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Guitar Rig

Guitar Rig is a popular guitar multi-effects processor software developed by Native Instruments. It is sold either with a pedalboard hardware controller called Rig Kontrol, or the software only. Guitar Rig can be used as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in of different DAWs. Version 3.1 was released on April 1st, 2008.


The Guitar Rig software is a modular and signal oriented simulator of many different effects units used in electric guitars and bass guitars, such as reverb, chorus, compression, distortion, flanger, wah-wah, etc. It also simulates popular pre-amplifiers, cabinets and microphones, but using different names (eg. microphone "Dynamic 57" referring to Shure's SM57). Earlier versions of Guitar Rig (up to and including version 2.0) simulated the fonttypes and designs of the logos of the original equipment the software was emulating. This was later changed and all equipment 'labels' on the virtual Guitar Rig rack now sport the Starlet/Star font used for the Guitar Rig logo.

All modules can be arranged and combined as wished, and each has a graphic user interface that resembles the simulated part and has virtual knobs to adjust their values. The different combinations can be saved as presets and shared afterwards. Version 3.0 of Guitar Rig sported a redesigned interface that simplified the organization of presets, whilst preserving the rack based design of sonic chains. It also introduced a visually redesigned 'virtual rig kontrol' that resembles the hardware pedalboard 'Rig Kontrol 3', but can be used to configure earlier pedalboards (Rig Kontrol 1 and 2) as well as third party products. For those using Guitar Rig in live environments, Native Instruments added a 'Live View' in version 3.0. This mode provides a comprehensive display of the kontrol, current preset and options using larger fonts and cleaner graphics, suitable for use on stage.

Either as a stand-alone application or used inside a DAW as a plug-in, Guitar Rig can be used with the Rig Kontrol controller as an external USB sound card (to record the guitar's electric output) and a parameter controller. While playing, its buttons call assigned presets and the foot pedal adjusts parameters, such as wah-wah, volume or any other component's value assigned to it.


As described earlier, Guitar Rig uses different names to refer to popular components as to avoid infringing copyright. The following list is an unofficial translation of the names:

Guitar Rig name - Real name

  • Microphones
    • Dynamic 57 - Shure SM57
    • Dynamic 421 - Sennheiser MD 421
    • Dynamic 421II - Sennheiser MD 421 II
    • Dynamic 809 - Sennheiser e809
    • Dynamic 606 - Sennheiser e606
    • Condenser 87 - Neumann U 87
    • Tube Condens. - Neumann CMV 3
  • Distortions
    • Distortion - Boss Distortion DS-1
    • Mezone - Boss Metal Zone MT-2
    • Cat - Pro Co Rat
    • Screamer / Skreamer - Ibanez TS808 Tubescreamer
    • Big Fuzz - Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
    • Fuzz Ace / Fuzz - Dunlop Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face
    • TransAmp - Tech21 SansAmp Classic
    • Demon Distortion / Demon - MXR Dime Distortion DD11
    • Sledge Hammer - Marshall Jackhammer JH-1
  • Amplifiers
    • Tweedman - Fender Bassman
    • AC Box - Vox AC30
    • Plexi / Plex - Marshall 1959 SLP
    • Jazz Amp - Roland Jazz Chorus-120
    • Lead 800 - Marshall JCM800 Lead
    • Bass VT / Bass Pro - Ampeg VT-40
    • Ultrasonic - Bogner Überschall
    • Citrus - Vintage Orange/Matamp Overdrive OD120
    • High White - Hiwatt DR-103
    • Tweed Delight - Fender Tweed Deluxe
    • Twang / Twang Reverb - Fender Twin Reverb
    • Gratifier - Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier
  • Modulation Effects
    • Chorus+Flange - T.C. Electronics Stereo Chorus +
    • Ensemble - Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble
    • Electric Lady - Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress
    • Phaser Nine - MXR Phase 90
    • Stoned Phaser - Electro-Harmonix Small Stone
    • Ring Modulator - Mooger Fooger MF-102
    • Oktaver - Boss OC-2 Octave
    • Pitch Pedal - Digitech WH-4 Whammy
    • Harmonic Synthesizer - Electro-Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
  • Reverb Effects
  • EQ Effects
  • Virtual speaker cabinets from the same manufacturers as for the amps are also available. Cabs are miked by the virtual microphones above set in various positions controllable by the user.
    • Hartke (bass cabinet)
    • Leslie (rotator speaker)
  • In addition to virtual simulations of 'real world' amps, mics and effects, GuitarRig has a few unique effects of its own:
    • PsycheDelay offers HiQ delay, pitch shift and reverse effects
    • The Looper allows for loops as long as your disk can store (i.e. hours).
    • Draw-your-own EQ curves.
  • Some components are brought in from the synth/sampler world, and are called Modifiers in GuitarRig. Modifiers do not affect the sound directly, but sends out controller signals to any effect or amp control you may have in your GuitarRig setup. Modifiers include:
    • LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator; aka vibrato/tremolo)
    • ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release; a curve describing the dynamics of a sound)
    • Input volume.
    • Rhythmic Sequencer (for creating loops of rhythmic patterns)
    • Value Sequencer (known as arpeggiator on many synths)

Where applicable, tempo-based effects can be synched to either an internal common clock, or to external MIDI (when running in a DAW environment).

  • The audio signal chain can be split for parallel treatments, and re-assembled in a mixer.
    • It also possible to split by frequency, allowing for different treatments of lower and higher spectrums.
  • With virtual 'Tape Decks' it is possible to play audio tracks behind your own playing, and also record the performance internally.

External links

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