In an age where we integrate computers into every facet of our lives, the need for musicians to connect their instruments to their computers is commonplace. A few years ago, I saw a guitar designed specifically for plugging into a computer and I wanted it immediately. Being able to forego the amp completely was a big draw for a hobbyist like me. The downside was that there wasn’t much in terms of variety. In fact, I believe it was just black or white. With a device called Guitar Link, you can connect any electric guitar to your computer and not only bypass the need for an amplifier, but change the sound of your instrument in real time with software on your computer and turn your computer into a virtual recording studio.
Connect A Guitar To Your Computer
Connecting the Behringer Guitar Link UCG102 to the computer is as simple as plugging it into a USB port. When connected, your computer will try to find drivers for it, but there are also drivers included on the CDs that come with the device. With the Guitar Link connected to the computer, you just need to connect your guitar to the device as if it was an amp. Finally, plug in a set of headphones or, alternately, connect the headphone out to speakers, or some other system to play the output out loud.
Tweak Your Sound
Once you have everything connected, you can get to the fun part. With included “combo box” software, I was able to modify the sound of my guitar with preset adjustments as well as custom adjustments to reverberation and a number of other sound tweaks. Some of this is demonstrated in the video below.
The AC Combo Box software was just one of a few packages, each with a number of preset sound adjustments. The great part about this is that you can fire up your favorite recording software and connect to the sound library from it in order to combine the adjustments you make to your guitar’s sound with the software you’re used to for recording and editing. The benefit of all this is the sheer range of sounds you can get from your guitar. One minute, you can sound like you’re in a large jazz club and the next minute, you can sound like you’re rocking out in a dorm hallway. Guitar Link does a good job of replacing all the work and/or pedals you need to get this kind of range.
I love the hardware. It’s simple and works as you would expect and want it to. The included software was also a lot of fun. I did have some issues with drivers and spent more time than I should have researching and downloading third party drivers to get this working properly on my Windows 7 PC. Despite the driver issues, the Guitar Link is priced well at $30-$40 and was a lot of fun when I got it up and running. The Behringer Guitar Link feels well-suited for most musicians and is an easy purchase for anyone looking to break free from the limitations of just a guitar and amp.