his own creations; all are great.
IK Multimedia are good friends of ours and we’ve watched them grow from a small plugin company to a world-beating manufacturer of amazing widgets for getting sound in and out of your iPhone or iPad. Amplitube Custom Shop is the software you need to buy their premium plugins. However, it comes with a load of amazing stuff out-of-the-box, including 9 stomp box emulations, 4 amps, 5 cabs and more.
According to Voxengo, their Tube Amp plugin “applies asymmetric tube triode overdrive”. Any old plugin can do that (possibly), but the thing about this is that it does it well and it sounds amazing. Having said that, it doesn’t look too great, but who cares what it looks like? Basically: no frills grit.
The Fretted Synth website has mysteriously disappeared (the likes of Native Instruments not happy that they’re giving away so much goodness for free??), so we’re linking to the Rekkerd page that still seems to host the plugins. FreeAmp3 really shouldn’t be free: it features masses of sound-shaping potential and the user interface looks great. If you just want one (free) VST guitar plugin, get this.
We hope this lot come in useful. If you know of any more, let us know in the comments – happy shredding!
Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and a London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.
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