A beginner’s guide to recording your guitar at home

In his latest column for MI Focus, Nik from guitar resource website Pedal Rockstar outlines the essential elements needed to set up and record your guitar at home…

Saving some creative moments while in the comfort of your home is very appealing, at least a hell lot better than paying the big bucks at the recording studio. But how on earth would you go about doing it?

Whether you want to go for a budget set-up or a more advanced setup, you will quickly learn all that is necessary in this post, as I go over the essentials to get you recording ASAP.

Mic Recording vs Direct Recording

Basically, those are your two options. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages.

Go for mic recording if your budget allows it and you want to keep the beautiful tones from your vintage amp. But here’s the thing with mic recording: After you’ve finished a recording, especially when you’re using effects pedal, you can’t do a lot with your sound.

So what about direct recording?

Using direct recording will come to good use when you want to play a lot with the effects and tones after. In many recording programs there is a bigger collection of effects and amps than you could ever wish for. The disadvantage of direct recording though is, the tone quality will be less than that of a mic recording.


So, you’re interested in mic recording? great! Then I assume you have an extra penny to spend? You’ll need it to get yourself a good mic for guitar recording.

When you’re out mic-hunting, try to pick a mic that has a large diaphragm and is versatile. Also, make sure you know how to mic an amp.

Audio Interface

Unfortunately, there are no computers on the market with an input for a 1/4″ jack or XLR cable. That’s why you need to have a hub where your signal is directed through and is sent to the computer.

Go for an audio interface that suits your needs best. That might come as a no-brainer, but here’s the thing: You don’t need a big rack-mounted interface when you are recording at home with one or two friends.

There are a ton of different audio interfaces on the market, each serving a different purpose. Here is an article that will be useful when picking an audio interface.

Recording Software

This will be the final component you’ll need for recording your guitar.

You might be a firm believer that recording software is only a means to an end, and that it doesn’t really add value to your final product. Well, let me set you straight.

Choosing the right kind of recording software and getting familiar with it is absolutely critical in guitar recording. The software will provide the icing on the cake.

So how would you go about choosing the right software? Well, there are a couple of factors we need to take into account when picking the right recording software.

1. Look at the compatibility for midi and VST plug-ins, since you might want to add some later on.

2. Check out the overall usability and learning curve of the program.

3. Look for software with a sample library, this will be of great value when you want to create full tracks.

4. Guitar recording software with pre-installed effects pedals and amps is always a big bonus.

If going all out with an expensive recording program isn’t something you’d easily do, I’d advise you to try out some free guitar recording software.


Nik is a musician and the founder of guitar resource website Pedal Rockstar. Find out more at https://pedalrockstar.com/