Native Instruments have been pretty quite when it comes to Guitar Rig since the release of version 4 2 years ago with only a minor update along the way but just as I thought NI had forgotten about us amp modelling loving guitarists they announce Guitar Rig 5 Pro which comes loaded with a couple of stunning new amps and cabinets and a huge update to the Control Room.

Let’s talk about the new amps first: the two additions to an already versatile collection are the VAN 51 (based on the Peavey 5150) and the Hot Solo+ (based on the Soldano Hot Rod 50 Plus). Both of these as you probably know are high gain amps which Guitar Rig 4 was lacking a little with the majority of amp models based on Plexi’s and classic Fender amps so this comes as a welcome addition to the Gratifier (Mesa Dual Rectifier style amp) and the Ultrasonic (Bogner Uberschall).

I thought the best way to introduce these two new amps would be to record a demo of them in action so first up here is the VAN 51, I couldn’t resist trying to dial in some classic Van Halen tones before moving on to some heavier examples and then the clean channel including the crunch mode:

Next up is the Hot Solo+ which has a lot of definition even with the gain cranked up, I tried to demonstrate how you get clear note separation with high gain settings as well as showing the spank of the clean channel. For a bit of fun I concluded the demo by multi-tracking the intro of Lamb Of God’s ‘Broken Hands’ using slightly different settings for the two rhythm and single lead guitar channel over a drum track.

If you watched the video demos above you will have seen the new Control Room Pro in action, this new module is a very welcome upgrade that allows you to choose from 27 cabinets, up to 16 microphones and up to three mic positions. Once you have loaded the cabinets and mics you want you can then switch to the Mixer view to balance everything to perfection. The mixer also includes a dedicated treble and bass control and all of the impulses are provided by Redwirez.

Guitar Rig already had a pretty comprehensive collection of effects modules but there are six new modules added to version 5:

  • Fast Comp — A warm, vintage-style compressor for keeping your peaks in check. Essential for clean sounds.
  • Vintage Verb — Eight different classic plate and spring reverbs. Not just for retro — also great for adding class and character.
  • Little Reflektor — Advanced convolution reverb, based on the acclaimed REFLEKTOR, with eight impulse responses plus decay and low cut control.
  • Stereo Tune — Not a tuner! Spreads and detunes the stereo image for a fatter sound and de-tuned effects.
  • Filterbank — Drastically transform your sound with this powerful 8-band filter, with a global frequency shift and stretch parameter for highly expressive effects.
  • Resochord — Turn notes into chords and get shimmering, resonating sci-fi chorus with this six-pole harmonizer.


Check out my demo of these effects in action below:

Native Instruments have also created a cut down version of Guitar Rig 5 Pro called Guitar Rig 5 Player, this version includes a single amp model, the excellent modded Plexi called “Jump” which is a great base for creating your tone and then 17 cabinet emulations and 13 effects to help create the tones you desire. Check out what effects are included in this version here. Guitar Rig 5 Player also comes with a demo of the full Pro version but it will only run for 30 minutes, which is more than enough time to have you reaching for your credit card.

With amp emulation getting better and better with every release Native Instruments are helping guitarists all around the world get exactly the tones they want without having to spend thousands on amps, effects, speakers and mics and make recording a simple and speedy process. In fact I recently read that Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen uses Guitar Rig when he is recording. While you can use Guitar Rig live with the Kontrol foot controller it does obviously mean using a laptop which may concern many people because we all know how evil computers can be just when you need them most, but for home studio use I think Guitar Rig is a must have.

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