Best Guitar Effects Software

This selection represents the best guitar effects software to help you turn your computer into a full featured effects processor.

Since we have already covered amp modeling software, this time we will focus on software that provides quality guitar effects. These popular software effects applications will get you as close as technologically possible to your favorite stomp box and rack mount effects - minus the bulk, weight and the hassle. Note that certain packages excel in specific effect types, so do check out your favorite effect types via the demos before you decide on which is your top pick. We have included both paid and free guitar effects software for you to sink your teeth, and mouse, into.

Guitar Effects Software - PAID

These are the top commercially available guitar effects programs. Most of them are considered as amp modeling software as well, because they usually include both amp and effects modeling in one package.

Guitar Rig

Guitar Rig

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Although not as dominating in amp modeling, Guitar Rig takes the top spot in our guitar effects software list. It leads the pack with its meticulously detailed effects modeling. Its 54 modeled effects closely follow the behavior of legendary stompboxes and studio racks. Even professionals are having a hard time picking out the real pedal against this guitar effect software in a blind test. Its versatile design allows you to chain effects together in virtually any manner, without the hassles of cables, space and budget constraints. It is truly a truck load of gear in one software package. Retail Price: $199.00
Line 6 POD Farm

Line 6 POD Farm

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac Mobile POD runs on iOS
The Line 6 POD Farm program is famous for its amp simulation, however many users have realized that the quality of its modeled effects are equally superb. Some even use the POD Farm strictly for its effects! It has a huge collection of FX - up to 94 - and it modeled some of the most popular stompboxes including the MXR Phase 90, ProCo Rat, Uni-Vibe, Arbiter Fuzz Face and Big Muff Pi. It also includes modeled versions of old analog devices like the EP-1 Echoplex. Setting up is a breeze with its simple carousel-style interface, which lets you visualize your signal chain. Current Retail Price $49.00

IK Multimedia AmpliTube

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac Runs on iOS
AmpliTube's effects are as noteworthy as its amp modeling capabilities. The current version comes with up to 51 effects - modeled after rare vintage gear like Ibanez Tube Screamer, Arbiter FuzzFace, MXR Phase100, MXR Dynacomp, Electro Harmonix Memory Man and many more. What sets AmpliTube apart from the competition though is its very intuitive interface. No parameter is more than two clicks away, and its realistic looking graphics are extremely easy to operate - even allowing for drag and drop operations. If you want a quick setup software, AmpliTube is your best bet. Price: usually about $200 - Check out for the latest price and reviews
Audiffex Guitar Pedals

Audiffex Guitar Pedals

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Audiffex Guitar Pedals was one of the first professional guitar software packages, with its original version released more than a decade ago. It has since been upgraded but continues its legacy of providing stompbox effects in software form. The latest version is an all in one guitar effects software package - which includes 36 plug-ins that also works for bass, vocals and other instruments. Features include consistent interface with all effects having similar controls, modular plug-in configuration for easier and flexible routing and intuitive preset management. Current retail price: $49

FREE Guitar Effects Software

If you want to test the waters, here are the some of the best free guitar effects software packages. Aside from the limited freeware software, there are Lite or Trial versions of commercial programs which you can get for free, but with limited in features. The good thing though is that even when they lack features, they work and sound just as nice.



More info:
Runs on Linux
If you prefer the Linux platform, then Guitarix is your best free guitar effects solution. It is a free, full featured guitar amp and effects software. Aside from its impressive amp modeling capabilities, Guitarix has 25 equally impressive effects modules. Effects include a noise gate, modulation effects like flanger and phaser and it even has weird stuff like auto-wah. Guitarix's low latency audio engine ensures respectable audio, which is said to give you not more than 10 milli seconds of delay. This is a simple yet effective guitar effects software, unfortunately it is only available for Linux users.
SimulAnalog Guitar Suite

SimulAnalog Guitar Suite

More info:
Runs on Windows
The SimulAnalog Guitar Suite is an old but still popular free guitar effects program. It contains a set of VST plugins that emulate some of the most common used guitar effects and amps. It has simulations of five essential guitar effects which include Boss DS-1, Boss SD-1, Tube Screamer, Oberheim PS-1 and Univox Univibe. The SimulAnalog Guitar Suite was born out of an academic research and thus applies a zero deception, no marketing hype approach. The interface is very basic but the sound is said to obtain lass than -40dB of difference compared to the original hardware.
AmpliTube Free

AmpliTube Free

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
AmpliTube Free is a cool entry level program for those that want to experience software based guitar effects and amp modeling without spending money. It only comes with 9 stompbox and 2 rack type effects, but it covers essential effect types which are good enough for various musical genre applications. Should you need more, AmpliTube offers an upgrade system in which you can shop for additional amps, cabinets, mics and effects. Each model can even be tried out for free for two days prior to purchase, quite impressive for a free software!
GNUitar v0.3.2


More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Linux
GNUitar is a basic free guitar effects software that allows you to turn your PC into a guitar effects processor without having to spend a single dime. Nothing much needs to be said aside from it is working as intended. Although you don't have too many options, it has all the essential effect types including distortion, reverb, echo, delay, chorus, flanger, equalizer, wah, phaser, tremolo, vibrato and noise reduction. The package comes with 2 different types of distortion and has various flavors of echo, reverb and delay. This free software works for both Windows and Linux.

Related Articles:
Amp Modeling Software
Free Guitar VST Plugins
Low-cost Modeling Amplifiers
The Top 10 Guitars of All Time!

Guitar Effects Apps Finally Coming to Android!

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improperly placed link on your page

AmpliTube Free is anything but free - 10 day free trial, then $199.00 to buy. "Free Trial" or "Free To Try" is NOT free. Please move their link to your PAID links, so that it is not misleading. Thanks. - RB

AmpliTube Custom Shop

Actually, there is a free version called Custom Shop which you can get at

Don't waste your time. I

Don't waste your time. I spent hours going in circles and its custom shop doesn't let you play or try ANYTHING. Hoax to get you to buy the greeeeeedy program!

you can get ampltude for free

you can get amplitube for free

also guitar rig 5, at the native instruments site along with komplete 8 player, kontakt 5 and reaktor 5 guitar rig 5 all drivers and control software you have to register it and they will give you your activation key code but remember you have to create a free account
both of these products gives you pdf manuals and easy to read set up guides

Great article! Thanks for

Great article! Thanks for sharing!


I think it´s marvelous that i can use my computer and audio/MIDI interface, not just for software amps, cabinets, mics and effects for my guitar, but also for the entire band and record on the computer with my DAW energyXT 2.6 when i play live.


You should add the plugins on They are all free and are great. They use them as tools to help them design physical amps, so they are very accurate and almost zero-latency. They have a few amps and pre-amps, 2 OD pedals and even a cab modeller which is more than enough to get you started. The Emmisary is a freakin' miracle. It can do any tone (I use it for metal, blues, clean) but it's best for molten, in-your-face heavy metal since it has a 4-way EQ on the lead channel.

Some great IR's by Redwirez are available for free at their website as some kind of 25th anniversary thing, and if you use windows you can use VSThost as your "DAW" although all it does is host plugins. It's great because it loads so much quicker than a full DAW and doesn't have all the tricky options that just distract you from playing guitar. Like a real amp, it's plug-n-play (after setting it up, of course--- you'll want to set the sample rate to 192khz so that you can get ~8000 samples a sec with oversampling at 4x on each plugin). It can record, too, so it's a really easy, simple solution. Of course, you'll need a real DAW to mix and master.

Check out BedroomProducersBlog for a great round-up of VST effects.

The Best sound interface to use software effects

Hi, If you are looking for guitar softwares and interfaces to use the softwares. Please search Tone Shifter. Now it is on its third generation Tone Shifter 3. We are just launching a Kickstarter project online.

We build this just to MAX the benifits of using software effects. It will be able to use along with JamUp, Bias, Ampkit, ToneStack Go, GarageBand as well as the ones in Mac OS and windows such as amplitube, guitar rig, overloud, revalve and so on.

Basicly it is a HD digital sound interface plus with a MIDI controller and footswitch. It is has unique design with different HOST mode and switching MODE to work with the host softwares. We are proud of that it is now maybe the best thing you can find to use on stage with software FX. The special designed analog signal chain mixing with the digital codec give the best dynamic response and sound quality. We did AB with lots of other interface and be so confident on its performance.

Also, it can be used to control all the hardwares along with MIDI IN connector. Lots of users for fractal AXE FX2, kemper profiling Amp, G-major, and other ranks are just so happy with this device that are much more portable, light comparing to those original controller. The MIDI control is no latency at all.

Search online in Kickstarter, youtube, facebook you may find more details.

I'm actually the designer of this devices and I myself had bought all the software in Apple. I'm really a big fan of JamUp, Bias, and Ampkit. Personally I like all the functions provided by JamUp such as JAM, LOOP, 8-track recording as well as the guitar effects and amps. But the Amps in Bias is a litte more juicy than in JamUp. A good way is using Bias amps in JamUp which just make a good combination of the two software. They can be used in that way :)

Ampkit is good and it takes less CPU resourse I think. So it can run smoothly even with some old ipad / iphone. And it sounds not bad and with lots of peavey's characteristic. Also it has ReAmp function which you can record the dry signal and redo the whole effects chain later. It is really cool for recording.

I should say each software has its own pros or cons but that is just the same thing of using hardwares. But you can have hundreds of effects and amps with only tens of buck which is something can't be imagined with hardwares. I feel it is so worthy to have the softwares.

So something like Tone Shifter just give a full expansion of your software usage. I'm really using it all the time now. I just can't remember the last time I turning on the tube amps and hardware effects board :)

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