Hey, I Googled for guitar forums to ask my question, and this site seemed like a really good place to ask.

I've been playing guitar for around 10 or 11 years, and I've been recording myself, just as a hobby, for a few years now. Originally, I plugged in a mic to my computer and dangled it near my amp - what a nightmare that was .

Recently, this has been my setup - just one notch above what I used to do (so I'm still pretty much doing n00bish things): I have a cable going from the Emulated Line Out/Headphones jack on my amp to a Planet Waves adapter, which then plugs into my computer's soundcard. Just the regular soundcard that came with my laptop, nothing hi-tech or special or anything. So the only reason this is better than dangling a mic near an amp is because this is sending the direct feed of my guitar/amp to the computer, with minimal wire/background noise.

Unfortunately, as you guys probably know much more than I do, I can't really turn up the volume much on my amp at all, because it's not good for the sound card. It sounds very raspy/gravelly and stuff. So I'm pretty sure that because of this, I'm not getting the full sound of my guitar/amp recorded on my computer.

By the way, to record, I'm using Cakewalk Sonar 5 Producer Edition. It's nice to have friends that are into music :-). It's great, because a friend can send me a recording of him playing drums (he has some good drum mics, going to an MBox, to ProTools on his computer). I can playback the drums in Sonar and record while listening to them, so they're exactly synched up and everything (as opposed to what I used to do - record each track, but have to sync them up in Audacity or something).

SO...I don't have mountains of money or anything, but I was wondering if you guys could tell me what tools can help me out here. Something where I can use a normal amount of volume from my amp (something higher than turned to just 1 or 2), to get a nice, perfectly clean recording, and then hopefully still have that track laid out in Cakewalk, so I can adjust the track's levels with my friend's drums and do what I do.

To a recording beginner like myself, the recording world seems to have so much to offer that I don't know where to begin. Hopefully you guys can give me some guidance.

If there's anything you need clarified, I'll be happy to help. Thanks a lot.
line 6 ux1 man, u already have cakewalk, use that and audacity, my band does and it sounds pro.
you need a preamp. this is the one I have. you can find it pretty cheap by Froogling it. it plugs in through usb and it give me great sound.
...no one can save me and you know I don't want the attention...
here's what to do. i plug my amp's pre-out (u could use the headphone jack) into a converter that makes it a 1/8" chord into my laptops microphone jack. u can turn the amp up to comfortable and then make the mic's input volume lower so its not too loud in the recording. only thing is is that it takes away some distortion- but it makes it incredibly clean. i just use audacity which has a little knob that directs how much sound the mic picks up, so thats how i turned that down. im not sure wat cakewalk has though.

hope this helps
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.
Westo, that's actually what I do, except I turn down the mic level in the actual sound properties (Control Panel - Sound/Audio, then go to the Volume controls, switch to Recording), and my Microphone level is at the bottom notch.

But thanks for your info and everyone else, and keep it coming.

For that preamp, the M-Audio one, do I just connect my guitar to the amp, then from the amp's Line Out/Headphone jack to that preamp, then the preamp's USB to my computer, and the computer will take that as an audio input, just like the microphone jack?
That article about recording was nice, but it didn't really go in depth about equipment or anything like that. Just really uni/omnidirectional mics.
Speaking of recording, I've gone from my guitar, to my pedal, from the pedal to an adapter, into my computer and i cant pick up a signal. I'm thinking its because i have a stereo adapter, not mono. Actually, that must be it. The pedal's settings will be OK for distortion i guess, but i think that must be why.
So is this all I need? Instead of going guitar>amp>computer, I need to go guitar>amp>preamp>computer ?
Well can anyone recomment some good (and relatively inexpensive) preamps, if that's what I need?
Well I use a Line 6 Guitarport Rifftracker for my home recording and I love it. Haven't had any maintenance problems, you can download patch tones directly onto the system and the mixing program (Sonoma Fireworks 4, I believe) is easy to use as soon as you get the hang of it.

You plug it in like so:

Guitar -----> Guitarport Interface --USB CONNECTION---> Computer so its a direct line in, I don't know if thats what your looking for. I highly recommend it.
So you don't need your amp for anything? Does the Line 6 product or the software have distortion, reverb, tone controls in place of the amp?