Hi there. My name is bigcat and I'm addicted to free digital musical instruments. I started out making lists of them over on Steam after I bought Cakewalk's beginner's Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Music Creator 6 touch. Since then I've made more lists and started creating my own free instruments.
This is a place to compile these different lists, point the way to other free lists and get suggestions from you about free instruments I've never heard of. I'll also rate free instruments and do mini-reviews and such, because I like to do that too.
There will be two basic types of lists, those that deal with instruments that require no monetary investment of any kind and those that use Kontakt.
Native Instruments sells Kontakt for $400 bucks, but I got it on sale for half price at $200. Still that is far from free. It is the standard in the modern digital instrument world much like Microsoft Windows is the standard OS. After your DAW, it is the single most important piece of software to own in the musical world. I'm not saying its right or wrong, but if you invest the $200 (wait for the sale) your palette of instruments will explode. Most of the instruments you find on these lists will be for Kontakt simply because their are more of them and the quality is generally better. Though again there will be lists that specifically avoid Kontakt and feature fully free instruments.
At some point I'll probably also point out some cheap alternatives that give you a ton of instruments in one package, what I paid for them (I'm dreadfully cheap) and what they sound like quality-wise.
Most of what I do and my interest lies in the realm of recreating acoustic instruments, but I'll also come up with a list of the more highly regarded free synths and probably take a look at things like sound effects as well.
I hope you have fun!