Unless you have a professional or even a semi-professional studio, at some point, you’re going to want to hook your guitar up to a computer so that you can record. This might sound like a challenging activity, especially if you’re not very tech-savvy. But in actuality, it’s pretty simple to connect a guitar to a computer, and there are multiple different ways.

How to connect a guitar to a computer is a question many people have. We compiled this quick guide to help you out with just that question. So if you’re interested, keep reading; we’re going to go over everything you need to know about connecting your guitar to a computer.

Why Connect Your Guitar to a Computer?

The first question that has to be answered is why you would want to connect your guitar to a computer in the first place. Besides the fact that it allows you access to audio interfaces and recording software to begin recording your songs, there are other reasons you might want to choose to run your guitar through a computer.

You can actually utilize your computer as an amp for your electric guitar if you are just starting out and may not have enough money to purchase a good amp. It’s also handy for those that live in a place where too much noise is frowned upon; using the computer will allow you to control your noise levels better.

Also, if you are a beginner or working on a tight budget, you might not have enough money to enjoy all those fancy pedals that create your sound the way you want it. So instead, using your electric guitar piped through your computer, you can use sound effects from audio recording software to get the same results.

Electric Guitar: How to Connect It To Your Computer

The process of hooking up an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar to your computer is vastly different. So we’re going to give you ways to use your computer and guitar together for each. The electric guitar is perhaps the easiest to hook up to your computer. Connecting this type of guitar is simple, but it will require some specific hardware.

To hook up your electric guitar to a computer, you have to have an audio interface. This piece of hardware allows your guitar signal to be safely processed into your computer. This system often has audio output jacks that you plug your guitar into and then another set of jacks that will go into your computer. There are, of course, other options as well, and we’re going to go over each of those.

Audio Interface

This may be the most popular option for connecting your electric guitar to a computer. This piece of hardware is a box that allows you to insert your guitar’s jack in and then transfer that signal into a digital form sent to your computer via USB cable. Along with connecting your electric guitar to your computer, most of these will offer a headphone jack so that you can utilize it to hear the playback and maintain noise levels.

This is an excellent option for those looking to record multiple instruments or who want to connect a microphone to record vocals. It’s also great for those looking to connect their smartphone to the interface at some point so that they can share music via social media.

How to Connect a Guitar to a Computer

Multi-Effects Pedal

The audio interfaces can be pretty expensive, and so another option you might look at is multi-effects pedals. Most effects pedals today will be set up with a USB port that can allow you to connect them to your computer. Then all you do is simply insert your guitar jack into the input audio jack, and you can pipe your guitar right into your computer.

Using this system will allow you to use particular tones and effects to shape your music the way you want it to be heard. But you don’t have to use the effects if you want a clean, crisp recording of your guitar. Instead, most will allow you to record a dry run of the music.


Many amplifiers have a USB jack on the back. So that means if you have an amp with this feature, you can utilize your amp to hook it up into a computer. This is primarily for those looking to record and already have an amp available.

This allows you to record any effects and tones that your amp can create without any unique pedals. It also makes it simple for you to record vocals along with your guitar at the same time as many amps allow you to plug a microphone in; by piping those signals into your computer, you can record them at the same time.

What About An Acoustic Guitar?

So where hooking your electric guitar up to your computer is simple, the acoustic guitar is a little more challenging. In truth, the simplicity of the process depends on what type of acoustic guitar you have. You have two options: an acoustic guitar with internal pickups and one without built-in pickups.

Let’s look at how guitarists can hook each one up to a computer.

Internal Pickups

Acoustic guitars with internal pickups are basically electric-acoustic guitars. This means that any of the processes discussed above can be utilized with this acoustic guitar. Most people highly recommend the audio interface option for this type of guitar.

Guitars Without Internal Pickups

For those acoustic guitars not designed with internal pickups, you will need a microphone in combination with an audio interface to hook your acoustic guitar up through your computer. You can also find microphones that you can plug directly into your computer, which may be an option.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to hook your guitar up through your computer for recording or because you’re trying to control the noise levels, there are several options. It is not as hard as you may think, but there are a few steps you have to take before successfully using your computer alongside your electric guitar. We hope that the information above has helped you determine which method suits you.

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