Living Outside The Box Born-Again Techo-Geek Renaissance Man


Music Monday: Software Amps

Here's Dweezil Zappa endorsing Native Instrument's Guitar Rig 5. I've used this software, it's actually pretty good, very flexible, awesome sounding, and costs about $200.

There are now several kinds of software amplifier emulators, some of which are 100% free and are just as good. The biggest advantage to using a software guitar setup is that you can not only configure it in ways that a physical setup can't be, you can pack dozens of amps and effects into a laptop and bring them with you. You can also share those sounds with other players!

Zappa hits on a lot of these points, which are true for software setups as a whole. Obviously, some will sound better or have more features than others, but for the most part, they all work the same.

Some things to keep in mind when using a software amp (or any modeler, for that matter):

  • It can be as simple or complex as you want
  • It can do things physical setups can't
  • Just like an amp, it's going to have a unique sound
  • It may not "feel" the same, but that's not bad

Once you get past the idea of it not sounding like you "think" it should sound, you can start playing with the unlimited possibilities, and make something useful with it. Make your own sounds, your own set lists, play with effects and see what you can do. You are free to create!

Is a software amp/effect setup right for you? They're more flexible and cheaper than vintage/boutique hardware. If nothing else, it's a good tool to have in your arsenal. I, for one, have no qualms about using a laptop guitar amp simulator live. And if you try a free one, what have you got to lose?

Posted by Jeff Hendricks

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