Is it possible to connect a guitar directly to a smartphone, without any interface in between?

A guitar output is an unbalance mono TS, and a smartphone input is a balance TRSS.

I already have a TRSS to TRS adapter. With it, I can successfully connect TRS microphones to my smartphone.

But when I connect my guitar directly to that TRS input adapter, I cannot get any sound recorded. Tried different guitars, and also tried all cables on different setups. So I could verify all my cables work in general.

What am I missing to let the audio signal pass through from a mono guitar output into a TRS input?

1 Answer 1


It's not possible, you need some kind of signal amplifier between the guitar and the phone.

The guitar has huge internal impedance, so the input impedance must be around a megaohm to sound right. The headset jack has impedance of few hundred ohms, so it would need much more current than the guitar pickup can provide. Or less technically, the signal from the guitar is too weak for the phone without amplification.

  • 1
    FTR, many amp- or pedal inputs only have an impedance around or below 200 kΩ. True is: even this already colours the sound, while still being much more than a phone's. You don't need 1 MΩ, but it will give the clearest possible sound, and you certainly don't want much less than 100 kΩ. Oct 9, 2021 at 23:11
  • That's by the way why some people like to but a buffer before effect pedals.
    – ojs
    Oct 10, 2021 at 6:10

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