The complete guide on how to play an electric guitar with headphones as a beginner.
Starting anything comes with great difficulties especially, if you have no tutor or mentor to take you through it. Learning how to play an electric guitar with headphones has been made easy by this simple blog. Although electric guitars make music appealing to the ears, they may sound like a nuisance to others. Due to this, I made sure this guide on how to play an electric guitar with headphones as a beginner will get to you to help sharpen your skill to perfection.
Before you learn how to play an electric guitar with headphones, you must know the difference between the guitars to know you are playing the right guitar. One of the prominent differences between the two guitars is the shape and size.
Comparing the two guitars, an electric guitar has a small body shape with thin strings and a slender neck while an acoustic guitar has a big body shape with thick strings connected to a thicker neck.
With this, you can spot the difference between the two.
How to play an electric guitar with headphones
There are many ways of playing electric guitars through headphones. The use of headphones when playing guitars has helped a lot to practice even when they have a baby sleeping or a spouse resting. You will not like to wake the whole neighborhood or your co-tenants from sleep so it is best you get to know how to play electric guitars through the headphones to get a quality sound. You can play an electric guitar with headphones through an amplifier, a multi-effect pedal, a laptop, or a micro amplifier.
How to play an electric guitar with headphones through an amplifier
Electric guitar makes music appealing to the ears but that does not apply to everyone. Practicing how to play your guitar may be a nuisance to your neighbor. This is where technology comes in. Although the amplifier has volume control, you will not enjoy your practice since it is very low. This is why the amplifier of the electric guitar has a port designed for headphones. No noise pollution again. You can still enjoy playing your guitar while practicing without being a nuisance to anybody again. How do you go about it?
You will want to connect your headphone directly to the port of the amplifier but the port may be bigger than the pin of the headphone. You the look for an adapter that will help your headphone pin fit into the port of the electric guitar. Modern amplifiers come with a 3.5mm headphone port but most amplifiers have 6.35mm port. It is advisable to buy from the adapter to plug in the headphone.
Now that you have your adapter, you can connect your electric guitar to the amplifier through the headphones.
Best amplifiers to buy as a beginner are:
Boss Katana-100 MkII
This is a 100Watt solid-state amplifier with costs less than $500.00. It has 5 channels and 15 effects. It weighs about 33lbs (14.8kg). It has great sounding effects which makes it appealing to both listeners and the guitarist.
This is a 30Watt desktop amplifier that weighs about 9.5lbs (4.3kg). Just like the boss katana-100 MKII. It has 5 channels but only 4 effects. It is portable and does not occupy much space.
How to play an electric guitar with headphones through a micro-amplifier
You may want to carry your amplifier around when traveling but some amplifiers are too bulky and heavy to carry around. Because of this, the micro-amplifier was designed to allow guitarists who travel around the world to practice in the comfort of their rooms without disturbing anybody.
They work perfectly like the amplifiers but are small to fit into the gig bag of electric guitars to carry around.
It also comes with a headphone port which will allow the headphone to be connected to it.
An example of a micro-amplifiers to use as a beginner
VOX MINI3 G2
It is powered by 6 AA batteries. It can last for 10 hours. It weighs about 8lbs (3.6kg). It comes with the normal ports and knobs to be used by the electric guitar. It is easy to travel with. Batteries can be replaced without any difficulty. It is also cheap but has fewer effects compared to the amplifier.
How to play an electric guitar with headphones through a multi-effect pedal
Thanks to technology, you do need to carry your amplifiers everywhere you go, at first pedals could only be used with the help of an amplifier but that is not the story today. The pedals we have today is known as a multi-effects pedal.
These multi-effect pedals can be used without the aid of an amplifier because it been modified with an amp and cab system. This is mostly used by musicians who travel around a lot because it is easy to carry. This is where it gets interesting. A multi-effect pedal also comes with a headphone port. This does not only make it easy for a beginner but also a professional can practice it when he/he is lodged at a place before a show.
Just make sure that the pin of the headphone will fit into the port of the multi-effect pedal. If it does not fit into it perfectly, just get an adapter that will help you connect your headphone to the multi-effect pedal. With this, you do not disturb anybody’s sleep or rest again.
Best multi-effect pedal to use as a beginner
Line 6 helix
This is a type of pedal that comes with an LCD screen that teaches a beginner the roles of the various knobs on the pedal. It also has an in-built amplifier that can convert analog signals to digital signals. The headphone port is often denoted with the symbol of the headphone for easy identification. It is the preferred choice for most guitarists but the only problem is that it is expensive. It has 10 inputs, 12 outputs, an 8-in, and 8-out USB audio interface, and a whole lot of knobs and features to produce quality tones.
How to play an electric guitar with headphones through a laptop or phone
The laptop cannot read the signal of the electric guitar so it employs the services of a device called the audio interface.
The guitar is coupled to the audio interface by a cable and the user interface is also coupled to the computer or phone by another cable. The headphone is plugged into the headphone port which is usually denoted by the sign of a headphone.
When the guitar is played, it transmits an analog signal to the audio interface. The audio interface constitutes a mic preamplifier which alters the analog signal to a line-level signal. This line-level signal adopts a language the computer can understand which is 1 and 0 through the software on the computer called Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) just like in coding. This is a pure example of analog-to-digital conversion.
The DAW then reads the signal, record, edit, and produce the sound through the headphone you have coupled to the computer.
After reading how the audio interface work, you may think it is an intricate task. It just happens in a split microsecond.
With the use of the audio interface and the computer, it gives you an option to edit and record your sound. You can even come back to It to correct your mistakes and avoid repeating them in the future. It is very suitable for beginners.
Some of the audio interfaces available and popular on the market for Windows and MacBook are:
Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 3rd Generation
It is connected via USB-C. It has 4 analog inputs, 4 analog outputs, and an audio resolution of 24bit/192000 Hz. It comes with ports for guitars, headphones, and others.
SSL 3+ audio interface
It is connected through a USB-C. This user interface has 2 analog inputs, 2 analog outputs, and a sound resolution of 23bit/192000 Hz. It also comes with ports for guitars, headphones, and others. It is cost-effective.
Examples of free Digital Audio Workstation you can download
One of the best digital audio stations for beginners but it only runs on macOS. It is even already installed on macOS making it easy for people with Macbooks to use.
One reason why waveform is the most popular used DAW is that it can be used on Windows and macOS. It can host VST, It comes with a friendly interface making it easy for beginners to use,
This is also another software that can run on both Windows and macOS. It has been designed in such a way that it is very easy to send your recorded practice to others.
The first model of Cubase LE was released in 1990 and it was only for MacBook. it now runs on both macOS and windows. Although it has a large sample library, it is limited to only 24 musical instrument tracks.
Soundbridge– Soundbridge is also available for Windows and macOS. It has a very easy interface that makes it the best choice for beginners.
Best headphones to use when playing an electric guitar
It has a frequency range of 15-28,000 Hz. The ear cups can be turned to 90 degrees and are foldable. Included in the package are three detachable cables. The plug is a 3.5mm plug and a ¼’ screw-on adapter.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
It weighs about 1.5 pounds (0.7kg). It has a length of 7inches, a width of 4inches, and a height of 8.5 inches. It is not foldable like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. It has a frequency range of 5-40000Hz. It comes with two cables- a coiled one and a straight cable.
Sony MDR 7506
The amazing thing about this headphone is that it has a closed-back design that prevents sound leakages. This feature also prevents noise from the surrounding from entering your ears. It has a frequency range of 10-28000Hz.
Samson SR 850
Many guitarists always want to hear the sound of the electric guitar as it is in the amplifiers and this headphone has the best sound quality, It is very affordable but comes with an undetachable cable. It comes with a frequency range of 10-30,000Hz.
This model of headphones can be adjusted to suit the size of your head. I will urge ladies with a lot of hair on their heads to go for this since the size can be increased. It has a frequency range of 15-25000Hz. The cable of AKG K240 is 3 meters long with a 6.35mm adaptor plug.
Can you play an electric guitar with headphones through Bluetooth?
Many guitarists see the use of cabled headphones as a restriction to their movement during performance. Technology has designed and manufactured special wireless headphones called Boss Waza-Air which can be used to play electric guitars with the help of a wireless receiver. The wireless serves as the audio interface to enable you to receive digital signals produced in the headphones which you can hear.
The Boss Waza-Air comes with great features like sound editing featured that can be operated by both android and iOS phones.
Can you insert the headphone directly into the electric guitar?
No, this is not possible. The headphone has not been designed to convert analog to digital signals. But technology is always evolving. Sooner than later, headphones will be designed to be inserted directly into an electric guitar or be connected via Bluetooth without any device.
Precautions to note when playing an electric guitar with headphones
- Lower the volume before playing the electric guitar to prevent destroying your war drum.
- Use an adapter plug when inserting your headphone plug since most headphones use a 3.5mm plug against the 6.5mm ports on the aforementioned devices.
- Use quality headphones like Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO.
- Make sure that the amplifiers, audio interface, and multi-effect pedals are dried before plugging them into the socket. This is done to prevent electrocution.
- Use an electric guitar you can easily carry to prevent complaining of tiredness. ( Find the weight of an electric guitar).
Technology can be found in every aspect of our lives today. Music plays an important role in human development and electric guitar use in music cannot be overemphasized. People always complain when guitarists are practicing or learning how to play electric guitars. With the help of electric guitars and other devices, playing electric guitars with headphones has been beneficial to both the player and his/her neighbors. This is because you can practice with quality sound in your ears and neighbors are also able to sleep and rest without any disturbance. Everybody is happy.