Guitar and amplifier

I use an electric guitar with standard pickups (a standard Fender Stratocaster). Though I haven’t tried my setup with a different guitar, I don’t think the instrument matters too much, as long as it   is in good shape and with reasonably well shielded electronics. The later is particularly important because I use tools in Pd that detect the notes (frequency) the guitar is playing, and static can be mistakenly analysed as a note.

The guitar is plugged directly into an external USB soundcard (LINK), the output of which is in turn plugged into the amplifier. The later connection turned out to be a bit tricky at first, because the output of my soundcard is a balanced 6.35 mm jack (1/4″). It wasn’t disigned to be plugged directly into the input of a guitar amplifier (unbalanced and with a different impedance).

The solution to this problem is to use a device that matches both levels and impedances. I’ve been getting satisfying results with a Shure A85F line matching transformer.

Since the connection of a mixer’s or soundcard’s output to a guitar amplifier is the kind of problem that sound engineers have to solve to “reamp” (see article) previously recorded guitar tracks, it might be worth trying reverse DI boxes. They seem to be pretty expensive though, so i’ve never tried one myself.

In short, I use :

– an electric guitar,

– a 6.35mm (1/4″) jack to the soundcard,

– a XLR cable from the soundcard to

– a line matching transformer, plugged into

– a guitar amplifier.

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3 Responses to Guitar and amplifier

  1. kwbartel says:

    Hi,
    Just wondering if you had any recommendations for what kind of USB sound card to use.

    Thanks!

    • I personnaly use an E-mu 0404 USB, which gives me two inputs to play with (I sometimes process my voice in Pd too).
      You could use any sound card provided that :
      – it has an instrument input (mine has dual insturment jack/XLR inputs),
      – it has a balanced output and you can find a way to connect it to your amp (mine has jack outputs).
      – it can run at 48 kHz or higher,
      – the drivers exist for the distro you plan on using (I recommend a Linux distro or Mac OS for real-time effects).

  2. Pingback: Raspberry Pi multi-effects : Overview of the setup | Guitar Extended

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