How to Hook Up a Microphone & a Guitar to a GX-15R Crate Amp

Written by joshua smyth
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How to Hook Up a Microphone & a Guitar to a GX-15R Crate Amp
You can sing along with your guitar without buying another amp. (Guitar player #1 image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com)

Aside from the guitar itself, the amplifier (or "amp") is often the most expensive piece of equipment in a guitarist's kit. For the infrequent vocalist, it may not make sense to buy a second amp just to carry the input from a microphone. Some amps solve this by having two input jacks, but it is also possible to run both a microphone and guitar through a single-jack amp, such as the Crate GX-15R. There will likely be some loss in sound quality, but it is a workable solution for practice or the musician tight on cash.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • GC-15R Amp
  • 1/4 inch audio cables
  • 1/4 inch cable splitter
  • Microphone
  • Guitar

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug one end of a 1/4 inch audio cable (also known as a "patch cord") into your guitar. If it is an acoustic guitar, you will need to hang a preamp inside the body. This will pick up the sound on a small microphone. You can plug the patch cord into this as well.

  2. 2

    Attach the other end of the patch cord to one of the jacks on a cable splitter.

  3. 3

    Plug another patch cord into the 1/4 inch jack on your microphone. If your microphone has a XLR connection, which is a round jack with multiple small pins, you will need a XLR-to-1/4 inch adaptor cord, also available at most guitar or electronics stores.

  4. 4

    Plug the other end of the cord running from the mic into the second jack on the cable splitter.

  5. 5

    Plug the cable splitter into your amp's input jack. It is on the far left of the amp.

  6. 6

    Turn down the volume on the guitar and mic.

  7. 7

    Turn down both the "Clean" and "Overdrive" levels before turning the amp on. With signals coming in from two sources, your amp could be blown out if you turn the levels too high.

  8. 8

    Turn on the amp and turn the levels up slowly on it, then on the guitar and mic until you can hear them.

Tips and warnings

  • A 1/4 inch cable splitter is a small Y-shaped piece with two input jacks and a single male output, similar to the splitters you may have seen that allow two pairs of headphones to connect to single source. They are available in any guitar or electronics store.
  • A single amp like the GX-15R is not an ideal solution for both vocals and guitar. If they happen to hit the same frequencies, the could cancel each other out, resulting in choppy sound. Some performers play with amps like this, but if you will be using it regularly, it might make sense to get a single amp with two input channels that will let you adjust the relative volumes of the guitar and mic.
  • With the arrangement described here, you must adjust the volume on the devices themselves.

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