Echo Sound Works offers Vinyl Guitar, a FREE character guitar plugin for macOS and Windows.
Echo Sound Works sampled a guitar through a vinyl record player to get the authentic character they wanted. As they advertise, it’s a sound that is very suited to Lofi, Trap, and Pop music.
After listening to demos and playing around with Vinyl Guitar, I could imagine using it on various types of projects, from beat-making to scoring.
I have a real problem with recording guitar parts, and the problem is that I’m a terrible guitarist. Generally, I have two options, bring in a real guitarist, fumble through it myself (which I stubbornly/stupidly do at times).
I often use ostinatos, and sometimes I’ll create them with a staccato guitar pattern/arpeggio. One solution I turn to is recording one note at a time, which suits my level. I’d be more comfortable with a keytar, but in 2021, I’m not sure it’s hip to be that square anymore.
The point is, I get quite excited when guitar-based plugins come along for free, especially ones that have a very specific sound, like Vinyl Guitar. When virtual guitars try to do too much, the quality suffers, and you spend more time trying to make it sound like it might be a real guitar.
If you want something that will generate patterns, there are sometimes good deals on things like Amber or Iron from Ujam.
Vinyl Guitar’s GUI is nice and clean with easily identifiable parameters. From left to right, the controls are Fret Noise, String Buzz, Pick Noise, Reverb (dry/wet), Attack, Release, and Dynamics. A few extended controls above allow you to tweak noise and reverb further and switch to nylon strings.
I really like the Fret Noise; I know it’s nothing new for a guitar plugin, but it’s done very well here. Sometimes parameters like that are hardly better than on or off, meaning it’s so in your face, it can’t possibly add any realism.
Switching to Nylon strings can give you a more mellow sound when needed.
If you want something slightly different, playing with the Attack can produce that almost reversed sound that works well for arpeggios. It’s not something I’d do with lines of more melodic importance.
Vinyl Guitar ticks a few boxes for me; it delivers a specific sound, it’s simple, and used in the correct way/context; it sounds authentic.
Of course, being free is awesome, too. It’s one that I’m glad to add to my toolbox for the right occasion.
Vinyl Guitar is available in AU/VST3 formats for macOS and Windows.
Download: Vinyl Guitar (64-bit VST3/AU plugin formats for Windows & macOS)