How To Connect Guitar To PC Without Interface

Guitar recordings need high-quality sound and great clarity, especially if you want to share the recordings on YouTube or social media. 

One of the tools you need for a good recording is an audio interface. The audio interface helps you connect the guitar to the PC for recordings without risking damage to your guitar or your computer.

If you need to connect your guitar to the PC but you do not have an interface, read on to get the trick to achieve a connection.

How to Connect Guitar to PC Without Interface (the simplest way)

Try plugging in the guitar to a dedicated preamp. Ensure that the pre-amp has a headphone output. Get a patch cord that fits the headphone output and the PC’s input to provide a line-level signal that the PC can record.

If you have an iMac or MacBook Pro, you can check whether the line in the jack that is connected to an inbuilt interface works to connect the guitar.

Alternatively, you can place the standard guitar cable into the guitar and then plug the opposite end into the input port of a pre-amp. Plug a USB cable into the pre-amps output then plug the other end into the PC’s in port.

What to Do After the Connection

After connecting the guitar to your PC, you should test the signal. If the guitar is well connected to the PC, you should hear the sound when you strum the guitar from the PC through the PC’s speakers, headphones, or external speakers. In some cases, you might need open recording software to hear the sound.

In case you experience sound problems, check the sound settings on your PC. The volume levels might need adjustments or the volume might be muted.

The Downsides of Connecting Guitar to PC without Interface

While connecting the guitar to the pc without an interface saves on costs, it has some downsides to it. This includes:

Without an interface, you will experience audio delays. Audio delays are irritating because you do not get the sound feedback as soon as you play your guitar.

Connecting the guitar to pc without an interface can cause damage to your PC’s sound card

The main benefit of forgoing an interface is saving on costs. Many interfaces are affordable and can do a better job than experiencing audio delays or damaging the sound card of your PC.

Can You Connect the Guitar to a PC Without an Amp?

You can connect a guitar to the PC without an amp, but you need to purchase extra hardware. Purchase two male cables one ¼ inch and the other 1/8 inch. The shorter male cable should be connected to the out jack of your computer while the other one plugged into the guitar

After getting the hardware, you need software controls to change the headphone output to the input. You can achieve clean records without an amp if the cables are good and well-connected.

Is It Okay to Connect a Guitar Directly to a Computer?

Most computers have audio jack input which makes it impossible to connect the guitar directly to your PC. You need an interface in this case to connect the guitar to the PC.

Connecting the guitar to the audio input using an adapter might be tempting, but it risks damaging the guitar or your computer. The risk of damage to your computer or guitar is more costly than investing in an interface.

How Much Does an Interface Cost?

Instead of experiencing frustrating audio delays or running the risk of damaging your computer or guitar, it is better to get an audio interface.

You can find an affordable audio interface with a $200 budget. For an advanced interface, expect to spend about $200-$500.

There are cases where one needs a high-end interface for demanding audio projects. This could cost you $1000 plus to get a reliable interface for big audio projects.

An audio interface is a good investment if you want clean records without risking your guitar or computer.


Can You Connect a Guitar Directly To a Speaker?

You cannot connect the guitar directly to your speaker. You need an amplifier for this to work. You can use a standalone amplifier and connect it to the speaker with a speaker cable. Another alternative is to have the amplifier built into the guitar.

Is It Possible to Play Guitar On a Bluetooth Speaker?

This can be done by connecting the guitar to a PC via an interface. After connecting the guitar to the computer, the computer can be connected to a Bluetooth speaker to play.

What Can Be An Amplifier Alternative?

If you have available speakers, you can use them as an alternative to an amplifier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to connect my guitar directly to my PC?

Unfortunately, connecting a guitar directly to a computer isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Even with electric guitars, there’s a missing link preventing them from being directly plug into a computer. The key obstacle here is that the electrical signal generated by guitar’s pickups needs to be converted into a digital one for your computer to make any use of it. Here’s where the game changer comes in – a device known as an audio interface. This device is specifically designed to bridge this gap and allow for a seamless connection between your guitar and computer.

What is the process to connect my guitar directly to my computer?

To smoothly connect your electric guitar to your computer, you will need to connect the guitar to an audio interface or an adapter cable using a standard 1/4-inch tip-sleeve instrument cable. This is the typical type of cable that’s used with guitars and it should fit into the output jack found on your guitar easily. Alternatively, if your computer is blessed with an audio input port, you can connect your electric guitar straightway to this port using an adapter cable. Personally, I prefer using an audio interface as it tends to offer more control and higher fidelity sound.

Can I connect my guitar to a PC without an amplifier?

Yes! It’s completely possible and quite a common practice to connect a guitar to your PC without having to use an amplifier. For those who either don’t own an amp or aren’t keen on purchasing a multi-effects pedal, an audio interface is a cost-effective and efficient alternative. With the help of an audio interface, you can transform your computer into a ‘virtual amplifier.’ This means you can play your guitar through the computer and also use special software plugins or programs to modify the guitar sound.

What do I need to connect my guitar to a PC?

The most essential gear you need to connect your guitar to a computer is an audio interface. This handy tool captures the signal from your guitar and delivers it to your computer in a format it can comprehend and process. When choosing an audio interface, it’s important to consider your unique needs and circumstances. For instance, you may prefer a compact and portable interface if you do a lot of traveling, or you might need an interface with multiple input channels if you plan to record several instruments at once. It’s all about finding the right fit for you.


I'm Johnny, the guy behind Guitar Manifesto. I've been playing guitar since my teens and now that I'm in my 40s, I'm all about sharing what I've learned to help you become a better guitarist.

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