Can You Use An Electric Guitar Without An Amp?

Using an amplifier with your electric guitar can really help you get the sound that you need, especially for recording purposes. However, there are ways that you can get around the use of an amplifier when you are using an electric guitar. There can be many reasons for this, either you are on the go, you don’t have an amp, or an amp is not available for you.

You can keep using your electric guitar without an amp, if you try any of these following methods:

  • With either headphones or speakers.
  • Through a PC or Mac device. 
  • With the help of an iOS device and a micro-amp.
  • Using a multi-effects pedal. 

Although having an amp available will help you maintain key features such as the tone, you can still get high-quality recordings without an amplifier device. Keep reading this article to see the different ways that you can use an electric guitar without an amp, along with additional tips on when you absolutely need an amp, and how to use it. 

How To Play The Electric Guitar Without An Amp

When we think of a professional electric guitar setup, in most cases we will also imagine an electric guitar. However, you may be surprised to find out that there are a lot of professional guitarists out there who record all of their audios without the use of an amp. In fact, some will even play gigs and practice sessions without using an amp. To do that, here are options:

Playing Electric Guitar With Headphones or Speakers

When you are playing an electric guitar, one option that is available to you is to choose to connect it to headphones through either a smartphone or PC. Each method comes with its own pros and cons, and it is up to you to decide what the right choice is here. However, this is one of the easiest methods to play the guitar, especially if you are on the move. 

With Headphones

The biggest benefit you have when you connect the electric guitar to your headphones (indirectly) is that you can have complete privacy. If you have the right kind of headphones, you can simply play in silence without any risk of distractions. However, the process of connecting headphones to your electric guitar is not easy, as there is no direct input.

The best way to make this happen is to use a PC option. Then, using an audio interface device, you can connect the guitar. This is a great way for beginners to access their tools on occasional requirements, however, there is a catch. The quality may not work as well as an amp, and you may deal with latency issues. However, with a quality audio interface, you can reduce this risk as well. 

With Speakers

If you have an excellent speaker system at home and want to use it for recording, you may just be able to get away with not connecting a guitar amplifier. To really get this done, you need studio-grade speakers that can withstand the requirements of producing and creating music. In some cases, they may work well enough to cut out the need for an amp.

If you have a good quality stereo or sound system lying around, then you can get the most out of them using this process. The best part? There is no complicated process here. All you will need to do is to plug the speakers into a device such as the Amplifi devices. Then, you can use a phone app or a USB cable to connect to a phone or a computer. 

Related: Are Expensive Microphones Worth It? What You Need To Know

Play Electric Guitar With a PC or Mac

When looking at connecting your electric guitar without the use of an amp, the access to either a PC or Mac device is absolutely essential with most methods. In order to make this happen, you can use any kind of audio interface that works well with your guitar and your computer device as well. This will allow you to do a lot more with your guitar. 

With the use of an audio interface, you can connect the electric guitar to the computer using an indirect connection. Plus, the audio interface will also allow you to record voice, if you opt to connect a microphone as an input device.The greatest thing about using this kind of software is that you will not just be able to play the guitar, but also record the session.

In fact, when it comes to setting up a studio at home, many artists and producers will consider the audio interface one of the most essential parts of the mix. Aside from recording, using an audio interface also has some other benefits available that you may not notice. For example, you can use it to improve the guitar’s tone range and the effects available.

Play Electric Guitar With an iOS Device

There is no doubt at all that using a PC or Mac for this purpose will give you far more options. You can control different effects, and even adjust the settings at which sound is recorded from your guitar. However, that is not the only way that you can connect your electric guitar. In fact, you can also do this with Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

There are plenty of apps available on the iPhone and iPad Apple Store that allow you to play your guitar. These will also give you access to limited options to manage settings, such as deciding on the guitar tone. The Apple device also gives you the capability to record the guitar, and keep the audio file as soon as inspiration strikes you.

When you want to connect your electric guitar to an Apple device, the biggest concern is how to connect the guitar. The best way to do this is to use a micro-amp along with the app on your iPhone or iPad. Choosing a high-quality micro-amp is essential as it can open up the doors for more editing features, and of course the choices also depend on the app you use. 

Can This Method Work For Android Phones?

You may be wondering if there is an option for you to do the same kind of work if you are using an Android device. Based on the availability of apps, that may not be an excellent choice just yet. That is because the Google Play Store contains far less options for apps that you can connect your guitar to, and their features are extremely limited compared to iOS.

One of the other problems you may come across is that of latency. This is a term that is used to refer to delays. Because the Android system is not great when it comes to latency, there is a chance your phone will take a longer time to record. As a result, even if you are playing, you will be unable to register the sound on your phone without a delay. 

Play Electric Guitar With a Multi-Effects Pedal

If you have never come across multi-effects pedals, think of them as an all-in-one solution for all of your sound editing and producing needs. They are neatly arranged in one simple unit, which helps you forego the potential mess and chaos of a common pedalboard. These systems offer premium sound quality, with shortcuts to access patches while editing. 

There are different kinds of multi-effects pedals out there. Some of the devices will have a focus on modeling effects on the audio. They can do this using reverbs, delays, modulation, and much more. Some multi-effects are far more comprehensive, and come with a built-in amp to keep everything in one place. These are the kind that don’t need an additional amp.

The benefit of using multi-effects pedals is that they often come with a jack. Using these, you can plug the speakers, headphones, and much more. You can also use the input methods if you want to plug your guitar directly into the device, and you will already be done with most of the work! Now you can get to work and create music with ease and a bunch of tools.

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How To Play The Electric Guitar With An Amp

In the section before this, we explored the many ways you can get away with not having an amp to work with your electric guitar. However, in some cases, there will only be one type of solution to your problem – to just take the plunge and take an amp. If you don’t want to buy a bigger amp, you can even consider getting a mini-amp.

Mini-amps are smaller in size, and will usually need battery power to run properly. You can use these with your headphones or without them – it is really up to you. There is a huge range of mini-amps out there. While some do lack in function, it is important to know what you are looking for the most, and choose an option that aligns with that the best. 

Some of the things you may want to consider is the tone, the volume of the guitar, or the size of the mini-amp to assist with portability. Some are bigger, and some are so small you can even take them around with you in just your pocket. 

The Pros And Cons Of Playing Electric Guitar With Amps

Are you wondering what the benefits and drawbacks of using amps with your electric guitar are? Keep reading this section of the article so you can understand what the major pros and cons are, and how to decide what the right choice is for you!

The Pros

One of the biggest benefits of using a device like an amp for an electrical guitar is that it is extremely convenient. If you invest in a high-quality amp, it can cover a lot of the functions that other devices do on your recording session, such as the pedalboard. It helps to save you space and time when necessary, and it is a more organized approach for you as well.

Another big plus point you get with an electric guitar amp is the quality in the sound you get at the end of the day. If you want to record, you will get far cleaner results when you use these devices. They have superior options available that can be crucial when you are getting creative and producing new sounds, such as overdrive and modulation options. 

The use of amps is also a dependable yet versatile endeavor. You can be sure that the money you invest into getting this equipment will yield exponentially better results.And, add to that, you can use this device in a number of ways to get the most out of it. 

The Cons

Just like there are benefits to the use of amps, there are some drawbacks there as well. Depending on the kind of music you make, you may feel like it is too much for your style, and that is okay. If you do not intend to use all the options, it can seem a little excessive. Not to mention, for beginners amps can seem a little intimidating and too complicated to use. 

At the end of the day, some users may decide that the groundbreaking features in amps are just simply unnecessary for them. In that case, spending thousands of dollars on an amp can seem far too expensive to justify. For example, they can connect with a number of devices, but some artists may feel like they don’t need to use that feature, and it is too much for them.


The use of amps has transformed the world of music production, particularly when recording from an electric guitar. However, whether you should or shouldn’t get one depends on what you plan to use it for, and how much you are willing to spend to accommodate your goals. Ultimately, you should know that even without access to an amp, you can still use an electric guitar. 

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