Modelling amp - too much choice?

When I bought my electric guitar I also needed an amp and I was sold a Vox VT15 modelling amp (this is quite a few years ago). The issue that I have with it is being overwhelmed with choice and ultimately never really settling on a sound from it that I like. Do I look to get a simpler amp that is what it is or am I just looking to buy something new and shiny for the sake of it? Is it because as a beginner I’ll probably sound awful through most amps!!! I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts on types of amps (but please don’t let it become an argument!!!) and maybe the sort of thing I could look for. To set some parameters, let’s say we’ll aim for a hard-rock /AC/DC type vibe, it’s a practice amp for use at home (so doesn’t need to be a million watts of output) and a budget up to around £500. Thanks in advance for any input.

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Going for something else will drop you in a similar situation.

why not try to figure out 2 settings:
1 clean sound, just a bit of gain, perhaps a sniff or reverb; ideal for practicing etc
2: your dirt sound; your go-to AD/DC setting

That amp is a versatile little box and if you’re a beginner it would be too soon to be selling.
It would be ideal to explore the different aspects and sounds; soon enough you’ll want a bit more than just that go-to AC/DC sound. It’s fun but limiting after a while.

You can grow along and explore tonal options as you go.
You’ll gain experience and your preference might evolve.
So I would hold on to that budget until you know more. More about yourself, your playing, your taste and brands/amps in general.

If you decide to keep it, we can figure out some settings together


I agree with @LievenDV try to build some basic tones.

Learning how to use your amp is an essential part of electric guitar, but modern modelling amps do have a lot more options than more traditional amps.

So, whilst learning how to use your amp is important, you don’t have to learn every feature on it. At least not all at once.

The trick, in my view, with any modelling amp or pedal, is to ignore any on-board patches and learn to build tones from scratch. I don’t know the VT15 specifically, but the process tends to be the same for all of these systems:

  1. Start with a blank slate: turn off all effects

  2. Choose an amp model. Now is a good time to try out all the individual models available to you. The main thing is to find something you like that is close to the sort of sound you are after. Remember to play with the gain control to find out how the amp reacts to it.

  3. Tweak. Play with the gain and tone controls (usually bass, middle and treble, but sometimes “presence” as well) to sculpt your sound. Try with different pickup selections on your guitar and try playing softer and harder to test the dynamics.

Note that for a “clean” tone, a lot of people like to go for something which isn’t entirely clean, which is often called “edge of breakup”. This is when, if the guitar is played hard and loud, there’s a tiny bit of overdrive or “grit” but played normally, it’s quite clean.

You can also experiment with the guitar volume knob to see how that affects the sound.

  1. Add effects, but only when you have your baseline guitar tone. Start with reverb and play with that for a bit to get a feeling for the different types of reverb that are available to you, and how they sound at different levels.

If you can create 2 or 3 baseline tones, and can save those for later use, then you can build on them by adding more effects later.

If you have the option to use a PC based editor to make the changes, I would consider it as the PC based apps are often easier to use than trying to build tones through the amp directly.




Thanks folks, a couple of really helpful detailed replies there. I’ll keep my money in my pocket for the time being and look to follow the advice given by dialling it all back, reading the manual more closely and seeing what I can do with. Greatly appreciated

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Check out some of the how to videos on youtube they are more informative than Review videos and will help understand whats in the manual.


I have a couple of bigger combo amps upstairs that are noisy but fun, but I wanted something smaller for my living room so I bought one of the small Blackstar ID core practice amps which has been good for noodling away in front of the TV over the winter.

That said I’m going to pick up a second hand Positive Grid Spark amp tomorrow.


I started with a VOX VT-40x which was a ton of fun. I then switched to a tube amp with a bunch of pedals. Now that I have a better understanding of how shaping EQ and pedals work, I have been going back to my VT-40x more. I have been able to shape some sounds I would have never thought about when I first bought the amp.