How to Install Guitar Rig (or any Native Instruments VST) on Linux

This is a super simple guide – the only reason I’m making it is because Native Access (the required application to install any NA VSTs) generally crashes on Linux, and I haven’t seen any guides or forum posts that document how to get around this.

Install Wine

On most Linux distributions, you will have to enable non-free repositories in order to install WINE. If you’re unsure of how to do this, a quick Google search will show you the steps required to install WINE on your OS.

Download Native Access

Download the Native Access Windows installer from: https://www.native-instruments.com/en/specials/native-access/

And install it using WINE

cd ~/Downloads
unzip Native_Access_Installer.zip
cd Native_Access_Installer
wine Native\ Access\ 1.12.1\ Setup\ PC.exe 

Run Native Access

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/Native\ Instruments/Native\ Access/Native\ Access.exe 

Follow the prompts on the user interface to login to your Native account, then download the VSTs you want.

I recommend only downloading one at a time – it’s more than likely that Native Access will crash after downloading a VST. My best guess is that the installer fails to mount the ISO under Linux, doesn’t know how to handle it, and crashes.

Native Access crashing on my system after downloading Guitar Rig

Mount the VST’s ISO and Run its Installer

At this point, your VST will have already downloaded despite Native Access crashing. I do not recommend re-downloading the VST, because you already have the ISO locally on your computer.

The easiest way to run the installer would be to navigate to the WINE Downloads folder and mount the ISO from there using your File browser. Since I’m running GNOME and my username is marcelo, the command would be:

nautilus ~/.wine/drive_c/users/marcelo/Downloads

Otherwise if you’re unsure how to open this folder from the Terminal, open your File browser, enable hidden files, navigate to .wine, and continue navigating until you find the ISO of the VST you downloaded.

The ISO

And then mount the ISO

On GNOME you can either double-click the ISO or right-click it and select Open with Disk Image Mounter

At this point, another window should open revealing a MacOS installer and a Windows installer

Open the Windows installer with WINE either by double clicking it, right-clicking and selecting WINE, or navigating to the folder in a Terminal and typing

wine Guitar\ Rig\ 5\ 5.2.2\ Setup\ PC.exe 

Run your VSTs

Your VSTs will install at ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Native Instruments/

Now you can run your VSTs under FL Studio running on WINE, or you could use an application like Carla with Windows bridges to run your VSTs in a native Linux DAW like Bitwig.

Additional Steps: Getting Guitar Rig to Run Under a Native Linux DAW

Lastly, if you want Guitar Rig to run inside of a Linux DAW, you need to configure an application called Carla.

Carla is a low-latency wrapper that allows Windows VSTs to run from a JACK server.

Debian

The steps to install Carla will vary by distribution, but for Debian, the packages you need to install are enabled on the KXStudio repository and the instructions are available on the KXStudio website.

https://kx.studio/Repositories

After enabling the repositories, install these packages:

sudo apt install carla carla-bridge-win64 carla-bridge-win32

Arch

Carla should be available from the standard arch repo, and its bridges are definitely available from the Arch user repositories (correct me if I’m wrong). You can install them by running

sudo pacman -S carla
cd ~/Downloads
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/carla-bridges.git
cd carla-bridges
makepkg -s
sudo pacman -U carla-bridges...tar.gz

Override msvcr120.dll in Wine Configuration

Guitar Rig won’t properly initialize within Carla unless you override msvcr120 from within Wine’s configuration.

In a Terminal, type:

winecfg

Then navigate to Libraries, click the combo box and find msvcr120, then click add. At this point, your Wine config window should look like this:

The correct configuration to get Guitar Rig to work

Enable Bridges Within Carla

Open Carla and open the configuration settings.

From here, check the box “Enable experimental features” and two more tabs on the left will reveal themselves.

Go to the experimental tab and check the boxes “Enable plugin bridges”, “Enable Wine bridges” and “Enable jack applications”

Then select OK at the bottom.

Add Native Instruments to Carla’s Browser

As opposed to adding the VST location to Carla’s search path, I’ve found that Carla works much better when you add VSTs from its file browser.

Open your DAW and add a Carla-Rack to your session. Then, use the + button on the left side to add the location of Native Instrument’s VSTs – you may need to enable hidden files from your file prompt.

~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Native Instruments

Carla running in Bitwig

Then simply drag and drop Guitar Rig into the rack, and behold! Guitar Rig on Linux