Are Guitar Amps Becoming Obsolete? Here’s Why That’s Not True

Technology progress and development is a straight fact. In today’s modern world, it can’t be denied.

With each year passing there’s something new and better. Music production technology is not different.

Sometimes, new things replace old ones completely. Today, it’s not necessary to have a guitar amp in order to play an electric guitar.

20 years ago that was a science fiction. Today, there are many computer software programs that enable playing an electric guitar without an amp.

With that in mind, you may wonder about this.

Are guitar amps becoming obsolete? You know, since they are no longer necessary for playing?

Guitar amps are not becoming obsolete. There are few reasons for that. First, software programs are still not viable enough to provide a worthy replacement for guitar amps, especially for live playing. Second, good quality guitar amps still sound better than any computer software. And third, people love amps. They are simply cooler than any software.

1. Softwares Are Still Not Reliable Enough

As it’s been said, computers with their installed software programs are simply not reliable and viable enough.

There are million potential problems that can arise during live playing. If you were in a band (or maybe you are?), would you risk playing a gig without a good old amp?

Gigs can last for hours, and there must not be any problem whatsoever with a computer. Otherwise, the gig would be ruined.

Computers can heat up and that can cause complete crash of a system. You wouldn’t want to risk your live gig with it.

Also, you’d want your guitar to sound as good as possible when you perform. And that brings us to the second issue.

2. Good Amp Sounds Better

Good quality guitar amps will certainly provide a slightly better overall sound than any digital amp modeling software.

Although today’s digital amp softwares are becoming significantly better, they are still not that good.

That can especially be heard when you play your guitar on a distortion. Amp usually have a slightly richer sound with more clarity. Digital amp modeling software often outputs a duller and messier sound.

Here, you can watch this cool video in which you can hear the difference. Tests are being made with clean, overdrive and distortion sounds on a guitar.

Guitar plays the same tune three times. Tube amp, solid amp and digital amp software. Check it out.

P.S. Keep in mind that this applies only for good quality amps.

A lot of amps have some some serious issues regarding crackling sound, humming noise and so on.

Check out the article from this page about it.

3. Amps Are More Practical

Imagine going somewhere to play an electric guitar. Usually, you just pick your guitar and an amp. When you get to the garage you plan to play in, you just plug your guitar and crank the volume of the amp.

How about this. Instead of amp, you carry around your laptop. When you get in the garage, you must to turn it on.

Then you have to wait until the system loads. Then you have to open the software, wait until it loads. Then you have to choose the sound with your mouse and keyboard.

Doesn’t it sound annoying? Of course it is annoying. Amps are plain simple. You just turn it on and off. You have pots you can modify with your fingers.

On computer, you modify those pots with a mouse. Annoying.

4. Amps Are Still Cooler

With each year, technology progress. Digital modeling amps are certainly much better today than they were a few years back. And they will certainly get better.

But, even if digital amp softwares become both viable and good enough to replace amps, amps will still prevail. They will always be around.

Why is that so? It’s simply because amps are cooler. It feels more natural to play an electric guitar plugged in a real amp, than plugged in a laptop.

It’s not enough for something to be objectively better to replace something old. We, people, are complicated beings.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to use digital modeling amp software exclusively. There’s something a software cannot give you, no matter how good it is. It’s that feeling. That cool feeling when you plug your electric guitar in the good old amp and crank the volume up.

That’s what digital modeling amp lacks of.

What Amps Sounds Best For Daily Use?

There’s been a debate going on since forever about tube amps and solid state amps. Which of those two types is better?

I wouldn’t go that far in this discussion since I’m not that much of an expert on this subject. But people thought that tube amps will be extinct back in the 60s and 70s, due to appearance of solid state amps.

I guess that tube amps just have a better distortion sound. Also, the tone coming out of a tube amp is warmer and richer. The tone coming out of a solid state amp is more bright.

It all boils down to the preference you have. There are many great tube amps, and there are many great solid state amps, as well.

If we talk about tube amps, I would recommend this one.

Monoprice 611705 5-Watt 1×8 Guitar Combo Tube Amplifier

Price: 123 $

Amazon Rating: 4.4 / 5

Other than great price, what makes this amp great?

Let’s see what specifications say.

It features a 5-watt tube power amplifier and a Celestion brand speaker.

It handles frequencies between 80Hz and 10kHz, with hum and noise -75dB below the rated power and 0.5% total harmonic distortion.

Also, it includes a Low input and a High input, with the former attenuating the signal by approximately 50% and the latter being easier to overdrive.

This amp is a great house amp. At least it won’t take up much space in your room!

If you’re interested to see some customer reviews, check out the Amazon page of the product, here.

Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier

Price: 60 $

Amazon Rating: 4.5 / 5

This amp is prefect for beginner guitar players. As you can see from the picture, it has very intuitive and simple control pots. Gain, volume, treble and bass. Very simple!

Therefore, it is ideal for someone who just got into the world of guitar amps.

Also, it’s very, very cheap. For that price, it sounds decent enough to buy it.

Check out the customer reviews on Amazon page of this product, here.

Final Words

Now, let’s recap this subject.

Are guitar amps becoming obsolete? Definitely not.

Here are four main reason why that’s the case.

  • viability

Guitar amps still offer much greater viability and reliability in comparison to digital amp modeling systems. This is especially important for live gigs, as computers often crash.

  • sound

Good quality amps still offer a slightly better overall sound output than any digital software. Maybe that will change in the future, but until that moment comes, guitar amps will stick around.

  • practicality

Amps are more practical than laptops or computers. They are simpler to handle.

  • vibe and nostalgia

People generally like more things that are cooler. Amps provide that feeling that no digital system can provide.

If you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.

Check out this interesting article that’s related for amps.

Great & Affordable Guitar Amps in 2020

In case you’re interested, check out the article where I picked and reviewed 8 great and affordable guitar amps.

Also, don’t forget to check out this site, as it contains a lot of interesting articles you’ll surely enjoy reading!

Cheers, and rock on!

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