Are Modeling Amps Good For Live

Digital guitar amplifiers are very popular and they can be used in many ways. They are great for practice and also record very well. But are they good for live shows?

Yes, modeling amps are great to play live shows. They have great sound, tons of amps sounds, and a huge collection of effects. Also, digital amps have other features and benefits that make them great live amps.

In this post, you will learn why a modeling amp could be a good choice for live playing and how to choose the right one.

What Makes Modeling Amp Good For Live

Modeling guitar amplifiers have a couple of important features that make them one of the best choices for live performances. Let’s dive in and find out what these features are.

1. Amp Sounds And Effects

modeling amp control panel

The first and most important thing that makes modeling amps great for live shows is the amp sounds and built-in effects. And this is the thing why the digital amp stands out from other types of guitar amplifiers.

When you are on the stage, you want to be able to quickly dial-in any guitar tone you want. Also, you need to have different effects.

And modeling guitar amplifiers are packed with these features. Most modern amps have more than three amp sounds and a huge collection of effects.

They come with every effect you will ever need such as overdrives, delays, reverbs, flangers, and some weird effects too.

But the best thing is the ability to use any type of guitar tone. Almost every good digital amplifier has clean crunchy and hi-gain amp tones. Some of them offer lead and even acoustic guitar sounds.

These amp tones and effects are emulations of various famous real guitar amplifiers. And the sound quality is excellent. Especially clean and crunchy tones.

That is just one thing why I think modeling amps are great for live playing. There are more awesome features.

2. Reliability

modeling combo reliability

Having a reliable amplifier when playing live is important. And modeling amps are great for that reason. They are very reliable and rarely break.

Also, amplifiers may damage during transportation. When you are on a tour and traveling from club to club, the amp could be damaged. Especially, tube amps.

But that’s not an issue when it comes to modeling amps. These amps are very solid and fully digital. So, it’s hard to damage it during transportation.

Also, you know that when you switch the power button on, it will always turn on. And you can use your presets right away.

So, modeling guitar amplifiers are reliable not only physically, but they will function all the time. And the sound will be always great.

In a nutshell, digital amplifiers don’t require any maintenance like tube amps. They have a solid build, always work, and are very reliable.

3. Convenience

Convenience is very important when playing live. Especially when a band is on a tour across the country or the world. Modeling amplifiers are great for that purpose because they are very convenient to use.

First of all, they are much more lightweight than tube amplifiers. Don’t require maintenance, changing parts, or anything like that.

Also, one of the greatest things about modeling amps is that you don’t need to have a separate pedalboard, Axe-FX, or effects processors. You have everything in one box.

Imagine that you can have a couple of amps and every effect in one box. It’s amazing, right? That’s a dream when you are on a tour. Especially when you travel in a van.

Of course, you can’t play on big stages or stadiums with modeling combos. But for small venues and clubs, modeling combo amplifiers are the most convenient option.

4. Features

features of a modeling amp

Another reason why a modeling combo is a great option for live shows is the features. Other than amp sounds and effects, they have some useful features for live shows.

One of the features is the presets. You can create different tones you will use on the stage and save them. And your presets will be saved forever and you will be able to use them at any time.

Modeling amps come with an FX loop that allows you to connect different effects pedals. For example, you can connect the wah or volume pedal.

And if you want to record your live show it’s very easy with modeling combo amplifiers. Most modeling amplifiers have very good recording capabilities.

You can connect it to a laptop via USB and record it on any digital audio workstation. It’s a very convenient and fastest way to record live shows.

Also, modeling amps have the option to use different amounts of power. For example, if you have a 100-watt combo, with a switch you can use only 50 watts, 25 watts, and so on. Every amp has different power options.

This is great because most likely you will play in different size venues. And 100 watts could be too much for some venues. With the power attenuator, you can use half the power. Modeling amps are very flexible in that regard.

5. Affordability

modeling amps affordability

It may not be important for many people but affordability is one of the best things. And compared to tube amps, digital amplifiers are very affordable. Especially how many features they come with.

On average, a good quality, feature-packed, 100-watt modeling combo costs around $500. For example, you can get Boss Katana 100, which is one of the best modeling amps and costs $400.

And remember that you get every type of guitar tone, tons of effects, and various useful features.

Just think for a moment. How much will a 100-watt tube amp plus effects cost? Much more expensive, right?

That’s why you should think about using modeling amps for live shows. In addition to affordability, modeling combos are more reliable, require almost no maintenance, and are much cheaper.

Choosing Live Modeling Amp

We understood some of the reasons why modeling combos are good for recording. But what about choosing the right modeling amp for live gigs?

One of the many things to consider when choosing modeling amps is the purpose. So, you know why you need an amp. For live shows.

Now, to choose the right guitar combo for you to play live gigs, you should pay attention to these features:

  • Power – You need to have enough power to play live. For big venues a 100-watt amp is great. For smaller clubs, you can use a 50-watt amplifier.
  • Amp Sounds – When you play live you need to have different sound options such as clean, dirty, or hi-gain. So, make sure that your amplifier has enough amp sounds to perform various songs on stage.
  • Effects – Like amp sounds, a modeling combo should have various onboard effects. Delay and reverb are the musts. But it should have modulation effects too.
  • Speaker Size – A very important thing for a gigable amplifier. No matter the size of the venue, a 12″ speaker is the best. However, you can go with a 10″ speaker too.
  • Power Options – In addition to other options, having some kind of power attenuation is always a plus. You can use the same amp for small and big venues.

So, if a guitar amplifier meets these requirements, it will work in live shows. Also, try to buy an amplifier from well-known brands.

If you still struggle to choose the right one for you, I have a list of the best live modeling combos.


Modeling guitar amplifiers are great for different purposes and a live show is one of them. They offer a huge collection of effects, various amp sounds, savable presets, and many other great features that are useable for live performances.

Digital amplifiers are especially great when you are on a tour with a small van. The only gear you will need is a guitar and an amp. No pedalboard, effects processor, or other gear. Digital guitar combos are very convenient and make things easy.