These days getting your guitar sound into a PC or laptop has become easier and relatively cheap.
For upwards of £40 you can plug your guitar directly into your DAW of choice – record, edit and process or just jam along with your favourite tracks.
Most devices come with great software and there’s a great deal of freeware available if you know where to look.
Some devices are straight guitar to pc/laptop such as the IK Multimedia Stealth and Guitar Rig Mobile.
IK Multimedia STEALTH-PLUG GTR/BASS USB Interface $99.99
Some devices come with speakers and allow you to turn your laptop into a mini amplifier/fx unit such as the Vox JamVOX.
Then there are the M-Audio Fast Track type devices that are both portable but flexible enough to allow you to connect up a microphone as well.
M-Audio FAST-TRACK-PRO 4X4 Mobile USB Interface $199.99
M-Audio FAST-TRACK-USB USB Guitar Interface $99.99
It all depends on what it is you intend to do, do you want to just plug your guitar in and enjoy playing around with guitar effects? Then make sure the interface you’re looking at comes with standalone software and not just VST based.
Do you want to be able to record – does the device come with recording software as well as VST fx?
So ok it’s not a must but even an uncrippled shareware like Reaper will need to be paid for eventually.
Weigh up the pros and cons of each device you look at.
Check out harmony central – it’s a great site for guitar reviews, totally user based and of immense help.
Take a squizz in some of the forums knoocking around – weigh up each aspect of the device before you part with your cash.
Below are some of my picks of what’s available,