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|In this guide we'll show you the gear you need to connect your electric guitar or bass to your computer for recording, practising, or even for using live on stage...|
What Do I Need?
You can use virtually any modern computer for recording. Depending on what kind of computer you have, there are several simple ways to connect a guitar or bass to your computer.
Once you've connected your guitar, there's a wide range of software available designed specifically for guitarists.
With the right software you can do anything from recording demos to changing the speed and key of songs to play along with or adding effects to your guitar or bass in real-time.
Many pieces of software can also be used live on stage with a high-spec laptop.
Method 1: Computer Guitar Cable
If your computer has a minijack microphone or line input for recording, it's sometimes possible to connect your guitar directly to the input on your computer's soundcard using a jack to minijack lead.
This type of lead can connect directly from your guitar, or from the output of an amplifier or effects pedal to your computer's sound card. Connecting this way is very easy, and it's a great way to get started if you're on a budget.
Method 2: Audio Interfaces
For better results you might want to look at an audio interface such as the
Alesis Guitarlink Plus for only £19.99
An audio interface works in just the same way as your computer's sound card, except that it connects to a USB or Firewire port instead of being fitted inside your computer.
Audio interfaces can transfer sound in and out of your computer. There are many different models available, which allow you to connect everything from microphones and guitars to hi-fi's and keyboards.
Because audio interfaces are specially designed for recording, they usually give higher sound quality than connecting via a standard computer sound card.
Some audio interfaces also include bundled software for making and editing recordings, so you can get everything you need in one package.
If you want to connect your guitar and computer for live work, a good audio interface is essential because it can reduce latency (the delay between playing a note and hearing it through the speakers).
Low latency is also a bonus when recording or practicing, because sometimes the delay caused by high latency can be quite offputting.
Best Selling Audio Interfaces:-
View our Audio Interfaces Section for more sound cards...
View our Guide to Sound Cards for more information...
Method 3: Effects Units
You can also connect directly from the output of a guitar effects pedal.
This can be done via a lead, but some newer units have USB ports built in for easy connection.
Once you have a way to connect your guitar or bass to your computer, you'll need some software.
You can use almost any music production software for this, but there are some pieces of software designed specifically with guitarists in mind.
These often include guitar effects or amp emulations, and some can be used live as well as in the studio.
If you're unsure about any of the above, or if you're not sure which products would be best for you, please
contact us and we'll be happy to offer friendly, impartial advice and recommendations.