what is a modeling guitar amp

REVEALED: What Is A Modeling Guitar Amp & Why Use One?

A modeling guitar amp is basically an amp that models itself off other, more pricey amplifiers but keeps the cost far below than what individuals would pay for the real thing. Costly and/or legendary guitar amplifiers and tube amp models like the Orange Rockerverb, Fender Deluxe Reverb, Marshall JCM800 and Vox AC30 all receive their distinct guitars tone from how they are wired and from their valves. Modeling amps provide substitute for the analogue circuitry and all these valves and use digital technology to imitate how the classic amps operate and do their utmost to produce a sound that is as close as can be to the Holy Grail valve tone.  Look here for more best guitar amp or best amp for beginners options too!

A number of modeling amps, like Fenders Mustang, provides a wide selection from which to choose for your guitars. Therefore, whether you would like the clean sparkle for which the Fender amps are renowned or you prefer the massive chunk of a Mesa Boogie-style distortion, you will usually get both from a modeling along with everything else in between. Normally, you have different styles of amp to choose from and this is also true for gain and volume controls. Additionally, there are typically some type of EQ stage designed for you to really shape your desired guitar tone. Furthermore, a number of modeling amps also have a ton of effects on board, which include chorus, flange, delay, phaser, reverb and even various types of distortion pedals. This indicates that you do not have to purchase individual pedals and/or amps for your sound to have texture.

Up until relatively recently, only two different technologies with different electric guitars and some acoustic guitars were really available for guitar amps to create their tone, these were valve and solid state. Modeling amp eventually came along and this gave manufacturers the allowance to pack a ton of digital recreations of modern and vintage amp models into one unit. Doing this has expanded the tonal possibilities that the guitarist can access and it poses a considerable saving in comparison to separately purchasing all the amps. For some users, they see shortcomings in the amps recreations with your guitars not sounding quite as smooth as how they originally sounded. Below are some of the benefits of modeling guitar amp:

Modeling Amps are Reliable

Its circuitry is largely responsible for its reliability. Glass tubes use filaments similar to light bulbs, and they can be fragile, resulting in signal loss or noise, which will require replacement. Additionally, tubes can be worn out but even if this happens, they do so at a barely perceptible rate. If your tubes begin to go bad, whether from use, climate or age, your guitar sound will change.

They are Lightweight

Modeling guitar amps are based on chips and computers and as such, they are quite light and portable. The Mustang GT 40 tips the scale at only 14 pounds, while the Mustang GT 200, its larger sibling, weighs in at a convenient 34 pounds. The Champion 50XL weighs only 19 pounds.

For a musician that perform gigs, particularly someone in a band for whom it is necessary to cycle through many tones during a set, a modeling guitar amp can provide a remarkable way of achieving that in a single amplifier with no need to lug around a massive pedal board for your guitars and several amps to the venue.

They are Versatile

As it relates to guitar modeling amps, options abound. The Fender Mustang GT Series can be labeled as limitless. These amps are outfitted with WiFi to connect to the Web and also uses Bluetooth technology, allowing for hardware updates and new features. In addition, when it is combined with the Fender Tone app, users can modify the different guitar effects and guitar amp models seamlessly and have them saved to their Mustang GT. From presets curated by artist to presets placed on the cloud by an ever-increasing community, the Mustang GT has remarkable creative potential.

The overall aim of modeling amps is to supply a solution that incorporates the best of both worlds. To get this done, computer technology is used. To produce their guitar tone, computer programs are used and they feature algorithms that are calibrated with precision to duplicate the effect that all components that an authentic amplifier has on a guitar signal. It basically takes in the sound of a dry guitar at one end, runs lots of sums and at the other end it produces a tone that is reminiscent of a guitar sounds that has been run through a guitar amp.

The amps are essentially just running a program and as such a single amp can be used to recreate a number of different amplifier tones. Typically, classic amp recreations are modelled in order that the instrument can be cycled through a number of desirable and classic tones at the turn of a dial. Modeling amps are very light as they are based around computer chips and electronics; however, they can produce a flavor of valve guitar tone. Roland, BOSS, Fender, Blackstar, Marshall, Yamaha and VOX are some of the brands that produces awesome tones.

Modeling Amp Pros

  • They are as reliable as they come and can be simply plugged in, switched on and guitars played.
  • When setting up these amps and loading it in or out, it is lightweight and easy on the back.
  • It is fairly inexpensive but of course this depends on the model.
  • Easily updated through a usb connection.
  • They have massive range of features and tones, which is much more than some expect for the price.


  • It is still does not quite sound like valve amp guitar tone.
  • In a number of cases, the amp models are not quite like the originals; however, with tremendous technological advances, they keep getting closer and closer.

Some Popular Examples

  • Line 6 Spider IV 75 watt
  • Peavey VYPYR
  • Line 6 Spider V
  • Fender Mustang
  • Vox Mini5 Rhythm

Final Verdict

For some users, modeling guitar amps do not cut it as it relates to side-by-side comparisons with the amps they are modeling. However, for individuals who are just entering the tonal exploration waters, these amps can provide a firm foundation to build on. Unless you are planning on spending a whole lot of money building an arsenal of amps instead of modeling to rival professional guitarists, then modeling guitar amps offer a space-saving, reasonably-priced alternative that is nothing to thumb your nose at.