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How to Play Electric Guitar Through Headphones

How to Play Electric Guitar Through Headphones

How to Play Electric Guitar Through Headphones

There are a variety of ways to play an electric guitar through headphones. Some players use headphones because they can practice late at night, around children, or with the help of an on-stage monitor. Some performers play through headphones while recording in order to give a more “produced” sound to their performance, where some producers like to add effects and other sounds while the artist is playing. For some musicians, using headphones is preferred for reasons important only to them.

The following are some of the most popular ways used by artists to achieve different results when playing through earphones:

Using Your Own Amplifier

Some guitar players use their electric guitars without any special equipment. Players who just plug into the amplifier which came with their electric guitar will be able to play through headphones, but at a conclusion of sacrificing sound quality and control overtone. Since the headphone jack is directly plugged into the output of your amp, it will have a direct impact on your sound. If you don’t have any sort of tone-shaping EQ pedals for your effect-chain, playing through headphones can also result in a lack of responsiveness from your instrument as well as an overall weaker signal or volume level out if you’re not using a proper preamp stage that gives you full control over signal strength and clarity before it reaches your amplification circuit.

In order to properly play through headphones while using your own amplifier, find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed, and then follow these steps:

1. Put together your equipment appropriately

You will want to make sure that you have a guitar with a direct-output jack on it rather than having to use an adapter, as some guitars do not come equipped with the necessary connector. Some amps also have multiple output jacks for regular speakers or headphones, so make sure that you are plugged into the correct one. In order to get the best sound possible from this type of headphone plugging, players should look for an amp that has been factory-fitted with a headphone jack. If this is not available in your amp, then buying a top-quality headphone amplifier would offer the best sound possible.

2. Connect your headphones

Most DJ-style headphone plugs will have a straight, quarter-inch jack on them which is the same size as most electric guitars’ output jacks. If you are using an adapter to connect your guitar to your amplifier, this would be the point at which you would insert it into the chain. The other end of the plug should be inserted into one or both of your ears so that you can hear what qualities are being emitted by your amplifier and guitar through only one ear if needed for monitoring purposes, or two if needed for stereo playing.

3. Turn everything on

This part doesn’t change no matter what kind of equipment you’re using for direct plugging, so just move along to the next step.

4. Play to your heart’s content

If you’ve done everything correctly up until now, then this part should be easy! Enjoy yourself as much as you can and make sure that if you’re using a headphone amplifier to boost the signal strength of your guitar through headphones, don’t crank it too loud or else you might blow out your eardrums. It would also be wise not to use an amp that is louder than necessary, since this may lead to additional hearing damage even when using your headphones properly. This type of playing is good for practicing without bothering people around you at night or in a rehearsing space where other musicians are working around the clock on their own music pieces.

5. Be safe about it

If you have done everything correctly up until this point, then the only step you might need to worry about is being safe. Make sure that your guitar’s volume is turned low enough that you could still hear another musician playing in your surrounding area even when its amplifier was activated into fully-loud mode. This way, if someone comes along and asks for some help or tries talking to you while you are practicing, they will be able to catch your attention properly instead of potentially startling or angering you by yelling in your ear through the headphone plug.

Using A Direct Out On Your Amplifier For Headphones

This method is very similar to using a headphone output on an amplifier, but it involves inserting a special kind of cable which will then essentially hijack the sound that is playing out of your amplifier.

An example of this kind of cable would be a “Y-Adapter” which has two inputs on one side and one output on the other. The input side usually comes equipped with quarter-inch plugs, while the output side will have either an RCA or 1/8 inch plug to connect to your headphones or adapter for use in mono listening scenarios.

A more detailed breakdown of how you might do this is as follows:

1. Set up your equipment correctly

As before, check that your guitar is connected into the correct output jack on your amp so that it doesn’t create any strange noises or effects by sending its music through alternative cables or circuitry paths. Also make sure that your amplifier is switched on and ready to go.

2. Plug the adapter into both of its inputs

After you have verified that everything is in working order, the next step will be connecting your Y-adapter into its two main input points. This can either be done by buying an adapter which already has these inputs on it, or it could involve a bit of soldering if you’d prefer to do it yourself from scratch. There shouldn’t be anything terribly complicated about this process, so just follow your instincts and use some common sense while doing so.

3. Insert a cable for each side of the adapter

The other end of these cables should have a quarter-inch plug going out toward your amplifier’s output. This particular plug should have come with your amplifier or guitar, so take care to follow the directions on its accompanying manual to do it properly.

4. Plug everything in

Originally, you would have had an audio signal coming out of your amplifier which was then split into two by your Y-adapter and sent along through their respective cables leading toward your headphones. Since these are simply plugged into the corresponding ports that they came from at either end, you can now take advantage of both signals being merged together again as one which will be audible within each headphone cup once everything is turned on. While this process doesn’t imply any sort of difference between using a standard 1/4 inch cable for regular listening purposes instead of using a direct output, loudness can sometimes be increased when using a Y-adapter for this operation.

Get Some Headphones And Use Them To Practice With!

There are countless different styles of headphones that you could use to practice with, so it would take quite a long time to list them all here. Fortunately, there are also plenty of places which you could investigate on your own in order to find the one which seems best for your needs and preferences.

One thing which I will say is that if you aren’t already inclined towards playing through headphones or headphones alone, then it’s definitely worth looking into using some kind of amp simulator software instead since these kinds of programs often don’t require any special hardware beyond what comes out of your computer’s sound card.

For example, Amplitube is a free download that allows you to simulate the sound of playing through different kinds of amplifiers and effects pedals.

Another option is if you have a smartphone, then there are plenty of free apps which could be used for practicing with headphones as well – just make sure that whatever you end up using comes with an interface that isn’t too difficult to use.

Since there really can’t be any room for doubt about how useful it will prove to be when learning how to play guitar through headphones, I’d like to also mention that there’s even an official How To Play Guitar YouTube channel here on LAoperaring, So if you need further help with this process, feel free to check out some videos over there which demonstrate the process of playing through headphones.

Using an Amp Modeler Pedal to Play Through Headphones

An alternative to using an amp simulator program (which often quite resources intensive) is to instead use an amp modeler pedal. These pedals – like the POD 2.0, for example – will allow you to hook up your guitar and headphones directly to them, bypassing the need for any computer software or memory-hogging programs at all! You can simply plugin (or run a cable from) your guitar into the input jack of the amp modeler unit. Then, using another standard audio cable, connect the headphone output port on your amplifier with either one of the audio-out ports on your pedal if it has two or more jacks. The other half of this same cable should then be plugged into either your headphones or your player’s output jack. The process of learning how to play electric guitar through a headset is quite simple and straightforward in this manner, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to practice whenever and wherever you like!

Using Your Smartphone or Tablet As A Tuner

Did you know that there are also smartphone apps out there that will help you to tune your guitar? If you’ve ever found yourself in need of one, then before you go ahead and buy one, try looking up some smartphone tuners online. There’s probably an app for it!

The good news is that chromatic tuners can be used on both Android AND iOS platforms. This means that you can use this feature on all the different kinds of smartphones or tablets that are compatible with either platform. For example, if you’re using an Apple iPad, then iTunes should have much more than enough applications in its store which will allow for easy access to any kind of chromatic tuner application out there. Likewise, Google Play Store should be able to supply you with any kind of tuner applications that you need as well.

Another way that I use is using my iOS device’s built-in microphone, which works great really well for tuning my bass guitar too. It just saves me the trouble of having to buy another, different piece of equipment.

Tips For Playing Effortlessly

Check out some sites online where they have user-submitted tips about how to play more easily. You can get pretty much anything related to learning how to play guitar at the tips section, so look around there for a while if you’d like more information on this topic.

You could also learn how to play guitar by checking out sites such as Guitar Tricks or JamPlay, both of which offer a lot of resources that you might find helpful for your learning process.

And then there’s always the How To Play Guitar YouTube channel here on LAoperaring where you can see exclusive videos about how to play more easily and fluently with any song or piece of music. Check them out if you need help with this!

So hopefully this article has helped in some way to show you one or two ways in which you could tune your guitar using just your smartphone or tablet. I also wanted to mention that playing through headphones is definitely something worth looking into when it comes to practicing electric guitar, so be sure to check out the other articles mentioned throughout this one in order to get an even better understanding of how to do so.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this article on how to play guitar easily, then please feel free to leave those in the comment section below as well as anywhere else where I’ve also included a comments section for other articles too. Thank you very much for taking the time to check out this content and I look forward to seeing you again soon


We hope that this article has been able to show you how to play guitar without actually needing an amp in order to do so. It’s definitely a great feeling being able to practice silently when your parents or roommates don’t want you making too much noise, and they’ll most likely be more than happy with the fact that you’ve found another way of playing through headphones.

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