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Hair Metal Plugin Heaven

Hair metal is now for the most part a dead genre for now with the exception of a few modern bands like Steel Panther holding it together plus all the old stars still doing festivals and small tours. Most look back at this stage with at least some level of humor and how could they not? Even just the standard “look” of the era is a clear and concise reason to crack a smile or two when the hair metal topic comes up.

Some would say the main good thing to come from the era was that the entire scene was packed solid with shredders, some of which went on to be guitar legends. It was basically an arms race on the Sunset strip with bands competing for shred supremacy. Every band was trying to out do each other with more shred, bigger drum kits, higher vocals, more amps, more hairspray, more indoor pyro and so on. As a result, the technical prowess on display was staggering to say the least even if the material was a wee bit on the soft side.

Hair metal was also an age of gear obsession for many players. Digital gear became more and more of a fixture, solid-state amps started gaining traction, the Floyd Rose was nearly an industry standard and with appearance being paramount, 412 cabs were always stacked to the rafters of even dive bars. The Marshall JCM800 was a hugely dominant amp with the Mesa Mark Series amps being next up and then amps like the Randall RG100, ADA MP1 rigs and a collection of others made up the rest.

We picked out our favorite amp sims and pedal plugins for the creation of hair metal shred. There are however many.

Enjoy!

AMP SIMS

AUDIORITY SOLIDUS RANDY 250

  • Based on the Randall RG100es and RH150
  • Includes Pre and Post EQ components
  • IRs from Redwirez, Dr.Bonkers, Seacow Cabs and more

BRAINWORX ENGL E765 RETRO TUBE

  • Fully-licensed by Engl
  • Can go from clean to maximum high gain with quality and little effort

BRAINWORX ROCKRACK

  • Engl, Fender, Roland, Marshall, Mesa and more in one plugin
  • A simple, affordable and effective way to get a lot of great tones for any style

KUASSA AMPLIFIKATION CALIBURN

  • Includes great modeled versions of the 800, 900 and JTM45
  • Standard and modded channels for all three amps

MERCURIALL AUDIO REAXIS

Based on the very popular Mesa Boogie Triaxis that was meant to provide Mark Series tones in a boxPlays original Triaxis presets

MERCURIALL AUDIO SPARK

  • Includes four iconic Marshall amp (800, AFD, Plexi + more)
  • Boost pedals and complete post-FX section

NEMBRINI BST 100 V1 / V2

  • The best plugins on the market based on the SLO100
  • V1 and V2 are different plugins with V2 being a little better

NEMBRINI MRH 810 V1 / V2

  • Only plugins modeled from the Marshall JCM 800 2210 model
  • V1 and V2 are different plugins with V2 being a bit better overall

NEMBRINI AUDIO SOUNDMASTER

  • Only plugin modeled from the Fender Tone Master
  • Great for any type of rock right up to vintage thrash heaven

NEURAL DSP FORTIN CALI SUITE

  • Not based on an amp from the 80s but it features many mods that originated in the era
  • Versatile amp capable of everything from clean to ultra high gain rhythm and lead tones

SOFTUBE JMP 2203

  • Fully-licensed by Marshall
  • Part of a collection of the most authentic sounding / operating Marshall plugins on the market

SOFTUBE PLEXI SUPER LEAD 1959

  • Another product fully-licensed by Marshall
  • Hyper-realistic tones in this plugin as well as all of the other Softube Marshall offerings

STL TONALITY HOWARD BENSON

  • Not all 80s amps but all amps capable of terrific rock rhythm & lead tones
  • Signature plugin from Howard Benson, Chris Lord Alge and Mike Plotnikoff

PEDALS

AUDIORITY PEDALBOARD DISTORTIONS

  • High quality pedal plugins that can be purchased together or separately for great prices
  • DS-1, Big Muff, HM2 and other stomps included! Grab em’ all.

NEMBRINI AUDIO ANALOG RACK BUNDLE

  • Screamer, fuzz, phaser, chorus and much more available in the bundle
  • There are few FREE plugins in the bunch, try them today to hear the quality!

SKNOTE PEDALBENCH

  • A stellar quality collection of mostly vintage effects
  • Flanger, chorus, phaser, Uni-Vibe, delay and so much more

TC ELECTRONICS VINTAGE GUITAR PEDAL BUNDLE

  • A plugin collection of some of the 80s most popular stomps
  • Includes the legendary TCE Booster / Distortion

TSE R47 – (FREE)

  • The best free version of the ProCo RAT
  • Older plugin but still performs like something released yesterday
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