The Best Bass Guitar Plugins

The Best Bass Guitar Plugins

At some point in our careers, we, as audio producers and engineers, start to comprehend one simple truth. A bass guitar sound can make or break your mix without any regard for how the rest of it sounds. But what if you don’t have a decent bass guitar at your disposal at the time of a session? Here is our list of the top 10 best bass guitar plugins exactly for that occasion.

Top 10 Best Bass Guitar Plugins

  1. Spectrasonics Trilian
  2. Ujam Dandy
  3. Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass
  4. Vir2 Basis
  5. IK Multimedia Modo Bass
  6. Waves Audio Bass Slapper
  7. Toontrack EZbass
  8. Heavyocity Scoring Bass
  9. Chris Heins Bass
  10. Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle

Bass Guitar Plugins Buying Guide

Of course, other than convenience, there are other reasons to use virtual bass guitars. Firstly, it is quite a gruesome and tedious process to learn how actually to play the bass. Even if you are fluent in playing other instruments, playing the bass takes way more effort in terms of timing and articulation.

Secondly, even if you are a professional bass player, it still would be nearly impossible to have every bass guitar sound for every occasion. What if you have your trustworthy P Bass, but at the moment, you are in desperate need of active Fodera sound?

And finally, owning a bass is one thing, but recording it is completely another thing. Using VSTs relieves you from the need to have a couple of bass guitar amplifiers and suitable microphones. But before we figure out what are the best bass guitar VSTs, we need to clear a few things out.

Important features

We strongly believe that even the best bass guitar VSTs can not replace a decent bass guitar player only because of the instrument’s very unobvious complexity. Virtual instruments usually are triggered by the MIDI keyboard, which obviously does not have frets. Which in turn means that it wouldn’t produce fret noises, so those have to be either scripted into performance or programmed by hand. And what’s more important is that bass guitars are highly dynamic instruments with lots of timbre variations.

So if you need to do an homage to Victor Wooten, you are better off with hiring a session bass guitarist because it would be extremely difficult to create such complicated and nuanced sounds with a virtual instrument. But if you don’t have that kind of ambition, you might as well get yourself familiar with these best bass guitar plugins.

Best Bass Guitar Plugins Reviews

 

Spectrasonics Trilian

Pros
  • Extremely powerful workstation
Cons
  • 40 GB of free space
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

The first virtual bass in our list comes from the people who have made the Omnisphere, so you know that the bar is high. Spectrasonics Trilian is a very powerful and versatile virtual bass workstation that can offer you a wide variety of low-end sounds starting from various electric bass guitars to acoustic and synth basses.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Spectrasonics Trilian’s amazing playability and incredible detail. It sounds unbelievably realistic and has a lot of presets included.

What we think

Although this bass VST is really packed with features, you might find that sometimes, especially when it comes to the acoustic basses, sounds may feel like being too overprocessed. That being said, the overwhelming amount of instruments that Spectrasonics Trilian offers you crosses out every possible slight inconvenience.

Bottomline

Although the size of 40 GB might feel a bit overwhelming, getting that amount of bass sounds for a price of one real below average bass guitar is truly a no-brainer.

Ujam Dandy

Ujam Dandy

Pros
  • Free demo available
  • Easy to use virtual bassist
  • 990 phrases in 30 styles
Cons
  • Might feel a bit unrealistic at times
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Ujam Dandy takes a little bit different approach to virtual basses. Here, as advertised, you have not a virtual bass but rather a virtual bassist. With 990 phrases in 30 styles, you can construct your custom bass parts rather than actually play them.

User impressions

Users like Ujam Dandy for a wide range of presets, user-friendly GUI, and sound quality. Some say that it sounds amazing on Soul, Pop, Blues, and Rock tracks.

What we think

If you want a bass guitar to be a focal point of your composition, you might find that Ujam Dandy sounds a bit unrealistic. Almost synth-like. But we found that in a very dense and busy mix, it fits right in.

Bottomline

Being a relatively low-priced virtual instrument, Ujam Dandy could be a good addition to your audio tools if you desire to create bass guitar parts of high quality quickly and effortlessly. It is also easily customizable and offers you a free, fully functional demo version for 30 days.

Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass

Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass

Pros
  • Very low price
  • Extremely high-quality sound
  • Works in free KONTAKT player
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Native Instruments
Best features and specs

When you think about Rickenbacker, you think of the 60’s. But the best part about Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass is that it fits like a glove into very modern styles also. It is a very playable virtual bass that really cuts through the mix.

User impressions

Users say that Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass is carefully sampled and flawlessly crafted with top-shelf quality. It is extremely expressive, realistic and has a wide range of tones and presets.

What we think

If we ask all engineers around the world, we will find out that the overwhelming majority of them already have Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass in their arsenal. And that is because it is really that good. We tried to find a reason not to have one, but we could not find it.

Bottomline

With its extremely low price and pristine sound, Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass should definitely be in your library of virtual instruments. And since the sound is highly customizable, you would not regret having one yourself.

Vir2 Basis

Vir2 Basis

Pros
  • Over 100 different sounds
  • Works in free KONTAKT player
Cons
  • Might feel a bit unrealistic
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Vir2 Basis is a virtual bass guitar library made for a KONTAKT player that features over 100 low register sounds starting from acoustic and electric basses to modern and vintage synths. All of that is placed into a very reasonable and convenient 8 GB package.

User impressions

Users admit that Vir2 Basis has a lot of types of basses that will cover almost any music genre.

What we think

We believe that Vir2 Basis could be a good alternative if, for some reason, you do not want to or simply can’t have Spectrasonics Trilian. That being said, we seriously doubt that it could be a competitor to the Trilian.

Bottomline

Being more than 3 times cheaper than Spectrasonics Trilian, Vir2 Basis matches it in the variety of sounds it can offer. And every patch sounds rather good in a busy and dance mix.

IK Multimedia Modo Bass

IK Multimedia Modo Bass

Pros
  • 14 legendary bass guitars
  • Realistic and high-quality sound
Cons
  • Only electric basses
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Another one extremely powerful bass guitar workstation, but this time from IK Multimedia, who definitely know how to make digital sound analog. IK Multimedia Modo Bass offers you 14 models of electric bass guitars and two models of bass amplifiers. Consider it to be the greatest hits of solid body bass guitars.

User impressions

Users like IK Multimedia Modo Bass for its versatility and that the instruments can be customized. It has amazing sound quality and a user-friendly GUI.

What we think

We think that it is very nice and convenient to have 14 legendary electric basses at your disposal without breaking the bank. What is surprising is that IK Multimedia Modo Bass is so playable and sounds realistic and believable. And with its simple but yet reliable customization, it fits the mix easily.

Bottomline

Although IK Multimedia Modo Bass does not offer you any other than said 14 electric basses, the quality and playability of those alone make it a rather excellent addition to your production collection. Since it is priced at the cost of an entry-level real bass guitar, you should definitely consider it.

Waves Audio Bass Slapper

Waves Audio Bass Slapper

Pros
Cons
  • Slap bass only
See price @ Waves Audio
Best features and specs

There are not a lot of things that audio producers agree on, but the one thing that has an indisputable consensus if that the most fun you can have with the bass guitar is to slap it. And since the guys from Waves Audio know that too, they have made for us the Waves Audio Bass Slapper.

User impressions

Users agree that Waves Audio Bass Slapper has a vast range of beautifully recorded samples. Another bonus is that you can process and customize the sound any way you want.

What we think

Coming from experience, we take the idea of virtual slap bass with a grain of salt. Just because it is a very tricky thing to emulate properly. Well, Waves Audio Bass Slapper exceeded our expectations not only because it sounds extremely realistic. But also because it is a way easier to slap with this plugin than with the real bass.

Bottomline

Yes, of course, other libraries can offer you this articulation amongst others. And Waves Audio Bass Slapper does not offer you anything else but a slap. But considering that Wave Audio’s products are more often than not on sale, it is a very small price to pay for such an instrument.

Toontrack EZbass

Toontrack EZbass

Pros
  • Resizable and interactive GUI
  • Playable and realistic performance
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Only bass models
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

If you are familiar with an EZdrummer line, Toontrack EZbass follows the same set of principles. With this plugin, you have two sampled bass guitar models and an engine that lets you create convincing bass guitar parts effortlessly. And, of course, alternatively, you can program your own parts using the MIDI input of your choice.

User impressions

Users say that Toontrack EZbass is super easy and intuitive to use. It has an incredible sound quality and a great tool to use.

What we think

Although Toontrack EZbass offers two completely different approaches to create bass guitar parts, it does not compromise the delivery. This means that programming these parts is as easy as playing them on the MIDI keyboard. And it sounds awesome, which does not hurt too.

Bottomline

Even though Toontrack EZbass offers you only two virtual bass guitars, that being vintage, and modern. It does not feel like it lacks sound options. You would only benefit from having this virtual instrument regardless of what approach to producing you prefer. Whether you like fast-paced programming or you enjoy actually playing the instrument.

Heavyocity Scoring Bass

Heavyocity Scoring Bass

Pros
  • Powerful scoring tool
  • Low price
  • Lots of factory patches
Cons
  • Very unlikely to be suitable for jazz and funk
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

The world of bass guitars is very vast and complex. In other words, there is far more to the bass than just slapping and eight-note grooves. Since guys from Heavyocity know that too, they took a very different approach to low register sounds with its Scoring Bass. It is a very modern and, in a good way, complex tool for sound designers and media composers.

User impressions

Users agree that Heavyocity Scoring Bass has a very extensive library, excellent sound design, and user-friendly interface.

What we think

Heavyocity Scoring Bass definitely should be in the toolbox of every producer who works with epic hybrid orchestral compositions. And since every factory patch is meticulously customizable, there is a very likely chance that you would not deplete the potential of this library until you retire. One thing it cannot do is funk. Of course, you can try, but you would just end up with a very futuristic funk.

Bottomline

With its modern 300 highly customizable presets and the top-shelf quality of sound, you would probably think that it costs more than it actually does. And considering its practically limitless sound customization, it definitely should be in the box of every modern media composer.

Chris Heins Bass

Chris Heins Bass

Pros
  • Six realistic basses
  • Highly customizable sounds
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Reverb
Best features and specs

With experience comes moderation and knowing how much of everything you actually need. Speaking of bass guitars, we all know that one is not enough, but how much is too much? Chris Heins Bass decided that the magic number is 6. That is why with this KONTAKT library, you will have three models of electric bass, including fretless and three different upright basses.

User impressions

Users say that Chris Heins Bass is capable of very realistic performances and producing excellent bass sounds.

What we think

We believe that the best feature of Chris Heins Bass is its playability. Although it may feel that the sound is quite outdated, it does really get points in terms of what you actually can do with it. Apart from a built-in FX, tonal controls, and other features, we were quite impressed that you can actually control vibrato with a separate key on your MIDI keyboard.

Bottomline

Even though you might be a bit disappointed with the sound at first glance, you should definitely take some time to tweak things. Chris Heins Bass can win your heart with its playability, especially when it comes to upright and frat-less basses.

Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle

Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle

Pros
  • Free demo available
  • 4 top-shelf bass guitar models
  • Impressive playability
Cons
  • None, really
See price @ Reverb
Best features and specs

It felt like Ample Sound took the world by storm with its virtual string instruments at some point in time. And shouldn’t come as a surprise since the sound quality alone is astonishing. If you add deep realism and playability to the mix, it might be really hard to find a worthy competitor to the Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle.

User impressions

Users like that Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle has a very intuitive and user-friendly GUI. Another bonus is an unimaginably huge library of samples and articulations.

What we think

Ample 4in1 Electric Bass Bundle might be by far the best virtual bass guitar instrument. And since with this bundle, you have 4 actual basses, there is a variety of sounds to choose from. A frequent problem with virtual basses is that they are not necessarily sound convincing if you mix them with real instruments. You will never have that problem with Ample Basses because those instruments sound like the real thing will do, including such nuances as fret noises and note dynamics.

Bottomline

Since Ample Sound offers you a free, limited in features, demo version of their Precision Bass emulation, you have a chance to introduce yourself to the astonishing qualities of Ample Sound guitars.

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