Instrument Simulators for Guitar

12.2.2016 by Miller Harrison

Looking to turn your guitar sound into something whacky? Or just missing that important instrument in your band? Try a simulator effect.

When it comes to live and recorded sound, no one demands more versatility than a guitarist – and no other analog instrument has as many options. We’ve picked out a few of our favorite instrument simulation options and highlighted what makes them rock.

Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine

Now you don’t need to haul your vintage Hammond organ to a gig…or even have a keyboardist. EHX has upgraded their excellent B9 pedal and added a wider variety of sounds and tonal options. The 9 tone presets are each fully controllable by 4 knobs which emulate the tone settings on a vintage organ. For better results when playing chords, use a compressor to even out the volumes.

DigiTech Mosaic 12-string Simulator

Jimmy Page’s dual neck guitars looked really cool, but a stompbox is certainly easier to haul to a gig. DigiTech’s Mosaic is designed to get 12-string sounds out of 6-string electric or amplified acoustic guitars – and yes, it sounds great with 7 and 8-string guitars and basses as well. And it has a tone control so you can dial in just the right amount of zing or fullness.  For such a small and simple effect, it produces a wide variety of tonal options.

Digitech Whammy for Bass simulation.

Ok, so the Digitech is well known for many reasons. And it isn’t officially a bass simulator, but it has been reviewed by pros time and time again as the most realistic option for emulating the sound of an electric bass guitar using a 6 string. That being said, the Whammy isn’t a substitute for a bass on a recorded track. It seems that the elusive simulated bass effect is something that our modern wizards just can’t seem to crack. The Whammy does however provide the closest available alternative to learning the bass, or hiring a bass player for live performance, and on top of that the Whammy does so much more than just bass. You can also choose to have bass as a harmony to your actual guitar sound, or straightforward pitch-shifting.

The E-Bow made it on the list for it’s amazing capacity to emulate string, woodwind, and brass instruments. Using various plugins and a combination of digital effects, the clear sustain created by the E-Bow’s built it pickup resonation system offer an endless possibility for sound simulation. And it’s whacky fun to mess around with!