What if a Guitar Was an Audio Interface?

Just the other day I found myself comparing USB interfaces for guitar recording. USB audio interfaces are growing in popularity for their quality and convenience in home recording as well as a good alternative to internal sound cards. And perhaps this is an interface that should have been on the list with the rest.

Squier Stratocaster Guitar with iPad

For those times you don’t feel like meddling with extra hardware.

What if a guitar was built with everything it needed for direct in recording? What if you didn’t need to go through a specialized piece of hardware to get a wave file of your playing no doubt crisp and right on the beat? What if a guitar was an audio interface?

Granted the buildup there (or stunning lack thereof), but none the less that is the direction the industry has been fearlessly migrating for some time now and that’s what Squier has done with their new USB Stratocaster. While it’s not the first guitar to make the merge with computer technology like this and it most certainly isn’t going to be the last.

At a mere $200 if this guitar serves as anything it’s an easy gateway for anyone not only looking into taking up the guitar, but also recording.

What It Is…

Were it sitting on the stand in a local shop, resting next to the idle amps beckoning to be plugged in and put through her paces you’d think it’s a Squier Strat much like any other, and in regards to its build it is.

It uses a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard bolted onto an alder body. Two tone knobs and one master volume knob with the five-way pickup selector to choose between either of the stock single-coils in the neck and middle section or the humbucker at the bridge. So far so good.

The influence of modern technology comes in the form of a USB port and a headphone jack by the strap button near the input jack.

And What It Does

Squier Strat USB Interface iOS Guitar

A look at the modest ports built into the body.

So we know by now that the guitar can be used much like an audio interface to plug into a computer for direct in recording. But there are still some details to iron out. First and foremost it’s designed to cooperate with iOS software making it compatible with any Macbook, iPhone, iPad, or iPodTouch. The software henceforth will take care of the effects and recording. Since the USB port is separate from the input jack it doesn’t look like any pedal chains or amps will work leaving the guitarist at the disposal of modeling software, but in this day in age there are oceans of options available. Even if you don’t want to spend the extra coin for software it’s Garage Band ready as is so you can hit the ground running.

From what I’ve gathered this model has software installed making it applicable only to Apple products, so unfortunately PC users are out of luck. Whether or not Fender plans to release a PC compatible version of this guitar is yet to be revealed though I would gamble with nothing more than a minute bit of programming in the way of a broader demographic I’d say there’s a good chance such a guitar will see the light of day.

At least if Fender doesn’t jump on the chance someone will. For $200 there really isn’t a better way to get into playing and recording at the same time. Seriously. If I owned any Apple products I’d be tempted to buy one even though I’ve already got a sturdy setup here.

Kyle Smitchens (448 Articles)

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.