When it comes to electric guitar amps, Line 6 is probably not the first brand that comes to mind. Line 6 was a pioneer in producing modeling amps, and they have released a lot of versions over the years.
While some players loved Line 6 amplifiers, others have shown their disapproval by calling them difficult to use. However, this is far from the truth. But are Line 6 amps good?
Line 6 amps are not bad at all. In fact, there’s a lot to love about them, they’re versatile and very affordable for what you get. Line 6 amps are also a great choice if you play in various genres, as they can handle almost anything.
Line 6 has made some good amps over the years, and their models are suitable for beginners who like to practice at home. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Line 6 amps and see if it’s worth investing in or not.
History of Line 6
Line 6 was founded in 1996 by Marcus Ryle and Michel Doidic. That year, they launched the world’s first digital modeling amp, the AxSys 212. It was the first modeling guitar amp to get close to the sound of tubes, but with digital software.
Line 6 was not just a pioneer in producing modeling amps. They were also the first company to make them affordable. In 1999, they released the Spider series, the entry-level counterparts to their previous models. Essentially, Line 6 took their software modeling idea and lowered it to a price point where virtually anyone could afford a great amp.
As a result, the release of Spider amps was successful, and they became the best-selling models in the world. In addition, line 6 was leading in modeling technology, so everyone was familiar with their products at the time.
Since then, Line 6 has continued to create innovative solutions that help players express themselves through music. The company currently produces a wide range of products, including effects units, USB audio interfaces, and wireless guitar systems.
How Did Line 6 Get Its Name?
When Line 6 was still called Fast Forward Design, founders Marcus and Michel were cooking up some guitar-related ideas in secret. They made their receptionist use “Line 6” as a code word to keep their endeavors under wraps even though their phone system only had five lines.
Paging them for a call on “Line 6” also meant stopping any guitar or amp-related sounds so that other Fast Forward clients or callers wouldn’t overhear them.
Does Yamaha Own Line 6?
Line 6 became a subsidiary of Yamaha after the Japanese company bought the amp manufacturer in 2014. When Line 6 formally joined the company, it created a global collaboration network, which then led to the establishment of Yamaha’s first-ever Guitar Division in 2017.
In 2018, Yamaha Guitar Group, Inc. was formed. It aimed to bring together intercompany teams dedicated to addressing the needs of guitarists worldwide. Now, Yamaha Guitar Group supervises the global marketing of both Line 6 and Yamaha products and collaborates with counterparts in Japan for new development.
What Are Line 6 Amps Known For?
First Modeling Amps
The main thing that makes Line 6 amps stand out from other brands is their use of digital modeling technology to create a wide range of sounds.
When they released their first offerings, Line 6 modeling amps were considered a game-changer. Indeed, they were the first adopters of the technology. Since then, other manufacturers have started to make their own modeling amps.
Line 6 amps are also known for their affordable price point. Their Spider lineup comprises their entry-level modeling amps. During its release, Line 6 proved that getting digital down to the mass market would work. Especially at a time when many industry experts and musicians doubted how digital technology in amplifiers would fare down the line.
Why Does Line 6 Get So Much Hate?
Line 6 has a reputation for making amps that do not sound good. Many players reported that they couldn’t make a good tone out of Line 6 amps or that it didn’t cut through the mix.
Line 6 also gets a lot of hate because they’re reportedly not easy to use. Their amps have tons of features, which can be overwhelming, especially for beginners who are not used to all the settings.
In fairness, the flak that Line 6 gets may be from the people who don’t know how to use the amps or dial them in properly. In reality, no factory preset can anticipate factors such as the guitar you’re playing, your style, or your environment.
How you play is still a huge thing to consider when judging the quality of Line 6 amps. That said, Line 6 products are perfectly usable as long as you can hear where the presets are falling short and alter them to match your playing needs.
What Genre Are Line 6 Amps Good For?
Line 6 amps are very versatile. Because modeling amps are one of their specialties, you can use Line 6 products to create an infinite number of different sounds. This makes them great for people who want to experiment with different genres or styles of music.
In short, you can use Line 6 amps for many genres. The company uses digital technology to simulate various amplifier and speaker combinations, so you don’t have to buy other models for different styles of music.
Check out our opinion on Blackstar amps here.
Best Line 6 Amplifiers
In 2022, Line 6 introduced their Catalyst series, a range of affordable dual-channel combo amplifiers. They perform like traditional options while still having the versatility of modern amplifiers.
Their new lineup is an excellent option for players looking for a compact, lightweight amp that can cover a wide range of performing situations. So whether you want to use the amp for practice or even play in small venue gigs, Catalyst models can be worth investing in.
What Bands Use Line 6 Amps?
Line 6 amps are used by various bands and artists from all genres. Here are some of the more notable artists who use Line 6 models:
- Julien Baker of Boygenius
- Bill Kelliher of Mastodon
- Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big
- Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy
- Stevic Mackay of Twelve Foot Ninja
- Dustin Kensrue of Thrice
- Scott Holiday of Rival Sons
- Jade Puget of AFI
- Reeves Gabrels of The Cure
- Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders
- Chris Letchford of Scale The Summit
If you buy a Line 6 amp, be aware that it will not be plug and play. Instead, you’ll need to educate yourself on the amp models available and meticulously hone these over time to achieve the desired sound. Once you do this, Line 6 amps can sound rather good, especially for their versatility and affordable price.