Can You Play Electric Guitar with Headphones?
If you play guitar, you know that you have to practice to get good at it, but how do you practice your electric guitar without getting noise complaints from the neighbors? It may sound impossible, but you can actually play your electric guitar and use headphones if you like so that only you can hear what you’re doing. Whether you’re playing inside or out in the open, a good set of headphones can make the task a lot quieter for everyone around you.
The thing is that you cannot plug a set of headphones directly into your guitar. Because of this, you have to find other ways to listen to your headphones while playing your electric guitar. But don’t worry, because this is a lot easier than you think. Simply make a few adjustments and voila; you’re all set to play your guitar and use headphones at the same time. While each of the following methods is simple, they are also very effective and provide you with a perfect and easy way to listen to headphones while playing your electric guitar.
Use a Guitar Headphone Amplifier
The first thing you need to know is that most headphone outputs on guitar amps need a 1/4-inch cable. This means you’ll need an adapter if your headphones use a 3.5mm (1/8-inch) cable. These adapters are usually very inexpensive.
The best part about this option is that guitar headphone amplifiers use plug-and-play technology, so anyone can do it. This is basically a small self-contained guitar amplifier that you can usually put in your pocket, and all you have to do is plug it directly into your guitar, then plug the headphones into the 3.5mm output. That’s it! It couldn’t be easier.
With this option, you don’t have to worry about adapters (unless your headphones use a 3.5mm cable, as mentioned earlier), cables, or any other special or expensive equipment. Although it’s not meant to replace your real amplifier, the quality of the sound is decent. It’s also a very convenient tool that makes the whole process a lot easier on your part.
With the guitar headphone amp, you can play to your heart’s content without worrying about driving your family, your roommates, or the neighbors crazy, which means they’re all a lot less likely to feel like calling the police on you at some point.
Connect the Guitar to a Smartphone or Tablet
This is a super-fast and very convenient way to listen to headphones while playing your electric guitar. To get started, you’ll need a digital guitar interface that is specifically made for mobile devices. Afterward, all you have to do is use an app for your amp sims, sort of like a VST plugin.
The iRig interface is one of the ones that works with iPhones and iPads, and once you’re connected to the device, you simply download something such as Jam Up Pro or something similar for the guitar tones. You can even integrate them with programs such as Garage Band and record the music directly to your mobile device.
If you have an Android device, you’ll naturally need another interface. Many guitarists use the iRig UA guitar interface, which is just like the iRig HD 2 except it is designed for Android. You can use a program such as Amplitube for Android to get your guitar tones, and the best part is that this program is free every time you buy the iRig.
Connecting your guitar to a smartphone or tablet hasn’t always been an option, but because of the technology available today, you can now utilize this option whenever you want.
Use an Audio Interface to Connect to Your Computer
If you want to both play and record music through your headphones, an audio interface might be the perfect solution. An audio interface is just a piece of hardware that lets people connect an electric guitar to their computer via USB or Thunderbolt.
Although you might have to download some drivers to make it work, depending on your specific computer or interface, the process is super simple because all you do is plug the guitar into one of the inputs, then plug your USB into the computer. That being said, some interfaces produce a better sound than others, but you can usually get a good one for under $100.
Keep in mind that this option requires simulator software instead of an amplifier. You can find tons of guitar VST plugins to download, both free and paid, and they integrate directly with any DAW, which means that it is easy to play and record right on your computer while your headphones are on.
If you want to play along to backing tracks, you can plug the headphones directly into the audio interface as well, which lets you hear yourself play. With this method, you have several options available, but the important thing to remember is that it will work well and without spending too much money on various accessories.
Conclusion – Can You Play Electric Guitar with Headphones?
Just because you can’t plug headphones directly into your electric guitar doesn’t mean that you can’t use these devices while you’re playing. Using a guitar headphone amplifier, connecting the guitar to an electronic device such as a tablet or smartphone, and using an audio interface to connect to your computer are not the only ways to use headphones while playing your guitar, but they are definitely some of the easiest and most convenient ways to do so.
The best part is that most methods are convenient and fast, not to mention very inexpensive. If you wish to enjoy your electric guitar when people are around, you’ll want to use headphones, so it’s good to know that you have options when it comes to this. You can do other things as well, such as connecting the guitar to a multi-effects pedal or to a micro guitar amp, but the simplicity of all of these options make them true miracle workers in each case.
Playing your guitar while using headphones is easy, fast, and inexpensive, and you owe it to yourself to give it a try rather than annoying the people around you while you’re practicing or playing.
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