I need to use my laptop as an amplifier on holiday. Can anyone recomend a piece of software that will model an amp and is relatively cheap. Also how do you plug your guitar into the laptop??
it wont get very loud, just to warn you. basicly what you can do is get a cable that has one 1/4" male end, and one 1/8" male end. that way one end goes into your guitar, the other into your soundcard. then, youll need software like you said. i like using Fruity Loops when i plug into my computer. i just run the signal into a channel of the mixer and set up my effects. it has a parametric EQ to shape the sound, reverb to give it a bit of depth, then a bunch of other stuff you can use to shape the sound. no amp models or anything, but i can still get a pretty good sound out of it considering what im doing. i know there are things that do have amp sims and such, but if you are interested in doing it this way i can expand on it.
It may not be the cheapest option but Guitar Rig by Native Instruments is very powerful and will give you 99% of the modelling you'll need.
first you need an audio in and alll new computers have this it looks just like the audio out port then you can buy buy a little convertor from Monster (i forget what its called) but it will change RCA (what your electric guitar has) into the audio in this should work then i guess you will just need recording softwRE and start recording and turn on your speakers

long and complictted so you should just ge an amp
Is there any free recording software I can download which gives you real time playback, so you can hear notes as you play them, and after you record and play it back?
This might be confusing but this is how I do it because I don't like messing with software. I bought a 1/4" to USB cord at my local Target. It comes with an adaptor to split to your REC OUT/DIRECT OUT on your amp so I can use my pedals and stuff. Then plug the USB in and and you can hear it on your computer. Then I use a normal recorder that came with my laptop.