1.14.2013

Guitar Effects Software: Free and Paid Options


Check out the  Three Best Guitar Effects Software Options for 2014

Using computer-based options for guitar effects is still a bit of a new idea, thus the market for guitar effects software hasn't reached its full potential yet. 

While the bulk of this software is used in professional studios, there are some solid computerized effects processors both for sale and for free, that are available to the general public and useful to the casual and professional musician alike.

Let's start with the paid options first:

Guitar Effects Software



Line 6 POD Studio GX: $89.99

For more coin you can go with the UX1 or the UX2 which run at $110 and $199 respectively on Amazon.

They're all basically the same idea.

They allow you to plug into your computer and use the accompanying software to dial in amp models and effects of your choice. Line 6 wrote the book on this stuff, so they're probably your best overall paid option.

Guitar Effects Software

IK Multimedia Amplitube: Pricing Varies

Amplitube and IK Multimedia offer a bunch of different software packages and aside from Line 6 are one of the best paid options for guitar effects software.

Once you buy the iRig Adapter you'll be able to purchase any number of software packages, apps or even free versions of the product (which I'll get to below). The variety you can pick from is quite remarkable and the software definitely does its job well.

They have apps for almost any platform, including iPhone and iPad.

Guitar Effects Software


Free Guitar Effects Software


The unfortunate thing about some of the free software available in this area is that two of the better options require a either Linux or Mac operating systems to run, and to my knowledge there are no real quality open source Windows options for you.

The SimulAnalog Guitar Suite might be useful, but it's pretty old, and not anywhere close to the quality of these other options.

However if you're running Linux or a Mac, here's some great open source software.

Guitarix for Linux

Guitarix is a pretty powerful program that you can run on Linux, which you can download for free and install very easily from here. If you're computer already has Windows installed, you'll be able to dual boot Linux and Windows.

With zero cost it might be worth a try.

While it's not as exhaustive a program as some of the paid options, Guitarix has still got every effects model you could possibly want.

Guitar Effects Software

GarageBand for Mac: Free with the Mac OS

You currently have three options if you want to obtain a copy of GarageBand, and all of them require owning an apple device.

You can either buy a mac computer, an iPhone or an iPad.

A computer with a Mac OS will have GarageBand preloaded, while you'll need to purchase an app for use on the iPhone or iPad. The mobile app versions are much thinner and stripped down, so I'd recommend going with the Mac if you're serious about using GarageBand.

GarageBand itself is much more than just a guitar effects processor. It's a full compliment of instruments, a mixing board and recording software. You can pretty much do it all with this program and of everything listed, it's the most complete in terms of recording and mixing capabilities.

Plenty of guitar processing options as well.

Guitar Effects Software

IK Multimedia Amplitube: Free Version

As I mentioned earlier, Amplitube comes with a free "light" version of the iPhone and iPad app as well as a free Custom Shop download for your PC. 

The custom shop is an application for your computer that is free to download, though is really just a tool to purchase different pieces of gear and amp models from their music store. It's actually a cool idea, though the only useful free thing here is the iPhone and iPad light Amplitube app.

These are very stripped down compared to their paid counterparts, though they do allow you to enjoy some amp models, effects and even some of the recording functionality of the full version.

Remember, you'll need the iRig Adapter to plug in your guitar.

Guitar Effects Software

Print Friendly and PDF


About Robert Kittleberger

Robert is the founder and editor of Guitar Chalk and Guitar Bargain. You can get in
touch with him here, or via Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.