7 Best Ukulele VST Plugins 2024

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The ukulele is a charming little instrument with a distinct, high-pitched, mellow tone. There’s little denying its presence and legacy in island music, but in recent years, it has even invaded singer-songwriter, pop, and of course, happy go lucky corporate videos.

Capturing the sound of a stringed (and fretted) instrument and reducing it to a VST plugin is no easy task. But there are developers brave enough to take up the challenge. Which is good news, because it gives more producers access to quality ukulele sounds, they can use in their productions.

In this guide, we look at the best ukulele VST plugins.

Ukulele Collection by Wavesfactory – Best Overall

Ukulele Collection by Wavesfactory – Best Overall

Wavesfactory’s Ukulele Collection aims to be the ultimate realistic sounding ukulele library. Inside this package, you can expect to find major / minor strums, upstroke / downstroke, noise, various chord types (like major, minor 7, add9, among others).

The ukulele was captured in a dry studio environment in stereo, complete with three round robin and five velocity layers.

You can further tweak the sound of the ukulele by utilizing the onboard effects – amp sims, EQ, compressors, modulation (chorus, flanger, phaser), distortion / saturation / tape, and algorithmic and convolutional reverb with 40+ custom impulse responses.

The settings page gives you access to all essential parameters, including round robin, dynamic range, velocity curve, and a doubler.

All in all, Ukulele Collection sounds quite nice. As I hinted at in the intro, capturing the authentic and realistic sound of a plucked / picked uke is no easy task, and this Kontakt library isn’t quite there. What it sounds like, at least to me, is a ukulele being played on a piano.

That said, the strums sound almost sound 100% realistic, which is encouraging.

Ukulele Collection requires the full version of Kontakt 5.7.3 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Acou6tics by Vir2 Instruments – Best Premium Option

Acou6tics by Vir2 Instruments – Best Premium Option

Vir2 Instruments is a studious developer, and their Acou6tics plugin was originally inspired by their electric guitar equivalent, Electri6ity.

This selection comes with not one, not two, but six instruments – ukulele, guitalele, steel-string guitar, nylon string guitar, 12-string guitar, and mandolin.

Vir2 captured an astonishing 4,000 to 8,000 samples per instrument, incorporating sustains, mutes, legatos, slides, releases, chucka-chuckas, harmonics, and even FX.

But it doesn’t stop there. This entry comes with some amazing features like adjustable mic distance (virtual room), sympathetic resonance, advanced strum engine, picking engine, guitar chord detection (nearly 25,000 chords recognized), string and fretboard positioning, guitar noise, and vibrato.

Within a full mix, Acou6tics sounds quite amazing, and that’s probably what this plugin was created for. That isn’t to say the instruments sound bad solo, but you can pick up on a slight bit of unrealism – at times, the guitars sound more like harpsichords.

But Vir2 has nevertheless taken on something very difficult, and they’ve ended up with a creation worthy of exploration.

This makes Acou6tics our best premium option. For those who only need ukulele sounds, it’s probably too much plugin, but if you think you might be able to incorporate other stringed instrument sounds into your projects, you’ll like it a lot.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Strings by AudioThing – Best Budget Option

Strings by AudioThing – Best Budget Option

AudioThing’s Strings is a budget friendly Kontakt library featuring samples from iZotope Iris. In creating this offering, AudioThing captured a soprano ukulele, autoharp, toy harp, Chinese violin, and a Squier bass. They then turned the source material into a mix of synths, drones, pads, soundscapes, and effects.

As you can gather from the interface, your main controls are the FX section, with distortion, chorus, delay, and tremolo, and the envelope section, with attack and release. Simple.

While it might not be the ultimate selection if you’re trying to track down a dedicated ukulele VST plugin, Strings is surprisingly capable when it comes to scoring, composing, and sound design. So, there’s a good chance it would fit nicely layered in the background.

In total, Strings comes with 50 Kontakt NKIs and 50 samples.

Strings requires the full version of Kontakt 4 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Acoustic Legends HD by Vir2 Instruments

Acoustic Legends HD by Vir2 Instruments

Vir2 Instruments’ Acoustic Legends HD was primarily created for steel-string guitars, nylon string guitars, 12-string guitars, and acoustic bass. It just so happens to include a bonus folder, complete with ukulele, mandolin, and banjo.

There are an array of articulations and playing styles included, depending on the result you’re aiming for – single notes, finger picked, plastic picked, harmonic chords, mutes, and chord banks.

12 chord types in different positions are available in the chord bank, with an optional capo control, downstrokes / upstrokes, muted strums, and even body knocks.

There are variation patches for every instrument utilizing delay, chorus, phasers, choruses, flangers, compressors, and other unconventional effects.

Also included are onscreen EQ controls, a built-in reverb module, stereo width control, MIDI CC, and multitimbral functionality (up to 64 simultaneous instruments). There’s a total of 19 GB of acoustic guitar samples included in 24-bit / 96 kHz fidelity.

Acoustic Legends HD doesn’t sound bad at all, especially in a full mix. Occasionally, the guitars come out sounding more like harpsichords than guitars, but that is the challenge with sampled guitar sounds in general.

Acoustic Legends HD requires Kontakt Player.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

VI.ONE by Vir2 Instruments

More than anything, Vir2 Instruments’ VI.ONE is known for one thing – for being a serious workhorse in the studio, any time you need access to an instrument sound you simply don’t have.

It’s ideal for demos and sketching, because the sound quality of the instruments isn’t top notch, but barring all other options, of course you can use it for principle recording too. And we do find some of the sounds are better than others.

VI.ONE includes multiple stringed and fretted instruments, like ukulele, steel-string, 12-string, nylon,  banjo, mandolin, among others. Of course, it has a ton of other instruments in different categories.

At this price point, VI.ONE is excellent value. It probably won’t be of much interest to you if a dedicated virtual ukulele is what you need. But one thing VI.ONE can do is fill any gaps you might have in your virtual instrument collection, in a hurry.

VI.ONE requires the full version of Kontakt.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Newmello Collection by Wavesfactory

Newmello Collection by Wavesfactory

The mellotron is an iconic instrument, utilized by the likes of King Crimson, The Rolling Stones, and of course, The Beatles.

Wavesfactory’s Newmello Collection offers the same basic sound and functionality of a mellotron while giving you access to 75 instrument patches and several effects – EQ, multiple compressors, chorus, flanger, phaser, distortion / saturation / tape, algorithmic and convolutional reverb, and amp sims to boot.

Instead of sampling the Mellotron M400, though, Wavesfactory sampled instruments into a lo-fi cassette tape, to create a very versatile, vibey, lo-fi instrument collection.

Yes, of course there’s a ukulele sound, but you’ll find a multitude of others as well – grand piano, Rhodes, pipe organ, melodica, bells, upright bass, acoustic guitar, violin, clarinet, and flute, among many others.

Users shouldn’t necessarily expect anything way out of the extraordinary here. Newmello Collection sounds quite nice, and the effects are also useful, but if you’re not after a lo-fi kind of vibe, it’s probably not going to satisfy your every whim.

Also, it wasn’t made to do ukulele exclusively, but rather to offer a variety of sounds fed through a cassette tape.

Newmello Collection requires the full version of Kontakt 5.7.3 or above.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

QuickAG by United Plugins

QuickAG by United Plugins

One of the challenges of recording a fretted and stringed instrument (like the ukulele) in your tracks is that it can be difficult to figure out the right effects chain to achieve ideal results.

Now, many of the plugins featured here may have a processed sound out of the box, or at least let you process it with onboard effects, but if you’re working with a very dry, boring, stale sound, then you need United Plugins’ QuickAG.

QuickAG sets out to make the mixing of ukuleles, mandolins, and acoustic guitars easier. In fact, the developer says you can get your tones dialed in mere seconds.

This is possible thanks to the selector window, which lets you choose exactly the instrument you’re looking to tune. QuickAG will automatically set the EQ and compressor to the best settings.

But manual tweaking is allowed. Which is why United Plugins gives you access to the EQ, compressor, reverb, and XTRA sections, all with their own parameters. The XTRA section, by the way, is for increasing the size of the guitar with stereo width.

This multi-effect plugin is a nice tool to keep around, especially if you find yourself mixing many acoustic instruments.

But in case there’s any doubt – QuickAG is not capable of producing a ukulele sound. This is for mixing the sound of your uke (or other acoustic instruments) only!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Ukulele VST Plugin?

Virtual synths and pianos may be available in abundance, but it’s a different story when it comes to the ukulele. There are only so many developers who’ve taken it upon themselves to create a virtual uke, and that means sound quality has only had so much time to evolve.

If you’ve come this far into this guide not sure which VST plugin(s) to purchase, don’t panic. It really boils down to a few key criteria, all of which we’ve covered below. That includes sound quality, features, and budget.

So, let’s do a deeper dive into each, so you can end up with a plugin you’re happy with.

Sound Quality

In considering the sound quality of a virtual instrument, authenticity or realism is sure to be a major consideration.

As I’ve already shared, the ukulele, as with the guitar, isn’t the easiest instrument in the world to bring to life in the digital world. There are just so many nuances to playing the instrument that creating fluidity between transitions (e.g., from a strummed part to a pluck part) is a real challenge.

That said, it’s not all bad news. The virtual ukuleles featured here are all very capable in their own right. If you can’t play the ukulele, don’t know anyone who does, and don’t have the time to money to invest in learning the uke or hiring a session player, VST plugins are still the way to go.

Plus, these virtual ukuleles do tend to sound nice in a full mix, which is also encouraging. Not that you need to “cover up” the sound of a virtual instrument, but in instances where you need to create believability in the mix, it’s not beyond the scope of things that matter in considering a purchase like this.

If a dedicated ukulele is all you need, then Wavesfactory’s Ukulele Collection is really your only option, but its sound is worth comparing to the ukulele sounds found in Acou6tics, Acoustic Legends HD, and VI.ONE too.

At the end of the day, you’re the one that’s going to be using the VST, so it’s best that you take some time to listen to the audio clips and watch the video demos / reviews available. This should give you a good idea of what you like and what’s going to work for you.

Features

Different features matter to different people. But one of the things most producers will probably be looking for is articulations.

Ukuleles can be strummed, picked, and finger picked, each producing a distinct sound. Of course, there are plenty of other articulations, though, like hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, mutes, body knocks, and more.

The good news is that the developers generally tell you what’s included with their virtual instrument, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

Built-in chords, while not essential, can also speed up the writing and arranging process. Chords provide the backing in just about any music you can name, so not having to program them one note at a time can certainly be a time saver, especially if you’re not much for music theory.

Although not a requirement, effects can be a nice addition to a plugin as well. First off, they give you the opportunity to sculpt the tone of the instrument. They even let you take the instrument beyond its natural capabilities.

Second, built-in effects can cut down on the need to create your own effects chain, and that can help you save on CPU power as well.

This should not be considered a comprehensive look at all the features available in a plugin like this, but rather a deductive reasoning process you can apply to all features. Thinking about features in this way can help you identify what you need, and that can speed up the selection process.

Budget

Shopping for a virtual ukulele? Great! Products are available in the $12 to $400 range, where a solid, dedicated ukulele VST will only run you about $59 – not an amount that should break the bank!

But we do encourage you to consider your budget alongside all given factors. Your budget can be used as a filter to rule out options that aren’t realistic right now. Further, as we don’t recommend going into debt, consulting your budget before a purchase should be considered mandatory.

Generally, it’s always a good idea to find a plugin that offers good value to cost. This won’t be the right direction to go for every buyer, but it’s a good place to look for most.

Top Ukulele VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

When it comes to ukulele VST plugins, there aren’t too many of them out there. But the ones available are very competent. That’s excellent news for any producer requiring a great sounding virtual ukulele for their projects.

Having come this far into the guide, you should know all the ins and outs of finding the right solution for you. We wish you all the best on your recording journey. Let us know how it goes!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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