The Fender Digital division continues with the strategy of “maintaining user engagement” to ensure a consistent market for its products. From some market research conducted some years ago, the Fender management came to the conclusion reducing the drop out rate of guitarists keeps market demand for their products strong and consistent. In order to achieve this during the last years, Fender has been looking at ways to keep guitarists inspired by producing a series of educational apps to help create awarenesses for how budding guitarist can play their favourite songs, and ultimately define their own unique sound.

Fender Songs another App to sit alongside Fender Tune, Fender Tone & Fender Play
A new APP –

Article fender-is-betting-on-machine-learning-and-apps-for-its-future Fender is reinventing itself for the future of music while holding onto its past
By Mike Murphy December 13, 2019

Softube’s “Heartbeat”

Classic drum synthesis is back with a vengeance! Flexible and tweakable

Native Instruments’s “Battery 4”

BATTERY 4 adds powerful new features for accelerated workflow, more powerful sampling and sound manipulation, and a new library ready for 21st century electronic and urban styles.

FXpansion’s “Geist2”

Geist2 is a streamlined environment for beat creation and sound sculpting that provides instant inspiration and new ideas for your productions.

Similarly to Fenders “Digital Campaign” to address the “drop out rate” other brands are also looking towards digital applications to enhance user experience to maintain engagement.

Are digital campaigns going to produce results? It will be interesting to see how the music industry and digitalization mesh.

MUSOPIA APPS KEEP BEGINNERS ENGAGED INDUSTRY LEADERS including Yamaha, Ibanez, Kala Brand, and Little Kids Rock have joined forces with app specialist Musopia to offer personalized learning tools to their customers. With its digital learning solutions, Musopia addresses one of the industry’s most stubborn challenges: beginning players who quit in frustration. Estimates quoted by Musopia suggest that if early abandonment could be reduced by just 10%, the M.I. industry could ultimately double in size.
Musopia’s approach offers a highly personalized and engaging musical experience, allowing beginners to start playing popular songs immediately and enjoy near-instant gratification. For more experienced players, Musopia’s suite of apps offer more advanced chord progressions from a digital library of nearly 2,000 fully licensed hit songs from top artists ranging from Adele and Ed Sheeran to Clapton and Coldplay. Each song offers varying chord options based on skill level, plus embedded video learning tutorials and an intelligent “listening” feature that provides detailed personalized feedback, telling users which chords they are playing perfectly and which need more work.
In addition to customized learning tools, music companies that partner with Musopia gain access to demographic and psychographic consumer data, penetrating insights into consumer behaviour, and unique opportunities to identify and engage directly with targeted consumer segments.

Boss team up with Swedish Guitar builder Strandberg

A new address of Virtual Sound Modeling with Boss sound technology & Strandberg’s address of guitar design.

Top-level guitarists dare to be different and are never afraid to step forward and let their individual voices shine. To support their ambitious artistic drive, they look to innovators like Strandberg and BOSS for state-of-the-art tools that inspire the creation of all-new sounds and groundbreaking musical ideas. Now, these two pioneering companies have joined forces to introduce one of the most powerful and versatile electric guitars ever made.

Boss’s website…

Strandberg guitars website website…

Guitar World review…

Pemier Guitar review…

Fender address “drop out rate” with Fender Digital division

Can Fenders online education expand the guitar market?

Fender Digital is betting that with a team of 85 producing content designed to inspire and assist guitarists, it can keep them playing longer.

Fender’s market research claims 90% of first-time guitarists give up within a few months, putting their guitar in the closet.

Ethan Kaplan, General Manager Fender Digital has said “Ninety percent of people who pick up the guitar will drop out after one year, and we see Fender Play as a solution to that challenge. Our intuitive platform, whether used on its own or as a practice supplement to in-person lessons, allows first time players and beginners to get started.”

Andy Mooney, Fender CEO says that reducing that “drop out rate” by just 10% could double the sale of new guitars.

In addition to stimulating demand for guitars, he says the Fender Digital division can be a profitable business in its own right. He estimates that the money spent on guitar lessons and educational materials is about four times larger than the sums spent on new guitars.

Given the increased affinity for accessing information online, he sees a natural market or a digital offering, and a potentially meaningful revenue stream.

Can a high-quality online education program expand the market for guitars by inspiring guitarists of all levels to spend more time with their instrument?

Is there a profit to be made in online learning?

Fender Digital, the division of Fender Musical instruments, is attempting answer those questions, with a comprehensive suite of online educational materials launched in July 2017.

Fender Digital is an ambitious undertaking, backed by a significant investment. A team of 85 headed by Ethan Kaplan has been hard at work in Los Angeles for nearly two years, developing a guitar curriculum, creating online lessons and educational apps, and integrating them into the appealing, user-friendly “Fender Play” website. All with the goal of transforming the educational process and stimulating the market.

Accessible from laptop or mobile devices, Fender’s digital content is organized into two broad categories: Fender Play, which includes a constantly expanding library of online lessons, and Fender Tone, which serves as a gear reference, providing a wealth of information on amp and effects set ups and how to recreate specific artists’ sounds. Fender tone also includes useful tools like a free tuner.

Both the Tone and Play content are designed “so that they aren’t intimidating for the beginner, but aren’t so limited that an expert won’t use them,” says Kaplan. Full access will be offered for a $19.95 monthly fee. Ethen Kaplan is quick to point out that the Fender digital offerings have little in common with them multitude of free youtube instructional videos. “We are not using the ‘goPro and player on a couch’ approach,” he says.

Instead, a production team drawn from the ranks of local television and movie studios, using five cameras and high-resolution audio gear, has turned out educational videos with cinematic production values. From the performers to the script to the lighting, every facet has been calibrated to “address all the flaws in online learning,” adds Ethan Kaplan. In other words, Ethan is claiming Fender digitals approach to online guitar video learning is at a higher standard than average.

Multiple cameras allow for an unobstructed view of finger positions, and crystalline audio quality lets users really hear different techniques and tone settings. However, according to Ethan Kaplan, what truly sets the lessons apart is a carefully crafted song-based curriculum designed to get beginners engaged quickly. “Rather than scales or strumming techniques, we start you into your first song right away,” he says. “Within the first hour, we want the beginner to get that endorphin hit that comes when you play something that sounds like one of your favourite songs.”

The lesson site is organised by five basic genres: Rock, Pop, Folk, Country, and Blues. Within each genre, are discrete lessons on songs ranging from classics like Smoke on the Water to contemporary songs from bands like the national and Band of horses. An accompanying glossary Video section illustrates guitar terminology like “rosewood” or “humbucker,” and playing techniques like palm muting or arpeggios. The two sections allow a student to focus on a song without interruption, consulting the glossary when they encounter something unfamiliar or need a more in-depth explanation.

The Fender online offering also includes the recently acquired Riffstation, a unique digital application that allows users to import audio, learn basic guitar chords for any song, master riffs, and create custom tracks for jam sessions. The program is available in two versions. The free mobile app provides chords and play along functions for a large catalogue of popular songs. The desktop “Pro” version, available online for $34.99, has the capability of transforming any MP3 audio track into a powerful educational device. Within about eight seconds, the program can process an MP3 file and isolate the basic chords, thus helping beginners master their favourite songs. Vocal and solo tracks can also be eliminated, creating an ideal play-along backup. In addition, tempos can be altered without shifting pitch.

Kaplan says that Riffstation currently exists as an “island” within the Fender digital offerings, but will be integrated more fully into the system in the near future. Detailing Fender’s online offering is challenging because the content is being added almost daily. Plans are in the works to add worship and gospel genres, as well as lessons for bass and ukulele. In addition, the glossary section is updated every time Kaplan or one of his team members come across some guitar jargon that might need to be explained to a beginner. Whether targeted to a beginner, intermediate, or advanced players, each lesson has been scripted under the guidance of online learning specialists and accredited music educators.

“Online teaching hasn’t been done well or right,” says Kaplan. “We’ve analysed every aspect to correct what’s wrong and make something that really works.” He bases this boast on extensive field testing with absolute beginners. Working with a Fender online lesson, in most cases, they could play a passable rendition of one of their favourite songs in about 25 minutes.

There are guitar teachers in every market, not to mention enough existing instructional materials to fill several libraries. How then does the Fender online program make a material impact on the number of guitar players? Kaplan explains, “What we’ve found in our consumer research is that there are a lot of people who have played for a long time and still consider themselves beginners. Like a gym membership, they start in January and then quit by March. Then they lose their calluses and go through the pain of starting all over again. We think we can help keep these people going by giving them a realistic sense of accomplishment—learning to play their favourite songs, at the time of their choosing, like in a dorm room at 2:00 a.m.”

Unlike other online programs, Fender’s has the support of a wide range of notable artists who are excited about the prospect of their music being used to help launch a new generation of players. Kaplan says, “Every top act we’ve talked to, whether they’re 22 or 50, has vivid memories of being a beginner, putting a needle on record to decipher a riff, and struggling to master a song. They all see the potential of what we’re doing here, and are excited to be involved.” Fender’s management ranks are filled with guitar “geeks” steeped in the minutiae of pick-up windings, fret dimensions, and wood.

Developing an online educational program required a very different skillset, like the one Kaplan brings to the enterprise. As a teenager in Orange County, California, his free time was divided between playing in local coffee houses and writing computer code. While he was still in high school, his computer skills sufficiently impressed the management of the Orange County Register that they tapped him to develop an online version of the newspaper. Surreptitiously, he used the newspaper’s server to develop a website for his favorite band, R.E.M. the site quickly became a magnet for fans, brought Kaplan to the attention of R.E.M. and its management, and later led to a job offer from the Warner Music group. R.E.M.’s manager described him as a “geek who knows music.” At Warner, Kaplan developed a digital product division that presided over 600 artist websites, fan clubs, and a direct-to-consumer sales channel. He left Warner to head product, technology, and engineering at live nation Entertainment’s lab division, where he built an online platform from the ground up. “We offered more than just a ticket buying experience,” he says.

“We developed content that enhanced the fans’ concert-going experience before, during, and after the show.” Most recently, he served as senior vice president and general manager of Music at Gracenote, which provides video and music content and technology to top streaming services including iTunes.

Fender Digital represents the first time an instrument manufacturer has made a significant investment in online education. That doesn’t mean that new site is without competition: thousands of free online videos are also vying for the finite attention of players. Kaplan is confident that the linear curriculum, high production value, and absence of ads and filler, will make the Fender content a potent draw. “You can learn to do just about anything piecing together YouTube videos,” he concedes. “But, it’s hard to figure out where to start, what’s good, and what’s bad. We figure it out for you, giving you place to start and a curriculum that will take you where you want to go. It’s like you could buy parts and assemble your own Stratocaster, but it’s easier and more effective to buy one from us.”


OVER HALF OF ALL FENDER dealers in the U.S. offer some type of on-site lesson program. Fender CEO Andy Mooney says Fender Digital offerings represent a complement, not competition to these important efforts. To that end, Fender’s online learning program includes significant profit opportunities for retailers and instructors. Retailers will have the opportunity to bundle discounted Fender Play subscriptions with the sale of any Fender guitar. In addition to adding value to the instrument, Mooney says that the subscription sales also offer a “good margin” with no inventory commitment. The mechanics of the sale will be seamlessly managed by Fender Digital. In 2018, Fender Play will add an “Instructors Edition,” that Mooney describes as “closing the circle.” In-store instructors will be able to tailor elements of the Fender curriculum for their students and make use of tracking software to monitor their progress. Instructors who sign up for the program will have their bios and contact information listed on the Fender Play website. Mooney adds, “we want to share the financial success of Fender Play with our retail partners, and create a seamless learning experience for students either online or in person. We all share the same goal, reducing the abandonment rate to grow the entire industry.”

See Fender’s new online approach here…

See Fender’s news release…

iRig 2

Mobile Interface

Since 2010 iRig has provided a mobile experience allowing guitarists to plug into their iPhone to play, practice and record with apps like IK’s AmpliTude, Apples GarageBand and many more.

iRig 2 builds upon the success of its predecessor by introducing essential new features — like adjustable input gain, cross-platform compatibility and a 1/4″ amplifier output — that will once again revolutionize the way you make your music while on the go.

Price: approx 400kr, $44, £35

IK Multimedia iRig 2

Sweetwater Review


iRig HD 2

The big brother to iRig 2 is iRig HD 2. The iRig HD 2 provides a much better sound quality with its own built in sound card that does the analogue to digital conversion rather than relying on the phone or tablets internal sound card.

Price: approx 1100kr, $99, £80

IK Multimedia iRig HD 2

Sweetwater Review


IK Multimedia Mobile Products

IK MultiMedia don’t just stop with iRig 2 & iRig HD 2 they have developed a range of mobile phone & tablet interfaces and software.

See more of the wide range of mobile products IK Multimedia offer from interfacing to apps… Join the Mobile Music Revolution — IK Multimedia gives you the most complete range of smart combinations of iOS and Android accessories and apps. With a wide range of accessories and apps, making music anytime and everywhere is intuitive, easy and most of all, fun.

IK Multimedia Mobile

MIDI is data – Audio is sound

Digital Evolution

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and allows a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another. The creation of MIDI in 1983 is closely tied to the development of music synthesizers, and until recently a digital keyboard or controller have typically been used to generate the Note on Note off information that can then be turned into a sound.

Guitarists as well as other stringed instrument players and wind instrument players have not been able to enjoy the full functionality of MIDI like pianists and drummers.

In the more recent years things are slowly improving with a growing number of devices that emerge and disappear all with the aim of providing Note on Note off MIDI communication or some form of analogue to digital conversion where latency times are in audible.

Varying attempts to provide guitarists with the ultimate flexibility of the digital world have been made by some of the biggest music instrument companies such as Yamaha, Fender, Roland and Gibson as well as numerous smaller companies. The penultimate solution has yet to be achieved but a varying array of products using differing techniques are getting closer to it. Here is a selection of some of these products presently making waves!…or MIDI!!

Fishman Triple Play

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The Fishman Triple Play is one of the more advanced MIDI pick-up systems available today and can be bought to fit on an existing guitar or bought built into guitars like theFender Fishman TriplePlay Stratocaster HSS guitar
…or the Godin Session Custom TriplePlay

See a review by Premier Guitar

See a video review by Sweetwater


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Jam Origin

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This is thought to be a game changer by some, MIDI Guitar turns any guitar into a polyphonic MIDI controller. The polyphonic pitch detection system has a pitch prediction method that reduce latency to a unheard new level. It requires no special pickup just plug your guitar into a computer or iOS device through any audio interface and MIDI Guitar lets you control almost any soft synth.



Roland GR-55 & GK-3

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The Roland GR-55 is a revolution in guitar synthesis, with features never before available in any guitar processor. In terms of speed, it’s the fastest ever. It’s also the most accurate, thanks to newly developed pitch-detection technology. See more on the synth
…or the pickup

See a review by Guitarst


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The jamstik+ is a Bluetooth Smart enabled digital guitar with real strings & frets. It works with your iPad, iPhone or Mac & select Android devices and a multitude of music apps, including an interactive guitar lesson app series, so everyone from beginners to pros can just play.

Bluetooth Smart technology makes for a simple, fast and wireless connection. It’s the lesson-practice-recording studio you can take with you.




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Ztar MIDI guitar from Starr Labs offers unsurpassed ultra high-speed MIDI control for today’s guitarists. The Ztar differs from other guitar synths in that it provides the industry’s only glitch-free, 6-string x 24 fret touch-sensitive keyed-fingerboard; ideal for playing and controlling all aspects of synthesizers, samplers, and sound modules.


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Roland V Guitar

Roland V guitar

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A company always on the edge of digital innovation is Roland who back in 1977 produced the year the world’s first guitar synth, later partnering Fender in 1995 – they launched its first digital modelling guitar product, the VG-8. Again in 2007 saw a further release with Fender the VG guitar fully kitted out for virtual sound modelling. More recently in 2012 Roland released the VG Stratocaster G-5 with Fender. This time a Mexican made Fender marketed by Roland not Fender.

Roland G-5 guitar
About V guitar
GK 3
Friend Jam free software download



Line 6

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It was Line 6 who can lay claim to pioneering digital modelling technology for the mainstream with the POD the worlds first computer based sound modelling device that revolutionized how guitars can be recorded. In 2002 they went on to launch the Variax the world’s first digital sound modelling guitar.


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Fusion guitar

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Guitar Can


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One of the best sounding travel guitars we’ve tried is Yamaha’s Silent Guitar, which offers a choice of modeled simulated tones or piezo-sourced sounds routed to headphones or an external amp. It doesn’t have its own amp and speakers built-in though, like, say, a Vox Apache. And there’s no Lineage-like smartphone integration to mix in some digital effects. In fact, you might struggle to find all three in one instrument. Unless you stumble across the Fusion Guitar from Melbourne, Australia-based designer and guitarist Dave Auld, which combines an iPhone dock, amplifier, battery and speakers in one futuristic-looking axe.



Godin guitars
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Several years have passed since the first Multiac made its debut and Godin continue to refine their designs and explore new possibilities. There are now twelve Godin models that include synth access.


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Guitar Can



Moog guitars

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Guitar Can


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The Moog Guitar: winner of Guitar Player Magazine’s 2009 Reader’s Choice Award, Electronic Musician Magazine’s 2009 Editor’s Choice Award; 2008 Summer NAMM “Best In Show”; a 2008 “Best of What’s New Award” from Popular Science Magazine and a 2009 Mix Foundation TEC Award. More importantly, it has inspired players to new creative heights, and opened the door to totally new forms of expression with a guitar.



You rock Guitar

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The YRG is a MIDI guitar for recording, composing, and creating tablature via MIDI. It can also be used stand-alone with its internal sounds. The YRG’s patented fingerboard technology and electronics have revolutionized the way a guitar player, other aspiring musician or DJ can create, record and play music. The YRG connects to a host of mobile devices including the popular iPad to use with GarageBand. It also connects via USB to the MAC and PC. The YRG can be used with most recording and tablature software such as Logic, Reason and Ableton to name a few. Also compatible with Legacy MIDI synthesizer devices via its 5-pin MIDI connector.


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Lineage Guitar

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Guitar can


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This MIDI guitar is one of the latest contenders and boost some good performance charactoristics. The Lineage MIDI Guitar is the next step in the evolution of guitar to MIDI. Building upon the patented and proven technology of the YRG, Inspired Instruments aims to satisfy modern high end studio and performance needs.





One of the main stumbling blocks at arriving at an established digital playground has been the problem of overcoming latency, but this issue takes on a different form if note on note off information is transmitted instead of analogue (wav.) as it is so much lighter.

Digital v’s Analogue

Another problem is providing a realistic enough digital replication of a classic value amp with its respective pedals.

A valve amp will always have a place for producing pure rich tones right off your finger tips and no one is suggesting otherwise and it can even be recorded into a DAW as a wav. file. But as the digital world improves its’ technology by increasing sampling rates, producing better processing speed and bit rates there is great deal of versatility and functionality that can be done digitally even if your finished work ends up in a studio and is recorded in analogue.

MIDI and digital can help

Obviously there are levels and levels off professionalism and varying schools of thought on how someone may address guitar playing, but making use of a simple DAW set-up can have a number of advantages.

MIDI and digital units can provide a large amount of versatility and functions at relatively affordable prices. From effects processing to song writing, learning and recording there are endless possibilities. With such things like virtual sound modeling, notation software and the concept of transferring note on note off information directly from a guitar pick-up all improving and becoming more affordable the creative environment for guitarists is slowly expanding.

On-Line listing at Sweetwater

VST software synths, guitar processors, and audio effects

Here is a broad listing of some of the guitar soft synths around at the moment. There is a lot of software for guitar amp & effect modelling to choose from, some of it is free or can come included with certain DAW’s while other items require hard cash. Either which way there are no set rules for where to go to find a particular sound and there is no reason why you shouldn’t draw from all sources available.

Guitar Rig 5 Pro

guitar toneGet perfect custom tone with a complete guitar studio in your computer. Stunning amps and effects – exquisitely modeled in a powerful and intuitive virtual effects rack. Premium sound quality, maximum flexibility, and total control for guitar, bass and more. Legendary guitar and bass amplifiers, modeled with award-winning Dynamic Tube Response Technology. These amps convey the character, charm, and feel of their real-world counterparts. Each amp has its own matched cabinet plus an extra set of alternative cabinets – 27 exquisite models in all.

Price: Approx $210

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Pro

Peavey ReValver 4

guitar toneRedesigned from the ground up, ReValver 4 — the latest version of Peavey’s award-winning ReValver modeling software — contains revolutionary amp modeling capabilities that capture the true characteristics of real tube amplifiers. Running Stand Alone or as an AAX/VST or AU plug-in on Mac or PC, ReValver is renowned for its industry-leading amp modeling accuracy which is achieved by modeling an amplifier down to the component level. Now Peavey has updated and improved the modeling engine in ReValver 4, taking amp modeling to a whole new level of realistic tone-shaping possibilities. ReValver 4 also incorporates a GUI and UX redesign and the ability to run on a Windows® tablet, plus other high-level features including GIG mode, ACT™ (Audio Cloning Technology) and RIR 2 cabinet modeling.

Price: Approx $100

Peavey ReValver 4

SimulAnalog – Guitar suite

guitar-toneSimulAnalog is a research project that studies numerical and DSP techniques applied to computer music; the main branch is about the digital simulation of analog instruments and processors. Guitar Suite is a suite of vst plugin with amplifiers and analog processors for guitarists.

This suite is not a commercial product. It is born inside an academic research project about the modelling of electric devices, and then applied to the musical instrument field as an evolution of the techniques currently available in some commercial units. Its most important feature is the extremely high precision of the simulation, which is about indistinguishable from the original sound.

Price: FREE

Free Downlaod


Studio Devil – Amp Modeler Pro

guitar-toneStudio Devil Amp Modeler Pro is a guitar amp modeling and audio effects plug-in for use with VST, AudioUnits, and ProTools RTAS compatible hosts running on both Mac and Windows platforms.

“…the high-gain Marshall and Soldano simulations were some of the best I’ve heard.” – Electronic Musician

“Basically, it’s everything you could possibly need to create a complete, professional-sounding guitar tone.” – Music Tech Magazine

Price: $149

Studio Devil

Demo Download

Magix – Vandal

guitar-toneVandal is the only guitar and bass amplifier that combines the characteristic sound and feel of a real hardware setup with the advantages of a software application – all for you to enjoy on your computer!

Every step and component of the amplifier, from the tube to the speaker coils, is virtualized.

Physical modeling technology guarantees great sound without compromise, whether during studio recording sessions, band rehearsals, or live gigs!

The intuitive program interface is based on workflows that are optimized for guitar and bass players who are familiar with these kinds of work processes from working with hardware.

Price $266

Magix Vandal

Overload – TH3

guitar-toneImagine you have a tool to express your talent with the best tone ever. Imagine people listening to your guitar tracks and saying “wow! how did you get that killer tone?!”

Imagine you have more than 160 models including Randall®, THD® and Brunetti® amplifiers. And that these, for the first time in software form, cannot be distinguished from the real ones. That’s Overloud TH2.

Price $197.00

Overload TH3

How to connect a guitar – YouTube

TH2 with a MIDI pedalboard – YouTube

Eleven Rack vs. Overloud TH2 – You Tube

LePou – Plug-ins

guitar toneA highly respected guitar amp and cab simulation these amp plug-ins are developed Alain Poulain in Canada and are free. The plug-ins are available for both PC and Mac, so head over to the LePou website and have a look for yourself.

LePou has created a number of really good amp sims based on famous high-gain metal amps.

Some of the software features include an impulse response loader, a separate VST for loading cabinet simulator impulses and the LeCab2 can actually load 6 simultaneous impulses that you can mix.


Lepou Plugins

Kuassa – Amplifikation One

guitar-toneKuassa Amplifikation One captures the dynamic response and characteristics of hardware distortion modules, amplifier heads, and guitar amplifier loudspeaker cabinets, captured by various types of microphones in multiple configurations. It must be noted that the Kuassa Amplifikation One is not emulated or modeled after any specific amplifier, but rather is an amalgamation of the best hardware schematic designs, tube designs, and digital signal processes, implemented in the digital domain.

Price $49.95


More Links:

KVR Audio

Guitar Amp Modeling

Even though the truest guitar sound will come from a good quality valve amp there are a growing number of alternative solutions that have other benefits such as price, size & flexibility.

The following VST Guitar plug-ins are MIDI controlled software amp simulators.


Sugar Bytes


Complete electric guitar solution for Mac and PC. Absolutely convincing guitar riffs, combined with amps, wah pedals and effects. The actual guitar player has been transformed into a step sequencer system that allows control about playing styles, chord progressions and song structures. Guitarist can be played live as well, with just two fingers you can combine chords and patterns easily. You can choose from factory chords or just create your own chords on the fingerboard. The Action Section allows you to tweak the sequence in realtime and apply timestretch, looper or other crazy effects. Guitar players, keyboarders, producers, Guitarist is the new solution when guitar tracks are needed.

Price $119

Music Labs

Music Labs produce a number of VST guitar plug-ins which are modeled after some of the popular guitar sounds, from acoustic to a variety of electrics.
– RealEight virtual guitar instrument – the ideal guitar for creating lead, rhythm riff, and even bass tracks in your future rock and metal masterpieces!
– RealRick virtual guitar instrument – with the unmistakable sound of a legendary Rickenbacker® electric guitar, which became permanently intertwined with the sound of The Beatles.
– RealGuitar is a sample-based virtual instrument – with an innovative approach to guitar sound modeling and guitar part performing on keyboard.
– RealLPC virtual guitar instrument – bringing the incomparable Les Paul Custom Guitar sound to your studio.
– RealStrat sample-based virtual instrument – with an innovative approach to guitar sound modeling and guitar techniques emulating on a standard MIDI keyboard.

Prices start at $149 for RealGuitar with the Electrics at $199 a piece – There are discount bundle options…

Ample Sound

VST Guitar
Ample Guitar F II aim to bring the Fender Stratocaster Custom Guitar sound to your studio.
Size: 4.75 GB, 24bit 44.1khz
DFD(Direct from disk)
Rich Fingering Noise – more vivid and realistic.
Neck, Both two Instrument libraries to fit different needs.
Each Cycle & Rhombic Sampling structure – Separate sample cycle for each note and vel layer to improve sample utilization efficiency.
Sustain, Hammer On & Pull Off, Legato Slide, Slide in & out, Palm Mute, Popping, Natural Harmonic, Slide Guitar 10 articulations, Legato at random length & pitch & poly.

Prices range from $95 – $150

Orange Tree Samples

Orange Tree Samples
Ultra-Realistic Sample Libraries for KONTAKT. Orange Tree Samples produces innovative sample libraries that enable musicians to achieve incredible realism with ease. Each product is designed for real-time performance and sequencing, without the tedious programming commonly required using conventional sample libraries. We attain this by combining state-of-the-art sampling techniques, proprietary physical modeling concepts, and innovative programming.

Prices approx $199

Indiginus – StrumMaker IV

Indiginus provide affordable sample libraries for Kontakt 4, 5 – Keyboard (MIDI) triggered. Create acoustic guitar strumming tracks quickly and easily with our new StrumMaker IV strumming engine. Choose from preset patterns that you can customize, and choose from the available preset chords that you can customize instantly- simply by clicking on the fret-board. Then transpose your chords with the capo! With the Strum Sequencer, you can choose from 1 to 16 steps and choose the note resolution to match your host’s tempo. 16 steps not enough? You can chain up to 8 patterns together-
There are a number of sample libraries like Torch Electric Guitar and Delta Blues Acoustic Slide Guitar.

Prices range from $30 to $50

Ilya Efimov – Acoustic Complete

The sound of this library is rich and sensual, transparent and incredibly expressive. There is a fantastic realism by using 14 dynamic colors for each note. This library is essential for Acoustic Guitar imitation. You can use all frets for each string. The select of the strings and positions can be both automatic and manual. The control over any parameter is available though Graphic User Interface and your sequencer.

Prices range from $110 to $160

Acoustic Samples


4 modes, the solo mode that allows to play melodies, the chord mode that helps playing strums or picking very easily, the patterns mode that does all of the strumming or picking for you and the MIDI mode that allows you to use your preferred midi guitar controller. If you own a MIDI guitar and want to expand its sound capabilities, then the MIDI mode is for you. The MIDI guitar mode allows you to play the Telematic using a midi guitar controller, all you need to do is select the 6 midi channels. You maybe have to use the set patch as omni to allow the plugin to respond to all midi channels.

Price $110

YouTube Previews

Steinberg Virtual Guitarist 2 Demo

Modern Guitars Virtual Instrument (RnB,Hip-Hop)VSTI

Introducing the SCARBEE FUNK GUITARIST by Native Instruments

Scarbee Funk Guitarist is not a virtual guitar intended for ‘freeform’ playing — trying to use it for playing top‑line melodies or rolling arpeggios will not work. SFG’s remit is quite specific: to recreate authentic‑sounding funk guitar grooves in almost any chord flavor, inversion or fret position you’re likely to need, and all using only two fingers.

Further links

Sweetwater Virtual Instruments Guitars

Guitar Center Virtual Instruments Guitars

Thomann Virtual Instruments Guitars

Sample Libraries

Software Guitar Amp Simulators vintage amp

Reviews & Threads


TabToolkit for iPad, iPhone


Digital Audio Workstations

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic system designed solely or primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. DAWs are software running on computers with audio interface hardware. A basic home recording studio set up has become better and more affordable as digital technology continues to improve. Today there are a wide range of products available, but which are some of the preferred products & what are the costs involved to set up a basic home recording studio?

Core to the set-up of a DAW is an ‘Audio Interface’ and a ‘Music Sequencing Program’.

Audio Interfaces

An Audio Interfaces takes the various audio inputs and converts them into digital audio data. It performs the same function as a sound card in a computer only it is an external device and will typically have mic preamps onboard, provide Phantom Power for condenser mics, and have easy-access external inputs and outputs.

They can come at different price ranges which is mostly dependant on the amount of Analog / Digital Converters, the number of Microphone Preamps and the number of Inputs/Outputs. Typically for two input / outputs prices start around £120 / 1200kr for 4 Channels the prices are around £350 / 3500kr


‘Under the Hood’

It is important the digital conversion rate is of very high quality so that every note and every subtle detail is captured with great clarity. For a home studio, 24 bit rate resolution with a sample rate of at least 96 KHz is more than enough.

MIDI I/O & Preamps

Some audio interfaces may not come with MIDI I/O this could be important if you want to connect to whatever MIDI device you prefer. Included preamps are of great importance and they should weight a lot in your decision to buy an audio interface for your home studio.


Check compatibility with all major audio editing, mastering, and music production software. An Audio Interface can often come with a basic sequencing program (DAW) that can easily be upgraded, consider compatibility here as often certain programs might be better designed to work with certain interfaces. ‘Out of the box’ can be easier.

Focusrite 2i2 2nd Gen


The Scarlett 2i2 is a 2 in / 2 out USB recording interface. With 24-bit resolution at sample rates of up to 192 KHz. Included are the superior D-Pre mic preamps found in their flagship device. No MIDI I/O connectors. Recording software included Ableton Live Lite 8.

Price: approx £120 / $199 / 1300kr

Steinberg UR22 mk2


Steinberg UR22 24-bit/192 kHz USB 2.0 audio interface. The UR22 is equipped with a MIDI I/O. Cubase AI included this offers an intuitive feature set for composing, recording, editing and mixing.

Price: approx £121 / $201 / 1311kr

Presonus 22VSL


The AudioBox 22VSL interface provides a 4×2 mixer, reverb and delay effects, and the same Fat Channel compression, limiting, semi-parametric EQ, and high-pass filter, as the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 digital mixer— all with inaudible latency.

Price: approx £199 / $249 / 2157kr

Line 6 POD Studio UX2

audio interfaces

High-quality mic preamps deliver extreme clarity and dynamic range. Exclusive Line 6 ToneDirect monitoring eliminates latency so you can record with amp and effect modeling—without sacrificing tone or feel. 44.1/48 kHz 16-/24-bit recording (88.2/96 kHz with sample-rate conversion)

Price: approx £155 / $190 / 1780kr



Roland’s 2-in/2-out offering features two VS preamps, with phantom power available via the XLRs and a Hi-Z setting on Input 1 for directly connecting a guitar or bass. Robust build, good sound and iPad compatibility.

Price: approx £175 / $239 / 1550kr

IK Multimedia iRig


With 96kHz Digital Audio with 24-bit A/D conversion audio quality, the iRig HD 2 translates your guitar sound well, sending a clean, dynamic signal. If you have simple connectivity requirements and have a bigger interest in a more mobile set-up, it could be all you need.

Price: approx £124 / $142 / 1299kr
iRig HD 2

iRig HD compare

Further iRig mobile products
iRig products/


A music sequencer (or simply sequencer) is a device or application software that can record, edit, or play back music, by handling note and performance information in several forms, typically MIDI or CV/Gate, and possibly audio and automation data for DAWs and plug-ins.

FL Studio


This remains one of the more popular DAW’s with a range of editions at differing price breaks .

Price: Start from; £62 / $104 / 675kr

Steinberg Cubase


Steinberg Cubase in one of the oldest companies in music software sequencing and still maintains a strong position in the market.

Price: approx £490 / $816 / 5320kr

Studio One


Presonus’s Studio One is a relative new comer on the scene but is already highly regarded by some. Similar to Steinberg if you buy their audio interface you get a lite version of the software to start from.

Price: approx £330 / $550 / 3585kr

Links to more popular DAW’s

Pro Tools


Logic Pro


Live 9

Performance & Compatibility

It can be hard to determine which DAW offers the best sound quality as this can have a lot to do with other components and the ability to use the equipment well.

There are a large number of DAW’s available and usually each offer a lite budget version which can give an idea of what to expect in the full version. It could be relative to consider the audio interface in conjunction with the choice a of DAW to minimize compatibility issues.

Learning, Composing & Compiling

There is a wide range of music notation software editors available, finding the right one might take a little time to research.
A number of the companies that provide these software packages either provide a one month free trial or a free basic version.

Here is a selection of some of the notation software editors we have identified…

Avid – Sibelius 7.5

Notation SoftwareSibelius is the world’s best-selling music composition and notation software, offering sophisticated, yet easy-to-use tools that are proven and trusted by top composers, arrangers, publishers, educators, and students alike. With Sibelius 7.5, you can express, accelerate, and promote your creativity in more ways than ever before, enabling you to deliver beautiful, professional scores faster and share audio and video versions of your work—with stunningly realistic musical phrasing—to make your talent stand out from the crowd. It’s the fastest, smartest, easiest way to write music for live performance, film and television, media entertainment, or in the classroom.

Price: Approx $720.00 / £460.00

Avid Sibelius 7.5

Finale – Music Notation Software

Notation SoftwareTo notate music is to look forward – to the performance, and beyond. Whether you’re creating a simple lead sheet, making worksheets for your students, or composing your magnum opus, Finale helps you easily capture your musical ideas, produce beautiful notation, and quickly share the results.

For 25 years, Finale’s unique ability to create anything on the printed page has remained undisputed while other music notation software has come and gone. Finale 2014 is the forward-looking choice with new innovations, making Finale’s trademark freedom and flexibility easy for everyone to use.

Price: Approx $600.00 / £380.00

Finale Notation Software

Maestro Music Software – MagicScore 7

Guitar Notation SoftwareMagicScore 7’s interface and comprehensive features make it the smart choice for musicians, composers, arrangers, teachers, students, choirs, ensembles and song writers. The MagicScore music notation software offers excellent capabilities which facilitate the creation of compositions of any complexity, including polyphonic ones. However the interface is not as intuitive or professional as some of the other music notation software but it is a fraction of the price. Some of the main features include; Quick Input a fast way to type scores, customizable layout, score your entry using a MIDI-device, the virtual guitar fingerboard or the virtual piano. Publish “live” sheet music in the Internet using built-in plug-in.

Price: Approx $60.00 / £38.00

Maestro Music Software

Forte Music Notation Software

Guitar Notation Software

With 4 editions of the Forte Notation Software, there is a Forte version that can fit into different budget areas and provide different requirements. The lower priced options are up gradable.

This Forte Home edition priced at $99 / £63 is an ideal choice for the music hobbyist, choir director or more advanced music student. This software package will provide immediate access to an advanced music notation program that is easy to learn and navigate. You will be creating beautiful scores in as little as 10 minutes. The full FORTE 5 HOME edition is an upgrade from the Basic edition, offering many more useful and creative features.

Prices Range From: A Free Version to Forte Premium Approx $229.00 / £145.00

Forte Notation

Guitar Pro 6

Guitar Notation EditorsGuitar Pro is a multilingual interface available in 19 languages on the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It is a multitrack editor of guitar and bass tablature and musical scores, possessing a built-in MIDI-editor, a plotter of chords, a player, a metronome and other tools for guitarists and musicians. It has versions for Windows, Mac OS X (Intel processors only), and Linux and is written by the French company Arobas Music.

Edit, visualize, and share your scores. Learn to play or improve your technique. Accompany yourself by creating the instrumental tracks of your choice. Enjoy a series of essential tools: scale-validating tool, tuner, metronome, guitar fretboard…

You’ll know how to handle the interface in a matter of minutes, easily navigating over its tabs and buttons. For optimal ease in reading, you’ll be able to display your scores as you prefer — full-screen, double-page, or parchment-like –, and also display a guitar fretboard to visualize the exact positioning of your fingers on it.

Price: Approx $73.67 / £46.65

Guitar Pro 6

PreSonus Notation 5 – Progression 3

guitar can

Notion 5 makes it easier than ever for you to write your ideas quickly and includes a new video window, new effects from PreSonus Studio One, an enhanced chord library, a custom rules editor, and many notation and publishing improvements.

Notation improvements make Notion 5 even faster and easier to use than previous versions, including an enharmonic spelling tool, cross-staff notation, layout and printing improvements, and new shortcut sets. You also get an enhanced chord library with more library chords, user-created chords, and recent-chord recall.

Presonus have a range of software including the Studio One DAW and Progression 3 a tab, notation, composition and songwriting software for guitars,bass and drums.

Price: Approx $192 / £125

Presonus – Notation 5

Presonus – Software

Quick Score

Guitar Notation EditorQuickScore Elite Level II is Sion Software’s premier software for composing music – an elegant, integrated scoring, audio and sequencing program that Electronic Magazine awarded their 1998 Editors’ Choice for notation software upon its debut and has won the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for five years running.

Start faster right off the top with one of QuickScore’s score templates. You’ve got Piano, Piano and Solo Instrument, Organ, Choir, Band, Orchestra and a bunch more. And if you need something you don’t see, just set it up yourself and it’s there for you to use from then on.

Prices: $179.95 / £114.06

Sionsoft – QuickScore

Score Cloud


“Like Google Translate for music”
ScoreCloud instantly turns your songs into sheet music. As simple as that!
Instant Score from MIDI or Audio
Arrange and Edit your Score
Print, Export and Share

Music notation software ideal for musicians, students, teachers, choirs and bands as well as composers and arrangers.

Prices: Free

Questions to solve

There are a number of things to look for when selecting a music editor…
DAW’s & Notation Editors – Compatible / Differences…

Want a better sound more suited to the sound in your mind…can a guitar synth plug-in generate the sound?

What is the ultimate composing set-up? – DAW’s, Plug-ins &/or Notation Editors?

Are DAW’s taking over the role a Notation Editor provides…?

Change that makes a difference;

What are good solutions?

In a world of smart phones and fitness watches how are the classic retro style guitars from the 50’s & 60’s holding up?

If you are of a classic minded nature then the guitars that came out of the 50’s & 60’s have yet to be improved upon. There is undoubtedly a lot more technology at our disposal today but how is this affecting an instrument that evolved as an electric instrument the 1930’s?

With some striking similarities to Guitar Wing, here’s another approach at taking the next logical step.