The quickest and easiest way to start recording your guitar, especially if you are on a very tight budget, is to buy one of these entry-level dedicated guitar-USB interfaces. They have been designed to quickly and easily bridge the gap between your guitar and your computer.
So you plug your guitar in one end and connect the other to a USB port. Some even come with guitar recording software. Even if they don’t, you will easily be able to record and edit your guitar in Audacity or any other DAW recording software.
You will be recording the ‘dry’ signal of your guitar (with the exception of the Shure, with built-in DSP) but will be able to use amp simulators and other effects on your computer to create a big fat guitar sound. So you are not limited just to the amp you have.
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Shure MVi Digital Audio Interface
The Shure MVi is a high quality Digital audio interface which lets you connect a professional XLR microphone or 1/4″ instrument output to a computer or mobile device. The neat feature of this device is it features 5 DSP preset modes for EQ, compression, limiter settings, gain control, mute, and volume, and phantom power, so you can adjust the signal to record vocals, guitar, or even mic up your guitar cab using the loud mode. Perfect for beginners, and really excellent for live streaming as well as recording.
The interface has a touch panel provides control for gain, mute, and headphone volume. Plus you can control the interface via an app too. Multi-platform for Mac, PC and even lightning iOS (comes with USB and lightning cables)
Apogee Jam Plus
The Apogee JAM Plus is a portable digital USB guitar interface that lets you connect a guitar to your iPad, iPhone, Mac or Windows PC and record with superb sound quality. This is a small but perfectly formed plug and play interface for guitarists. It will easily let you capture the warmth and richness of your guitar’s tone. The JAM is built for GarageBand and Logic Pro but works great with any recording software or app you choose.
TC-Helicon Go Guitar Pro
The Go Guitar Pro is a simple but effective device to record your electric guitar, bass and line-level instruments. Multi-Platform, you can record high-definition audio directly to your iOS, Android, Mac* and PC devices
It integrates with the creative Suite of TC Helicon and a wide range of mobile apps. The device has a guitar input and output, plus onnectors for guitars, amps, PA systems, etc. You can select Thru/ FX for monitoring processed or clean signal to a guitar amp or external rig. Very popular and well reviewed.
Guitar to USB Cable
A Guitar To USB Cable for PC/MAC Recording is THE cheapest way to record your guitar, it is just a simple guitar-USB lead and does what is says on the can. Simple plug and play – guitar one end, USB the other, and start recording. It has a high quality professional shielded cable and a standard 6.5mm jack and an LED light flash indication when signal is being transmitted so you can see it is working. Start recording high quality digital music quickly and easily. Cheaply and cheerfully
Guitar Link Guitar/USB Interface
Next up is the Guitar Link Guitar/USB Interface. Very inexpensive little recording device which has the additional benefit of a headphone port so you can listen to yourself while recording. Audio Quality is 24-bit, 44.1/48kHz.
IK Multimedia iRig
Not USB, but deserves a place here for smartphone capability. The IK Multimedia iRig 2 guitar interface adaptor is the best choice to quickly record your guitar on any device – you can use it to record on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac and Android Smartphone. It comes with a FREE version of the Amplitube software so you can use all kinds of amp sims and effects, and you can output to heaphones or a guitar amp. We think it is the most fun you can have with a guitar for such a small amount of money, which is why it has been a consistent bestseller since it was launched. Every guitarist should own an iRig!
If you are also interested in recording your vocals or other instruments, then you might do better buying a full-blown audio interface so you can record your guitar and other instruments and microphones as well. If you want to know more then read about what is an audio interface, and then how to choose the best audio interface for your home recording studio setup.
How To Record Electric Guitar Step-by-Step
The above guitar-USB interfaces are very inexpensive solutions if you want to record your guitar. If you are ready and able to spend a bit more, then a full-blown audio interface might serve you well. In the video tutorial below we cover how to record your guitar using an audio interface.