Playing strings and orchestral sounds with a MIDI guitar is one of the best use-cases for composers who might not be as well versed on a piano as they are on the guitar. Plus, playing string patches WITH strings just feels all the more natural and intuitive as well.
Sometimes the hardest part about creating is finding just the right sounds you're after, and plugins can get expensive. So, we put together some of our favorite free organic/synth string plugins for Mac & Windows. Make sure to check out the video below to hear the plugins in action!
This free instrument is easily one of, if not the best, free organic string emulations on the market right now. The samples were recorded at Spitfire HQ in London and were recorded through a variety of vintage mics and gear to capture that authentic tone. The plugin itself offers ensemble, long, and short presets alongside a fair amount of control over dynamics and the built in FX, such as reverb and tightness. These lush strings can be used on anything from modern pop to hardcore arrangements for film score compositions. Also, it does much much more than just strings! They release a new free instrument for the player monthly and all of them so far have been beautiful and practical
This unique piece of freeware takes a different approach to strings than Spitfire. Cheeze Machine 2 models the tone and feel of those classic vintage string synthesizers you hear all over late 70’s and 80’s records. With two virtual analog oscillators, a sub, and useful widening FX, this thing can get funky. Cheeze Machine 2 is a quirky and fun “cheezy” synth with a variety of different presets and sounds. While it’s not perfect for every record, if you like pads, the 80’s (who doesn’t?), and dirty nostalgic synth sounds - this could be the plug for you!
This bizarre little plugin doesn’t boast any of the bells and whistles of the other two, but it is remarkably easy to use and simple. Sonatina allows you to choose between legato, staccato, and pizzicato and also gives you control over ADSR. Other than that, there really isn’t much to it! The sound it provides is superbly cheesy and thin, but I say that in the best way possible. If you don’t have the budget to hire string players or buy one of the big price tag plugins, sometimes it’s better to just go the other way with it.
Here's how they sound!
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