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I have a decent set of speakers for regular music from my iPod.

enter image description here

Something like this one above

Today I bought a pickup for my classical guitar that you basically tape it next to the bridge and its supposed to work. When I plug it into my speakers, no sound comes out.

From Googling around it appears I may need an amp or something. I need some basics if thats alright.

Is there way to use my speakers as they are fantastic quality with my guitar? Can an AMP use my speakers?

Do I have to buy an AMP?

Is there a risk of blowing the speakers with my guitar?

  • When you say "no sound comes out" have you turned the speaker volume all the way to MAX? You also should try to check the pickup works, if you have a friend with a 'proper' music set up, before buying anything. – Mr. Boy Jan 22 '15 at 16:21
  • The pickup works, I went back to the shop today. But I havent cranked it up totally, try it tonight and hope i dont get arrested! – youngcouple10 Jan 22 '15 at 17:06
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    The thing that's missing is a pre-amp. The output from guitar pickups is tiny compared to that of any mp3 music player. I don't know of any pre-amp designed to work with a consumer docking system like that. – Tetsujin Jan 22 '15 at 17:06
  • @youngcouple10 be careful here - guitar amplifiers have brutish speaker drivers which can handle the shock of a directly wired guitar. Most home stereo speakers aren't that tough, and there's a fair chance you'll damage them. I know this because, in my youth, I HAVE DONE THIS - not realising the differences in speakers, I totally ruined a home stereo. The cones in the drivers 'folded'. To protect them, consider buying a compressor for your guitar to smooth the sound out. Alternatively consider buying an amp, to avoid the possibility as you're clearly v happy with these speakers :-) – user2808054 Jan 22 '15 at 17:22
  • @user2808054 i think i'm in way over my head, it might be easier to stick with playing without it or until I can pay someone who understands this stuff to do it for me! Thanks a lot guys anyway! – youngcouple10 Jan 22 '15 at 21:26
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You actually need a "Preamp" with a line-out port and any mic preamp will do the job. A guitar pickup is a passive device that is to weak to create a line level signal, so it needs to be amplified to the line level for your speaker. Most probably your speakers have only a "Line-in" port.

Line level is ok, but with preamps you may reach higher levels without knowing, that will cause distortion and also dangerous for your speakers. So be sure that there is no audible distortion when you are playing with a preamp and a speaker. Also be sure to plug in and out while the speakers and preamp is muted or turned off.

You can make it work directly only if the speakers have a "Mic-in" port, which means there is already a built-in preamp in the speakers.

Alternatively you can plug the guitar pickup to the Mic-in port of your PC and connect headphone out of the PC to your speakers. You will loose a little bit of depth but it should be ok for playback. Watch out for distortions as well for the health of the components.

  • Excuse my ignorance in these matters. So if I get a preamp with a line-out port I will be able to play in my current speakers even if they only have a line-in port? – youngcouple10 Jan 22 '15 at 16:07
  • Yes, exactly. Also keep in mind that speaker line-in is stereo, and preamp output will be mono. You will need a convenient cable to convert or there may (or may not) be some background noise. But that is something easier to solve with the right type of cable. – Guney Ozsan Jan 22 '15 at 16:15
  • So will I need two cables? One from the pickup to the preamp and one from the preamp to the speakers? (Also my computer uses one socket for both mic and earphones. Does that rule it out then?) – youngcouple10 Jan 22 '15 at 16:19
  • I don't know your pickup type, some has built-in cables but if not yes. It should be like "Pickup >-cable1-> Preamp >-cable2-> Speaker". Most probably cable1 and cable2 will be different type of cables. (In your case, unfortunately computer is out of question). – Guney Ozsan Jan 22 '15 at 16:29
  • Great, thanks much. Last question, what price should average preamp be? its just for small gatherings or at home? – youngcouple10 Jan 22 '15 at 16:32
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I think the (only?) safe way to go here is to shell out another couple of bucks and buy a guitar to iPhone interface, so that you can connect the high impedance input of the guitar to the iPhone which, in turn, will act as an amplifier simulator and output the processed signal to the speakers.

The IK iRig is pretty cheap, but not the only choice:

http://www.sweetwater.com/c1062--iPad_iPhone_Guitar_Interfaces_FX

Note that the iRig 2 and other models work with Android as well, according to the manufacturer (http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irig2/).

Feeding a high impedance signal - like the one from a guitar - to one of those things without something in the middle (a preamp or something) is pretty much a lost cause, and not just because of the different connectors.

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