I’ve received a couple comments on a recent post about some people not knowing how to record a guitar on a computer. Since this is the Home Studio Nation community, I am here to help with any home studio obstacles you may run into. I’m here to explain the simple process and also how this process can be put into action at a very low price.
Many of those who play guitar would love to be able to record their guitar chords or perhaps a full song they wrote, but can’t quite get the recording thing down. Maybe you know how to record, but now you want to learn guitar and record your progress. Whatever the case is, it is not difficult at all as long as you have your guitar, a computer, a mic, and the proper cables.
I will be going into detail about how to do this in various ways. Here is an equipment list of what you’ll need:
- Acoustic/Electric Guitar
- Guitar cables
- 1/4 to 3.5mm adapter
- Audio interface
- Guitar Amplifier
Recording Electric Guitars
If you have a couple extra bucks lying around, you can go to your nearest music store and pick up a 1/4 inch to 3.5mm adapter. The purpose of this adapter is to serve as the median connection between your guitar and computer or laptop. Since your electric guitar should come with a guitar cable already, all you need is to connect the two.
Plug your 1/4mm guitar cable into your adapter, and then plug the 3.5mm side of the adapter into your computer or laptop’s headphone or auxiliary port. Now depending on the DAW you’re using to do this, you should be able to go into your audio preferences and switch to that input you’ve just plugged in.
Once you’re all connected and ready to go, hit that record button and begin to play. Your software should pick up all sound from your electric guitar. Of course it won’t have that full electric guitar sound you’re used to hearing without a guitar amplifier, which may cost you some cash.
By the way, you always skip the adapter and just record directly into your microphone. You will obviously hear a difference in sound when you play it back, but that is completely up to you.
Recording With A Guitar Amplifier
This process will require another guitar cable and of course a guitar amp. Make sure your electric guitar is plugged into the amp first and foremost. Now plug the other into the guitar amp on one end, and the other end connects to that same adapter used in the previous section without an amplifier.
Next, connect the 3.5mm side of the adapter into headphone port of your computer or laptop. Before doing this, make sure your guitar plays through your amp displaying the sound that you like. Maybe you like it to be distorted a little bit with a more gritty guitar sound.
Plug it in, and start recording onto your program. Now play it back to make the proper sound adjustments. You can also do this using a microphone to record directly into. I would give some distance between your amplifier and mic so you don’t completely destroy your ear drums when listening to the playback.
Recording Acoustic Guitars
Acoustic guitars can be recorded directly into the microphone or directly onto the DAW that you’re using. You can do this as long as your acoustic guitar has an input for a cable which most guitars these days do have. Either use the same methods provided in the above section or skip to the next section that focuses on recording your guitar using an audio interface.
I’ve found that using the method below while recording your vocals at the same time, if you have the skill to do so of course, to be the one of the best methods.
Using An Audio Interface
This is the primary way I would personally go with. This method does not have use of the 1/4 to 3.5mm adapter since your guitar cable plugs directly into the interface. I recommend using the Focusrite Scarlet audio interface since it’s affordable and produces great quality.
Next, plug your microphone cable into your interface as well as the USB which powers your interface on. Depending on the mic you’re using, you may need to make sure your phantom power is activated.
Time To Rock Out!
There you have it. The simple process of recording your guitar on your computer using a few different methods. All methods provide different frequencies but with the proper equipment and mixing, you can come out with an amazing sound production using your guitar.
I hope I’ve answered a few questions and helped out a few of those who wanted to know how this process works. If you have any additional questions, comments, or experiences you’d like to discuss, drop them below and I’ll get back to you soon.