I have been playing acoustic guitar for awhile and I also have an electric guitar with a small cheap combo amp. Lately, I've been wanting to play more electric guitar, but find my small combo amp rather unsatisfactory tone-wise. I don't really have tons of money to get a good stack and pedals/effects etc... so I was thinking (as I mostly play just for myself in an apartment) that it would be better to simply use my computer (a higher-end gaming PC). Unfortunately, I know close to 0 about how this is possible. If anyone could help to tell me what I would need, (possibly recommend some products), it would be immensely appreciated.

In a nutshell, I am looking for a way to:

  1. Plug my electric guitar into my PC (using regular guitar cable)

  2. Have some sort of program where I can adjust the sound/effects etc... on my computer.

  3. Be able to hear the guitar through headphones or computer speakers plugged into my PC.
  4. Maybe even record some guitar for fun.

So, since I really only play for myself, I was wondering if this route is possible for me to get solid tones without paying heaps of money for a stack and pedals.

I've heard something about pods or soundcards or something, but am really new to this method and could use quite a bit of direction, as the amount of information online has me all over the place.


  • 1
    It might be easier and more effective to spend money on a dedicated device than to double up on your gaming PC. I say that from experience. You can get all-in-one devices like a Line 6 Pocket Pod, a Line 6 Micro Spider, or a Roland MicroCube or Cube - really there are many options. The nice thing there is you can be noodling on the guitar while you're waiting for a respawn in a game or watching Netflix. Again - speaking from experience. :-) Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


Well you could easily plug-in and play your guitar through your computer. Things you need to get this done are :

  1. A USB guitar link : A USB interface for your guitar . This helps connecting your guitar with the computer . There are many good quality and cheap USB guitar links available online so getting one is easy,

  2. DAW Software (Digital Audio Workstation Software) : You need to have DAW installed on your computer . Again there are many DAW softwares available online. This will helps you to record and play your music . You can do many things in that like editing , adding effects and more .

  3. VST Plugin : To add effects into your guitar tones , you need to install some VST Effects into your DAW and again getting one is easy online .

  4. Playback Device : Speakers i mean or you can also use your headphones as monitors to hear what you are playing . This playback device gets its input from the USB Guitar link .

And that's it , you can start with these things and as you go more deep into that you'll see some advance equipment and tech used in pro studios .

Hope this helps !

  • DAW with VSTs is overkill for the OP. Just use one of the guitar effects applications.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 18:40
  • @DrMayhem Any recommendations for DAWs and VSTs? Also is there any benefit to using audio interfaces/boxes like the line 6 POD studio? Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 18:51
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    You definitely need a proper audio interface, yes - this is what Pankaj describes as USB guitar link. I have tried all the main DAWs and to be honest, they are all good. Just find one that you enjoy using and that has the features you want to use.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 18:54
  • @DrMayhem Then again, with Reaper being only $60 and having a host application giving you more options for MIDI stuff and all kinds of other plug-ins, maybe a DAW isn't such a bad idea. On OS X, Garage Band actually can be your virtual guitar rig and I'm pretty sure it comes free. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 18:55

Rocksmith 2014 is very good. It's kind of like guitar hero but using a real guitar to play along with original recordings of songs. The focus is on learning and playing along with songs, but it does have an amp/pedal simulation mode and dynamic jamming mode. You need to buy the software and the usb to guitar cable.

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