You came to a point where you wanted to start capturing your guitar performances, but you have no idea where to start.

What you need is guitar recording software.

Guitar Rig 5 Player by Native Instruments. As far as guitar recording software goes, there is only one thing to know Guitar Rig 5 Player. Not only does this recording software come with 17 built-in cabinets It also features a very easy drag and drop system. Anyway, I've been using Adobe Audition to record my guitar and I installed the Guitar Rig 5 plug-in so that I can add effects. So I put the guitar rig option into the Fx slots on the individual channel, customise the set up a bit and then record. However, when I export what I've recorded, the effects from guitar rig aren't on the exported audio.

As an example, we will load GUITAR RIG 5 on the Instrument track where we have previously loaded FM8. Click on an empty insert slot under INSERTS A-E to open the inserts drop-down menu. If you are loading an effect on a track where an instrument is loaded, you can load it in any of the empty slots following the instrument in the Insert chain. I can hear the guitar effects on my headphone while i am playing my guitar. The problem is when i open the guitar rig as VST in ableton live (dragged in audio), i can only hear the clean tone of guitar, not with the guitar effects. When i record the guitar and playback, i can hear with the guitar with effects but when i cannot get the guitar. I'm running my guitar through my pedals and stereo out/in to my audio interface into Ableton live. I have the guitar track use the stereo Ins. I have guitar rig 5 as a vst for that track and I'm using an amp sim in GR5 but when I use my stereo delay - in my pedal chain, the delay doesn't come out stereo, how do I enable the amp sim to be in stereo?

But what guitar recording software to pick?

Rest assured, you’ve come to the right place.

When you feel like you want to start using recording software, but are new, better try some FREE recording software first.

Perhaps you want to start making your dreams come true as an artist, but you’re not sitting on a pot of gold.

Better start out with free guitar recording software and leave the expensive software for later.

The free recording software solutions in this post are multifunctional tools.

This means they can not only be used for recording guitars and mixing, but for any instrument hooked with a mic.

Starting our list with …

Studio One 3 Prime by Presonus

Studio One 3 Prime, made by Presonus, is the free version recording software, next to its bigger brothers, Studio One Artist and Studio One Professional.

This completely free guitar recording software is based off the two paid versions, but stripped down.


This makes it a very good starters kit to get yourself familiar in the world of audio recording.

Studio One 3 Prime has got a very easy drag and drop system with no limit to simultaneous tracks per composition.

If you have an audio interface, you are very likely to be able to hook it up with Studio One 3 Prime, as not all software is compatible with every interface.

While messing around with some backing tracks you created yourself, you might also want to import an MP3 file into the program.

Unfortunately Studio One 3 Prime stops you there, due to its limitation of being a free version.

Still, this guitar recording software makes it’s a hell of a lot of fun to play to spend an afternoon playing around.

  • Huge sampler library containing 1.5 GB worth of inspiring sounds
  • Unlimited simultaneous tracks per composition
  • Real-time stretching, resampling, and normalization; single multitrack comping; multi-track transform, and Control Link controller mapping
  • No possibility to import MP3
  • No support for 3rd party plugins (VST support)


If you’re ready to take the next step…

Presonus also offers great paid recording software.

The artist version of Studio One 3 provides you plenty of additional features for a very affordable price.

Guitar Rig 5 Player by Native Instruments

As far as guitar recording software goes, there is only one thing to know …

Guitar Rig 5 Player

Not only does this recording software come with 17 built-in cabinets …

It also features a very easy drag and drop system.

The visuals of this guitar recording software are very nice and truly invite you to plug your guitar in and start rippin’ it.

You could be a little bit stuck when starting out using this recording software.

It will probably take you some time to get a feel for how to use all the different effects and cabinets.

Guitar Rig 5 Player is the free version of Guitar Rig 5 Pro.

  • Supports VST Plug-ins
  • Easy drag and drop system
  • 17 cabinets, Jump amp and 13 effects
  • 50 effect presets
  • Relatively long learning curve
  • Only has a small percentage of options compared to Pro version


Podium Free by Zynewave

Podium Free is the product of a lot of hard work by ONE man.

Frits Nelso spent years creating this masterpiece of DAW software.

Podium Free is the freeware version of Podium and did lose some of its firepower in order to make the cut.

Nonetheless, this still leaves an awesome free recording program for PC.

Multiprocessing, ReWire and the 64-bit mixer engine have been disabled, due to the limitation of the freeware version.

However, this still leaves you enough room to play around on your guitar and get going with some tracks!

  • Support for VST Plug-ins
  • Support for MIDI
  • This recording software is free to download and free of use with no mandatory registration
  • Identical, but for a few limitations to the commercial version
  • No multiprocessing, ReWire and 64-bit mixer engine, contrary to the commercial version
  • Only supported by Windows



Audacity is an open source free recording software that is a great fit for if you’re trying to get some guitar recording done.

For years now, this platform has been THE most popular free music recording software on the web, PERIOD.

This completely free program will enable you to make your tracks more versatile, by allowing multi-track recording and editing.

Now, the user interface might be a bit outdated, compared to others on this list, but look through that and notice the user friendliness instead.

Since we are not looking at an high-end professional product, it is allowed to have some shortcomings, in my opinion at least.

And so, Audacity also has its shortcomings, like a thing called “destructive editing” or the one mentioned earlier.

Destructive editing is basically the change in waveform after effects have been added. These changes happen to the original file and can’t be undone, unfortunately.

With that being sad, Audacity is actually FREE software, contrary to others in this list, who offer a free trial period or block functions.

All in all a software very well suited for guitar recording.

  • Completely FREE
  • Supports effect plug-ins for LV2, Audio Unit, LADSPA, Nyquist and VST
  • Unlimited Undo / Redo steps to go back any number of steps
  • Very beginner friendly
  • Change in waveform after effects have been added, destructive editing
  • Too basic for detailed music recording


Mu.Lab by MuTools

Mu.Lab by MuTools, is a recording software for PC, that is a perfect fit for simplistic recordings.

This 100 % free program has got a fancier user interface than the previous guitar recording software program.

MuTools has made great strides and made a name for itself in the last couple of years, making great recording software.

One tip when using this program, focus less on the options in the interface and focus more on right-clicking!

A lot of options are hidden, most of the work is done by right-clicking.

Unfortunately, you can only implement 4 tracks simultaneously when working on a composition.

However, you can add up to 8 VST plug-ins per project, contrary to Studio One 3 Prime.

All in all this recording software is an awesome addition to your other guitar accessories.

  • Support of 8 VST Plug-ins per project
  • User-friendly drag and drop system
  • Unable to see the waveform until after finishing the recording
  • Only 4 tracks simultaneous per composition


Now that you’re halfway:

Recording some tunes with your kid is a great bonding experience.

Do you want to know what the best part is?

Over the years you will have a collection of great musical memories of you and your child.

Check out this article to find out how to set your kid up with a great guitar for kids!

T6 by Tracktion

This music recording software is the product of Tracktion, a somewhat unknown company, but one that produces great quality.

T6 is another recording program that is completely free of charge and will last until eternity.

The simple interface of this recording software for PC, incorporates a very easy drag and drop system for your pleasure.

The program lets you record an unlimited number of tracks, so you are able to build a very dynamic multi-layered composition.

This a great pick of free guitar recording software for any guitarist out there!

  • Free software for a lifetime
  • Unlimited VST / AU Plug-ins
  • Unlimited simultaneous tracks


Reaper by Cockos

Allthough this is a free to download recording program, it isn’t free in the long term.

After 60 days, the trial version ends and you either have to pay $ 60 or move on to something else.

This monster supports almost all VST plug-ins.

This free recording software is very usable for recording of instruments such as your guitar.

A drag and drop system is implemented in the software, making your life much easier.

This software package is basically a fully professional DAW, but uses pricing to make it available for every would be recorder.

NOTE: Cockos also released a V0.999, which is completely free but hasn’t been updated in 10 years.

  • Very professional software package
  • Very user-friendly
  • Library of hundreds of native instruments
  • Supports VST Plug-ins
  • Difficult to start with as a beginner
  • Trial expires after a period of 60 days


GarageBand by Apple

This, technically not, free guitar recording software is one of the cornerstones of the present recording software industry.

All though you CAN get this recording software for free when buying a new Apple device, or maybe you already had it installed.

For a very affordable $ 4,99 you could still get the latest version of GarageBand, which isn’t that big of a deal if you ask me.

One thing that seems echoing through the community, is that GarageBand is one of the easiest programs to use for recording.

For the non-Apple readers out there, this might come as somewhat very frustrating, but this recording software is only available for Mac.

This program offers a wide variety of sounds for your guitar, including different amps and pedals.

Garageband is an absolute must for any guitarist that is serious about guitar recording.

  • Very user-friendly for beginners
  • Very focused on guitarists
  • Isn’t free for Apple users with older devices
  • Only supports Mac OS X


Very Useful VST Plug-In

Not all guitar recording software have built-in effects and cabinets.

To make it easier on yourself, try a Plug-in that DOES have those effects and cabinets.

The earlier mentioned Guitar Rig 5 Player will have everything newb recording guitar player needs.

Yes, that’s right.

They not only provide the actual recording program, but also a VST Plug-in.

Now you can choose a free guitar recording software of your likings and put the cherry on top with a VST Plug-in.

VST Plug-in of Guitar Rig 5 Player is included in the package when downloading the guitar recording software.


Here’s something you might like:

Another option is to use actual (physical) effects pedals when recording your guitar.

This will let you capture that true authentic sound of a guitar pedal, which will always top built-in effects of the recording software.

Read more about some awesome effects pedals!
Read more about guitar pedalboards!

Wrap Up

So there you have it guys, the …

TOP 8 Free Guitar Recording Software 2018

How To Record With Guitar Rig 50

Build up some experience in recording your guitar and before you know it you’ll release your debut album.

You’ll need a trustworthy hard guitar case if your album is a hit around the world.

I hope this list will get you started right away recording some nice tunes with these best audio recording software.

Let me just tell you that once you start recording, you don’t want to stop anytime soon.

The most annoying thing that could happen would be a string breaking and you forgot to stock up on some strings.

So make sure to get some in stock before you start recording.

Don’t forget to share this article to help out some friends who are trying to find some guitar recording software.

How To Record With Guitar Rig 5.0

  1. We're currently conducting systematic tests with the release version of macOS 11 (Big Sur) in order to offer full compatibility of our products as soon as possible. You can find our latest compatibility status - here

    Please note that although announced at the same time as macOS Big Sur, Apple Silicon processors are an independent release with separate compatibility concerns for NI products. Compatibility with macOS Big Sur will not yet ensure compatibility with Apple Silicon processors. At the moment, Native Instruments products are not supported on computers with Apple Silicon processors. Read more - here

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