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How To Connect A Guitar To A Computer

By: Brad Finley

So many players want to record guitar playing on their computer. Digital recording is more popular than ever for pros and amateurs alike. But there are some things to be considered when you connect a guitar to a computer; mostly how you want to connect the instrument, and the quality of the recording you hope to capture. The type of guitar computer interface you choose will greatly affect the sound of the electric guitar through the computer and the overall recording you can expect.



While it is possible to play guitar through a PC just by plugging it in, this basic approach is likely to be fine for most though many players don't like sacrificing a good sound for the ease of quick setup. Electric players need a 'high impedance' input to get their electric guitar to connect to a computer, and though most computer soundcards come with high impedance inputs, these inputs are usually not strong enough to get a good guitar signal or in the long run, for recording guitar effects for PC. This lower 'impedance' can cause noise problems too. A player can avoid all this of course by plugging the guitar into a 'line-in' jack, instead of the 'mic-in', but then the all-important preamp is needed.



Almost any one attempting to connect a guitar through their computer or familiar with recording a guitar into a mixing consol should be familiar with a preamp. The preamp does exactly what its name implies, it "amps" the signal before it goes into the plug-in. Therefore your guitar's signal will get that extra boost it needs when you record guitar on a pc...or into any other device that is not an amp. There are plenty of external interfaces that combine computer soundcards with a preamp. Or if you like more components to you set-up you can always buy a preamp separate from your sound card. There are a lot of stand-alone vintage preamps out there that will not only boost your signal, but warm your sound before it goes into the 'cooler' digital domain of your pc.



It's not only the pristine quality of digital that makes recording guitar on a pc so much fun, it is also portability. With very little equipment you can put down a riff (or an entire song actually) into a laptop! And added to all this wonderful technology is the fact that there are so many recording guitar effects for pc now on the market, a player can access different amp sounds and settings, effects. Well after you have wrestled with how to connect a guitar to your pc and have recorded a strong signal, you can call record guitar effects with pc during recording or in post-production.



Of course information about how to connect your guitar to a pc and the wonderful wide world of effects is available through an on-line pc guitar tutor and websites devoted to digital recording. You can even purchase a computer guitar tuner (some programs include a free computer guitar tuner) so everything you will ever need is self-contained in your rockin' pc! Some players are even recording parts, then downloading and sending these pieces of tunes to musician's half-way across the world.



The possibilities really are unlimited for the guitar player who says: "I want to connect a guitar to my pc"; he or she will be amazed at the varied and easy results they can achieve when they simply start recording guitar on a pc.

Brad Finley is senior editor of MyGuitarWorkshop - Free Guitar Lessons . Website provides guitar lessons and instructions for all level guitar players. Also click for Free Music Theory Lessons

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