Introduction: Play Music Through Your Guitar

Picture of Play Music Through Your Guitar

In this instructable I'm going to teach you how to play music through your guitar.

Step 1: What You Need

What you need:
A guitar (obviously)
headphones (the kind that you put in your ears)
an amplifier
a guitar cable
a cd player, mp3 player, iPod, etc.

OK, that's it!

Step 2: Starting

Plug your guitar into the amplifier.

Step 3: The IPod Part

Picture of The IPod Part

plug the headphones into the ipod

Step 4: Headphones-to-guitar

Picture of Headphones-to-guitar

Put the ends of the headphones on the pickups on the guitar so that the strings are holding them up.

Step 5: Next...

turn the amp on and play the song you want on the ipod.

Step 6: Finished!!!

My Website
You're done!


fluxorz (author)2011-04-02

sorry, random: what digitech pedal do you have back there in the picture on step 3? i had the rp300, then traded up to the rpx400. yours looks like.... rp200, am i right?

lolcat360 (author)fluxorz2012-12-27

Yep, RP200.

kneecaps (author)2009-02-16

couldnt you just plug the ipod into the amp... using a male male 3.5mm plugs and a guitar plug adapter. annd then ur done

Speedmite (author)kneecaps2009-04-02

Tried, make screeching noises and barely herad the song

Speedmite (author)Speedmite2009-04-02

So no, you can do the plug adapter.

snowpenguin (author)Speedmite2009-04-14

Mine works perfect. Make sure you are plugging into the right jack. I've been doing that for years perfectly.

Speedmite (author)snowpenguin2009-04-14

I have an active pickup and I tried on all eight spots, And plugging in the ipod to the amp resulted in a loud blast of screeching. And i used a adapter thing.

seanulous (author)Speedmite2012-07-04

The volume should be very very low on the mp3 player to start, and distortion off, obviously. that's odd, since it works with every power amplifier I've ever had. Even my bass amp, though the pass filter was a little off with that one. An amp is just a circuit that amplify a signals current attached to a speaker, to put it plainly. Maybe you should try it with a cable that happens to be a little bit longer to get some resistance in there since it's a 60 W power amp. If you are using a 3.55 plug cable and not the huge 1/4" inch cable already, I guess. It's been working for me and many other people for years, in this topic / page alone.

turn down the gain and off the effects of course. all knobs should probably be to the left to start with, then you can start tinkering

snowpenguin (author)Speedmite2009-04-14

No luck for you!

Speedmite (author)snowpenguin2009-04-16

Yea. 60 watts and cant play anything but bass and guitar through it.

scoobbrandon (author)2009-07-13

could you plug an ipod into your amp on the imput and have the guitar on the output so it causes the strings to vibrate and play the music

danymw (author)scoobbrandon2009-12-15

 i thought about that but i don't want to burn the pickups,who knows

lolcat360 (author)danymw2009-12-15

pickups only pick up vibrations... not send them out. If you could somehow reverse the effect it might be possible... but if u try that dont hold me responsible! lol

bishopdante (author)lolcat3602010-02-07

you'd be wrong there.

A pickup is a copper coil with 6 steel pole pieces and a magnet on the back. It can be used for many purposes. It's basically equivalent to a solenoid.

You can build a speaker out of a pickup or vice versa, all the old electric guitars were built using speaker parts.

A pickup is an electro-magnetic transducer.

geetarfrik (author)bishopdante2010-03-28

You are very wrong there. A guitar only has circuitry to send a signal. Thats like trying to recieve a signal from an unplugged speaker.

bishopdante (author)geetarfrik2010-03-28

A speaker can be used as a microphone. A microphone can be used as a speaker. It all depends upon what you connect it up to.

If you connect an amplifier's outputs to a guitar pickup, it'll agitate the strings much like a speaker coil agitates the speaker diaphragm.

It's not one way in the slightest, it's electromagnetic induction, it works both ways.

seanulous (author)bishopdante2012-07-04

even with things like LED's!

danymw (author)bishopdante2010-03-29

 exactly .

bishopdante (author)geetarfrik2010-03-28

Although I'd say if you want to check it by connecting up an amplifier's outputs to an pickup on a guitar to see if the strings go (it sounds a bit like reverb), use a headphones output and start with the volume very low. The tiny copper wires in a guitar pickup aren't really designed for high current, you can melt them pretty easily.

Also, for the reversability effect, lots of people use a standard yamaha NS-10 speaker as a kick drum mic. There's a few instructables here about how to do that.

The fundamental thing to understand is that when a wire moves through a magnetic field, the electrons in the wire therefore move around creating a current. If you put a current through a wire, it generates a magnetic field.

This is how loads of stuff works. Electromagnets, dynamic microphones, guitar pickups, transformers, speakers, Inductors...

What's clever about the guitar pickup is that the pole pieces are used to magnetise the strings, so when they move, the coils generate a current.

danymw (author)bishopdante2010-02-07

 i do think you can make the strings vibrate but with atleast 3 times bigger pickup set (more power)

capkloud (author)2011-04-06

"showing my points" would be useless. who am i? am i some well known expert on the matter? no. if he wants to find the truth, he can google it and read up on it, instead of just believing everything he hears. as for "informing" him that it is not correct, what the hell do you think i just did? telling someone something is wrong, is informing them that it is wrong. informing him WHY it is incorrect, falls under my previous point once again. if he just believes what i tell him because i say it, then thats sad on his part, and he should stop being in any form of community. the same with you.

kyismaster (author)capkloud2011-05-05

Gold is still better. It doesn't matter what the damn wiring looks like, if its not properly ground, it doesnt matter what material it is made out of, it could be made of fiber optic for all i care, it won't sound good without being properly grounded. Gold is much better (well, in my application) i don't know what your using it for, hopefully it isn't too cheap of a gold. So seriously Take that cork out of your rear, and take a walk. Jeez. Of course i have personal experience in this field, and either way, what if you have low quality silver, what will you do now. What use copper? pfff. "prevents corrosion" really? The guitar input will probably corrode before the jack the way your saying it. Don't you know gold is a softer material than silver? Hell, i can hit a silver coin with a spoon and it and dent it, imagine what i can do with a gold one. You will begin to notice the effect of Gold vs Silver when you begin to work with Video, audio is expectable, but if your an audiophile like me, you notice things, and small sounds. (( im getting to tired, ill stop here, lost train of thought (1 am))

seanulous (author)kyismaster2012-07-04

gold is not necessarily more conductive. literally, it is not as conductive as silver, copper, or annealed copper, and the conductivity / resistance in ohms of these metals is well known. I can show you the numbers or you could google it. Gold is used in a lot of expensive / high quality / appropriate circuitry because of the fact that is does not oxidize aka rust, unlike copper. You misread what he was saying. Since it doesn't rust, your gold cables will last longer, but for the first few years that you are using something, copper is going to be better and silver is number 1. Yeah, you can hit a silver coin with a spoon but cables are PLATED with the silver or gold so that you can't spoon them down over time. You seam to be saying "what I think is still better, regardless of the documented facts", when you read his words wrong, were wrong, and were rude anyways.

Rush_2112 (author)2011-04-29

Yeah! Snakes and Arrows! Rush is the greatest band to ever live!!!!

kt2112 (author)Rush_21122011-10-29

AGREE! They are my favortie band of ALL time! I wish i Could have gone to see time machine show :(. hope they come back around soon.

bowmaster (author)2011-10-13

this is so hax. No real reason to do so, but still really cool.

mpappas1 (author)2011-07-10 could just get an amp that has an aux port and plug an aux cable from the ipod to the amp...

ski4jesus (author)2011-03-15

Orrrr u could just buy an adaptor and plug ur ipod right into the amp....

RonGarza (author)2009-01-15

The point is to eliminate noise or buzz, and that can be done with a humbucker guitar pickup, which is what amps use. But, don't spend that much money -- you can accomplish the same with an audio transformer. These are cheap and small (thumb-sized). Solder one side's terminals to a plug to the CD player; solder the other side's terminals to a guitar cable (or a plug that will take a guitar cable). I used this setup with "play along" CDs (karaoke for guitar). Clean!

awesaomeness5 (author)RonGarza2011-03-13

hey do you have an instructable on it?

RonGarza (author)awesaomeness52011-03-13

Sorry, no, I did not put up an Instructable on it. This is for playing CDs, radios, etc. through an amp. That is what you are looking for, right? kyismaster has a great and simple solution that does the same thing without having to solder anything, just use an adapter and jumper cables. Oh, the adapter must be AC in to AC out.

kyismaster (author)RonGarza2010-09-30

oooor you can just use a adapter... it goes from 1/8 to 1/4 for input into the amp, and use a 1/8 to 1/8 male cable and plug it straight into your cd player or etc. This is how i plug my elect. practice drum set into my cheap line 6 amp.

kyismaster (author)kyismaster2010-09-30

For even better response, replace all the jacks to gold pinned. or plug. so simple.. so cheap.

capkloud (author)kyismaster2010-11-14

WRONG. regardless of the state of your jacks and plugs, unless all of the internal wiring, and tracks on the circuit board(s) are gold, it wont improve anything. also, silver is much better then gold, as well as cheaper. gold is only used because it does not corrode. do not believe the BS lies you read in advertisements.

lapiosaatana (author)2010-12-21

or you could only blug your mp3 to your amp : D

LeviMan_2001 (author)2010-04-05

Here's something interesting. If you take the left and right and hold them over the two coils in a humbucker pickup (left one over one coil, right over the other) then it will cancel out anything panned in the middle, usually vocals. It's kinda neat to play with this. It works because the pickups are wired to "buck" the hum (out of phase).

snowpenguin (author)2009-04-14

Just get a head phone cable, male to male 1/8" an a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter and plug it in the amp.

bloke2022 (author)snowpenguin2009-12-11

I know right?

Jodex (author)2009-11-13

The quality ain't the best obviously....

cheesefetty (author)2009-05-31

i have a jackson fender too =->

lolcat360 (author)cheesefetty2009-06-06

Thats actually an ibanez :)

kyrinp (author)lolcat3602009-10-27

it's a jackson js series dinky

lolcat360 (author)kyrinp2009-10-27

were u talking to me?

xXMiNdFrEaKXx (author)lolcat3602009-07-24

I have that same guitar!

lolcat360 (author)xXMiNdFrEaKXx2009-07-24


cheesefetty (author)lolcat3602009-06-14

i didnt see the head stock

kt2112 (author)2009-05-09

Good Choice of Music and great instructable, RUSH ROCKS! ;)

Speedmite (author)2009-04-02

I'm trying my bass! I have a 60- watt amp that I got for $200 used and it can get pretty loud halfway. Here it goes.... By the way, awesome instructable.

Speedmite (author)Speedmite2009-04-02

Didnt work with my bass... Im sad.....

johnson_steve (author)2008-08-16

the higher the quality of your pickups the lower the microphonics and the less this will work. a guitar pickup isn't suposed to pick up sound at all it is suposed to pick up the guitar string disrupting it's magnetic field by the induced current in the coil. in the old days they would pot the pickups in wax so that the coils couldn't move.

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