Many people want to play the guitar with headphones for various reasons. You may not want to disturb others, or it might be too noisy where you are playing. Some people might have disabilities that make it difficult to hear the sound coming from their instrument, so they rely on their headphones as an audio source. Whatever your reason is, the question remains, “can you plug headphones into a guitar?”.
Whether you’re rocking an electric guitar or an electro-acoustic guitar, this article will discuss how you can plug your headphones into a guitar and provide alternatives if necessary.
But first of all, the straight answer to your question is “no.” You can’t plug your headphones directly into a guitar. But before you think everything is lost, hear me out because there are a few accessible alternatives if you keep reading.
Now coming back to the main question, you can’t plug your headphones directly into a guitar. There are several reasons why you cannot do this.
First of all, there is no headphone output on most guitars because they have built-in pickups and preamps for amplification through an amplifier or PA system.
Also, most headphones use a 1/4 jack connector, whereas guitars use a larger connector called an “XLR” or “TRS.” Even adding an adapter to your guitar cable won’t work because of impedance mismatches. You won’t be able to hear the sound of your guitar playing through the headphones.
However, there are a few ways to plug headphones into your guitar to play with headphones (or speakers) and keep the volume down to keep your friends or family from getting too annoyed. Let’s check them out.
Use a guitar headphone amplifier
If you want to use headphones with your electric or electro-acoustic guitar, a great way to do this is by using a guitar headphone amplifier. A mini guitar headphone amplifier will allow you to hear yourself play without disturbing others, and it’s a perfect solution for silent practice.
One option is the VOX AP-02AC Mini Headphone Amplifier which has two channels and can be used with both electric and acoustic guitars. No cables or adapters are required, and two AA batteries power the amplifier.
Not only might this be the best option for you, but it’s also small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can take it with you wherever you go without having to carry a complete guitar amplifier. So convenient!
The sound quality will not be the same as listening through an amp, but it will be way better than listening through the built-in pickups and preamps that most guitars have.
You can pair this amplifier with a good pair of headphones and be ready to rock! Two of our favorites are the Audio Technica monitor headphones ATH-M50X and the AKG K240.
Check them Audio Technica here:
And here are the AKGs, which one of the best headphone brands available:
Connect your guitar to an audio interface
Suppose you’re not too crazy about carrying around a laptop or smartphone with you or want a better sound quality than what the guitar headphone amplifier can give you. In that case, another option is to connect your guitar to an audio interface.
This will allow you to play your guitar through headphones or speakers and get a much better sound quality than using the unplugged pickups on your guitar. You still need to carry your smartphone/laptop, but who doesn’t already?
For this purpose, one of our favorite audio interfaces is the iRig HD II, which comes with the modeling software AmpliTube 4.
With AmpliTube 4, you can choose between three different amplifiers and five guitar cabinets, with a total of 28 amplifier models from which to choose.
There are also seven stompbox effects that you can add in various combinations using the drag-and-drop feature, just like on your pedalboard. The interface is easy to carry around, so if you’re going somewhere where you’ll have some time to kill while waiting for something or someone – this might be an option worth considering! And it’s great for recording too.
Check out the iRig HD II here:
OK, now that we’ve gone through the best options to connect your guitar and play with headphones, here are a couple more that aren’t as simple, yet you probably have them available already at home.
Connect your guitar to an amp
If you have an amplifier with a headphone output, then this is a straightforward way to connect your guitar and headphones. Most guitar amps have a headphone jack; however, you will require an adapter if your headphones have a smaller connector.
Just plug in the adapter to the amplifier, and then plug your headphones into the adapter, and you’re good to go!
We didn’t list this option as our first choice because most guitar amps are pretty big, heavy and having so many cables connected for a quick jamming session can get messy. But at least you don’t have to buy anything extra!
Connect your guitar to a multi-effects pedal
Finally, you could use a multi-effect pedal that has a headphone output. Many pedals on the market have this feature, and if you already own one of them, then congratulations! You can start jamming immediately without any extra purchases and without annoying your neighbors.
You still need to plug your guitar into the pedal with an adapter or cable depending on what type of connector it uses – but at least there’s no more bulky amp involved in the process anymore! That is unless you have one of those enormous multi-effect pedals that are heavier than a simple amp.
The bottom line – Can you plug headphones into a guitar?
There you have it! Four different ways to connect your guitar and headphones and start jamming. We hope that this article has helped you somehow and that you now have the tools necessary to rock out wherever you are!
Whether you buy an accessory or use something you already have at home, it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is that you can plug your headphones into a guitar and enjoy great-sounding music wherever the mood takes you!
So, yes, you can plug headphones into a guitar if you’re a bit creative 😉
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.