Is a guitar amp essential when you want to play your electric guitar? Most people would answer yes to this question. So, what do you do when you’re in the market for an electric guitar amplifier but your budget cannot handle it right now?

Luckily, you can use several methods to play your electric guitar if you don’t have an amp and still get a decent sound.

How Can You Play Your Electric Guitar Without Using an Amplifier?

If playing an electric guitar is still new to you, you’ll be interested to learn that you can play your guitar or practice for hours, and you won’t have to spend all your savings on an amplifier. Let’s discuss the different methods.

  • Headphones
  • Stereo system
  • PA system
  • Digital audio interface
  • Floor effects units
  • Smartphones or tablets

These are just a few ideas, but there are many creative ways to play your electric guitar when you’re passionate about it. Some of these still require a connection or cable, but they’re easy to find and affordable. Continue reading for more “inside info” and some inspiration to try different sounds.

Play Your Electric Guitar By Itself

This method is usually the first option for practicing or writing new tunes. Of course, the volume will be much lower because there’s no resonating box like an acoustic guitar. Still, you’ll be able to hear it and practice your fretting and strumming without annoying the entire household or apartment block.

Of course, this is not a permanent solution – we all know that an electric guitar is built for amplification, but you’ll still get the ‘feel’ of the instrument while you practice unplugged. This method is also excellent for beginners to feel and hear each string, improve their accuracy and hone their technique with chords and scales.

Do You Need an Amp to Play Electric Guitar

Play Electric Guitar Through Another Device if You Don’t Have an Amplifier

If you’re someone who feels it’s altogether wrong to play your electric guitar on its own, don’t panic … as mentioned before, there are several devices you can use that won’t break the bank.

Guitar Headphone Amplifier

Using a headphone amplifier that plugs into your electric guitar output will amplify a signal you can use with headphones. Many of these units have tone and volume level controls to adjust the signal, and you can choose between devices that create rock, metal, or vintage sounds depending on your preferred style.

These nifty gadgets also let you tweak effects and have built-in amp models so that it will sound like a great amp. With a wireless interface, you may want to experiment with the Boss Waza Air headphone amp.

You can, of course, find cheaper models, but the sound quality will not be as good, and it’s better than playing your guitar on its own when the budget dictates.

Stereo Systems

Most of us have a stereo system at home, and to keep your budget at zero, you can use your stereo if it has an auxiliary input (but you’ll need an adapter). A guitar patch cable is usually ¼-inch with a male connector, and the input will be an ⅛-inch female.

You can also use your “boombox” with aux input for a setup to practice that’s very affordable. Keep the volume reasonable since you don’t want to damage your stereo’s speakers; start at a low volume and turn it up slowly until you have a level you enjoy, which won’t overburden the speakers.

Should you decide to invest in this setup, you can also obtain an AMPLIFi TT unit, a desktop device to amplify your sound, and it’s also great with surround sound.

PA System

Suppose you’re in a band and prefer playing with friends, you could consider a Public Address System. Then, you’ll only need a general guitar cable to plug your electric guitar into the system for clear sound. The Fender Audio Passport S2 is superb and reasonably priced. Also, you can connect effects and use it as a tube amp!

They aren’t the cheapest option but are much more affordable than amplifiers, and there are many models you can explore.

Digital Audio Interface (DAW)

If you need to mix or record music, you’ll need a digital audio interface. This device sends music from your recording (pc or laptop) to speakers and headphones. You’ll need routing software to direct the guitar signal correctly. Why not consider the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that offers two preamps for the input, and you can record electric guitars and vocals simultaneously. Or use it to mix but with the correct DAW app or software.

A DAW is affordable and easy to amplify your electric guitar and has two inputs where you can connect two guitars and record them simultaneously. Of course, there are also headphones.

Floor Effect Units

Stompboxes or floor units offer multiple effects, and you can play your electric guitar through them instead of an amp. Most modern units have jacks to power headphones and speakers. If you consider the Line 6 HX Stomp XL, you may agree that it’s an excellent option.

It allows you to mold your tone with no amplifier, and these units come with DSP amp simulator software built-in, which is a significant convenience.

Smartphones or Tablets

Since mobile devices are so common, the chances are you can use your tablet or smartphone, and you’ll find many applications that act as effect pedals and amplifiers. It’s entirely portable and requires almost no power.

Just connect with the headphone jack to create an amplifier for electric guitars! Why not explore the iRig 2 HD with a ¼-inch jack to plug in through a standard guitar cable. Don’t be concerned about compatibility since it’s compatible with Android and iOS devices.


We hope you feel more relaxed about playing your electric guitar with all this information. Keep in mind that you can start playing your electric guitar on its own, so don’t delay, get started toda

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