7 Best Acoustic Guitar VSTs That Money Can Buy

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  • These days, great acoustic guitar sounds can be found inside a single plugin.
  • These acoustic guitar VSTs offer amazing realism and creative potential.
  • We look at the 7 best acoustic guitar VST plugins available in 2021!

Getting a good sound out of an acoustic guitar plug-in had been almost impossible until just a few years back.

A classic or acoustic guitar performance brings a certain level of personality and articulation that is extremely difficult to reproduce with MIDI and samples.

However, we can now get very convincing results from a variety of acoustic guitar VSTs that have become quite popular in studios around the world – even ones who can afford expensive session musicians!

In this list, we’re going to feature acoustic guitar VSTs for keyboard players and guitarists – so expect MIDI instruments as well as effects. All of the VSTs below offer something unique, so take the time to read through and see which ones fit your needs best. Many will also offer demos or have YouTube videos showing you what they are capable of.

What Are The Best Acoustic Guitar VSTs/Plugins?

Our pick for the best acoustic guitar VST for keyboardists is the MusicLab RealGuitar 5. This plugin offers you realistic acoustic guitar sounds just with your MIDI keyboard alone.

For guitarists, our choice for Best Acoustic Guitar VSTs is the IK Multimedia AmpliTube Acoustic. It follows in a prestigious lineage of AmpliTube software and offers a fantastic interface with plenty of options to dial in your ideal acoustic guitar sound.

If you want to focus exclusively on steel string guitar sounds, then the Native Instruments Session GuitaristPicked Acoustic is for you. It is centered around a carefully sampled 1973 Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar and can deliver the goods.

Overall, here are our picks for the 7 Best Acoustic Guitar VSTs:

  1. MusicLab RealGuitar 5 (Best for keyboardist)
  2. Vir2 Acou6tics Acoustic Guitar Virtual Instrument
  3. Native Instruments Session Guitarist – Picked Acoustic (Best for Steel String Sound)
  4. Applied Acoustics Systems Strum GS-2 Virtual Guitar
  5. IK Multimedia AmpliTube Acoustic (Best for guitarists)
  6. Positive Grid BIAS Guitar Complete Bundle Plug-in
  7. Classic.Gtr Lite

1. MusicLab RealGuitar 5

BEST FOR KEYBOARDISTS
MusicLab RealGuitar 5 Acoustic Guitar Software Virtual Instrument

MusicLab's RealGuitar 5 makes it easy to craft authentic-sounding acoustic guitar tracks without dusting off that old dreadnought. This sample-based virtual instrument realistically imitates the way a guitarist would change the fret position on the neck.

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MusicLab’s RealGuitar 5 is a sample-based virtual instrument that realistically imitates the way a guitarist would change fret position on the neck.

This plug-in allows you to play up to 104 guitar frets, using just 43 keys of your MIDI controller. RealGuitar 5 also features Guitar Touch technology, to mimics guitar-specific techniques like strumming, sliding, bending, plucking, and muting using standard MIDI controls.

This is our pick for the best acoustic guitar VST for keyboardists on this list.

Features

  • Multi Performance mode combines guitar techniques (strumming, soloing, string picking, etc.) into a single layout
  • Advanced Velocity Curve control for fine-tuning your performance
  • High-quality reverb effect
  • Streamlined user interface
  • Pattern library includes 1,250 rhythm patterns, synced to the tempo of your project

Overview

RealGuitar version 5 expands your tonal palette with a steel-string guitar sample set, adds a Multi Performance mode for combining guitar techniques into a single layout, and brings you a large number of enhanced usability features.

In addition to RealGuitar Classic, version 5 includes a steel-string guitar sample set with five patches and three tuning selections for each.

RealGuitar Steel String is based on high-quality 24-bit stereo samples and offers authentic velocity response with controllable buzz and slap noises.

Each note is multi-sampled up to 30 times for added realism and features stereo, mono, and double output options.

Some of MusicLab’s RealGuitar 5 instruments options include Steel Picked, Steel Fingered, Nylon Picked, Nylon Fingered, Steel 2 Picked, 7-string, Baritone, and Nashville tuning.

Additionally, RealGuitar 5 includes a Multi Performance mode that combines multiple techniques into a single performance layout. You also get 25 new Key Switch FX in chordal modes and a velocity-controllable number of strings in strummed chords.

2. Vir2 Acou6tics Acoustic Guitar Virtual Instrument

Vir2 Acou6tics Acoustic Guitar Virtual Instrument

If you've spent a lifetime mastering the keys, then chances are, you're probably not as handy with an acoustic guitar. Vir2's Acou6tics virtual instrument makes writing realistic acoustic guitar parts in any style remarkably easy.

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Vir2’s Acou6tics virtual instrument makes writing realistic acoustic guitar parts in any style a real possibility for anyone with a keyboard.

As you might know, one of the common problems with acoustic guitar virtual instruments is that they seldomly sound realistic. This is mostly because of the balance of articulation styles.

With Vir2’s Acou6tics you can now say goodbye to fake-sounding acoustic guitars and hello to the real deal!

Features

  • Create realistic acoustic guitar tracks with your keyboard rig
  • Instrument sounds include steel-string, 12-string, and nylon-string guitars plus ukulele, mandolin, and guitalele
  • Choose from plectrum (pick), finger-picked, and fingernail picked playing styles
  • A dozen articulations are available for each instrument, including sustains, mutes, releases, legatos, hammer-ons and pull-offs, slides, harmonics, and effects
  • Powered by Native Instruments Kontakt engine

Overview

With Vir2’s Acou6tics virtual instrument you can create anything from steel-string acoustic rhythm parts all the way to a fully embellished flamenco solo with realism.

Acou6tics lets you get results that sound genuine, it’s easy to fool people into thinking they are listening to a real guitarist playing.

Among the instruments included in Vir2’s Acou6tics we have a steel-string, 12-string, and nylon-string, ukulele, mandolin, and a guitalele. This combination offers a lot of variety to add to your recordings and covers the gamut of strummed stringed instruments.

Additionally, this fantastic VST features intelligent scripting that makes performing natural-sounding guitar a simple endeavor for anyone with a keyboard and mild chops.

Vir2’s Acou6tics comes as a standalone instrument and also as a AAX Native, VST, and RTAS plug-in for Mac and Windows PCs. This is a fantastic VST for the price and might be the solution for realistic strummed sounds.

3. Native Instruments Session Guitarist – Picked Acoustic

BEST FOR STEEL STRING
Native Instruments Session Guitarist - Picked Acoustic

Centered around a carefully sampled 1973 Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar, Native Instruments Picked Acoustic will cover all of your acoustic guitar needs. This virtual instrument includes two instruments: a pattern-based selection with 194 authentic picking and strumming patterns and another that’s intended for your original melodies. 

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The Native Instruments Picked Acoustic plug-in was designed around a carefully sampled 1973 Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar.

This firm took great care of details to ensure that the Picked Acoustic can cover all of your acoustic guitar needs.

After all, it’s sampled after one of the most emblematic acoustic guitars in the history of music, recorded professionally under high-quality conditions.

Features

  • Centered around a carefully sampled 1973 Martin 00-21 acoustic guitar
  • 194 picking and strumming patterns
  • 3 microphone setups: a stereo condenser array, a dynamic mic/tube condenser arrangement, and a stereo ribbon format
  • Selectable articulations include vibrato, hammer-ons, and pull-offs
  • Performed by a session guitarist played both fingerstyle and with a plectrum
  • Recorded with high-end microphones and outboard gear

Overview

The Native Instruments Picked Acoustic plug-in includes two instruments: a pattern-based collection with 194 genuine picking and strumming patterns and another that was designed for your original melodies.

You can choose from three microphone setups to add variety and flexibility to the Picked Acoustic. The first one is a modern stereo condenser array, the second a vintage-sounding dynamic mic/tube condenser arrangement, and the third is a smooth-sounding stereo ribbon microphone.

Additionally, Native Instruments Picked Acoustic plug-in features textures such as vibrato, hammer-ons, and pull-offs, as well as NI’s studio-quality effects.

Containing both fingerstyle and plectrum variations, Picked Acoustic was performed by a veteran session guitarist and recorded with high-end microphones and outboard gear.

Simply said, this is a a fantastic VST instrument for your acoustic guitar needs, and a must-have for lovers of that warm and forward Martin acoustic sound.

4. Applied Acoustics Systems Strum GS-2 Virtual Guitar

Applied Acoustics Systems Strum GS-2 Virtual Guitar

Strum GS-2 gives you a massive arsenal of acoustic and electric guitars, along with automatic chord recognition, advanced chord voicings, integrated strumming and picking, a MIDI riff library, guitar amps, and FX, and more.

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Applied Acoustics designed their Strum GS-2 plug-in especially for the creation of guitar tracks, including the elusive realistic acoustic guitar sound.

Strum GS-2 gives you a massive arsenal of acoustic and electric guitars, along with automatic chord recognition, advanced chord voicings, integrated strumming and picking, a MIDI riff library, guitar amps, and FX, and more.

This VST plug-in is capable of producing authentic sounding power chords, delicate arpeggios, or searing leads. Applied Acoustics’ Strum GS-2 will help you get great-sounding acoustic guitars directly from your DAW keyboard.

Features

  • Standalone operation for quick jams and experimentations
  • Real-time control over any parameters via your MIDI controller knobs, faders, and switches
  • MIDI clock, tap, and host tempo synchronization for effects and modulations
  • Unlimited undo/redo capability
  • Small memory footprint: less than 256MB of RAM per instance

Overview

Applied Acoustics Strum GS-2 comes loaded with more than 200 guitars of all types and for all styles. Some of the instruments included are nylon and steel-string acoustics, electrics with single-coil and humbucking pickups, and more.

With the Strum GS-2, you can record nice acoustic layers of steel strings, or warm nylon-string guitar parts all the way to clean, crunchy, and distorted tones.

This VST plug-in features a 2-channel amplifier, spring reverb, speaker cabinets, and effects. Additionally, you’ll find 102 MIDI riffs onboard that cover a range of styles.

Applied Acoustics Strum GS-2 allows you to handle the sound manipulation at the source. Its presets load quickly and feature smooth dynamics – with no obvious velocity layers, a small memory footprint of less than 256MB of RAM per instance and the whole thing installs in less than a minute (less than 32MB on disk). What’s there not to like?

5. IK Multimedia AmpliTube Acoustic

BEST FOR GUITARISTS
IK Multimedia - AmpliTube Acoustic

AmpliTube Acoustic is the first tone studio ever made for acoustic players. Now, thanks to iRig Acoustic and AmpliTube Acoustic, acoustic guitar players finally have a complete robust professional quality acoustic practicing, playing, and recording solution that fits in their pocket.

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AmpliTube Acoustic was Designed to work with iRig Acoustic and offers you a wide collection of acoustic amplifier options plus stompbox effects made specifically for acoustic guitar playing.

IK Multimedia has been quite popular with plug-ins for guitarists, and the AmpliTube Acoustic is another solid offering by the Italian firm.

Features

  • 3 models of popular acoustic amplifiers
  • Designed and optimized to be used with iRig Acoustic
  • Stompbox section with Acoustic Compressor, an Acoustic Graphic EQ, and an Acoustic Parametric EQ
  • Calibration process to optimize sound

Overview

AmpliTube Acoustic features 3 models of popular acoustic amplifiers for greater variety and tonal options. The first two models are solid-state amps and the third one is a tube-driven amp.

(For the lowdown on tube vs solid state amps, check out this handy guide!)

Given that acoustic amplifiers are designed to precisely reproduce the natural sound of an acoustic guitar with no distortion, the amplifier selection in AmpliTube Acoustic features a robust built-in effects section with common effects for acoustic instruments.

When you first plug into AmpliTube Acoustic with an iRig Acoustic microphone pickup interface, you are presented with a calibration screen that will optimize the sound and signal strength coming from your guitar.

Once you have calibrated your sound, you will notice greater warmth, depth, and clarity in your recordings..

AmpliTube Acoustic can also be used with acoustics with built-in pickups and interfaces like iRig 2, iRig HD, iRig Pro, and iRig Pro DUO, but it was designed and optimized to be used with iRig Acoustic.

AmpliTube Acoustic also features a fantastic stompbox selection for useful acoustic-specific effects. It includes an Acoustic Compressor, an Acoustic Graphic EQ, and an Acoustic Parametric EQ.

AmpliTube Acoustic includes some additional acoustic effects that truly enhance and expand the tonal and functional capabilities of acoustic players. In short, this is a fantastic offering by IK Multimedia.

6. Positive Grid BIAS Guitar Complete Bundle Plug-in

Positive Grid BIAS Guitar Complete Bundle Plug-in

The Positive Grid BIAS Guitar Complete Bundle is jam-packed with the tools you need to achieve world-class guitar tones. It starts with BIAS Amp 2 Pro — one of the most advanced amp modeling solutions on the planet. 

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The Positive Grid BIAS Guitar Complete Bundle features all the tools you need to produce world-class guitar tones, including (very importantly!) realistic acoustic guitar sounds.

It starts with BIAS Amp 2 Pro, an advanced amp modeling solution that is quite popular. BIAS FX Pro completes this massive collection of amplifier tones with a virtual pedalboard.

You also get three expansion packs: Acoustic Signature Pack Expansion, Bass Signature Pack Expansion, and Metal Signature Pack Expansion.

Features

  • Expansion pack for BIAS FX effects software
  • Acoustic Image allows you to make your acoustic-electric guitar sound like it’s miked up in a studio
  • Fine-tune your tone, dynamics, and character with Acoustic Preamp and Acoustic EQ/Chorus/Reverb
  • Acoustic Simulator for capturing acoustic guitar tones from your electric guitar

Overview

We’re going to focus on the Acoustic Signature Pack Expansion for this bundled plug-in. It adds four powerful modules to BIAS FX: Acoustic Image, Acoustic EQ/Chorus/Reverb, Acoustic Simulator, and Acoustic Preamp.

The Acoustic Preamp and EQ/Chorus/Reverb modules help you optimize the tone, dynamics, and quality of your acoustic-electric guitar.

Additionally, you can use the Acoustic Image module to make your guitar’s electronics emulate the sound of a studio microphone.

On the other hand, the Acoustic Simulator allows you to create acoustic tones with your electric guitar. Simply said, the Positive Grid Acoustic Signature Pack Expansion is a great solution for optimizing your acoustic-electric guitar tone.

(Read our full review of BIAS Amp 2 to find out if it’s still worth it in 2021…)

7. Classic.Gtr Lite

Classic.GTr Lite by Quiet Music

Classic.Gtr Lite is a free multi-sampled classical guitar plugin for Windows and Mac available in VST/VST3/AU formats. The original samples were recorded from a basic guitar at 96 kHz.

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Classic.Gtr Lite is a free multi-sampled classical guitar plugin for Windows and Mac available in VST/VST3/AU formats. It is the only plugin on this list that is free and dedicated exclusively to nylon string guitar.

Features

  • Nylon string guitar samples
  • Each preset contains 43 samples
  • Free
  • Gain control, LFO Modulation, LP/HP Filter
  • 32 & 64 bit plugins

Overview

The Classic.Gtr Lite original samples were recorded from a classical guitar at 96 kHz / 24 bit, processed with various effects, and later converted to 44 kHz / 24 bit FLAC.

Each preset contains 43 samples and in this free version, you get 7 presets selected from the full Classic.GTr version, which contains 38 presets (1634 samples!).

Additionally, the Classic.Gtr Lite features 301 Samples, Gain control, LFO Modulation, LP/HP Filter, and is available as a 32 and 64 bit plugin.

This is easily the best free option out there for those after realistic acoustic sounds. Although it’s not as “convincing” as some of the paid options, you can still get many great sounds out of this plugin.