Best Bass Guitar VST Plugins in 2022 (Free & Paid)

by Alex.   Last Updated On October 4th, 2022.
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Bass guitars are a core instrument for many musical genres. Most songs wouldn’t sound as good without a bass, that’s obvious! While most of us don’t have the nimble fingers needed to shred the bass guitar like Flea, McCartney, or Pastorius, that doesn’t mean we can’t have killer bass lines in our productions.

Whether you can play bass guitar in real life or not, a bass guitar VST can bring a huge level of efficiency, convenience, and expression to your music. Getting a great bass sound from a computer alone is now easier than ever before.

That said, there are a lot of bass plugins out there that don’t make the grade. This review explores the best bass guitar VST plugins, helping you to find the winners and avoid the losers.

I have a tonne of experience working with bass, and I’ll often use a virtual bass in my productions rather than a real player. The process is just easier, and cheaper, and you don’t have to deal with that annoying bassist from your town.

If you need some headphones, check out our review of the best headphones for bass guitar!

Table of Contents
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Comparison of the Best Bass Guitar VST Plugins

This bass guitar plugin is a stable in the music industry. If you need a reliable plugin for scoring bass guitar EZbass is ideal, for sound designers and composers alike.See On Amazon
photo of the Toontrack EZbassToontrack
EZbass
These are some of the best bass VST plugins if you are on a tight budget and need something simple but powerful. They sound great and are a lot of fun to play with.See On Amazon
photo of the Waves Bass Fingers /Bass SlapperWaves
Bass Fingers /Bass Slapper
Best for a full virtual rock band this is one of the best plugins around. The included electric bass guitars are fantastic though, and worth the money alone.See On Amazon
photo of the EastWest Ministry of Rock 1 / EW Ministry of Rock 2EastWest
Ministry of Rock 1 / EW Ministry of Rock 2
Best if you want a bunch of electric bass guitars in one affordable bundle.See On Amazon
photo of the Dan Dean Essential BassDan Dean
Essential Bass
Best if you own EZbass and need to expand your sonic pallette with more aggressive, metal bass guitar sounds.See On Amazon
photo of the Toontrack EBX: MetalToontrack
EBX: Metal
Best if you are looking for a range of professional bass sounds, and bass lines, this performance-ready plugin has a high level of diversity and simplicity.See On Amazon
photo of the UJAM Virtual Bassists Bundle 2UJAM
Virtual Bassists Bundle 2
Best if you already own Kontakt and need an affordable but dynamic bass guitar library, this is a great pick!See On Amazon
photo of the Impact Studios The Inferno BassImpact Studios
The Inferno Bass

Reviews of the Best Bass Guitar VST Plugins

Toontrack EZbass is a staple in the music production scene. This simple but effective bass guitar virtual instrument helps you write and create electric bass guitar riffs in no time.

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Offering incredible sound quality, this bass vst covers a range of playing techniques and bass sounds. This electric bass plugin is dynamic enough to work with all kinds of genres, from hip hop to pop music and more.

No need for a real bass player, EZbass is your new virtual bassist! EZbass can automatically generate midi for bass lines that are in key and timing with the rest of your project. You can then edit this further with a flexible grid editor directly inside the plugin. This is ideal for songwriting, letting you compose, arrange, and edit your bass ideas all from within a single piece of software.

The Audio to MIDI tracker is another powerful feature. This listens to an input audio signal and converts it into midi in real-time, so you can use this to layer a bassline over another instrument.

It comes with a huge library of clips, loops, and basslines midi notes to quickly slot into your project. Although you can also play it freestyle with a MIDI controller.

It comes with two bass models, (Vintage and Modern), which might be a bit limited when focusing more on production and audio generation rather than composition. But if you need a bass composition powerhouse this is one of the best bass guitar plugins in the music industry.

What We Like

Helps write basslines.

Huge library of bass guitar midi content.

Can buy expansions for your specific genres and needs.

Know Before Buying

Relatively limited articulations and tones.

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These two Waves bass plugins are funky powerhouses that cover both playing styles. If you need functional, expressive, and versatile bass guitar plugins then these are a great place to start.

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Both of these plugins are fantastic, so I thought I’d include both of them in the same review. These multi-sampled instruments both have largely identical architecture throughout their plugin design, although one is fingerstyle, and the other is slap bass.

Slap bass is probably one of my favorite techniques and tones from a bass guitar, so having a plugin dedicated to this sound is a blessing. Maybe it would have been nice to see both versions bundled into a single plugin, but I guess this way you can buy only what you need if you’re not a fan of the slap.

These are both sample-based plugins, which come with notes from the full range of the fretboard, each with a bunch of different velocity layers and articulations. They both sound incredibly realistic, and I think thanks to the extra sounds layered in (like the finger/fretboard details) you can easily be deceived that you’re listening to a real bass player.

These bass vsts include a whole bunch of high-quality effects and amp sims, featuring emulations of classic bass guitar pedals. This helps you to color the sounds and get a unique and exciting tone.

I was impressed with the effect’s sound quality, in some plugins the effects feel like an afterthought and sound bad. These sounded fantastic – all of them including the compressor, overdrive, wah, phaser, reverb, delay, and chorus.

These bass vst plugins also feature a 4 band EQ, multiple velocity layers, a fingerboard position slider, and all the mix controls you need to blend the different components of a bass tone. They both feature smart automatic string switching to get a more balanced and tone accurate sound.

You can use them as standard plugins, or as standalone instruments which are optimized for live performance. They both create a realistic bass sound and are some of the better sounding virtual bass guitars out there.

Versatile and effective, there isn’t much to fault. Maybe you might like to see more amp simulations, but it’s probably best to save that for an additional plugin.

These are the best bass guitar plugins in terms of giving controls over the extra elements of sound that make virtual bass performances more realistic. You get full control over dead notes, fret noises, and string and fret positioning, which lets you create super realistic bass performances.

What We Like

Rich sound production with excellent dynamics and articulations.

Intuitive interface with powerful effects and tone shaping.

One of the best sounding slap bass virutal instruments around.

Know Before Buying

Waves licensing can be anoying.

Two seperate plugins – they could have bundled it into the same instrument.

Often on sale for $29 but still worth the full price.

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More than just a bass guitar plugin, these are complete virtual rock instrument giants. Bundling guitars, drums (see also the best drum VST plugins here), and of course basses – these include everything you need to build a virtual rock band.

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The EastWest sample lirbaries and virtual instruments are some of my favorite out there. They always offer such a high level of quality and flexibility that is rarely competed with.

EastWest’s Ministry of Rock virtual instruments are super powerful, and whilst they include a whole range of instruments they also have some fantastic bass sounds. Ministry 1 offers 4 unique electric basses covering a broad spectrum of low end sounds.

Ministry 1 includes a Fender 5-string bass, which has a super smooth sound with a load of bite and punch. You can switch between picked or fingered, and you can change amplifiers. It includes samples recorded through either an Ampeg or Ashdown Rig.

It also includes a Fender Precision bass which is ideal for funk, rock, and blues. It’s probably one of the most iconic bass sounds of all time. The recording in this plugin is fantastic, expressive, and realistic.

Third, the Kubicki Bass, which has more bite that made it popular for slapping. It was a headless bass with a unique, brighter tone. Finally the Spector Bass, which are beautiful instruments that often use active and passive pickups. It has a dark and heavy low end with a growl and tonal metallic twang.

You get palm mute and open note articulations – picked or fingered. Dual amp configurations for all recordings. Round-robin sampling for maximum realism and a natural sound.

The plugins include a mastering/mixing section that lets you process the sounds with studio-grade hardware emulations. This gives you the SSL channel strip, which is worth a few hundred bucks alone, also paired with the SSL Stereo Bus Compressor, which is an industry favorite with a distinct and satisfying sound. It also features a small effects section with reverb, delay, ADT, and envelope shaping.

The sounds are already quite shaped and don’t have a ‘raw’ sound. You don’t need to tweak them much to get production ready bass tone. These plugins are made exceptionally well, and offer TV grade quality.

What We Like

Professional quality worthy of TV and Film houses.

A range of bass guitar tones in one plugin.

Wide range of articulation

Know Before Buying

Big download size.

You’re paying for a full range of instruments, rather than just a bass.

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The Dan Dean Essential Bass pack contains 6 precise multi-sampled virtual bass instruments with a record-ready sound. Each plugin has a unique approach, but they all offer high functionality and versatility.

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This Essentials pack comes with 6 different Dan Dean bass plugins: Fender Telecaster, Washburn Fretless Bass, Alembic Spoiler, Alembic Fretless, Lull Jazz, and Fender Precision.

This range covers pretty much any bass tone you could need. They are all sample-based, so you’re getting the sound of six different real bass guitars for only $100 – that’s a steal!

Each plugin features an intuitive and deep user interface that provides a solid level of customization and editing. You get access to all the controls you need, including envelope, pitch, expression, and amp simulation.

The amp sim offers a range of different amp models to increase your options, including Modern, Acoustic, Classic, Subtle, Round, Wooden, and my favorite, Vintage.

The plugins also feature a separate FX editing page for further coloration. This comes with a 4 band EQ, and four configurable FX slots where you choose the effect – anything from a compressor, chorus, distortion, filter, phaser, reverb, delay, or others. This is then blended with a master dry/wet knob to find the perfect balance.

This plugin bundle comes with over 100 presets, so you won’t get stuck for inspiration. This plugin has a super realistic sound, thanks to using high-quality samples and Dan Dean’s expert audio production skills. They do come as 6 separate instruments, where perhaps it would make more sense to bundle them into one plugin, but it’s only a minor inconvenience.

What We Like

Six bass guitars in one.

Flexible FX section.

High-quality sampling.

Great value for money.

Know Before Buying

Slightly inconvinent design using seperate plugins for each.

Could give more control over extra sounds (fret noises, finger buzz etc)

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For metal lovers out there, this heavy bass simulator is a key tool. This Toontrack EZbass extension brings a crunchy palette of aggressive bass tones to your disposal.

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If you have EZbass and love metal, then I can’t recommend anything more. This EZbass expansion provides a huge amount of heat and weight

This is sampled in detail and captures a balanced metal bass tone that can work across the spectrum of metal. The sampling includes picked, finger, or slap articulations, so you can create the ideal bass performance for your track.

This can make a range of sounds from insane distortion to clean and clear. It comes with a range of output mixes, including bass amplifiers, or even a clean DI option. It comes with a bunch of presets, some even sound like synth basses.

EBX Metal comes bundled with a load of MIDI clips and basslines taking inspiration from iconic metal performances throughout history. Because it’s built on the main EZbass engine, it has all the arrangement and composition tools available from the base plugin.

What We Like

High energy metal bass guitar tones.

Also includes a custom MIDI library.

Loads of presets.

Simple but powerful interface.

Know Before Buying

You need Toontrack EZbass.

More suited for metal than other genres.

See On Amazon

This UJAM Bass bundle gives you 4 unique bass guitar plugins, each with a unique sound and approach to the instrument. This bundle offers a diverse range of bass sounds that covers nearly all the stops.

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The UJAM Virtual Bassists Bundle includes their 4 premium virtual bass instruments. This bundle comes with:

MELLOW 2 – Fingered bass with smooth, sleek tone.

ROWDY 2 – Picked bass with a powerful, punchy tone.

ROYAL 2 – Classy and expressive fingered bass.

DANDY – Retro, vintage, warm bass sounds.

All of these plugins work similarly, offering nearly identical features with a couple of minor differences which appeal to their sound style.

These plugins are sample-based but also come with a ‘Player’ section, which gives you a bunch of midi clips and riffs to instantly build basslines in any key. The smart system used to control the midi performances is very intuitive and lets you create a wide range of bass tablature with minimal effort.

Every plugin in the bundle has around 60 styles and over 1000 unique phrases.

Each version also features an EQ, compressor, and octaver effect to tweak the sound. These are a little more basic and streamlined than effects in other plugins in this list but let you sculpt tones quickly and easily. The octaver was a nice addition which isn’t commonly found in these plugins.

The instruments also come with 4 main controls at the center of their interface, which vary slightly between plugins. One control blends between the pickup positions, from neck to bridge.

The two middle controls change the character and amp simulation, and the final control is either a drive or reverb depending on the plugin. It’s great having the variation between each plugin to give them all a unique twist.

It also features a handy drop-D switch for alternative tunings, which changes the intonation slightly too.

All in all, this is a powerful and diverse virtual bass guitar plugin that has the capacity for professional situations. You can also buy each plugin individually if you don’t want everything in the bundle.

What We Like

4 unique and diverse bass guitar plugins.

Handy ‘player’ mode for building bassline and instant jams.

Decent level of customization.

Know Before Buying

Could all be delivered in a single plugin?

Relatively lacking in articulation range.

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Intense, fiery virtual bass instrument to bring scorching basslines to your music at a minimal cost. It’s built in the popular Kontakt Engine, which is required to run this plugin.

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The Odeholm Inferno Bass plugin is a heavy, high-octane virtual instrument designed to give you low end with attitude.

With a production-ready sound from the start, you can craft a more unique sound quickly and easily thanks to the 4 mixable channels (Clean, DI, Sub, and Grit). Each of these has radically different tones, so you can achieve a lot of sounds with this plugin despite its simple appearance.

The clean tones are bright and well defined, and the heavier sounds are warm, crunchy, and fat, just what you need from a bass guitar.

You can quickly tell that this plugin was made with a great level of attention to detail, the fact that it’s a single bass instrument but uses 6 GB of hard drive space shows that you are getting a tonne of high-quality recordings.

This is demonstrated by the 10 round robin layers, which means that it doesn’t reuse the same recording each time, resulting in a much more natural and human sound.

It’s worth noting that you will need the full version of Kontakt to run this. If you don’t own it already then you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.

What We Like

Distinct, aggressive style.

Uses samples from a 5-string bass.

Multiple velocities and amp tones.

Is built from over 4000 samples.

Know Before Buying

Requires full version of Kontakt.

Limited range of expression and articulation.

Large download size.

See On Amazon

Bonus Free Bass Guitar VST Plugin

Ample Bass P Lite II

A free plugin based on the Fender Precision bass, The Ample Bass P Lite II is a surprisingly high-quality plugin given that it’s free!

This Ample Sound plugin comes with a bunch of articulations, which are broader than some paid ones. The Ample Bass is built around a library of 440+ samples, and includes extended techniques like accents, pull-offs, hammer-ons, and sustain.

It comes with an ADSR envelope, controls for blending in fret buzz and finger noise, and a simple volume and tone control. This gives you a pretty decent level of control over the final sound from the plugin alone. Ample Sound lacks any kind of onboard effects, but that’s not an issue for a free plugin.

If you want to use the sound of a Fender Precision bass in your productions, then this free Ample bass guitar VST is an ideal choice for those on a tight budget.

Benefits

  • Multiple articulations and dynamics.
  • High-quality samples were recorded from a Fender P-Bass.
  • Simple, streamlined interface.
  • Free!

If you’re looking to mix your own tracks, EQ is essential, so check out my review of the best EQ plugins!

Buyers Guide for the Best Bass Guitar VST Plugins

When choosing bass VST plugins there are a few important factors to consider.

What kind of bass tones do you need?

Electric bass guitars are incredibly versatile instruments, with countless tones, genres, and playing styles to choose from. When choosing a virtual bass guitar instrument, make sure you pick one that has the sounds and styles you need.

Perhaps you want both acoustic basses and electric basses? Do you want a jazz bass, metal, or synth bass? Maybe you want something clean, or maybe you want a distorted tone. You can find plugins that can create almost any bass guitar sound you can imagine, although others are more limited (but usually cheaper). Upright basses are a type of acoustic bass which are also quite popular which you might be looking for.

Articulation

Articulation is a key concept within bass (and other instruments). There are a few common articulation types for bass guitars. Articulation is essentially the way a note is played.

You can play the same note in a nearly infinite number of expressive styles. Depending on the style of bass sound you are looking for, make sure you pick a bass guitar plugin that has the articulations and expressions you need.

The main articulation types for basses are Fingered, Picked, or Slapped.

Built-in effects

Would you need a plugin with built-in effects or do you already have enough in your arsenal? If you are new to music production then you might not have many effects plugins. Some bass plugins come with virtual effects (often simulating guitar pedals) which can help to quickly color your sound.

Midi Features or pure sound

Some bass guitar VSTs come with the ability to generate MIDI as well, not just the sound. This can be very useful in some cases, where quick inspiration is needed. Some plugins literally write the bassline for you.

Even if you only use the MIDI as a starting point, it can still be a good place to get inspiration or give you better jams if you don’t have a midi keyboard.

FAQs

What is a bass VST?

VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, which is a software extension designed for audio-related tasks. A bass VST is essentially a virtual bass guitar. These use sampled sounds and recordings from a real bass guitar to emulate a bass performance without it ever actually being played in real life.

What guitar VST is best?

The best guitar VST if you are looking for a plugin that processes guitar sounds – such as an amp or effects simulator then I would recommend something like Positive Grid BIAS.

Blue Cat’s Re-Guitar is another unique plugin that lets you simulate different pickups and guitar tones.

What is the best free guitar VST plugin?

The best free guitar VST plugin is Ample Guitar M Lite, which emulates an acoustic guitar. This plugin is simple but effective and has a satisfying, realistic, and rich tone.

Final thoughts!

This bass guitar plugin is a stable in the music industry. If you need a reliable plugin for scoring bass guitar EZbass is ideal, for sound designers and composers alike.
These are some of the best bass VST plugins if you are on a tight budget and need something simple but powerful. They sound great and are a lot of fun to play with.
Best for a full virtual rock band this is one of the best plugins around. The included electric bass guitars are fantastic though, and worth the money alone.

This concludes the review of the best bass guitar vsts. All of the bass guitar vsts on this list are great, it’s just a matter of picking the ones that suit the tasks you need them for. If you’re interested, check out my review of the best hip hop plugins and best sidechain plugins.