Usually, the fun part about playing an electric guitar is to play it as loud as you can. But there are situations when you have to keep it low, so your neighbors don’t get disturbed.
Many apartment guitarists use electric guitar headphones to cover their jamming noise.
So, if you are a headbanger at heart and want to try out the tunes that are coming in your head but you have to limit yourself because of the people around you.
In this article, keep reading on our 9 ways to play electric guitar with headphones!
Can You Play Electric Guitar with Headphones?
The simple answer to this question is, yes.
The good thing is that there are plenty of techs available for you to explore in such a scenario.
There are a number of professionals and guitar enthusiasts who use their headphones in various ways to practice guitar and create new tones.
You’ll only need is a decent pair of headphones.
Best Ways to Play Electric Guitar with Headphones for Apartment Guitarists
Now that you have access to a pair of good quality headphones, it’s time to move on to the next step, and that is to provide you with some ways to put them to good use.
As we have mentioned earlier that you have to explore some gadgets with which you can connect your guitar and play the heck out of it without annoying anyone.
So let’s get on with it!
#1. Plug Your Headphones into Guitar Amplifier
This is the most common and simplest way to play guitar through headphones. These days, electric guitar headphone amp devices come with a dedicated output amp headphone jack.
You just need to plug your headphones in and are all set to rock on.
Make sure you have the best guitar headphones at your disposal and which one is the best? We’ll recommend Audio-Technica ATH M50x, they are simply the best.
However, with that being said, we have one thing for you to mention here.
The outputs of your headphones on guitar amps will mostly need a 0.25-inch cable. If you are going with the standard headphones with the electric guitar that comes with a 3.5mm jack or a 1/8-inch cable, then you will also need to buy an adapter for it, which won’t cost you much.
You can also find some good quality headphones that will also come with a 0.25-inch guitar amp headphone adapter.
If there is a case that your guitar amp doesn’t come with any headphone output, then you don’t need to worry.
We are listing down some of the ways that will allow you to listen to your guitar through headphones even if your guitar amp doesn’t have an output for headphones.
#2. Connect Your Electric Guitar Directly to Tablet/Smartphone
This is another very simple and efficient way to play your electric guitar with headphones. You can simply connect your guitar to your tablet or phone and let it roll.
But you will need a small device to connect between the two ends here. This is called a digital guitar interface, which device is specifically designed for smartphones and tablets.
After that, you will have to download an app to run and operate on your phone. The interface that you can use if you have an iPad or an iPhone is iRig HD2. This interface will sound exceptional, and it is fairly simple to use.
Connect your guitar to your phone and download Bias FX or Jam Up Pro. The sound quality is the same in comparison to the desktop version of any VST plug-in. It also integrates well with GarageBand and allows you to record your guitar tunes on your phone. There is an Android version of this interface as well, and it is iRig UA.
#3. Try GarageBand Directly
If you use a Mac, then you have a secret weapon waiting to be unleashed for you. You might have heard about it but never noticed its charm; it’s GarageBand.
This is an application that is too good to be free to use, but it is too good, and it is free; like hell froze over!
GarageBand provides you with a whole world of tunes. There is nothing complicated about running this app.
Just start your Mac, connect your headphones, and guitar and start producing music like that’s the only thing you know.
#4. Connect an Audio Interface To Your Computer
Things start to get a little technical here, but the methods are still free of any hassle or complexities. If you are looking to play as well as record your music silently using your headphones, then you need to use an audio interface.
It is a piece of equipment that enables you to easily link your guitar with your computer through USB or Thunderbolt. Here, you just need to plug the guitar into any one of the inputs and then plug the USB into the computer. You will definitely have to download some drivers based on the platform that you are using for your computer.
When you are all set with the interface, you will be able to start recording your guitar tunes playing right into your computer. Another advantage that you get here is that you can directly plug the headphones into your audio interface. It will allow you to hear your own tunes and you can also listen to computer audio. This will allow you to play along the backing tracks.
There is no involvement of an amplifier, but you will be using simulation software. There are numbers of other guitar VST plug-ins that you can download from the internet for the purpose of simulating a guitar amplifier or effects pedal. The plug-ins can directly integrate with digital audio workstation, allowing you to play as well as record on your computer through your headphones.
#5. Get a Guitar Headphone Amp
This little gizmo is very simple to use and is a plug-n-play solution for anyone who is looking to play an electric guitar with headphones. This little gadget is a self-contained guitar amp that you can easily place in your pocket.
You just need to put it into your guitar and then plug your headset into the 3.5mm output, and that’s it. It’s a complete hassle-free method that doesn’t need any cables or adapters. It is a very convenient tool that allows you to practice your electric guitar without driving anyone around you crazy. For what the device is, it does offer a pretty good sound quality, but it certainly won’t replace your real guitar amp.
It is sort of a makeshift arrangement, so to speak. The best part is you can find different types of these mini guitar amps based on the music you want to practice. There are separate types of amps for metal, classical, rock, clean or blues.
#6. Use Digital Effects Processors
You can also use digital effect processors to play your electric guitar with your headphones. These processors are your all-in-one solution. The primary objective of these units is providing a top-quality simulation of effects pedals and amplifiers. But they work differently from the VST plug-ins because these are hardware units and they don’t have anything to do with software.
For this reason, you don’t need a computer or your smartphone to run these processors. This will allow you to dial your amplifier settings as well as effects right on the processor with the help of knobs. Depending on your model, you might even have foot pedals to work with.
The best part about these processors is that you will find a variety of ports on them. These include the likes of headphone outputs, USB, and audio outputs. The digital effects processors are highly versatile units that allow you to connect to your PA system for any live performance, hook up to a computer, or even just playing tunes through your headphones.
#7. Use Your Home Theater System
If you have a home theater system, then turning it into your guitar amplifier is simple too. In fact, you can connect your guitar to any music playing device if it comes with an auxiliary input. This way you won’t have to buy a guitar amp. But you will require an adapter for it. This adapter will have a quarter-inch female jack.
On the other side, there will be a male RCA referred commonly as phono. Use this adapter and connect your guitar to aux-input of your music system. Make sure that you turn its volume down all the way. Start playing your guitar and turn the volume up slowly. You will be able to hear the sounds coming out
#8. Play Your Guitar Without an Amp
You can plug in an electric guitar into an amplifier and just stand close to the amp. When you strum a chord make adjustments to the amp until only some of the sound is feeding back to you. You will feel a reinforced vibration between the guitar and amp, which feels amazing.
Now make the adjustments again, so the feedback sustains. Now play with the volume and the gain until you hear constant feedback or drone; there is no building or shrieking. See how long you can keep the tone without touching the strings.
Now turn your amp off and play the same chord and you will hear nothing, only a small noise from the instrument. From here, you can use a pair of headphones and make adjustments to the volume accordingly and start listening to your tunes.
#9. Plug Your Guitar into a PA System
You can plug your guitar into a Public Address system as well to take control of the sound that it produces. The PA systems also come with various inputs and outputs, and you can connect your headphones with them. Just make sure before you touch your chord the sound is at the minimum. Just plug your guitar into the PA system and connect your headphones to this system as well, and you are all set to raise some hell.
Tips When Playing Electric Guitar in the Apartment
When you are living in an apartment, there are significant chances that you don’t have a spacious studio to practice your electric guitar. Of course, there are not going to be any isolation booths as well. It is due to this particular reason that electric guitarists find it very difficult to create music within the comfort of their home.
Therefore, we have developed a brief guide for you in the form of tips so that you don’t have to deal with angry neighbors pounding on your door or wall or a call from your apartment manager’s office.
– Think About the Volume
If you want the truth than anything that is louder than your television is totally unacceptable. For this reason, the traditional tubes amps are gone. Even those 1W tube amps are considered to be very loud for an apartment.
For this reason, you need to buy a high-quality amp that really feels like a real amp. One such product is the THR from Yamaha. This amp is one of the best to work very well, even at low sounds. Plus, it also features a variety of effects to keep you interested and inspired, apart from all that it really produces an exceptional sound.
– Your Electric Guitar is Your Best Friend
Volume has never been your friend, but that beautiful electric guitar of yours definitely is. Your acoustic guitar is definitely going to make your neighbors angry if you struck a wrong chord. Therefore use a semi-hollow guitar as well as Stratocasters for quick jamming in your apartment.
These guitars will give you a performance of electric guitar, and they won’t be too loud. If you play your electric guitar unplugged, then it will have some additional benefit of providing you with the true tone, and it will allow you to work on different tunes, especially pickups.
– Only consider high-quality headphones
If you have a good pair of headphones, you won’t have to deal with low-quality tunes. When you are able to hear it in your ears, you won’t have to play it loud. Keep this in mind; your smartphone headsets are useless when listening to guitar because Dr. Dre is not Jimi Hendrix. When it comes to monitoring the sound, the bigger models are better, so you need to go for those over-the-ear headphones.
– Noises and sounds are in the walls
If you plug in your tube amp without plugging your guitar, you will notice that your idling amp is making a buzz. It squeals and fuzzes out shivery highs with tummy-rumbling lows. It all happens even when you are not playing. All apartment buildings have pipes, wires, gas lines, light fixtures, and different types of appliance motors. All of them make noise, and they will leach into your amp. Avoid this noise by using a noise gate, and you will need one because noise cancellation is not going to work here.
– Give a good home to your guitar
Your guitars are treasures, and you need to take care of them. Don’t allow cold or moist air to leak through the window as a drastic change in temperature and this can damage your guitar. For this reason, you need to keep your guitar in its case and don’t hang it with the wall. You won’t need many set-ups to your guitar when the season changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
An electric guitar has an advantage over acoustic guitar that when you play it unplugged, it will definitely sound low. They are not going to be silent, but you will feel the difference.
You certainly don’t need any fancy gadgets if you wish. Just take a soft towel and place it under the strings as close to the bridge as possible. It will dampen the sound down significantly.
You can also block the soundhole of the guitar by shoving something in. Apart from that, you can also tie a soft material close to the neck.
Technically, this is the sound that comes out of an acoustic guitar. So, in simple words, yes you can play your electric guitar acoustically.
It’s just your electric guitar unplugged. But when unplugged you won’t be hearing an electric sound.
Your electric guitar features the same strings as well as the notes as that acoustic guitar. It’s just that electric guitar has a much wider range and you will be able to reach high tones more easily.
With a few adjustments, of course, you can play an acoustic song on your electric guitar without any issues.
Yes, with an amp you will be able to tune your guitar in a better manner.
If you need to use the mic with your tuner app, then you will have to plug your guitar into the amp, so the mic has something loud to hear. Make sure that you get a sound that is as clean as possible.
Playing electric guitar with headphones will save you from a lot of confrontation from the neighbors and of course your apartment manager. There are numerous tools for you to use to play it silently and keep the noise down without throwing all the fun out of the window, so to speak!
If you love to play guitar without troubling people around you then follow the above guidelines and everything will remain a-okay!