Interface gadget to connect electric guitar to Macbook Air

Hi all, I only recently got an electric guitar as I want to learn to play the blues.

I want to record myself playing so I can hear how I’m progressing (or not!).

I have a Macbook Air with Garageband on it.

I would like to know what software/interface gadget I should get to hook up my electric guitar so I can use Garageband to record myself playing?

There’s a lot of gadgets like iRig2, etc out there so am not sure what works best on a Mac.

Appreciate any pointers or suggestions!!

I’m not really techno savvy.

I used the zoom h5 audio interface that’s also part of the zoom mic to good effect (nothing to do with zoom web conferencing, two completely different companies). Have tried it along with the focusrite scarlett interface and couldn’t really tell much difference between them. I would get the unit with only a couple of channels to start with as there is much you can spend on higher end units. Might be worth checking some apple/garage band forums as well. My use was with acoustic guitar and mic for vocals.

Didn’t use garage band a lot, used reaper instead. Garage band was noticeable easier than reaper.

Hi Bill,

Welcome to the community!

Which MacBook model is it? Also what amp do you have and what outputs does it have (eg headphone or usb)? Or you are wanting to plug guitar in direct (via interface) and use the amps in GarageBand? Sorry for the questions… but lots of possible ways to do - many that will work. :smiley:

If your Mac has a headphone socket then the iRig2 should work as a cheap starting point (although another forum member had a recent bad unit but was fine with its slightly bigger brother the iRig HD 2).

If your Mac doesn’t have a headphone socket then look for a USB one eg iRig HD 2, Focusrite Scarlett (and many others).

I started with the iRig2 and it worked fine for me and then later changed for a Focusrite Scarlett which is popular and easy to use.

There are many approaches depending on what setup you want with amps and how serious you want to take it… :smiley:

Hope that helps and happy to answer follow up questions if I can.


Watch this: Home Recording |

Loads of good info. I ended up getting the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 because it’s so popular but there are a lot of options.

If your amp is not anything fancy, you could consider something like the positive grid Riff and Bias software. It should work on a Mac and it covers amp (headphone or separate speaker), modeling and interface.

I have no mac experience, but am curious how a headphone socket on a mac (surely an output?) will help get the guitar signal into the machine?

Usually they are trrs output/input devices. The male jack has 4 rings instead of three: R,L, ground, mic. Similar to tablets and phone with headphone jack input. It is how the headphones with a mic for phone calls work.

1 Like

Apologies- they are combined mic/headphone sockets as Joshua describes.

The iRig2 which Bill asks about works over 3.5mm mic/headphone socket and not usb. Not all MacBook Air models have that port so the device won’t be useful in that case and a USB one is needed. If Bill is interested in that device then it would work by plugging 6 1/4 guitar or amp line out into the device and then the device into that port.

I tried the iRig recently and didn’t have much luck with it but think I possibly got a faulty unit.

I returned it and got the iRig HD 2 which I’m pretty pleased with. This can connect to USB as well as a lightning connector for iPad/iPhone and comes complete with all the cables you need. Would do the job and shouldn’t break the bank.

1 Like

You could consider the Nux Mighty Plug 2. Its a plug in modelling amp with lots of built in effects. You adjust the settings using an app. It has Bluetooth conectivity. The amp that can also act as an audio interface. It’s not expensive.

Here is a video of someone using it with their MAC. You don’t need the female-female adapter. You can just plug it straight into your guitar.

The fender mustang micro should also work. I can’t vouch for it.