I'm trying to capture the audio output from our guitar in to my computer. The guitar has a 6.35 mm jack, so I bought a 6.35 mm to 3.5 mm converter, and a 5m 3.5mm male-male cable.

I've plugged it in to my computer, and realized it is not activating the microphone, and found I have a TRS jack on the 3.5mm cable, but to use the input on my computer I need a TRRS jack.

What would be the way to capture the guitar sounds with what I have?


I must say that the method you've described above is far from ideal. The best methods would be to buy a USB DI Box, or audio interface for your computer, and plug your guitar into that, or to use a microphone to mic up your guitar amp etc. Your question is about how to record with what you already have, though, so:-

What kind of guitar are you using; electro-acoustic, or electric? Just plugging a standard electric guitar straight into your computer probably isn't the best method. Without suitable (pre-)amplification, the audio signal your computer will be receiving from the guitar will be very weak. Chances are your computer is capturing it already with your current setup, but it's just too 'quiet' to hear properly.

Do you already have a guitar amp? If so, I'd suggest plugging your guitar into it, then use the cables and adapters you've bought to run between the amps headphone output to your computers Line-In (or Mic-In, if you don't Line-In).

I'm not sure you need a TRRS jack; as far as I'm aware this is just used by things like Apple devices, to allow for volume control of headphones etc. Please note though that the cable you've bought sounds like a standard stereo auxiliary cable, whereas the audio from your guitar/amp will be mono, so this may all end up with you receiving just a Left channel on a stereo input.

  • Hi, thanks for your answer. I checked the computer audio, and it wasn't noticing any form of input while the audio cable was plugged in. – Frazer Kirkman Sep 19 '16 at 14:47
  • ie: input-type was saying 'built-in' when I had my audio cable plugged in - when I have my headset plugged in audio-type says 'Microphone port'. The guitar is an acoustic with 2 built-in mikes and a volume/GE panel. – Frazer Kirkman Sep 19 '16 at 14:56
  • I mentioned the TRRS jack because the headphones we have use TRS, and the headsets with microphones have TRRS – Frazer Kirkman Sep 20 '16 at 9:36
  • We might need a little more information then, in order to help. Where are you seeing the audio type saying 'Microphone Port'? What audio connections do you have on your computer, do you have a Line-In? – Skarik Sep 20 '16 at 10:33

To solve the problem, I needed to:

  • put a new battery in the guitar

  • set the system audio setting - 'Use audio port for:' from 'Sound Output' to 'Sound Input'

mac audio settings image


I'm assuming you have a typical PC (maybe 5 years old at the most). Uses realtek audio and has line-in ports in the back.

You must use a line-in located in the back of the PC. You won't be able to input through the microphone port. These line-ins should appear black (as opposed to pink or green). You should have a dialog which opens that asks you what you plugged in. Select "line in". Next, you should see there are a couple of volume sliders- one for recording and one for playback. The one called recording will be used by other applications (like audacity). There is also one called "playback". That is for monitoring. The audio automatically outputs to your default speakers or headphones.

Now, many people will recommend that you get a USB audio interface but that is only really necessary if you can't get a clean signal through your line-in.

There are however, many benefits to using an interface (true ASIO being one of them). And of course you usually get access to a nice DAW.

But hopefully you can at the very least put that adapter you have to good use.

  • Thanks shaunxer. I have a macbook pro - it only has one audio jack, which is used for input and output. – Frazer Kirkman Sep 20 '16 at 6:19
  • You may need something like this then images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/… – shaunxer Sep 20 '16 at 16:29
  • Thanks @shaunxer - it turns out I could set the system audio setting - 'Use audio port for:' to 'Sound Input' and it works. :) – Frazer Kirkman Sep 24 '16 at 7:48

I'm guessing you want to record the direct sound of the guitar via a cable plugged into the mic.

It is important to state that if you are using an electric guitar or electro-acoustic guitar, plugging one end of the jack into the guitar and the other into the computer won't work. Electric guitars work by converting the vibrations of the strings into electrical signals using the pickups (that are electrically powered), if you don't power the pickups there won't be a conversion from physical vibration into electrical signal. Why? because plugging a cable into the mic jack of the computer implies that you will be sending electrical signals, not physical signals. The simple solution here is to use a guitar amp before sending the OUT signal into the computer OR to record the guitar using the in-built mic (not good if you want a decent recording).

What has worked for me on recording my songs is to plug the guitar to the amp (like you would normally) and then plugging another cable into the "output" or "phone" terminal of the amp and the other end into the mic-jack of the computer. Then, using a DAW that converts the audio acquired by the microphone jack into digital audio. You can aim for a simpler recording program or an audio interface like ASIO 4 All.

  • Hi, Claudio! Welcome to music.se! I think your conclusions are correct, but the magnetic pickups of a (passive) electric guitar don't need to be powered. The pickups are electric generators using electromagnetic induction to produce an electric signal from a moving magnetic field. – luser droog Sep 20 '16 at 4:25
  • Thank you Luser Droog! You are totally right. The pickups are magnets wrapped by a coil that produce a current using induction via movement of the strings. I was unaware of that and thought that the pickups needed current to "power" the magnet. – Claudio Nahmad Sep 20 '16 at 4:39
  • Np. There are active pickups and piezo pickups that do need to be powered, and of course you're totally right that the signal needs to be amplified. But I think it's very cool to know that the guitar is a generator. – luser droog Sep 20 '16 at 4:45
  • Actually, the guitar has a built in volume control, and needs a battery. WIth out power, no signals left the guitar. – Frazer Kirkman Sep 24 '16 at 7:46

My suggestion would be to use the software audacity and record the microphone input. This may solve the issue with the inputs jacks by making the 'Tip' in below image as your microphone input.enter image description here enter image description here

  • the system sound is not recognizing the audio cable being plugged in, so in Audacity, my only input option is 'built-in audio' – Frazer Kirkman Sep 20 '16 at 9:35
  • 'Built-In Audio' refers to your motherboard soundcard (as opposed to an external soundcard, like an M-Audio interface etc); this is the correct device, if your plugging it into your computer's Line-In. – Skarik Sep 20 '16 at 10:25
  • Please refer this link for connecting a Guitar to a computer and record using audacity software. @Franzer Kirkman link – user33443 Sep 20 '16 at 12:51
  • Thanks @Skarik yes you are correct, thanks. when I plug in my headset microphone, the system audio changes to microphone port, but audacity stays as built-in audio – Frazer Kirkman Sep 22 '16 at 13:52

So yeah, the internal connector for the dual-use plug has the mic-in positive as the last ring. This is normally ground, so you will need an adapter of some sort to take the "typical" tip-positive and move it up to the last ring.

I found a "duplicate" on the apple stack, but I will quote the photo for completeness:

enter image description here

Sometimes this is just a case of a software switch (such as onboard realtek mentioned in another answer), but clearly the standard tip/sleeve tip/ring/sleeve just isn't making the proper connections.

I expect that after a quick trip to your local ElectronicRadioSlack for two plugs (and a soldering iron), you could have a prototype adapter in under 5 mins. But they may have something ready to go for $5.


  • Thanks for the suggestion of 'a software switch' - I went looking and found I could set the system audio setting - 'Use audio port for:' changed from 'Sound Ooutput' to 'Sound Input' and it works. :) – Frazer Kirkman Sep 24 '16 at 7:53

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