“Still the ultimate suite of software guitar tools”: Native Instruments Guitar Rig 7 Pro review

One of the most versatile guitar plugins just got revamped – but is it worth the upgrade?

Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 7
(Image: © Native Instruments)

Guitar World Verdict

Two decades on, and Guitar Rig Pro remains the ultimate go-to software package for guitarists, with new lo-fi effects giving us some analog flavors to play with, in a suite that works well live but is a studio powerhouse.

Pros

  • +

    Caters for all styles.

  • +

    New lo-fi sounds are great.

  • +

    Easy to use.

  • +

    100 extra presets.

Cons

  • -

    You could argue that it is not an essential upgrade from v6.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

At a glance

FEATURES: 26 guitar and bass amps with matching cabinets; 115 stomp boxes and rack effects

COMPATIBILITY: Runs standalone or as a VST3, AU or AAX plugin on Intel or Silicon Macs (macOS 11 or later), or PCs with Windows 10 or later.Buy at Native Instruments

Buy at Native Instruments

It’s been nearly 20 years since Native Instruments first released Guitar Rig, the software guitar effects suite that’s evolved from three guitar amp simulators in V1 to the ultimate collection of guitar tools. 

This latest v7 Pro includes 26 guitar and bass amps with matching cabinets, and 115 stompboxes and rack effects. Many newer inclusions are modelled on hardware using NI’s Intelligent Circuit Modeling technology, which uses machine learning for accurate emulations.

The new additions in V7 are four amps, five pedals, three lo-fi effects, 100 new presets, and a new Impulse Response loader. With this, you load in custom Impulse Responses – effectively software models – from a range of amp setups. The current library includes IRs from 3 Sigma Audio, Bogren Digital and Lancaster Audio. 

The four amps are the biggies. Reverb Delight delivers a lovely, clear and bluesy Fender Deluxe emulation; Bass Rage is about low-end Ampeg boosting, providing big but well-defined bass; AC Box XV is a Vox AC emulator which can be a little polite, but there’s plenty in Guitar Rig to throw into the mix and help with this; and Superfast 100 is a tube amp based on a Soldano that delivers fantastic lead sounds. 

Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 7

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

The extra effects are simple but deliver big sounds. Seattle Fuzz is the perfect example: just two knobs to take you to the west coast in an instant (Seattle, that is, not Weston-Super-Mare!). 

Chainsaw is for thrashy death metal rage, while Kolor offers less melodramatic saturation but is no less useful. The lo-fi additions are fantastic, with every type of analogue imperfection you need, delivered by way of Noise Machine, Vintage Vibrato and Tape Wobble.

The 100 extra presets are also welcome. While we don’t always advocate preset usage, here it’s so easy to filter down to a particular style, genre or sound and find something immense, that it’s almost criminal not to explore.

Guitar Rig has always been great for humanising sterile computer recordings, and that is now an even bigger strength with its new lo-fi effects. And while it can still be the ultimate live guitar effect rack – early versions even shipped with a hardware pedal – the software really comes into its own when you use it as a DAW effect with live or recorded guitar. 

Play directly in and experiment – stepping through the presets is inspirational – or simply record the guitar clean to work on later. For this use, it’s always been the best and easiest-to-use suite of guitar effects out there. V7 maintains that, and while not an essential $99/£89 update from V6, it is still the ultimate suite of software guitar tools. 

Specs

  • PRICE: $199 / £179
  • FEATURES: 26 guitar and bass amps with matching cabinets; 115 stomp boxes and rack effects
  • COMPATIBILITY: Runs standalone or as a VST3, AU or AAX plugin on Intel or Silicon Macs (macOS 11 or later), or PCs with Windows 10 or later.
  • CONTACT: Native Instruments

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Andy Jones

Andy has been writing about music production and technology for 30 years having started out on Music Technology magazine back in 1992. He has edited the magazines Future Music, Keyboard Review, MusicTech and Computer Music, which he helped launch back in 1998.