Can You Plug Electric Guitar Into Computer? Find Out!

Whether a desktop or laptop running Windows or Mac OSx, a direct connection to your computer opens up a whole new universe of guitar-playing possibilities. Computer apps enable quick access to virtual copies of well-known amplifiers, pedals, and plugins and the ability to create custom sound profiles.

Can you plug electric guitar into computer? It’s a lot easier to get started than most people believe. Connecting your electric or acoustic guitar to your computer is straightforward and involves only a few pieces of publicly accessible gear.

How to Connect an Electric Guitar to a Computer

Connecting an electric guitar to a computer is simple, but it necessitates using an audio interface or any other alternative method.

To connect your electric guitar to a computer, you’ll need an audio interface that can safely convert the signal from your guitar to something your computer can understand. If your computer has audio input jacks, you’ll need to utilize an audio interface to connect your electric guitar to it.

If you use an adapter to connect your guitar to your computer’s mic or line-in input jacks, you risk damaging both your guitar and your computer. It will not function since the audio input jacks were not designed to handle input from your guitar.

Let’s look at the many possibilities for connecting an electric guitar to a computer.

Audio Interface

An audio interface is the most common way to connect an electric guitar to a computer. An audio interface is a basic box that accepts your guitar or other inputs and turns the output into a digital signal that you can send to your computer through USB.

The Focusrite Scarlett series of audio interfaces is the most popular among guitarists (link to Amazon to see the different models, features, and prices).

The main idea behind the box, which has a lot of buttons and knobs, is that it allows you to attach a guitar line from your electric guitar to the interface. The interface then processes the guitar signal and sends it to your computer via USB.

As you can see, the interface above allows you to connect to many instruments (or microphones) simultaneously. If you intend to record, this is ideal because you can record numerous mics or instruments simultaneously.

Suppose you plan on recording acoustic guitar or vocals in the future. In that case, an audio interface bundle like this one from Sweetwater, which includes a condenser microphone and headphones, is a good investment.

Most audio interfaces also allow you to plug in headphones directly to the interface, allowing you to play guitar in complete silence. While the iRig HD 2 by IK Multimedia is an excellent alternative that will fit many guitarists, it is also a simpler and less expensive option.

The Focusrite Scarlett can process many instruments or microphones simultaneously, but the tiny interface is an excellent alternative if you only want to plug one guitar into your computer.

You may also connect to a Mac, iPhone, or iPad with it (Android is not supported). It means you can play the guitar with the iRig while traveling or even if you don’t have access to a computer.

Consider the following questions while choosing an audio interface:

  • Do you wish to be able to record various instruments simultaneously?
  • Do you wish to be able to connect your computer to a microphone?
  • Will you wish to record drums in the future (optimal results require several microphones)?
  • Do you want the interface to work with both a computer and a smartphone, or simply a computer?

Consider what is important to you. Different interfaces have different features, so think about what is important to you. All interfaces will link your guitar to a computer in the simplest way possible.

Multi-Effects Pedal

While an audio interface is the most common way to link an electric guitar to a computer, most modern multi-effect pedals can also accomplish the job.

Today, almost every multi-effect pedal has a USB port, allowing you to connect it to your computer and use it as an audio interface.

Even modest multi-effects pedals like this one will contain a USB connector for connecting to a computer.

When you link your guitar to your computer using a multi-effects pedal, you can continue to use the pedal’s effects and tones while playing through your computer. It is a terrific option if you want to capture those tones or just jam along some backing tracks.

If you want to record a dry signal:

  1. Skip any effects or presets on your multi-effects pedal.
  2. Check whether your multi-effect pedal has a USB jack if you already have one. You might be able to utilize it as an audio interface if it does.
  3. Check the manual for your pedal to see what settings you’ll need to use as an audio interface (every pedal is different).

Guitar Amp

This option will not help you if you wish to connect your guitar to a computer because you don’t have a guitar amp. Whether you have an amplifier, check to see if it has a USB port on the back.

A USB connector is included on many modern amplifiers, allowing you to connect your amp to your computer and utilize it as an audio interface.

It has a USB jack and all of the other jacks that you wouldd expect to find on a modern guitar amp. You can connect your guitar amp to a computer if a USB connector is on the back.

Connecting your guitar amp to your computer has the major benefit of allowing you to jam and record your guitar utilizing any of your amp’s tones. So, if you like the sound of your amp’s drive channel, you can record it without needing to use a microphone in front of it.

How to Control Your Effects and Tones

You can use stompboxes and foot controllers to switch between amp channels and effects with a standard guitar and amp setup.

You can use MIDI foot controllers if you want to control your guitar effects and tones while running your rig through a computer.

A MIDI foot controller connects to your computer through USB. You can program your foot controller to control practically anything in your DAW.

Here are some examples of things you can control with your foot controller:

  • Use an expression pedal to modify any effect preset dynamically. 
  • Change amp tones or presets 
  • Toggle individual effects on and off 
  • Use an expression pedal for wah, loudness, or whammy effects. 
  • Use an expression pedal for wah, volume, or whammy effects (e.g., change the delay length, gain level, chorus depth, etc.)
  • Start recording or playback of a backing track with a footswitch
  • Trigger samples or any other plugins with a footswitch

Using your feet to control every aspect of your tone and effects adds a lot to a guitar and PC combination. You can accomplish things that most typical guitar rigs can’t.

Best Electric Guitars

  1. Squier Bullet Mustang

When purchasing an electric guitar for a child, there are several factors to consider. To allow smaller shoulders to cope, the guitar must be relatively light. It must be simple enough to play for small hands and a neck of proper size. It also has to look cool. Because, let’s face it, the guitar’s appearance arguably exceeds its ability to traverse different tonal zones at that age.

A few dedicated miniature copies of ordinary guitars are available, but we chose a full-sized, well-equipped, and reasonably priced one. The Squier Bullet Mustang has a shorter scale length, which makes it a breeze to play when combined with the basswood body.

Pros:

  • It’s not just for children.
  • In contrast to the standard Strat/Les Paul duopoly,
  • It is difficult to outgrow

Cons:

  • Not much at this price
  1. Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Stratocaster

The market for entry-level guitars is in considerably better shape than it was even ten years ago. Manufacturers and companies now use significantly more quality control than they did previously. It implies that even ‘cheaper’ guitars may produce tones, construction, and playability that were previously only available on mid-end and higher-end models.

The Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Stratocaster exemplifies this. Previously, an entry-level guitar might last a few years, with string action that felt like playing razor wire and tones that sounded like a swarm of bees in a tin can. That is no longer the case.

Pros:

  • Styled in a period-appropriate manner
  • Performance outperforms the price tag
  • Extremely well constructed

Cons:

  • Single coils are not for heavier tones

Conclusion on Can You Plug Electric Guitar Into Computer?

It’s not only about recording when you connect your guitar to your computer. Modern amplifier modeling technology allows you to imitate several well-known models without incurring the costs or taking up the space required to house many amps. In recent years, USB technology has made the process even easier, and in many situations, it is a plug-and-play affair with little to no setup necessary. I highly recommend connecting your guitar to your computer, whether for recording a song you have just composed or simply experimenting with your sound.