If you want to record your guitar playing, one of the best ways you can do this is to connect your guitar directly to your computer.
This will allow you to record cleanly, or to add a multitude of different effects through the use of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
Whatever your reason, there will likely come a time when you will want to transition your music into the digital world!
If you’re wondering about how you can do this – don’t panic! You’ve come to the right place. In the article below we’re going to be taking you through everything you’ll need to know in order to connect your guitar through a variety of different methods.
We’ve separated this article into a few different sections, first focusing on electric guitars, then acoustic, and then finally how you can connect an amplifier.
Consider Your End Goal
The first thing we’re going to cover here is the reason why you’re trying to connect your guitar to your Laptop Or PC, as this will change how you will want to connect it.
If you’re looking to record your guitar with a DAW, then a direct connection is best!
Similarly, if you’re looking to run your guitar through a series of digital pedals, you’re going to want to do this through the use of an audio interface.
Also, consider the kind of guitar that you have. It’s a lot easier to connect a traditional electric guitar to a Laptop or PC, as they already come with the required electrical components.
However, an acoustic guitar can be much trickier. Whatever the guitar you have, just take a look at the hardware you have available to.
Connecting An Electric Guitar To A Computer
If you want to connect an electric guitar to a computer all you have to do is have access to a piece of equipment known as an audio interface.
An audio interface is a small box that will help to safely connect your guitar lead to your computer. Because of the standard outputs around electric guitars, if you try and connect it directly to the audio outputs of your PC or Laptop, you run the risk of damaging both devices.
So instead you’ll need to get hold of an audio interface. You might be wondering what it is that an audio interface actually does – well, in short, it changes the electrical signal that your guitar inputs into a digital one that your computer will be able to process.
If you’ve hung around musicians when they’re recording before, you’ve probably already seen what an audio interface looks like.
They tend to be a small box with a few little inputs as well as some knobs and buttons. To use one, all you have to do is connect it to your PC or Laptop and then connect your electric guitar to the box.
Depending on the audio interface you have, there are likely to be multiple different inputs so that you can record multiple things at the same time.
If you’re looking for a good beginner’s audio interface, take a look at this one here for an example of a very simplistic version.
Connecting an Amp
This next section is all about amplifiers. One of the good things to know about modern amplifiers is that they often feature a USB slot that will allow you to easily connect it to your PC or Laptop.
If you are struggling to find this USB slot, take a look at the back of your amp and look at all of the inputs that are available. If you can’t find one, there is a chance that your amp doesn’t have one, especially if it is an older model.
You might be wondering why you would want to do this, rather than just directly connecting your guitar? Well, amplifiers have their own sounds that you might want to keep!
Connecting your amp will allow you to come up with original tones that you might not have had otherwise.
Connecting An Acoustic Guitar
There’s a fair chance that your acoustic guitar does not have any electrical components. If this is the case, then you’re not going to be able to directly connect it to your PC or Laptop. Instead, you’re going to need to find some way to record it.
This can be done with a series of microphones, and the audio can be cleaned up with editing software.
However, many electric guitars come with what is known as an internal pickup. This is usually a small panel on the side of your guitar that quill allows you to connect it to an amp or other device with a cable.
Providing you do have an internal pickup, connecting your acoustic to a Laptop or PC is going to be as simple as an electric guitar.
You can simply connect it to an audio interface and it will work in much of the same way as an electric would. It’s important to note that not all acoustic guitars have electrical components, and this is an important factor to consider before you purchase one.
There are options available to have one built-in, however, this can be expensive.
So there you have it! Providing you have the right hardware, connecting a guitar to a computer isn’t all that difficult.
If you’re yet to buy a guitar, a little bit of proper planning can go a long way the next time you want to link your instrument up to recording or sound-editing software!
We hope that this article has given you some insight into how to do this and that you now feel a lot more confident about the whole process.
Thanks for reading and happy playing!