As someone who's played bass for nearly 30 years, I take my bass sounds seriously. But if you can't find a real bass player to hold things down, you'd be amazed at the incredible results you can get from the best bass VST plugins.
So here are the 11 best basses acoustic and electric bass plugins. And if you're looking for the best bass synthesizers read this review.
From punchy lows to growly mids to funky slap and pops to smooth upright action, bass virtual instruments can play a convincing role in any style of track you put together. The bass plugins recommended below are for all budgets and styles.
Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.
|🏆 Trillian Bass
|Heavocity Scoring Bass
|Ample Sound Upright Bass
🏆 Trillian Bass - The Best Bass Guitar VST Overall 🏆
It’s hard to define the ‘best’ bass VST out there, since each artist has their own unique tastes, and different styles of music production have thier own requirements. I'm a Fender guy, but other (fools) might swear by a Rickenbacker or an Ibanez.
Thankfully, with the power of plugins and a decent midi controller, you can to tap into a world of sound from your home studio.
So first plugin on the market I'd recommend - and the only one you may ever need is Trilian Bass Virtual from Spectrasonics. This is arguably the best bass guitar VST, and is the heavily sought after successor of the award-winning Trilofy software, and includes enhanced versions of the original patches in addition to a slew of new and customizable electric, acoustic and synth basses.
It's the only bass plugin you'll ever need, with meticulous samples of everything from electric bass (including all the major models of real bass guitars, like the Fender precision bass & fretless bass) to acoustic basses to more avant garde sounds like the Chapman stick. It even includes some classic synth bass sounds!
This Trilian Bass VST also includes a ‘Round Robin’ feature which gives repeated notes (a staple of groovy basslines) a human feel instead of a mechanical one at the flick of a switch. One of the big reasons Trillian has become an industry standard is its control allowing you to create realistic bass parts by easily triggering different techniques, like slides. With a little work, it can sound indistinguishable from the real thing.
You’ll be able to find any sound you need with ease by using the Spectrasonics browser that lets you filter sound by attributes, images and tags. On top of that, you've got the ability to use 33 built-in effects to perfectly sculpt your bass tones. All in all, the Trilian Bass VST is the best on the market for an all-around plugin. It also includes one of the best acoustic bass VSTs out there.
Pros of Trilian Bass Plugin:
Incredible sound quality
Huge library of different basses & effects
- Intelligent scripting
- Best bass guitar VST
Cons of Trilian Bass Plugin:
- Somewhat dated interface
Komplete Ultimate - The Ultimate Best Bass Plugin
If you have the money to splash on something truly top-class, then the best electric bass plugin is included in the Komplete Ultimate 14. This expert-level plugin has over 600GB of content with over 45,000 sounds to choose from. It includes tons of the best plugins, like the Monark (an amazing bass synthesizer for electronic music), electric guitar and acoustic guitar software instruments (so you can easily double your bass parts, for example), and tons of different sounds.
Not only are there current industry-standard virtual instruments, but this software gives you access to Komplete’s forward-looking effects (like incredible compressors & EQs) that will lead the industry for years to come.
The bass module has countless combinations and possibilities to choose from. Komplete is loaded with some of the best electric bass VST plugins around, including Fender bass instruments, a classic 70’s electric bass (Musicman), Rickenbacker 4003 electric bass all able to be played through multiple amp designs.
In fact, it even includes an amp modeler (Guitar Rig 6 - one of the best amp simulators) with tons of effects pedals and bass amp, speaker and mic choices! Plus there's a delicious upright bass, best in class bass synths (like Massive and Monark) and a whole world of creative tools.
Although not the cheapest option, you definitely get what you pay for with the Komplete Ultimate plugin, getting access to a ton of different sounds suitable different styles.
Pros of Komplete Ultimate for Bass
- Great sounding instruments
- Simple interface
- Tons of features and effects
- Amp modeling
Cons of Komplete Ultimate
Best Physically Modeled Bass
MODO BASS 2 elevates the game from its groundbreaking predecessor, IK’s first-of-its-kind, physically modeled bass virtuoso in a digital format. For us producers, the quest for that perfect bass tone is never-ending. MODO BASS 2.0 is like having a bass legend on speed dial, delivering the nuanced sound and feel of a top-tier instrument, all wrapped up in the convenience of a plug-in.
MODO BASS stands alone as the pioneer technology that simulates the entire bass-playing process. Ditching the old-school sample-based approach, it employs modal synthesis to inject vitality into your bass lines. It meticulously simulates how each string interacts with the musician's touch, the fretboard, the body, and pickups, capturing the essence of a real bass performance. Then, leveraging IK’s analog modeling finesse, it layers on the authentic sounds of an electric bass amp and effects rig.
This ends up sounding more natural while also saving a ton of hard drive space. Plus, it introduces advanced controls and even more gateways into the MODO BASS universe.
With MODO BASS 2.0, your palette expands to 22 iconic models, including the original 14 plus eight novel additions to cater to any musical genre as well as tons of built in grooves.
Best Slap Bass Plugin
When searching for the best slap bass plugin, look no further than the Scarbee Jay Bass from Komplete. This cost-effective plugin has an unbelievable slap bass tone right out of the box along with over 6,000 samples and four velocity layers giving you the ability to experiment with endless articulations and playing techniques. The Scarbee Jay bass is may favorite slap bass VST, for tone and ease of use!
This bass is sampled from a late 1970’s jazz bass and has three different pick-up positions to choose from. If you're look for that tight funk sound, this is the choice for you.
And just a heads up - I'd really recommend staying away from the Waves Bass Slapper. It feels really loose and fake!
It is so realistic that you can slide between chords and feel the timbre changes when you move between high and low frets. This plugin is created by Thomas Hansen Skarbye whose brand has become synonymous with world-class sound quality and playability which is why he has been chosen to work with artists like Alicia Keys and Nile Rogers.
All in all, the Scarbee Jay Bass from Komplete is and will continue to be the best slap bass plugin on the market.
Best Bass Plugin under $100
You don’t need to sell your house for access to an amazing bass plugin. The best bass plugin on the market under $100 is the Heavyocity Scoring Bass for Kontakt.
This plugin comes fully equipped with a huge library of turnkey bass samples. Plus, you can choose from over 100 pre-made grooves and rhythmic pedals. Choose from one of three multi-samples basses: a Warwick, a Sire and a Ken Smith with the ability to purchase other basses.
Finally, the user interface is completely intuitive. Knobs and buttons make up the entirety of the plugin and you can quickly and easily tweak the sample by adjusting basic effects, level, pan and start point. The Heavyocity Scoring Bass plugin is certainly worth considering if you are on a tight budget.
Best Value Bass Plugin (Often on Sale for Under $100)
When looking at the best all-around value for your future bass plugin, the conversation wouldn’t be complete without mentioning another product by Komplete. The Komplete Select bundle is certainly the best value bass plugin on the market today. This software comes loaded with a lot of great choices all under one roof.
Komplete Ultimate is can often be found on sale for less than $100. It includes classic bass sounds like:
- Scarbee Rickenbocker Bass
- Soul Sessions
Komplete Select also features a sleek UI, an award-winning sampling engine and three new instrument libraries. With more instruments than ever before, Komplete will scratch every artistic itch you have. There’s also a slew of useful tools such as studio-style EQ, dynamics, bus compression and a solid mix series. Hands down, the serious musician will find the best value bass plugin to be the Komplete bundle.
Best Upright Bass Plugin for Hip Hop and Modern Music
Ujam Mellow 2 is the perfect upright bass plugin for modern sounding music. It has incredible scripting for effortless slides and glides, a punchy tone, and lots of customizability. On top of that, if writing bass parts isn't your thing it comes pre-programmed with tons of basslines that you can use to get started.
The interface is simple and straightforward, but allows a lot of powerful choices. You can select the character of the bass as well as the picking position to tweak your tone. From there, you can choose your preferred micing position and blend in the desired amount of room mic.
But that's not all! There's a powerful and highly usable onboard effect engine with a bunch of super powerful options. You can also blend in a built in octaver, compressor and equalizer. Ujam Mellow even includes the option to use Drop-D tuning!
Best Jazzy/Classic Upright Bass VST Plugin
Why lug around a giant upright bass when you can get a completely realistic sound with the AmpleSound Upright Bass III plugin?
This nifty piece of software allows you to choose from a wide variety of upright bass models to use for your tracks. Each upright bass VST (aka a Double Bass VST) includes a realistic fretboard with a catalogue of styles including sustain, natural harmonic, hammer on and pull off, slide in and slide out and legato at random length.
You can even utilize the software’s tab player for popular tablature formats.
Overall, the AmpleSound Upright Bass III plugin is perfect for any artist looking to emulate an upright bass without the hassle of physically owning one.
Pros of the AmpleSound Upright Bass III
- Great sound
- Slick interface
- Variety of upright basses to chose from
Cons of the AmpleSound Upright Bass III
Honorable Mention Upright Bass Plugin - Native Instrument's Cuba
Komplete by Native Instruments also includes a really nice sounding upright bass hidden in the Cuba Discovery series soundpack. For ease of use and sound quality, this is often my "go to" upright bass. It's just an excellent sounding acoustic bass VST that I find really inspiring.
Best Free Electric Bass Plugin - Ample Bass P Lite II
On the other end of the spectrum, you can get a completely FREE electric bass plugin that rivals the paid ones which is the Ample Bass P-Lite II by Ample Sound. This free version of their beautiful Ample Bass P. The lite version of the plugin features a whopping 443 samples with styles including hammer on/pull off, accent and sustain.
The Rich Fingering Noise feature makes your tracks sound more vivid and authentic. The plugin also includes a tab player in which you can load and play specific tracks in multiple tablature file formats. The system is smart enough to automatically add articulations when it thinks it’s appropriate like slapping the strings or body.
All that is required for this electric bass plugin is 6GB of hard disk space and Windows Vista (or newer) or Mac OS X10.7 (or higher). Feel free to check out the plugin for free and determine for yourself how good the Ample Bass P-Lite II plugin is.
Runner-Up Best Free Bass Plugin
The 4Front Bass is my runner up for best free bass plugin. It's biggest plus is that it's free and that it takes up almost no space.
4Front Bass is a streamlined instrument plugin that delivers the rich sound of a bass guitar without any complex settings to tweak. It's readily available for Windows as a VSTi and for Mac users, it comes in AudioUnit, VSTi, and RTAS formats (detailed in the included readme file). Designed to be lightweight, this plugin shines in its minimal impact on CPU resources. It serves as an ideal bass guitar module that gets up and running without the need for intricate adjustments.
Best Free Upright Bass Plugin
If you want to get more granular and shoot for an authentic upright bass sound without spending a penny, check out Meatbass by Karoryfer. This plugin is modeled after the 1958 Otto Rubner double bass. You can find this great upright bass VST free at KVR Audio.
The realistic sound you get from Meatbass is fueled by sample styles including vibrato, legato mode and the polyphonice mode.
This plugin also includes six-voice and three-voice versions which are ideal for hip-hop or EDM tracks. You receive 434 samples all for just a 242MB download. With all of these features in a completely free package, it’s no-brainer solution for any level artist that is ready to go right now.
Or, if you're looking for something a little different, here are the best free VST synth plugins.
Conclusion - Which Bass VST is Best for You?
When it comes to choosing the best bass plugin for you, I recommend getting one that will last you a life time. And there's really only two choices: Trilian and Komplete. Both offer a world of great sounding basses, but where as Trilian is exclusive focused on the world of bass, Komplete includes a lot of bass options, plus tons of different instruments from pianos to drums to synths.
The choice will really depend on what you need next for your studio, but you can't go wrong with either. Or do you think there's another choice for you that is even better? Leave a comment below!
From a Frustrated Producer in a Ragtag Bedroom Studio to Major Placements on TV Earning $1,000s!
My name is Evan, and I've been making music since around 3rd grade. I'm from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Washington, DC for the last 20 years.
While I still have a full-time day job, I have created systems that have allowed me to produce dozens of songs a year in my spare time.
My songs have been on Netflix, TV shows like the 90 Day Fiance, an award-winning indie film, and NPR’s “All Thing Considered.” They've also been streamed millions of times.
In addition to being a music producer, I am passionate about teaching people how they can make professional-sounding music and earn money licensing it, all in their spare time.
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