Covering rhythm guitar parts?


I’m working on configuring my Cantabile rig for my full band cover project, so am looking for ideas on covering crunchy rhythm guitar parts when our guitarist is busy soloing. I’ve historically gone for using organ or EP/piano instead on those sections, but I think some tunes (e.g. Queensryche, Foo Fighters) would work better with authentic-ish guitar sounds. Anyone have successes or failures to share?


You could have a look at:

  • Vir2 electri6ity
  • Musiclab Real Strat and RealLPC
  • Orange Tree Samples

Adding a decent amp sim like Amplitube, Guitar Rig, LePou, Scufham S-Gear or Waves GTR3 may get you there.

Please keep in mind you will only be able to cover a rudimetary bunch of playing styles in a live situation cause a keyboard is too restricted to make use of all the possibilities those libraries have available.


I use Orange Tree samples and Line 6 Helix plug-in. Nobody has ever questioned the guitar sounds they’re hearing - rhythm or lead!


thanks for the suggestions - I’ll check them out!


Second vote for Orange Tree samples, so that will be where I will start. Thanks!


Something anyone needs to understand whenever creating a non-keyboard instrument, is unless you know the inner workings of the instrument you are emulating, it will result in a really cheap, cheesy imitation. I’ve watched very talented keyboardists destroy horn parts, and string parts, mainly because they played those parts as a keyboardist. Understanding those particular instruments, and how they work, is key to making them sound “real”.

I am also a guitarist, so if I am not going to fill in with a real guitar, I will go to a Hammond or a Wurly, and play them as a Hammond or a Wurly filling in the space. For instance, I fill in a Bad Company song with a gritty Hammond sound ( ala Jon Lord). It works very well. The audience will not care it was an organ, as long as you are contributing to the dirty background of the song, and they are grooving to the music.
But, if you really need to be accurate, you can purchase some really great guitar sounds, but again, if badly played, it is a waste of time and money. If you are playing Foo Fighters and Queensryche, most of the acoustic finger pick or strumming vst’s are not going to help you out, and will normally have a cheesy “distortion” .
I would suggest Three-Body Tech Heavier 7 Strings. There are others of this type out there, and worth looking into, but their names escape me momentarily. Here is the promo vid:




I second everything Corky mentioned. Whenever possible I omit guitar emus and substitute by synth sounds, pianos or hammonds. In 90% of the cases this works very well.

There is one aspect you should be aware: most of the emus are sample based. As we all know cantabile has terrific capabilities to „re-use“ sample content by disabling entire banks but activating those host automation parameters the plugin offers in state behavior and wrapping everything inside a rack.

This only works if the plugin offers any parameters which isn‘t always the case. I mention this as my Orange Tree Evolution Strawberry Library lacks this possibility. In my case I had to disable all of the internal audio effects of Evolution Strawberry and add Guitar Rig to the rack to substitute them, means that 50% of the plugin is not in use.

Maybe it is a good idea to have this clerified before bying.

Regards, humphrey


Thanks, Corky. I plan to keep the guitar emulating to a minimum but this looks to be a promising option.


Excellent point Humphrey. I’m treading new ground here and have some catching up to do, but I remain cautiously optimistic.


I’m using this formula

  • Xpand2 for clean guitar sample
  • synth1 for some feedback sqr sound
  • all blended through NI Guitar rig

People are very surprised it sounds so real.
Of course only works on powerchords


Mmmmm power chords… :+1::+1::+1::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


That or, do a Jon Lord and pull out a Hammond, bypass the Leslie and run it though a Marshall. Or even a clavinet. Sometimes an obvious keyboard is better than a mediocre simulation of something…


I use Heavier7Strings as well as Shreddage 2, soon to upgrade to Shreddage 3. These work very well!
I am a very adept guitarist, but while fullfilling the needs of the current band I’m in doing full time keyboards, I often reach for these plugins for rhythm and lead parts to back up and complement our guitarist. I love using these for ripping keyboard solos!


I like the idea of blending sources and running through something like Guitar Rig. I had tried using some of the AAS Strum2 electric options with its built in effects, but it just left something to be desired… thanks to all for the suggestions. I’ve got some experimenting to do :slight_smile:


I use a combination of many different plugs/keyboards depending on what sounds the best. I’m not as discriminating when it comes to guitar emulation as I am with all my VST/keys. It will never be the same as the real deal, so as long as it carries the day, that works for me. I use everything from keys with xternal FX to Amplitube and Guitar Rig to a variation of a Lord setting in Blue 3 run through ACE distortion plug. Since everything except the real thing is technically an emulation, in my book it’s more about what you’re playing vs. what you’re playing it on


I almost always wind up using an OD’d Whirly to cover rhythm guitar parts, the syncopation being more important with Rhythm than the exact sound.

Mind I don’t play much AC/DC, which might cause me to choose differently.


My use of different keys/amp sims etc. depends on the song. If I am covering just steady rhythm, I do distribute the rhythm between exactly that, an OD’ Wurly or one or two others including that previously mentioned Lord Blue 3 patch through an additional distortion plug. ACE was a Freebie that I stumbled across looking for something else online, and since FREE is FREE, I decided to check it out. It adds a nice little bite to a lot of things, including both of those. I do use Amplitube and Guitar Rig 5 Pro when adding heavier guitar lines where a left hand with a single note can add some fullness, allowing my right hand to do other things


I use AAS Strum2 a lot for this sort of thing, however I do tend to use a clean electric sound and run it through Guitar Rig to get the tone that I want.