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How To Plug A Guitar Or Bass Into A Computer
Every town throughout the
world has one or two fully dedicated aspiring guitarists
and bassists. These disciplined folks spend countless
hours improving their craft. Their local musician
community is made up of a small group of less-dedicated
folks and people with divergent tastes in music. To the
truly passionate musician, sometimes this can be
The dedicated guitarists and
bassists of these communities have often surpassed the
ability of local teachers, and are thus on their own
following their musical heroes. Although guitar tab
books and guitar lesson DVDs help, trial and error
becomes the primary method.
If you are one such
individual, there is a musician resource that you may
have overlooked: the Internet. Now, please don't
misunderstand. I know that you have already found out
about the internet. You use the internet every day and
you have probably found countless guitar tab sites,
guitar lesson sites, band classified sites and the like.
You have learned a lot on the internet. Your eyes have
found the Internet, but has your music?
When you connect your
instrument to your computer, you connect your music to
the rest of the worldwide community of musicians. Out
there on the internet, unlike in your home town, are
many many people just like you, who want to hear your
music. They are as dedicated as you, they are into the
same music, they are your peers without question, and
they want to hear what you are working on.
This article teaches you how
to plug your guitar or bass right into your computer, to
start sharing your musical ability with the world-wide
internet music community. We are assuming that you have
an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar with
Turn your computer around and look at the back of it.
You should see a walkman-style mini headphone jack in
one of the shiny steel plates back there. Actually, you
should see 3 mini jacks. If you look closely, they have
little etched pictures next to them. One is a picture of
a mic, one is a picture of headphones, and the other
some picture you don't know what it is. The one that is
not mic and not headphones is the line-in jack. Your
guitar has a 1/4 inch cable that is too big to fit into
this mini headphone jack. So, you will need an adapter
that will convert the quarter inch jack to a mini jack.
You can find this sort of adapter at your local
electronics shop. In the U.S., Radio Shack is your best
The following are three
scenarios that describe how to plug your instrument into
Here's the deal: your guitar is supposed to plug into
the line-in jack. But your guitar is not loud enough to
play direct into a line-in. So you have to put an
effects pedal with a volume control in between the PC
and your guitar. That way you can give your guitar
enough of a volume boost to hear it well on your PC.
If you don't have an effects pedal, or something else to
give your guitar a slight volume boost, then the line-in
method won't work. Your guitar will be too quiet. If
this is the case, you will need to plug your guitar into
the mic jack instead. The guitar is too loud for a mic
jack. So, you will have to turn the guitar down for it
to record properly. Even then, it won't sound too good.
Computer mic jacks just don't sound good. But, it works.
Ideally, here is what you want to do: get a mixer, plug
your guitar into your amp, mic the amp in a sound-proof
room. Turn it up really loud. Mix your effects into the
signal at the mixer, and plug the mixer line out into
the line in of your computer. If you have all the
equipment for this, then I would suggest you get one
more item: a studio-quality audio card. These cards have
improved circuitry and software that will significantly
improve the sound of your records and the flexibility of
I hope this article has been helpful to you and that
your music inspires and fulfills you throughout a long
and happy career. I also hope that you will join a
musician community on the internet and get as much
satisfaction out of it as I have.
Author: Jon Broderick is a guitarist from
California who has been an online musician since 1998.
You can find Jon featured in online
at major music websites.
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