Can You Play Electric Guitar With Headphones


Over the years, the most common way of playing an electric guitar has been through an amp connected to a speaker. The customary practice has undoubtedly offered guitarists a rich sound experience.

But, in this method lies one fundamental problem. While guitarists relish their guitar’s high-quality music, most of their neighbors refer to electric guitar music as noise.

Given a chance, many guitarists would opt for a pair of guitar-compatible headphones to use when playing their music to avoid noise disturbance complaints. You may be wondering whether you can play your electric guitar with headphones and, if it is possible, how guitar-compatible headphones work. 

Read on to find out.

How to Play Your Electric Guitar with Headphones

We have great news for all of you travelers or late-night guitar players. You may not be able to directly connect your electric guitar to a pair of headphones, as they do not come with an in-built headphone jack. However, the following options are available to enable you to play while using headphones:

  • Using an amp to connect your headphones to your guitar
  • Using guitar pedals
  • Using wireless practice headphones
  • Connecting using an audio interface
Man playing electric guitar

Using An Amp To Connect Your Headphones To Your Guitar

Plugging your headphones into an amplifier is one of the easiest ways to hear your electric guitar while playing it. However, this option depends on your amplifier, as some older amplifiers do not have a headphone output jack.

Presently, most amps either have the 3.5mm headphone outputs or the larger 6.35mm, similar to the guitar plug. You can plug your headphones into the predetermined headphone jack. If you are unsure of the port to use, check your amplifier’s manual to avoid damaging both the headphones and the amplifier. If your amp has a 6.35mm output jack, you may need an adapter to connect your headphones.

Purchasing an amplifier is costly. So, if you already have one, the only additional cost may be that of extending your headphone cord to allow you to play the guitar while standing or moving.

It is advisable to turn down your master volume if you want to plug your headphones into your amp. Afterward, you can turn it up slowly while playing your guitar.

Recommended Amplifiers For Your Guitar

Headphone Amps

These are smaller plug-and-play amplifiers that allow you to connect your guitar to your headphones. While they are not meant to replace the standard size amplifier, they are ultra-convenient.

Headphone amps are cheap, compact, and lightweight. They can easily fit inside your gig bag, making them suitable for traveling while jamming silently. Newer models have additional functionality, such as tone-shaping controls and built-in speakers.

Some popular headphone amps include the Donner DEL-4 and the Behringer MicroAMP HA400.

Amps with Bluetooth Capabilities

Guitar players may worry about potentially tripping over wires while moving around. Bluetooth amps help minimize the risk of accidents.

As long as your amplifier can connect to a Bluetooth device, you can enjoy the sounds through your headphones.

Bluetooth capabilities are slowly becoming a popular feature among amplifiers. However, Bluetooth is still not a universal feature.

Small electric guitar amp

Using a Multi-Effects Pedal

A multi-effects pedal is a device that takes audio input, like the sound of a guitar, and alters it to produce dynamic effects. Most multi-effects pedals come with headphone jacks, so you can hear what you are playing through your headphones.

One advantage of using the multi-effects pedal is that it offers access to many tones and settings. It also allows you to connect to your smartphone or computer for recordings. The disadvantages of a multi-effects pedal are that it is sometimes more costly than an amp, and not all pedals have headphone outputs.

The best multi-effects pedals include the Line 6 HX Stomp and the Orange Terror Stamp.

Electric guitar pedal and headphones

Using Wireless Guitar Headphones

Here we will feature the Boss Waza-Air headphones. The Boss Waza-Air looks like regular headphones but can do much more.

The wireless system works by plugging a wireless transmitter into your guitar. The transmitter then automatically connects with the receiver in the headphones to give you total privacy. 

The Boss Waza-Air headphones stand as a solid option because they use spatial technology that makes it sound like you are in a room with an actual amp. The headphones’ augmented reality technology is so efficient that the music changes to mimic what it would sound like if you were in a room with an actual amplifier as you move your head. 

The Boss Waza-Air headphones come with the convenience of an Android or iOS app for control. Through the app, you can:

  • Manage your tones and settings
  • Edit the 50+ effects
  • Adjust the gyro sensor to change the position of the virtual guitar amp or stage location

Though wireless guitar headphones are a simple guitar noise elimination option, they are more expensive than the rest.

Connecting Using An Audio Interface

The idea here is to connect your guitar to the audio interface and then connect the audio interface to your smartphone or computer via respective cables.

When the analog guitar signal gets to the audio interface, it is converted into a digital signal for the computer to recognize. A digital audio workstation is used to move the converted signal to the computer, so you can then hear the electric guitar via your headphones. Though this process seems quite long, it happens so fast for you to notice.

The interface also allows you to record and produce music. A few of the finest audio interfaces include the bestselling Focusrite Scarlett Solo, IK Multimedia AmpliTube, and straightforward Behringer UM2.

Top Headphones For Your Electric Guitar

The quality of music you hear can be affected by your headphones. If you are looking to purchase some new ones or upgrade from an old set, you should consider the following:

The above selection features the top choice of headphones among many musicians found on Amazon. There are other good ones, but you can start with the above if you are a newbie.

Related article – How To Choose The Right Pair of Headphones

Why You Should Consider Wearing Headphones While Playing Electric Guitar

To Minimize or Eliminate Noise

While most guitar players enjoy playing loud music, the community around them may not appreciate the unnecessary noise.

Playing your guitar while wearing headphones could help you avoid noise complaints or threats of eviction. You can play your music as loud as you want while wearing headphones, and you will not get into trouble. Careful of your ear drums though!

To Evaluate the Quality of the Music

Headphones serve a vital purpose in music. They enable the musician or guitarist to listen to themselves or the band clearly; thus, they can improve music quality. While wearing headphones, you can hear your mistakes and make corrections to improve the quality of your music.

The good or bad thing about this is that the quality of the music you hear will depend on the quality of headphones you are using. If you use poor-quality headphones, the sound will be off.

Related article – Best Headphones For Digital Piano

Electric guitar headphones and notebook

To Make Out What You Are Playing

Noise and other distractions may keep you from making good music. Wearing headphones isolates external noise, helping you focus on the music you are playing on your guitar.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Connect Your Electric Guitar To Your Bluetooth Headphones?

If you have the Boss Waza-Air Bluetooth headphones, you can connect them to your electric guitar. The headphones have a wireless receiver that mimics the sound of an amplifier, and you can control the settings through their iOS or Android app.

Besides lacking the above functionalities, latency issues might affect regular headphones. If you were to use regular headphones, the length of time between playing a note and hearing it over the headphones would create an annoying delay.

What Happens If You Plug Your Headphones Into An Electric Guitar?

No sound will likely reach you, as the signal coming through is not powerful enough and would require an amplifier. You need an amplifier to boost the signal into a form that your ear can perceive. Audio interfaces could also serve the same purpose.

Do All Amplifiers Have Headphone Jacks?

Not all, but most of the modern ones have headphone jacks. First, check whether the jack ports are compatible with the standard 3.5mm plug for amps with headphone jacks. If not, get the 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter to be able to connect your headphones. 

Be careful to only plug in headphones in jacks labeled for headphones.

Summary

We believe that the above short guide has given you a practical head start on ways to help you keep your electric guitar music on regardless of time and location.

Now that you have identified some ingenious ways of keeping your neighbors out of your musical endeavors, all that is left to do is get yourself the right gear!

Jayden Smith

Hi, I am Jayden. I have a strong interest in the latest hearing electronics including headphones, earbuds, headsets and speakers. I love to research and write information about them on a part-time basis sharing some tips for beginners looking for the perfect device.

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