How to Connect a Guitar to a Computer

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

A guitar and a computer is a powerful tool for a serious guitar player. Connecting the two can produce quality audio which can be recorded for amateur and professional use. Starters and seasoned guitar players can benefit from this technology. There are economical and expensive ways to do this.

Materials Needed:
- 1st Method: Personal Computer /Laptop
- Guitar(Acoustic or Electric)
- Cable with a 1/4 and a 1/8 male plug ends or a standard guitar cable with a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter""
Step 1
For the 1st method, connect the end of the cable with the ¼' plug to the guitar. Connect the other end with the 1/8' plug to the computer’s Audio-In port. This port is labeled with an icon such as a microphone. It is located typically on the rear or side of the CPU. It is often near or beside the Headphones-Out port. It is also important to check if the input plug uses a TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) or TS (Tip/Sleeve) connection. This is indicated on the computer’s manual. These cable adapters are inexpensive so you can switch from TS or TRS, vice versa (if you don’t know the type of connection of the plug).
Step 2
Test if the computer picks up the guitar’s signal. You can hook up a speaker or headset to hear if it is working. If it does not work, troubleshoot the Sound settings on the control panel.
Step 3
For the 2nd method, plug the cable to the guitar. Connect the other end to the pre-amp’s input port. The pre-amp helps power the signal of the guitar to prove quality output.
Step 4
Connect a cable from the pre-amp’s 'PA Out' or 'Line Out' port to the computer’s Audio-In port
Step 5
Test if the computer picks up the guitar’s signal. You can hook up a speaker or headset to hear if it is working. If it does not work, troubleshoot the Sound settings on the control panel.
Step 6
For the 3rd method, follow the same procedure with the 2nd method. The only difference is the cable used to connect the pre-amp to the computer.
Step 7
Use a cable with the USB, Firewire, or an Optical I/O plug to connect the pre-amp to the computer. Make sure you use a cable that matches the pre-amp and computer’s ports.
Step 8
Some pre-amps require a software program to be recognized by the computer. Use the installation CD that came with the pre-amp when purchased and install the program
Step 9
To install the program, insert the disc on the disc drive and follow the installation process.
Step 10
After installing the program, check if the computer can pick up the guitar’s signal. If it does not work, troubleshoot the Sound settings on the control panel.


You are currently viewing How to Connect a Guitar to a Computer on Uniblue's how to archive.