With the new age of modern technology, it’s never been easier to obtain high quality recording gear that’ll give you studio grade results.
But if you have a smaller budget or just don’t care about having studio quality to record your guitar, it’s easily done with some basic equipment and knowledge.
If you’re just starting out, recording a guitar in general can be a daunting task, nevermind trying to figure out how to connect your guitar to your PC.
But in this guide we’ll be showing you how to connect and record your guitar on your PC and the tools you’ll need to get started.
What You’ll Need
An Audio Interface
An audio interface is pivotal to any record set-up, so naturally this is the first thing that you should look for.
The purpose of this is to convert the analog signal that is produced by the guitar into a digital one that can be transmitted so that your computer can accurately interpret the signal.
There are many different types of audio interfaces out there and the one you get will depend on what you need.
The main difference between them all is the amount of inputs and outputs they have, so if you’re a solo guitarist then the number of inputs that the audio interface has isn’t really important to you.
But if you’re recording with other performers simultaneously, then you’ll need more inputs, but this guide is mainly about recording a singular guitar on PC so this doesn’t matter too much.
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
The next thing you’ll need is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) which is the control center of your audio setup.
It will handle most tasks related to audio recording such as looping, editing, music production and mixing.
You don’t necessarily need a DAW but it’s a good thing to have if you’re thinking about recording your guitar or multiple other instruments more often as it’s a versatile platform that will let you mess around with your sound.
There’s no ‘best’ DAW, it all comes down to what will suit your needs the best.
They’re quite expensive but most come with free demos so you’ll be able to download and test them to see if they suit you.
You won’t need a microphone if your guitar already has built-in pickup, if it does then you simply need to plug a guitar lead into your guitar’s output and plug it into the audio interface.
If you really want the best quality for recording then you can purchase a condenser mic that is aimed at the 12th fret, but these mics can be pretty expensive so it’s completely up to you.
If you have no pickup, then you’ll definitely need a microphone to record it and you’ll need a condenser mic pointed at the 12th fret and plug it into your audio interface, like we just mentioned above.
A Pair Of Headphones
Obviously if you’re recording your guitar, you’re going to need to be able to listen to it.
Now of course you can use your PC’s speakers to listen to it and you’ll get a generic quality but if you’ve ever listened to something using your PC’s speakers then you’ll know the quality isn’t great and because of this they won’t be able to give you the true sound of your guitar.
The best results can be achieved with a pair of headphones, they don’t have to be super expensive just as long as they’re decent quality.
These will give you the most accurate sound of your recording.
A Laptop Or PC
Well of course you already have one otherwise you wouldn’t be researching this article!
Connecting your guitar to your PC or laptop is probably the most cost effective way to record since it’s something you already have in your arsenal.
Though it does come with its disadvantages, as long as your PC or laptop can run the software required then you’re all good to go.
A Guitar Amplifier (Optional)
Now this step is optional, but many amps are much more affordable than they used to be and many can double as an audio interface or even a microphone, so if you do have one it’s best to check the manual and see if you can skip buying an audio interface and a microphone, it could save you a lot of money!
Connecting An Acoustic Guitar To A PC
So we briefly touched on what to do if your guitar doesn’t have any pickup, but we’re going to explain it in a bit more detail here.
So there are two kinds of acoustic guitars for the purpose of this article.
The first kind doesn’t have an output jack so you’ll have to use your condenser mic and connect it to your PC through the audio interface.
The second has a magnetic or piezo-electric pickup with an output jack, so unlike the first you’ll be able to connect a guitar cable into it.
To get the best possible sound quality, try to use an audio interface that has two inputs and record two tracks at the same time, one through the microphone and the other through the guitar cable and then using the DAW you can blend them together however you like.
Hopefully now you know a bit more about connecting your guitar to your PC and subsequently how to record your guitar from your PC.
It may seem quite complicated upon first glance, but once you understand the steps and have the correct equipment, essentially it’s all about plugging wires in and creating your sound, the hardest part is getting to grips with the DAW, but once you’ve used it a few times you’ll get the hang of it.
There’s no worries if you fail the first time, the beauty of setting it up from home makes it so you can try and try again until you’re sounding like a professional, have fun with it!