10 Amp Sims That Deliver Big Tones

No tubes? No problem. Here are a handful of plug-ins that won't wake the kids or bug the neighbors.

Whether you're trying to keep the dBs down or you need a wealth of amps, cabs, effects, and mics at your fingertips, this collection of plugins will help you realize the tone in your head quickly and easily.


IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5

In addition to official emulations of Fender, Mesa, Orange, and Wampler gear, this robust plug-in also features a DAW, looper, and much more.

$199 street
ikmultimedia.com

Line 6 Helix Native

Packed with dozens of virtual amps and effects, this gateway into the Helix ecosphere mimics the tones of the company's hardware units in handy plug-and-play form.

$399 street
line6.com

Kuassa Matchlock

A decidedly Fender-flavored setup, this trio of amp models aims at copping Fullerton's greatest hits with two options for each amp and seven different types of mics.

$49 street
kuassa.com

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 Pro

The latest iteration offers a rack-based visual setup that allows you to customize every part of your signal chain right down to mixing up to eight mics together via the virtual mixer.

$199 street
native-instruments.com

Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong

Based on AI technology, this collection of amps and effects curated by the internet's favorite guitarist is targeted for players who are looking for clean and low-gain tones.

$144 USD street
neuraldsp.com

Overloud TH-U

This all-in-one suite offers hundreds of amp, cab, and effects options, including officially licensed gear from Randall, DV Mark, Brunetti, and THD.

$299 street
overloud.com

Positive Grid Bias Amp 2 Elite

Not only does this plug-in offer accurate models of legendary amps, it allows you to design your own amp from the ground up and includes technology to match either a mic'd amp or recorded track.

$179 street
positivegrid.com

Universal Audio Fender '55 Tweed Deluxe

If you dig the classic tones of one of Leo's best amps, this plug-in offers a faithful recreation and adds the ability to mix and match legendary mics.

$99 street
uaudio.com

Waves PRS SuperModels

This collection include two of the company's most popular models—the Archon and Dallas—plus an amp that was never released: the Blue Sierra/V9, which was an early version of the J-MOD 100.

$35 street
waves.com

Scuffham S-Gear

Covering tones from vintage tweed-style combos to '80s high-gain heads, this collection offers five amps, a handful of effects, and more.

$99 street
scuffhamamps.com

DIY: How to Adjust Your Guitar's Neck Relief & Truss Rod—Plus, Fix Your Action | Helmer’s How-Tos

In the second episode of our Helmer’s How-Tos DIY series, expert luthier Dave Helmer shows you how to keep notes sweet by adjusting the truss rod to improve your guitar’s neck relief (don't worry, you won 't break it), or by raising or lowering action on the fretboard. For the best results, a string action gauge will come in handy.

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Three upgraded models featuring solid mahogany tops, custom-voiced LR Baggs Bronze Element VTC pickups, and smooth natural gloss finishes.

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In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Electric Love introduces a limited-edition run of pedals with all profits going to support breast cancer research.

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Due to some recent health problems, I’m doing everything I can to push back my expiration date. I think it’s helping me become a better guitar player, too.

A friend of mine owned an NBA team and an NFL team. Once, I overheard him talking on the phone about trading a player. When asked what goes into that, he told me that although actuaries cannot accurately predict your life span, there are hard numbers that show a highly accurate decline of muscle with age. This inevitable muscle loss leads to injuries and a general decline in performance. The numbers make it clear that there’s an expiration date on every professional athlete, even factoring in the outliers. Every time I groan as I load my amp into my car, I think about that conversation to fuel my anxiety and fatalism on the weary drive to and from the gig. If professional athletes in their late 20s are physically past their prime, how long can the average musician keep going, factoring in our proclivity toward late nights and the adjacent vices?

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