Can I Play Electric Guitar Without Amp?

You may be wondering whether you need an amplifier to play an electric guitar. The truth of the matter is that you do need an amplifier for your electric guitar, but there are a couple of ways that you can play electric guitar without using the standard type of amplifier. Here is what you need to know.

Electric Guitars and Amps

All electric guitars require amplifiers because they have pickups and these pickups have to be amplified so you can hear the full tone of the guitar. Standard amplifiers include tube amplifiers, solid-state, combo, and so on.

These amplifiers the electric guitar its signature sound, and you really can’t play an electric guitar unless you’re using a quality amplifier. Despite the fact that you do need an amplifier, there are a few ways to play the electric guitar without using a regular standard amplifier. These options will be discussed below.

Computer Software Emulation

You can emulate an amplifier by using certain guitar software.  This type of software allows you to play your electric guitar through your computer. To do this, you will need a guitar interface. You will plug your guitar into this interface, and then this will plug into your computer.

This allows you to experiment with all different types of amplifier sounds, assuming you have the required software to do this. There is a wide range of programs you can use to emulate guitar amplifiers, effects, microphones, speaker cabinets, and so on. This means that you don’t have to go out and buy this expensive equipment. You can use this guitar software to create all different types of sounds.

A lot of the effects on the amplifiers are modeled after famous amplifiers from the past. This can help you could recreate the sounds of your famous artist without having to own the expensive equipment that they used to create your favorite songs. A lot of the programs also allow you to create your own patches that you can share with other players. You can also download patches that players have created with their software. This gives you a lot of variety and sounds that you can work with.

Digital Amplifiers

There is also a wide range of digital amplifiers. These are regular guitar amplifiers, but they have digital circuits that work with your computer. This takes the concept of guitar software but applies it to an actual amplifier that you can plug your regular guitar into and then plug this amplifier into your computer to use certain software programs.

Digital amplifiers are quite popular because they’re not as expensive as a lot of amplifiers on the market. This is a great option for beginners because you’ll have a wide range of tones that you can work with through a digital amp. A lot of manufacturers such as Fender, Vox, Marshall, Yamaha, and other companies are producing a wide variety of digital amplifiers.

Some of these digital amplifiers also play a role as a digital interface, so you don’t need a separate piece of hardware to work with your computer. You can plug your amplifier into your computer and then use that amp as the digital interface.


You can also use an amplifier for your guitar if you have a smartphone. Both Android, as well as Apple phones have programs that you can use to create sounds with your guitar. You will use amplifier emulation software as discussed above to create these various sounds. You’ll typically have options for various amplifiers, effects, and other music components that you would use along with your regular guitar.

This gives you a lot of portability with your guitar and smartphone. You don’t have to take an expensive amplifier with you. As long as you have a smartphone and a decent set of speakers, you can create amplified guitar tones with your guitar along with your smartphone.

Micro Amp

You can also play your guitar through what is called a micro amplifier. This is typically a small amplifier that has between 5 to 10 watts. This type of amp is quite portable, so you can take it with you while you are traveling or going to music lessons. This means you don’t have to carry around a heavy guitar amplifier with you. You can use a small micro amplifier that will give you a decent tone.

Effects Pedals

Some effects pedals may also have amp modeling built into the effect pedal so you can practice playing guitar without the need for a regular amplifier. You can play your guitar through this effect pedal, and it will sound like a regular amplified guitar. 

What Option is Best for Me?

It’s difficult to determine what option is going to be the best for you as a player. Most guitar players will own one or two or more regular amplifiers. New software and digital amplifiers are starting to become more popular.

These offer you a lot of different options when compared to just one amplifier. You also have a lot of portable options, such as micro amplifiers or even effects pedals that will provide amplifier emulation so you can get an amplified signal with your guitar.

You do need some sort of amplification when using an electric guitar. The good news is that there are a lot more options in the market than there were before. You don’t have to rely on a standard heavy amplifier to get the signal to your guitar. You have more options to make the sounds that you want through your guitar. 


Amplifiers are a part of playing electric guitar. You can’t do much without your electric guitar without some sort of amplification.  Try some of the options listed above if you don’t want to use a regular guitar amplifier. Technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are more ways to play electric guitar than there were in the past. I use a combination of regular amplifiers, digital amplifiers, and software to get the tones that I want out of my guitar.

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