When you see a name like NI’s Guitar Rig, or a Swedish babe holding a guitar next to IK’s AmpliTube, you probably think about, you know, guitars. (I can hear at least one of my colleagues at Keyboard Mag groaning, “Ewwwww . . . guitars.”)

But look closely at either of these products behind the packaging, and what you’re seeing is really a multi-effects package. A really cool-sounding, really cheap multi-effects package, that is. With ultra-flexible digital routing (read: you can create complex stompbox configurations without a tangle of cords) and deeply adjustable presets, this is just begging to be used with something other than a guitar. The hardware I/O inputs work like a charm with pickups on other instruments. And amp simulations can sound great with other instruments; keyboardists have long experimented with guitar amps (the non-virtual kind) onstage.

Just a few likely candidates for use with software guitar effects:

  • Drums (NI’s Tobias is a big fan of this with Guitar Rig)
  • Keyboards (think Clavs, Rhodes, Wurlitzers, etc.)
  • Violin and cello (already got a reader doing this with an electric violin; my friend Pat Muchmore does looping and FX with a cello)
  • Sitar, Accordion (that’s another friend of mine, Kamala Sankaram — yes, she plays both)
  • Vocals (Line6 even sells a special vocal version; more on that soon)
  • The list goes on . . .

  • Hope to try some of these out with the IK, NI, or Line6 offerings . . . stay tuned.

    • derek

      To quote the great Ludwig, "The guitar is a mini-orchestra". You can thank Ray Davies of the kinks for distortion, and yes that means for ALL instruments. Using feedback as a sound source, yup thank another guitarist. The wah…. Yup more guitarists. Show us some guitarists some love, because, well, we rule.

    • admin

      My colleague was joking. 😉 Anyway, unless I've missed something, there seems to be no lack of love for guitarists. Guitars have everything from electric guitar concertos and a hallowed place in jazz to, let's face it, near total domination over rock (sometimes, sadly, at the expense of keyboards, horn sections, and the like.) And they're deserving of the love they get. So are amplified accordions, violins, sitars, jaw harps, kazoos, and . . . well, you get the idea.

    • Guest

      Well thanks Ray, but get in line (by 10 years or so) behind Link Wray, Paul Burlison, etc.

    • derek

      Aha, my guesty friend. Just remember that I didn't say he invented it, he just made it popular. It's not to say to say someone else wouldn't have thought of it, but had he not slashed his speakers, rock would be a different place.

      Hendrix didn't invent the use of mayhem and feedback, nor was he the first to use it, however, he sure made a billion people fall in love with it.

    • What do you or your friends think is the best effect to use on strings. I play electric fiddle…currently and lovingly with an ancient zoom and atate of the ark quadroverb. Looking to update to something which also favours distortion, overdrive, reverb and features pitch shift. Any Advice?