How to Use Your Computer As a Guitar Amplifier




Introduction: How to Use Your Computer As a Guitar Amplifier

Amplifiers are awesome. They use electricity to create a wailing wall of sound, and they’ve enabled the electric guitar to become an iconic instrument for many genres like pop, rock, metal, blues, and jazz for years.

However, amplifiers can also be quite loud. Maybe you’ve got a fancy one, big enough to make everyone in a bar cover their ears. Or maybe you don’t have one at all, and have been playing on acoustic guitar. Either way, you may not have known that you can simulate the trademark sounds of famous amplifiers using something you probably already have: a computer. Using your computer as an amp isn’t too complicated, and it opens up a world of possibilities that the analog audio world can’t deliver on a budget. Some newer practice amplifiers have headphone jacks so you can play without making a racket, but those are only starting to become widespread and the majority of hobbyist electric guitar players would rather spend big money on a good stage-ready amplifier than a mediocre one to accompany their practice amp. If you’re an electric guitar player looking for a way to practice quietly or with headphones, this is the tutorial for you. You will need: An electric guitar A computer running Windows XP or better (Windows 7 or newer preferred) An instrument cable (both sides quarter-inch and mono, same cable used to plug guitars into amps) A ¼-inch to ⅛-inch mono adapter

These are available online for very cheap, and most music stores have them as well. Radioshack carries them for $5.

Step 1: You Will Need:

● An electric guitar

● A computer running Windows XP or better (Windows 7 or newer preferred)

● An instrument cable (both sides quarter-inch and mono, same cable used to plug guitars into amps)

● A ¼inch to ⅛inch mono adapter.

Step 2: Getting Started: Download and Set Up ASIO4ALL

  1. Download the program from here:
  2. Install the base program and Off­Line Settings. ReWuschel/ReWire is not needed.
  3. After it’s finished installing, run ASIO4ALL Off­Line Settings.
  4. Click the Advanced Options icon on the bottom right, which looks like a wrench.
  5. You will see numerous inputs and outputs for sound, depending on your computer. You will want to enable the main one (in which all of the sub­devices are listed) and two others: one for input, and one for output. For input, look for something similar to “Line in”. If you only have a microphone jack, enable that instead. For output, look for “Stereo out” or something similar.
  6. Close this Settings window.

Step 3: Download and Setup Up Guitar Rig 5

  1. Download the program from here: http://www.native­ er/download/
  2. Install and run Guitar Rig 5 Player. Upon first running Guitar Rig, you’ll be presented with an Audio and MIDI Settings dialog.
  3. Set the Driver to “ASIO” and Device to “ASIO4ALL v2”.
  4. Click “ASIO Config”. You should see a Settings dialog identical to ASIO4ALL’s Off­Line Settings. Ensure the same inputs and outputs are enabled, and that the main device is enabled as well.
  5. Click “OK” in Audio and MIDI Settings. You should now see Guitar Rig 5’s main screen. By default, it’s loaded with two tapedecks, a metronome, and a volume slider. These can be enabled and disabled as you wish, and a tuner is available as well.

Step 4: Plug in Your Guitar

  1. Plug one end of your cable into the guitar, and the other into your ¼­inch adapter.
  2. Plug the ¼­inch adapter into the computer’s audio input jack. If you selected Line in in ASIO4ALL’s settings, look for the line­in jack, often on the back of desktops and on the side of laptops. The jack is usually blue, but may be black or a different color.
    1. If your computer has no line in jack, plug it into the microphone jack. This is usually pink or red.

Step 5: Play Around With Guitar Rig!

You will find tons of preset tones and sounds available in the left menu, pre­-sorted by style or amp type. There are also pre­-made signature sounds from famous songs of various genres and styles.

Clicking these will show or hide:

● Pre­-processing tapedeck (for recording raw guitar with no effects)

● Tuner

● Metronome

● Preset volume

● Post­-processing tapedeck (for recording guitar output with effects)

If you have a powerful computer, clicking “HI” will use extra processing power and increase effect quality. The Components menu lets you browse for and add effects, in any order and amount you want!

Have fun and go crazy!

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3 years ago on Step 5

Very useful.
Now I'm available to practice guitar peacefully. Tnx


6 years ago

everything working great but I have a problem with the distorted sound
I have to lower the volume on the guitar nearly to 0 to get the least distortion sound
If I want to use an audio interface will that make a difference?


Reply 4 years ago

If you haven't figured it out yet, well, it has been a year, click on the speaker icon in your tool bar and turn the volume down.


Reply 5 years ago

Maybe try using the "mic" jack instead of the "line", since the "line" is made for low-impedance (or low-volume, I don't really understand the difference) inputs.


7 years ago on Introduction

Ive tried this but cant get past the latency issues.


Reply 6 years ago

Even using the guitar to usb adapter, and trying a Berhinger uca200 interface as well, with Guitar Rig, Amplitube and even GK Amplification, and using ASIO4ALL, the latency still makes an i7 2.5GHZ win10 laptop impossible to use as an ampmodeler for all but real slow tempo.


7 years ago on Introduction

this is only going to work for certain pickups. a lot of guitars have way different resistance values and simply plugging it into your mic line won't do anything(or possibly damage your mic input) you really should spend a little money on some sort of cheap mixer or preamp


7 years ago

how much is the software oh forgot to mention that .