Fantastic Freeware 2018: The 7 Best Freeware Real/Acoustic Instruments

Finding solid emulations of real/acoustic instruments is a tricky endeavour, one made worse when you want to spend nothing. Fortunately, we’ve 7 great examples. (Click the titles to download).

Steinberg VB-1

Type Mac, PC, VST

real/acoustic instruments


Well, it’s made by a company that knows a little bit about music software, so VB-1 must be pretty good. It’s a virtual bass guitar – quite an old (and unsupported) plug-in, but you can still download it from Steinberg’s website. It does pretty good bass, and has four voices of polyphony, wave-morph controls and a randomiser.

Keolab Spicy Guitar

Type Mac, PC, VST/AU

There are ways of creating acoustic guitar sounds with samples, of course, but Keolab’s Spicy Guitar synthesises the sound instead to produce quite varies results. It includes nine types of guitar (four folk, two classical, one flamenco, one jumbo and one gypsy) as well as two string types (nylon or steel) so you get a lot of ingredients and plenty to play with, plus a strumming engine for even more realism.

Amplesound Ample Guitar M Lite II



And this is the sampled way to create an acoustic guitar. M Lite II is a Martin Guitar D-41 emulator and a cut-down (just under 1GB) version of Amplesound’s 6GB AGM. The Lite version doesn’t feature strumming, just picking, but damn good picking. There are 866 samples offering Sustain, Hammer On & Pull Off, Palm Mute, and five Popping articulations.

Native Instruments Kontakt Player

Type Mac, PC, VST/AU

There are a couple of big guns who do simplified versions of their instrument collections in one free download as promo for those instruments, and they don’t get much bigger than NI. This is a collection of 50 instruments over 622MB, with ‘smaller weight versions’ of presets from NI’s Band, Synth, Urban Beats, Vintage and World libraries.

UVI Workstation

Type Mac, PC, VST/AU/AAX

Another big soundware company, UVI’s advert for the rest of its range has long been Workstation, more of an engine than instrument and one that includes loads of effects and mixing features for free. There are unlimited parts and, at the time of writing, you can download a couple of games – Ping and Spak Invaders – which you can play on studio downtime. The software is also compatible with an increasing number of third party sound developers.

Versilian Upright

Type Mac, PC, VST/AU

We’re led to believe that Piano1 is one of the best free pianos out there but had trouble with the download so we’re going back to our old favourite, an upright sampled piano from Versilian, designed as a promo for their other instruments. You get three velocity layers plus up to 30 seconds of decay sound so this is the real deal and it has a lovely closed mic sound. One of the best freebies out there in terms of realism.

The Big Tick Audio Collection

Type Mac, PC, VST

We’ve included Ticky Clav in pretty much every freeware roundup we’ve ever done but decided to put the whole Big Tick collection forward this time round because, as you have to register to download one, you may as well get the lot while you’re there. It includes EP-Piano, Angelina formant and Rainbow Hybrid synths; and the rather great string machine emulator Cheezemachine.