How To Choose A Modeling Amp

Choosing the right modeling guitar amp is very important. But with so many different amplifiers on the market, it might be challenging. No matter what you need it for.

You need to consider various things like tone options, effects, features, sound, and ease of use. Every guitar amp is slightly different from the other.

But if you will have some kind of guide on how to choose amplifiers, the task will become easier. And this is the guide that will teach you how to buy the right type of modeling amp.

5 Questions To Ask When Choosing Modeling Amps

I prepared the guide which will help you to choose the best and right modeling amp. These are the five questions you should ask when buying a guitar amplifier.

1. Why Do You Need The Amp?

Why Do You Need The Amp

The first question to ask when buying a modeling amplifier is what you need it for. In simple words what is the purpose of the amp? This will make the decision easier.

For the purpose I mean do you need it for recording, live performances, practicing, or as a gift? It’s important because depending on the purpose you may need a very different amp.

Every use case will need different wattage, size, tone options, and more. For example, if you want an amp for practice, then you don’t need an expensive or 100-watt amp.

But if you plan to use that amplifier for live shows, then you need a different kind of modeling amp. A powerful one with lots of amp sounds and a big collection of effects.

And when you know exactly what you need it for, the decision-making becomes clearer and easier.

So, the first thing to consider is knowing the exact purpose of the amplifier.

2. What Music Genre Do You Play?

What Music Do You Play

The next question to ask is what type of music you play. And it’s very important. Because you need to choose the best amp for a specific music genre.

Fortunately, it’s much easier with modeling amps because most modern modeling guitar amplifiers are very diverse. You can dial in almost any type of guitar tone.

But there are some differences. Yes, almost every amp has clean, crunchy, and heavy tones with lots of effects but not every tone is good in every amplifier.

Some amps have good clean tones but decent heavy tones and vice versa. So, depending on the music you play, you need to choose the right one.

For example, if you mostly play country, blues, or cleaner tones, you will need an amp that has great clean, and crunchy tones.

But when you play metal, of course, clean tones are not as important. So, you need an amp with great heavy tones.

Consider the music genre you play when choosing a modeling amp. 

3. How Many Amp Sounds Do You Need?

This question is related to the previous one. You should choose a guitar amp depending on how many tone options you need an amp to have.

And you can answer this question by knowing what music style you will play with that amp.

Although most amps come with different amplifier sounds, some amps don’t offer too many options. So, you should pay attention to amp features.

If you mostly play one or similar guitar tones then you might not need an amp with too many tone options. It might be overwhelming.

But if you like playing different styles or you are in a cover band, then you need to have many options to choose from.

Modeling amps with lots of amp sounds is mandatory if you want to use them for recording. It will give you flexibility and you may not need another amplifier. Also, modeling guitar amps have special features for recording.

So, depending on what you play, will have an impact on your decision when buying a guitar amplifier.

4. How Many Effects Do You Need?

how many effects should amps have

Like amp sounds, you want to know how many effects you need your amp to have. And it also depends on the music genre you play.

If you don’t use many effects in general, then you may choose an amp that doesn’t have too many effects options. And you can save some money too because the amp will probably be more affordable.

But if you are a pedal geek and love using effects, then you will need a guitar amp that has a huge collection of various effects.

Fortunately, most modern modeling guitar amps come with lots of effects built-in. This is one of the best things in modeling amps.

So, it’s not a big issue. No matter what digital amp you buy, it will have all the necessary effects.

The difference might be in the price. So, if you are on a budget, you may decide to go with the amp that has fewer but all the effects you will need.

In my opinion, if you plan to use a digital amp for recording or live shows, you need to have many effects. But for practicing you will be fine with a couple of essential effects.

5. Do You Need Many Features?

Another thing you should consider when choosing an amplifier is features. You may change your mind based on features and modeling amps can have very different features.

Some guitar amplifiers have many features while others come with limited features. But that doesn’t mean that one amp is better than the other.

Everything depends on you and why you need the amp. And based on that your decision may change.

The features a modeling amplifier can have are FX loop, DI out, app, LED screen, and others. And it can have an impact on the amp price.

Depending on the purpose of the amp you may need an amp with lots of features. Or vice versa.

For example, if you plan to use it for recording or live playing, then you will need as many features as possible.

But a practicing amp doesn’t need to have too many options. Even if it has very few features it’s OK if you use it only for practice.

Fortunately, modern modeling guitar amps come with great features. There are very few amps that don’t have some kind of useful feature.

Most modeling amplifier has a headphone output, and auxiliary input, and come with a dedicated app. There you can dive deep and create any guitar tone you wish.

So, when choosing a modeling amp you should consider features. If you don’t need them, then you can save some money. But if you want more advanced features, then you should look for an amplifier that offers them.

Modeling Amp Suggestions

If you still struggle to choose the right modeling amplifier for your guitar, then I can give you a general guide based on the purpose.

In general, a small, under 30-watt amp is the best for practicing or as a beginner amp. They come with few features and offer great sound and effect options. And 30 watts is quite enough for that. Also, you can give it as a gift to your children who are learning guitar.

For recording, a 40-60 watt guitar amp would be enough. Especially for home recording. Modeling amplifiers in this wattage have enough power to record great tones. Also, sound and effect options are better.

The same amplifier can work if you play live shows in bars or small clubs. But in general, I recommend a 100-watt amplifier for live performances. You will be able to use the power and it will have all the features and tone options you will ever need.

Do Modeling Amp Brands Matter?

importance of guitar amp brands

Of course, when you go to a guitar store or search for amps online, there will be many amplifiers from different brands. And sometimes it’s hard to choose a good amplifier brand. Especially if you are a beginner.

Almost every famous brand makes modeling amplifiers but there are some new or lesser-known brands. And in general, it’s best practice to buy a product from a well-respected brand.

The same goes for guitar amplifiers. You can feel free to buy modeling amps from brands such as Marshall, Orange, Blackstar, Peavey, and others.

But there may be an unknown brand in your local store. I recommend buying an amp from a well-known brand because they have experience and probably better quality.

However, if you like the sound and features of the amp, then you can buy it. Even if it’s from an unknown brand.

In general, brands matter in any product but sometimes there are hidden gems. So, you need to try their product and if you like it, then it’s good.


Choosing a modeling amp or any other type of guitar amp may be a challenging task. But a guide like this will help you. You should answer these questions and then make a decision. When you know the purpose of the amp and the features you need, it’s easier to choose. Also, try to buy amplifiers from a well-known brand. They offer high-quality sound, tone options, and overall features.