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.