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Connector from the Guitar to a Computer or Laptop

Updated on December 17, 2009

When a guitar player or student wants to use the computer or laptop with their guitar, one of the first things they need to do is to have the proper connectors. There are several brands of connectors for the guitar in the market, one for each use of the instrument. Most of them, however, follow the standards used by all guitar makers.

Sound cards are also standard components of computers and laptops. A sound card usually has an input and ouput plugs, both using the common 1/8" connector (which is the same used by iPods, and other portable sound devices).

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An Introduction to Guitar Cables

Guitar cables have been standardized a long time ago. Guitars use a 1/4" cable that comes in several versions, depending on the material used by the connectors. For example, most high quality cables have gold connectors that will keep the purity of the sound and avoid electrical interference.

Other characteristics of guitar cable involve the flexibility of the connectors, ranging from inflexible cables to versions that allow a wide range of movements. And, of course, guitar cables are designed according to the size: longer sizes need to be more resistant and with additional protection to maintain the quality of the sound, while shorter cables can be lighter and easier to move around.

Laptop and Computer Cables

Sound cables for computers and laptops, on the other hand, come in 1/8" size. This is a standard size that will fit all modern sound cards and laptops. PC computers and Macs are also the same in this respect, although these two architectures are frequently different in terms or video cabling.


Connecting the Computer and the Guitar

Now, to make for the difference between computer sound cables and laptop cable, we need to use connectors.

The simplest connector is one that you can buy on radio shack, or even large stores such as best buy and sometimes Walmart. The connecter plug from 1/4" to 1/8" will take the guitar output signal (which comes on the 1/4") and transform into computer signal in a 1/8" plug. Such a connector can be bough for as low as $10 in any electronics store.

Another way to do this is buying a cable with 1/4" input (also known as female) that will be used to plug into the guitar, and with a 1/8" output (or male output) which you will connect directly to the computer. The advantage of using a cable with different input and output sizes is that you won't need an extra connector. Thus, your connection will be easier and there are fewer possibilities of problems occurring.

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      Roger 2 years ago

      Anastasia Grummel - As always butuaifel work!!!!! I love the Graffiti engagement shoot. And the sunshine shoot, so wonderful! God has truly blessed you with talent. Keep up the good work. Ana

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      RJ 6 years ago

      I don't know about the impedance, juliotaboada, but the writer sure forgot to mention that the female .25 inch end has to be able to accept a mono plug. Most .25 to .125 adapters you see in the stores are stereo to stereo.

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      Mohit 7 years ago

      I could not find a connector in any electronics store

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      juliotaboada 7 years ago

      This is false in some manner, because you need a high-z to low-z adapter.