How to Play Electric Guitar with Headphones

Are you a passionate guitarist? Well, for you to create a fine rhythm out of it, quality time must be spent practicing.

 However, either you are not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a real amp, or you share an apartment with roommates who treasure their quiet time.

Luckily, modern technology has provided pro solutions that allow musicians to get into jam sessions without interrupting the other party.

Whether you like carrying your guitar along as you travel, this article is crafted to help you learn how to play and listen through your headphones.

Use a Guitar Amplifier Headphone Jack

This is the most convenient option for playing your guitar through headphones. By just plugging the headphones into the amp, the signal from the guitar is amplified and the sound can be clearly heard through the headphones.

Most guitar amps have a 3.5mm headphones output while others have a 6.3mm headphone jack. The jack may be positioned either on the front panel, back, or the top of the amp.

Safety Tip: In order to avoid blasting your ears, ensure that you minimize the master volume on the amplifier before you begin playing, then you may increase the volume gradually.


Easy and quick set up

Playing your own tunes in silence


Only works in amplifiers with a headphones jack

Unsuitable for travel

It is important to use an adapter when connecting the headphones to the amplifier.

The following list represents the top adaptors for the job.

Best Three 3.5mm to 6.35mm Adapters

Most amplifiers are designed with 6.35mm headphones input jack, this means that you will require an adapter in order to connect the headphones to the amp.

UGREEN 3.5mm to 6.35mm Gold Plated Adapter

Ugreen gold plated adaptor allows you to connect your headphones into the bigger guitar jack output.

The adaptor is extremely affordable with a wide variety of usability ranging from smartphones, tablets, iPhones, and headphones.

Ugreen adapter boasts of an excellent Hi-Fi Stereo ability with a plug and play jack that converts a 3.5mm jack into a 6.3mm plug. . After just plugin into your guitar, you are good to play.

 The gold plated connectors protect the jack against corrosion, this minimizes signal loss while the 360° grip treads ensure smooth plugging and unplugging.

The solid brass copper provides absolute durability compared to the plastic plug.

DuKabel TopSeries 3.5mm to 6.35mm

DuKabel is designed with a 12-inch extension cable giving you more flexibility of playing from any position.

The 24K gold-plated contacts resist corrosion while the tinned 99.99% OFC conductor ensures consistent signal strength.

The aluminum internal shielding running through the continuous cable length blocks out unnecessary noise with the crystal-nylon braided exterior minimizing damage through twisting, bending, dropping stretching, or even accidental chewing by a pet.

This cable comes with increased flexibility, low electrical resistance, and rapid signal transmission.

DuKabel TopSeries is surprisingly affordable with 12 months warranty and a 30 days money-back guarantee.

ANDUL 3.5mm to 6.35mm Pure Copper Adapter.

Andul 3.5mm male to 6.35mm female adapter enables you to connect to the headphones with the amp.

 The pure copper connectors are corrosion-resistant hence minimizing signal loss. The grip head is designed with 360° grip treads for easier plugging and unplugging.

Andul adaptor is highly durable due to its solid brass copper build and the internal pure copper wire braiding. The long cable gives the user allowance and freedom of playing the guitar in a comfortable position.


Pro tip

Never plug in a headphone jack into the amp’s output before ensuring it is designed for headphones, some amplifier jacks are designed specifically for guitar speakers, and this may end up damaging your headphone and the amplifier. It is therefore advisable that you read the amp’s manual before using it.

Connect Your Guitar to a Computer or a Smartphone 

This is a great leisure option for a guitarist who likes playing while traveling.

Using an audio interface, connect your guitar to the computer or smartphone, then, plug the headphones into the device and enjoy your playing sessions.

There are several audio interface models in the market which you can use to connect the guitar to your preferred device.

However, it is important to choose an audio interface that comes with a full version of guitar effects and amplifier design software which can be used to set various rigs, this will enable you to play different tones with less physical gear.

In the case where the amp lacks an output jack, you may plug in your guitar to the pedals and subsequently connect the guitar pedals to the audio interface. This is a great way to record guitar tunes directly on your computer or smartphone.


You can practice guitar silently anywhere

Audio interfaces are affordable

A convenient way to record guitar tones.

No amp needed

High-quality tones produced by audio software such as BIAS FX and DAW

Best Three Guitar Smartphone/Tablet Interfaces

These audio interfaces are related to those used in PCs, however, they are rather simpler due to the different interfaces between PCs and smartphones/tablets.

IK Multimedia iRig 2

A product of IK Multimedia, iRig 2 is the most popular interface device.

Upon purchase, the user is rewarded with a free AmpliTube CS program which can be downloaded from the Apple store.

The mode of operation is rather effortless since you will only need to plug your guitar into the interface device and connect it to your iPad or iPhone. The input jack for the guitar is ¼" and 1/8" for the iPad/iPhone.

iRig interface does not support android but only functions with Apple devices. However, an android only interfaces device is also available from the same manufacturer, referred to as iRig UA.

This interface features a ¼” amp output workable with an external amp without an adaptor and a 1/8" 3.5mm TRRS output jack compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

NANYI Audio Splitter

Nanyi headset splitter is the simplest audio interface option in the market. This is because, you only need to plug your headphones into the splitter and connect the guitar into the input jack of the splitter, then connect the splitter into the smartphone.

Nanyi audio splitter is a significantly less expensive interface that will help you enjoy your guitar practice with ease. The compact design ensures maximum portability allowing you to plug and play as you go.

The easy-to-connect 3.5mm headset splitter allows you to connect your headphones, electric guitar, smart devices, and computer at the same time. 

Saramonic SmartRig

Saramonic is another great choice for users looking for an alternative to iRig to connect the guitar with a smartphone.

The SmartRig allows you to plug your guitar and professional microphones and make quality music with your iPhones or Android devices.

Saramonic SmartRig features a Combo ¼” and XLR input jack with a gain control and a 3.5mm headphone output jack. It is powered by a +48V phantom power with an ON and OFF switch

Pro Tips on Using an Audio Interface

Audio interfaces are popular with musicians who like to record themselves while playing.

Amp simulators produce excellent audio based on the interface model you choose and the software functionality. They give you the freedom to fine-tune your instrument according to your personal taste.

The audio interface is primarily designed to plug into another device. Generally, most audio interfaces are compatible with headphones which acts as an external output device.

However, the most common application is to connect the interface to the guitar and then plug the device into the PC.

The ideal part of the process is the amount you are willing to spend and the main objective that you are trying to achieve.

Best Three Audio Interfaces for Guitar

You may decide to try out a free software program during start-up and see how it will fare with the type of device that you purchase.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

Focusrite Scarlett Solo is among the most sought-after audio interfaces for guitar due to its excellent quality.

This interface comes with plenty of diverse options for modeling the sound. For example, you can simulate assorted amplifiers, record yourself as you play, or plug-in effects and pedals.

However, most users of this device are guitarists experimenting with recording their sessions.

Behringer Audio Interface 1x XLR/TRS

For musicians seeking a budget-friendly option, the Behringer audio interface is a perfect choice.

This product comes from one of the biggest manufacturers of guitar gears. The audio interface is superb and easy to use, it is compatible with most recording software like FL Studio and has a splendid resolution.

Considering the friendly pocket price, Behringer XLR/TRS is a perfect option but only supports 16-bit sampling. However, you might need to purchase an adapter in order to use it.

Steinberg UR22C 2x2

Steinberg Company is the manufacturer behind Cubase recording software.

Steinberg UR22C model has outstanding quality and supports USB 3. The audio resolution is remarkable and it is compatible with the majority of devices.

Upon purchasing, the user is offered free recording software hence you do not have to buy them separately. Steinberg UR22C presents a great opportunity to every musician by offering exceptional programs alongside the package. 

Using a Guitar Headphone Amplifier

Guitar headphone amplifiers come with gain, volume, and tone controls along with delay, reverb, and adjustable chorus effects.

Most guitar headphone amps are specifically used for practicing. The user simply plugs the guitar into the headphone amp output jack.

The sound quality may not be as good as with high-end-non-portable amps but the pricing and versatility compensate for it.

This gear comes in different models regarding the user’s music preference. These headphone amps are powered by a 9V battery, this makes them portable and functional without electrical sockets and cables.  

Best Three Micro Amps and Headphone Amps.

The main reason most musicians prefer microamps is their relatively low pricing compared to the high-end amplifiers. Besides, they are ideal for traveling since they are less bulky than real amplifiers.

Another reason a guitarist might decide to go for a headphone amp is that some headphone models might require microamps to function.

VOX AP2AC amPlug 2 AC 30.

Many musicians suggest Vox unplug guitar headphone amplifier due to its quality sound synchronization ability.

This micro amp is designed with a bass mini speaker for a player who would prefer practicing without a headphone. However, a headphone jack is present if you decide to plug in the headphone.

Vox amPlug guitar/bass headphone amplifier is a perfect choice especially if you are weighing between price and quality.

Marshall MS-2

Marshall MS-2 mini amp is a surprisingly portable amp since you just fasten it on your belt and move around with it.

The 9V battery power supply is sufficient for your practice but you can also back it up with a power bank.

 Marshall Amp comes with 2 knobs, a volume, and a tone balance control, there is also an off, on, and overdrive switch.

Fender Mini Tonemaster

Fender mini amp is powered by a 9V battery and designed with three control knobs namely; gain, tone, and volume control with an on and off switch.

It makes a perfect traveling amplifier since no electrical socket is required. This allows you to enjoy practicing in silence and blend different basic guitar tones from clean, lead, and crunch.

The Fender mini amp has the ability to transition from clean tone to overdrive with so much ease and can significantly be loud if needed.

Using a Multi-Effects Pedal

Multi-effect pedals functions in a similar way as an amplifier, they have a headphones output jack and offer limitless effects for creating the magnificent sound of all time.

They are relatively affordable with prices ranging from $50 to over $1000.

Therefore, it depends on your budget and the level that you are willing to invest in.

Best Three Multi-effect Pedals

The following are some great options for multi-effect pedals.

Zoom G1X Four

Zoom G1X Four is one of the most powerful high-quality guitar pedals. This processor comes with lots of effects, different settings, display, and expression pedal to name but a few.

Basically, the manufacturer produces different classes of multi-effect pedals ranging from high-end to cheaper options.

If you are a beginner guitarist, the Zoom G1X Four processor offers matchless possibilities and the price is extremely affordable.

It is however advisable, that you get a multi-effect processor with an expression pedal.

Boss ME-80

If you are looking for value mixed with a touch of supremacy, Boss is all that you need.

Boss multi-effect processor comes with an expression pedal, a huge number of effects, and eight incredible multifunction footswitches.

You can also use this pedal to record and play live music. The amazing part about processors is that they are easily programmable hence you can produce any sound you want and customize it to fit your style. 

Vox Lil’ Looper

If you are operating within a budget limit and you are not willing to spend a lot of bucks, Vox Lil' Looper might be the answer to your music due to its high affordability.

Vox multi-effect is a deluxe loop pedal and has a headphone output if you want to listen to your guitar sound through a pair of headphones.

The set-up design facilitates an easy footswitch for every loop making it easy to operate with any instrument of your choice.

Vox Lil' Looper pedal can also run on the battery allowing you to practice anywhere you want.

Best Three Headphones For Playing Electric Guitar.

If you are considering playing your guitar frequently or you are planning to upgrade your current headphones, your main target should motivate you to own one of the best sound devices in the market.

The following are some of the great options that you might want to consider.

Sony MDR7506

Sony is a giant household brand known for producing quality systems therefore you are assured if you pick this brand you won't regret it.

The MDR7506 model is designed with neodymium magnets and 40mm drivers for powerfully sifted sound output.

It offers a broad frequency range with a superior design tailored to minimize sound loss and block external noise.

Considering its friendly pocket price this headphone is a perfect option for playing your electric guitar.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio Technica is a professional headphone configured for guitars and instrumentals.

It offers amazing noise reduction techniques via comfortable circum-aural ear seals. The ear cups are adjustable and it comes with a storage bag and extra cables.

The sound output quality is amazing and you will enjoy every moment you put them on.

They might be a bit pricey but they are worth every dime.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

Beyerdynamic is a superior quality studio headphone with a powerful frequency reception and an incredible bass and midranges.

It is surprisingly comfortable due to its rugged, adjustable soft padded headbands and a single-sided cable. The velour, circum-aural ear pads incubate the sound and block any unnecessary noise.

However, this model is pricey compared to others but its quality is beyond comparison.

Fun Tip: 

Did you know that the first guitar was invented in ancient Egypt more than 3500 years ago?

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