As a guitar player, one of the best things you can do to improve your skills is to practice.
Practice and then practice some more.
And while practicing, you need a good amplifier that brings out the nuances and details in your playing sessions.
A good amp will get you excited every time you want to practice and actually make you ditch any excuse you have for skipping practice sessions.
But when it comes to picking the best modeling amp for your guitar, there are some things you need to consider before you make a choice.
These considerations will ensure that you make the best choice and get great value for your money.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 5 best modeling amplifiers for your guitar, things you need to consider before you make a purchase, why you need a guitar modifier and how to get the best value from your purchase.
What is a modeling amp?
According to Wikipedia, a modeling amp is a hardware that helps you digitally emulate the sounds of a physical amplifier.
So insteading logging around as many amplifiers as you need for a gig, a simple modeling amplifier with a lot of effects will get you as many guitar “amplifier” sounds as you need.
Here are some terms that you need to know.
- Effects - These are the predefined settings that will come with your purchase and which you can use for different sounds. Basically the more expensive the amp is, the more effects you can expect it will have.
- Number of channels.
- Reverb settings
What are the benefits of using a modeling amp?
Among guitar players today, everyone that I have spoken to has had something good to say about using guitar amplifiers.
Here are some of the benefits of having a good amplifier in your setup.
- It reduces the need for you to haul large equipment around
- It helps to shape the tone of your sound
- It helps to ensure that your sound can be easily controlled and remains consistent especially when used as part of a DAW
- It is very versatile as you can switch from different in built effects without having to actually buy them.
Things to consider before buy a modeling amp
1. Is it a Head or Combo amp?
This is probably one of the most important things you need to consider before you buy a guitar modeling amplifier.
Simply put a combo amp is one which has one or more speakers in the wooden casing while a head or regular amp does not include the speakers.
Basically there is no difference in quality between the two types.
The only difference is what you want to use them for. For example if you play a lot of outdoor gigs, then a head amp is recommended as you get more power when setting it up.
But if you play in clubs and indoors, then a compo amplifier will be ideal for you.
2.What is the power and size of the speakers?
While this is only applicable if you are going for a combo amp, it is also very important to consider it before making a buying decision.
The simple truth is that most amps are limited by the type of speakers attached to them. As such if you have a good speaker attached to your amp, then you will enjoy using.
Basically what you want to look out for are amps with at least 12 inches speakers.
This will guarantee that your speakers have the right power to be used anywhere.
3. What is the number of channels?
You also want to make sure that your amp has a good number of channels - at least 2 channels should be the minimum.
This is because with your amp, you can easily control the amount of distortion you get just by adjusting the channels
The more channels you have, the easier and better it is for you to get the precise sound that you desire.
4. Is it durable and built to last?
Most guitar amps are built using wood, but the thickness and the quality of the wood will determine the sound produced.
Basically you want to go for amps that have at least ½ inches wood thickness.
This is because anything less and your amp might fall off and become not stable on the ground.
Here is a Youtube video showing you some of the things you need to look out for.
Our Top 5 Best Modeling Amps
1. Yamaha THR5 10-Watt Desktop Guitar Combo Amp
The Yamaha THR5 is a guitar combo amp that is made for guitar players who love that gritty and rock sound effect.
It comes with five classic amp models and also a lot of effects which makes it very easy for you to set up and get that sound you desire.
It is made from durable material which makes it very portable and lightweight and it can also be run on batteries.
This is one amp that is made with guitarists in mind and developed by Yamaha’s award winning technology that offers superior sound and quality.
2. Fender Mustang Electric Guitar Amplifier
The Fender Mustang Amplifier is a head amplifier that is very versatile and comes with a lot of options for use.
It is a 150 watts power beast that gives it enough power to be used both indoors and outdoors.
It has one channels which although makes it a little difficult to use, is also a good thing because you get to master just one effect at a time.
It has control knobs for a wide range of effects such as reverb, gain, volume, treble, delay.
It has a USB port which makes it very easy to connect your other media players.
If you are new to recording and you need something to hookup to your DAW, then this is the ideal choice for you.
3. Line 6 Spider V 60 Wireless Ready Modeling Amplifier
This is a modeling amp that is much more technologically enhanced and delivers superior quality sounds when used.
It has a lot of built in amp models and effects making it very easy for you to begin tweaking to get that sound you want.
It also has full range speakers which sounds awesome when using it with electric, acoustic or even with vocals.
It can be easily connected to other media devices using the wireless connectivity. This makes it ideal for use outdoors or indoors where you want to avoid wires and connections.
It has 128 well made presets including iconic rigs and classic artist tones. This makes it very easy to setup and begin playing.
It has built in tuner, metronome and real drummer loops which makes it very easy for you to stick to the tempo of a song when playing.
4. VOX MINI3G2BK Battery Powered Modeling Amp
This is a battery powered modeling amp that was made and designed to last for a long time.
It comes in built with 11 amp models which ranges from high gain to pristine clean types and supports a lot of instruments.
It has a unique “Bassilator” circuit which delivers a thick and heavy sound even under low frequencies.
It comes with unique and much enhanced audio effects such as flanger, reverb, tremolo and delay.
It has an AUX input jack which makes it very easy for you to connect it to other media devices.
It can be powered by using the included AC adaptor or 6 AA batteries which can provide up to 6 hours of playing time.
5. Blackstar HT1 Series Guitar Combo Amplifier
This is an all tube guitar combo amplifier that sounds great and delivers superior quality sounds.
It has control knobs for the volume, gain, ISF tone control and the overdrive switch. This makes it very easy for you to adjust and make changes as you play.
It has an emulated speaker and headphone outlet which makes it easy for you to connect your headphones or speaker.
It comes with an MP3 and line input so that you can easily connect your MP3 players and also connect a mic to it.
How to use a guitar amp
- First you need to power up your amp and connect the guitar to the amp.
- Adjust the volume of your guitar amp. This would mean using either the “Pre” and “Post” knobs to set the volume to a desired level.
- Next you adjust the Eq of your guitar. The simplest way is by setting each Eq to 12 o'clock
- You can also use the gain knob to increase the distortion levels
- Finally use the effect knobs to add effects until you get the sound you like.