Virtual Electric Guitar

Kevin Casper
Digital figure playing guitar

In the age where everything has moved into the virtual realm, it didn't take long for a virtual electric guitar to appear on the scene. Social networking sites create landscapes for virtual relationships, and video games create landscapes for everything from virtual bands to virtual families and virtual pets. If you love the guitar but can't get your hands on a real wood and metal six-string, there are places on the Internet and various software programs where you can get your fix.

What Is a Virtual Electric Guitar?

Like the name suggests, a virtual guitar is a guitar that exists in the digital realm, not in the material realm, and you'll find one in two main forms.

Online Virtual Guitars

In its simplest form, a virtual guitar can be found on a number of websites where you can click on the strings in the image of a guitar to create sounds. These sites can be fun to play around on, but it is rather difficult to actually create music on this kind of guitar. In most cases, you can find an online virtual guitar to play along with for free.

  • Newgrounds - This site has the headstock and neck of a Gibson Les Paul, and you can click on the strings to create sounds. To sustain the sound of the string you just played, you can hold the shift key down after you click the string.
  • Virtualitoy - This website has a virtual Stratocaster that you can play as well as customize its colors and finish.

Virtual Guitar Software

If you want a more sophisticated and professional virtual guitar, look for one in a good software program. These types of virtual guitars allow musicians to create guitar sounds and techniques with the use of a keyboard and other software tools. If you are an accomplished piano player but find you're also interested in creating guitar music, virtual guitar software could be an excellent option for you. The downside to these options is that since the software is very powerful and involved, these applications can cost a substantial amount of money and take significant time to master.

  • Prominy SC Electric Guitar - This powerful program gives a virtual guitarist control over almost all aspects of the guitar playing experience through a keyboard. Some of the SC Electric Guitar program's main features include five pickup positions, auto-stroke detection, feedback and sampled sounds from every fret in every position on the guitar's neck. Bends, hammer-ons, picking tremolo, harmonics and many other guitar techniques can be accurately replicated.
  • Electri6ity - Electri6ity is another extremely impressive program that compiles 24,000 sampled sounds from nearly every possible pickup configuration and electric guitar type possible. Built in effects like flanger, phaser, delay, chorus, compression and distortion are available so you can tailor the sound just as you like it.

Why Go Virtual?

There are some purists who would ask why anyone would ever go through all the trouble to play a virtual electric guitar when you could find a guitar player or learn how to play the guitar yourself? Others would stress that no matter how advanced a virtual electric guitar became, it could never fully capture the essence of a real electric guitar. While these are both valid points, the fact remains that creating sound and art is a purely aesthetic venture that shouldn't be constrained by ideas like authenticity and purity. If you can create beautiful music using virtual guitar software rather than a real guitar, who is to say that this is somehow less vaild? If virtual instruments appeal to you, give them a try and see what kind of magic you can create.

Virtual Electric Guitar