Who else wants to learn how to connect electric guitar to computer?
It’s no secret that learning how to connect electric guitar to computer can be confusing.
Today we’ll demystify the experience and help you learn how easy it can be.
Simply put, you need two things:
1) Some way of physically connecting your electric guitar to a computer.
2) Some kind of recording software like Audacity or a DAW.
A digital audio workstation is software that is used for recording, editing, and creating audio files.
You can be very creative and use software to simply record your playing or create your own songs.
To physically connect your electric guitar, we’ve laid out 3 different ways to do it:
Using Your Computer’s Sound Card
Using Your Amplifier
Using an Audio Interface
Each one has its own pros and cons, so it’s up to you to choose which one is right for you.
Check it out!
How to Connect Electric Guitar to Computer: Using Your Computer’s Sound Card
Using your computer’s sound card is the simplest way to connect your electric guitar to your computer.
All you need is an adapter cable for your guitar and an audio input jack on your computer.
Adapter Cable Recommendation:
This is a quality cable that has been well-reviewed on Amazon.
It should serve you nicely.
You may also need some type of software like Audacity.
This will let you play through your speakers as well as record your playing.
To find your input jack, look for an input marked “in” on the back of your computer.
If you’re using a laptop, it might have a microphone icon next to it.
Plug the 3.5mm end of the adapter into your computer and the 1/4″ plug into your guitar.
Startup Audacity and adjust your settings so your input is from your guitar and your output is to your speakers.
If you don’t have a 3.5mm audio input jack you do have another option to connect your electric guitar to your computer.
You can purchase an inexpensive external sound card.
External Sound Card Recommendation:
This Sabrent USB sound card is as simple and straightforward as you can get and will serve your purposes well.
These soundcards are very simple and provide an input and an output jack.
First, you plug the USB soundcard into your computer’s USB port.
Then you plug the 3.5mm plug into the sound card’s 3.5mm input jack and the 1/4″ plug into your guitar.
Startup Audacity and adjust your settings so your input is from the USB soundcard and your sound output is going to your speakers.
Start playing your guitar!
When you’re using a sound card the volume of the signal that you get can be very low.
Also, the sound quality won’t be very high since your soundcard wasn’t designed to carry high-fidelity sound.
If you’re using Linux, software like Guitarix provides a virtual guitar amplifier.
You can use it to add effects and change your sound just like an amplifier.
- Inexpensive Options
- Setup Can Be Easy
- Low Sound Quality
- More Advanced Setups can Become Complicated
While the sound quality may not be the greatest, using your sound card is a great option if you just want to experiment or record your guitar for fun.
How to Connect Electric Guitar to Computer: Using You Amplifier
If you’ve already got an amplifier, there’s a good chance that you already have the capability of connecting your electric guitar to your computer.
If your amp has a USB port you can directly connect it to your computer.
Then you can use software like Audacity to play and record your guitar.
All you need is the right sized USB cable and you’re all set to connect to your computer.
This Blackstar amp is an excellent choice of amplifier and comes with a handy USB interface so it’s easy to connect to computer.
Plus, Blackstar provides software you can use to add effects and change the sound of your amp.
First, plug your USB cable into your amp.
Next, plug the other end of the cable into a free USB port on your computer.
Then, you can turn your amp on.
On your computer, you may need to open up your sound settings and set your recording device to your amp.
Next, open up Audacity, and click the drop-down menu to select your recording device.
Select the listing for your amp.
You’re all set!
You can now record and play your guitar through your computer.
- Straightforward Setup
- High-Quality Sound
- Need an Amplifier That Supports USB
- Not Very Portable
In addition to Audacity, your amp manufacturer may also have software available.
This means you can add effects and simulate the sounds of different kinds of amps.
Connecting your electric guitar to your computer using your amp is a great way to get a high-quality recording.
It makes it easy to do things like overdubbing your own songs and accompany yourself.
How to Connect Electric Guitar to Computer: Using an Audio Interface
Using an audio interface is probably the easiest way to get a high-quality sound from your guitar and into your computer.
An audio interface simply converts the signal from your guitar into a format that your computer understands.
Audio Interface Recommendation:
This is one of the most compact and easy-to-use audio interfaces on the market today.
It comes with a mic input which makes it perfect for singer/songwriters looking to record their songs.
One of the benefits of using an audio interface to connect your electric guitar to a computer is that they’re pretty compact.
This means you can fit one in a backpack along with a laptop and have a small studio on the go.
Plus, audio interfaces often come with multiple inputs so you can record vocals and other instruments at the same time.
All you need to do is connect the audio interface to your computer using the included USB cable.
Then you can plug your electric guitar cable directly into the appropriate input on the audio interface.
Fire up Audacity (or a DAW), set your input to your audio interface, and you’re all set to play through your computer and record your electric guitar.
- High Fidelity Sound
- Portable by Design
- It’s a More Expensive Option
While audio interfaces are often the best option for high-fidelity sound, it may be overkill if you’ve already got an amp.
Plus, an amp is something that every electric guitar player needs. You may be better off purchasing the right amp instead of an audio interface.
How to Connect Electric Guitar to Computer: FAQ
- Can you plug an electric guitar into a computer?
- Absolutely! There are many different ways to do this depending on your budget and the sound quality you’re after.
- How do I connect my electric guitar to my laptop?
- The easiest way is probably going to be using an audio interface. You may also be able to use your amplifier or directly plug your guitar into an input jack using the right cable.
- Can I plug my guitar directly into my computer without an interface?
- It’s possible using the right cable. The sound quality won’t be very good, but it’s a cheap and easy way to record your electric guitar.
- How do I record my electric guitar to my computer?
JT currently resides in Southern California and has been playing the guitar since he was 13. He enjoys baking French pastries, drinking loose-leaf tea, and running Slackware Linux.