REVIEW: PRS’ Guitarbud Cable for the iPhone and iPod Touch

PRS  (Paul Reed Smith) is recognized for the uncompromising quality of their electric guitars. Within the past few years they’ve expanded to include acoustic guitars, amplifiers, and cables for guitar, speakers, and microphones. Adding to their growing support for musicians, they’ve just released a specialty cable providing an interface between guitar and the iPhone and iPod Touch (hereinafter referred to just as the iPhone). How very cool. Meet the PRS Guitarbud…


The Guitarbud is a simple Y-cable that plugs into the headphone/mic jack of your iPhone at one end and splits into two connectors at the other end. One is a standard 1/4″ instrument plug that goes to your guitar and the other is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The length of the Guitarbud cable is just shy of seven feet. This is great as it allows enough cable to put your iPhone on a table or chair in front of you while you sit back and play. The connectors are set into hard molded plastic with flex joints.

I have a couple guitar tuner apps on my iPhone as well as the included Voice Memo app. I plugged in and tuned up easily. I recorded a few licks to the Voice Memo app and played them back. Simple. Note: You cannot monitor your playing through the headphone jack while tuning or recording. The headphone jack is meant for playback only. Sound quality was mediocre as I noticed a sort of low frequency humming and clicking but the level was decent and captured all of what I played. It’s hard to know, however, if the noise was related to the iPhone or the cable so I’m not pointing a finger either way. I never expected high fidelity sound anyway and anticipate using the cable/iPhone combo for tuning and laying down ideas rather than recording my next masterpiece. For these purposes, the Guitarbud does just fine.


The Guitarbud finally solves the question of “How the heck do I record my guitar to my iPhone?”. At an MSRP of $39.95 and a street price $10 less it’s pricey and there isn’t any added value that comes with paying that premium, but it does what it claims and opens up new possibilities for interfacing with the iPhone.

PROS: Good cable length. Sports a headphone jack so you can listen to playback.

CONS: Pricey. Construction could be heavier duty. Average sound quality best only for tuning and laying down ideas.

MSRP – $39.95

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