Using a Computer for Guitar

wooders

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 19, 2021
1,773
Kent
Short version, I have a pc with windows and would like to start utilising it with my guitar. The improve challenge that come up is very tempting and I would like to have a go and join in with the guys and gals. I have a 1/4 to usb somewhere and a rocksmith 1/4 to usb. That's it.
Where should I start? I'd like to play along to backing tracks and record to backing tracks. Nothing pro. Not going to be cutting any discs and hitting the charts anytime soon.
My amp and pc are about 10ft apart and are not going to get any closer.
Some pointers would be awesome.
 

Quikstyl

Strat-Talker
Nov 10, 2018
221
California
Short version, I have a pc with windows and would like to start utilising it with my guitar. The improve challenge that come up is very tempting and I would like to have a go and join in with the guys and gals. I have a 1/4 to usb somewhere and a rocksmith 1/4 to usb. That's it.
Where should I start? I'd like to play along to backing tracks and record to backing tracks. Nothing pro. Not going to be cutting any discs and hitting the charts anytime soon.
My amp and pc are about 10ft apart and are not going to get any closer.
Some pointers would be awesome.
You can get a Presonus audio interface for less than $100. Comes with Stuidio One Artist recording software. A Shure SM57 mic for under $100. You'd be recording and playing along to backing tracks in no time.
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,482
SoCal
1. Get a audio interface so you can connect your guitar to your PC. Ya, I tried the rockband one too and it works ok but there are far better options out there for not much money.
2. Get an amp sim. Garageband, etc...I'm using an older version of Amplitube but it has a built in DAW and recording interface so you can record from there if you want.

Those two items will let allow you to record audio files and then you can download a free editor to clean them up a bit before uploading to your favorite hosting site (Soundcloud, etc)

If you want to get a little fancier, get a camera for your PC if you dont already have one and then you can record video too. Then you just need a video editor to combine the audio and video files into a single video suitable for uploading to YouTube.
 

wooders

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 19, 2021
1,773
Kent
Video is a long way off and likely unadvisable.
So, audio interface 1st.
Software and I assume mic is optional? My acoustics are acoustic. No electrickery in them.
Simpler the better for me.
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
9,993
Altered States
I use Audacity (free) for recording and editing. I know some folks prefer other interfaces. I find there's a steep learning curve with Audacity but people tell me other interfaces are worse. YMMV.

My modeling pedal has a USB that I use for direct recording/playback. But before I had that down, I used the mic/headphone ports on the laptop with a microphone and simple adapters to get from 1/4" to 1/8" on the computer. Set everything to mono so one channel is all I need.

I like the ability in a program like this (vs. a looper) to edit tracks for start/stop, loop location, etc. You can really nail the spot to trim and glue.
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,482
SoCal
Video is a long way off and likely unadvisable.
So, audio interface 1st.
Software and I assume mic is optional? My acoustics are acoustic. No electrickery in them.
Simpler the better for me.
Ahh, in that case, I'll let someone else chime in. I've had OK success recording my acoustic using that rockband USB mic for quick little videos but I'm sure there are better/more professional ways to do it.
 

pazman6

Senior Stratmaster
May 28, 2014
2,080
Prairieville, Louisiana
Ahh, in that case, I'll let someone else chime in. I've had OK success recording my acoustic using that rockband USB mic for quick little videos but I'm sure there are better/more professional ways to do it.
Those Rockband USB mics are actually decent little mics. I stuck on in the room at a jam one day and the result were surprisingly good for a cheap little mic in a room with a band at stage volume.

www.pazman6.com/groove1.mp3
 

Chipss36

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 1, 2018
1,428
Texas
You can get a Presonus audio interface for less than $100. Comes with Stuidio One Artist recording software. A Shure SM57 mic for under $100. You'd be recording and playing along to backing tracks in no time.
This!

very good advice right here…..skip the cheep mics, the sm57 will be useful for a lifetime. it is the perfect first mic for a guitar player, and has been for many years, it will sit in a mix well. Unlike low end condensers. If you don’t get good results with an 57, it’s you, not the gear.
the da/ad conversion in even a low end interface will be way better than any usb mic. Presonus offers great value. That is a solid recommendation.

a good condenser is expensive, and other issues arise like room treatment, when you have a good condenser.
a sm57 is way more forgiving.
I build very high end condenser mics, I love them , but for just starting out, I do not recommend them.

I went to studio one pro, after many years of pro tools, the yearly update pricing went insane, SO, is a great daw, and a great company, workflow is great , highly recommended.
 
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Snaked Strat

Strat-Talker
Mar 17, 2022
240
Australia
Short version, I have a pc with windows and would like to start utilising it with my guitar. The improve challenge that come up is very tempting and I would like to have a go and join in with the guys and gals. I have a 1/4 to usb somewhere and a rocksmith 1/4 to usb. That's it.
Where should I start? I'd like to play along to backing tracks and record to backing tracks. Nothing pro. Not going to be cutting any discs and hitting the charts anytime soon.
My amp and pc are about 10ft apart and are not going to get any closer.
Some pointers would be awesome.

there's 100s of good youtube videos on this subject - start there.

there's many different ways to use a computer with music - look at the options and decide what gear you need. Then start the long learning curve :)
 

Bowmap

80 seconds to midnight
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 23, 2017
12,375
Third Door Down
Once you get an audio interface, you can get Jam Origin's MIDI Guitar. Looks like they just released v3. It is one of the best note tracking MIDI convertors out there. @simoncroft turned me on to it. It is a blast. Grand Piano via my strat? Yup. Organ, violin the list goes on and on.

But it all starts with an audio interface. I use FocusRite.
 

IsaiasO

Strat-O-Master
Jun 11, 2019
735
Maryland, USA
Another alterative is to go completely amp-free. I use this setup for the improvs. It's slightly different than what I'll describe below, because I'm wanting to record my guitar in stereo. The setup, I describe below, is for a mono guitar in the center of a stereo soundscape:

w31-1.jpg

You can get away with something like the yellow pedal, above, (I use it for recording. It records on to an internal built-in memory card when you step on the silver switch on the top). It digitally records WAV files. You connect your computer to a USB connector on the top panel of the yellow pedal to download the WAV file to your computer.

You'll want to get a second pedal for the "In" of the yellow pedal to provide virtual amp and cabinet impulse responses (IRs) and perhaps some other effects like delay, reverb and overdrive. This type of pedal is called a multieffects pedal and is actually several virtual pedals in one chassis. You would plug your guitar into the input of that pedal.

The backing track is pumped into an AUX IN on the top panel of the yellow pedal. It's captured on the yellow pedal in stereo. You listen with headphones from the Out L and Out R of the yellow pedal. You can hear everything before you start recording, so it's easy to set up a balance for the backing track and the guitar coming into the yellow pedal from the multieffects pedal.

In the improvs we shoot for a single take instead of capturing the "take" in software and editing afterwards, so this is one of the simplest way to achieve that.

There's an undetectable amount of latency (the delay between what you play compared to what you hear in the mix). I would dare to call it zero latency---but in actuality there's no such thing as zero latency. There's always a small amount. It's just whether you can hear it or not.

Here's what I did with the setup, above, for the improv that you asked about earlier (I'm the person managing that improv) with no amp at all. For me, the Zoom G1on has the amp sims, chorus, reverb, delay, etc. (but, I don't recommend that pedal. It's a pain to use, but I didn't know it when I bought it.):

 
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Hal Nico

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 28, 2012
3,832
JAMOADR
Short version, I have a pc with windows and would like to start utilising it with my guitar. The improve challenge that come up is very tempting and I would like to have a go and join in with the guys and gals. I have a 1/4 to usb somewhere and a rocksmith 1/4 to usb. That's it.
Where should I start? I'd like to play along to backing tracks and record to backing tracks. Nothing pro. Not going to be cutting any discs and hitting the charts anytime soon.
My amp and pc are about 10ft apart and are not going to get any closer.
Some pointers would be awesome.

As per other posts get a USB Audio Interface.

There's an incredible deal from Behringer,


$39 US.

IIRC comes with free recording and other software you can download for free once you register @ their site.

Some vids to have a look at to help get going,


HTH :)
 

bbarott

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 29, 2010
7,577
Marietta Georgia
You can get a Presonus audio interface for less than $100. Comes with Stuidio One Artist recording software. A Shure SM57 mic for under $100. You'd be recording and playing along to backing tracks in no time.
^^ This. For extra credit you can use Jamvox software with your Presonus unit. Has every amp and pedal known to man modeled.

 

Clickitysplit

Strat-O-Master
May 25, 2021
588
Temecula, CA
Welcome to one of the most frustrating yet rewarding pastimes you’ll find. You don’t have to commit a lot of space to this, and you can build it up over time and on a budget. I’ve got the bulk of mine on 3 small shelves. Focusrite interface, Mac Mini running Logic / GarageBand, a couple Art Tube MP amps for stereo acoustic recording (Shure SM57 and Peavey PVM480), very small monitors (3” IK Multimedia…at this size, a bit of a downside) and a HD display with a firestick on it so I can watch F1 - hehe. Everything’s on the same ground, so no extraneous buzz. The stand has the mic booms and holds the keyboard and the mousepad. I also have a small Marshall practice amp but I don’t typically record it - the amp and pedals in the software are mostly good enough for me - except when I need DualGun and Wah…I can hook those in easily.

FF04C1AA-D1D1-4CC7-A9D6-002566F6A68F.jpeg
 

wooders

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 19, 2021
1,773
Kent
Thanks alot so far people. I've been beavering away and as normal find the more I know, the less I know.
Start with audio interface. It's just me, so 1-2 inputs are fine. I think 2 is better for optional microphone. Yep 2 inputs. Direct monitoring. 192bit 24hz sampling? Good enough I suppose? Anything else important that I should be considering? Any bundled software easier than others?
 


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