The Guitar USB Interface
Both Line 6 and AmpliTube have several USB interfaces for your guitars but there are other brands as well. Amplitube also has the new iRig which you can use with your Apple products such as your iPhone devices to make music with or you can use the Stealthplug USB interface. Line 6 has several different interfaces such as their famous POD devices which work with their Gear Box software. The device you use all depends on what you're looking for or what you are able to spend. With some devices you'll get more features that you probably won't use if you're a beginner to playing music on your computer or phone with your guitar.
Getting Started with Playing Guitar on Your Computer
Do you want to play your guitar through a computer? You'll need several key components before you start to make music with your guitar and computer. You will get the best sound with what is called a USB interface which changes the sounds of your guitar into digital signals by using amp modeling software such as AmpliTube to create music. You'll also need a good guitar cable, headphones, and a set of very good computer speakers for the best results.
Some amp modeling software comes with recording abilities so you can record your music. It's usually better to use a stand-alone program such as the fee Audacity program you can get online to make MP3s or other files of your music. AmpliTube comes with a free four-track recording you can use to make simple songs. AmpliTube and the Gear Box software by Line 6 are two very good amp modeling software packages but there are others you can use as well.
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Amp Modeling Software
AmpliTube is a great software solution for amp modeling and also features the new custom shop where you can pay and download new gear such as amplifiers, effects, microphones and more. The best part is you can try them before you buy the additional gear for the software. Amplitube is really a great program for recording guitar onto your computer. The Line 6 Gear Box is nice but doesn't have as many sounds as AmpliTube does, but it's a bit easier to use. Native Instruments makes the Guitar Rig which is the ultimate software solution for perfect custom tone with more amps, more effects, and more creative potential than ever before. For beginners I would recommend Gear Box by Line 6, you could also download the free version of AmpliTube to try that out as well. Just remember that you'll need a USB guitar interface to use any of these software packages. Try iRig if you want to play using your phone.
These programs are fairly simple to setup. The first thing you need to do is install any software before you connect the USB device and do any updates to the software. Next connect the USB device to your computer, plug your instrument into the device and then into your guitar. Launch your software and it should recognize the USB device so you can play. Check all the connections and read the manuals if you don't get any sound. Since every program is a bit different it can take some trial and error before you get everything to work just the way you want. A good set of headphones or speakers can make a big difference in your sound. You may have to select your sound device in the software you're using to hear music from your instrument but the program should tell you to do this when you're setting it up.
Behringer UCG102 Guitar-to-USB Interface
It's a lot of fun to play guitar through your computer and make your own songs. Make sure you have a good set of speakers, a nice guitar cable, and a good pair of headphones for the best result. It can take time to get some nice sounds with these programs but they do come with plenty of preset sounds you can try and you'll be able to download many user made sounds too. The software is more important that your USB device so try AmpliTube or Gear Box by Line 6 with your USB device and see what one you like. Amplitube is great because you can download a free version. Enjoy playing your guitar through your computer.