As a beginner guitarist, there are two main things that you need:
- The correct guitar training, and
- The correct equipment.
When it comes to impulse buys, as a guitarist, you’re much more likely to purchase low-ticket accessory items compared to new effects units, guitars, or amps. However, once you get going, those accessories can really add up!
Still, there are several items that should be in every beginner and serious guitarists’ inventory. Here are eight must have accessories for guitarists.
1. Guitar Straps – A Must Have Accessory
It may seem obvious, but the guitarist’s love affair with accessories generally begins here. A strap is an essential item for playing live, and for playing standing up in general (if you have any desire to do so). Some players say it’s impossible to play with proper technique unless they’re using a strap.
The fun part is that straps are made with a variety of different materials, including leather and cloth. You can also find straps with different designs and color schemes.
Strap selection is mostly a matter of preference. Some are more comfortable than others. Some are more durable and will hold up to more abuse. Some just look cooler.
2. Capos Is Another One Of The Important Guitar Accessories
A capo is a device that clamps down on the neck of your guitar, and allows you to transpose on the fly. This is very useful when you want to play in non-guitar friendly key signatures like Eb or Bb. You don’t have to learn entirely new chords if you don’t want to.
As a session player, you’ll probably find yourself working with singers at varying skill levels and temperaments. They may prefer to sing certain songs in different keys, even if you happened to learn them in the original key. In cases like that, capos can be life savers.
A capo can also be used to access sounds that you might not be able to or inclined to otherwise. It can come in handy as a songwriting tool.
3. Guitar Picks
It’s great to be able to play fingerstyle guitar, but there will probably be times when you need a good pick as well; especially if you’re going to be shredding out a solo!
Again, like straps or slides, picks come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and are also made of different materials. It has often been said that tone begins with your fingers, so you can’t ignore how different guitar picks affect the quality of your tones. If you need help, you can see advice on choosing a guitar pick here:
If you’re a bit of a connoisseur, you might want to check out Wegen picks, which are handmade, tend to be thicker than normal picks, and are made of unique materials.
4. A Guitar Slide
Slide playing is a bit of a lost art, but it still tends to make its way into many recordings. A slide allows a guitarist to transform the sound of their instrument. It allows for a more melodic, more vocal-like tone.
Slides are made with a variety of different materials. They also come in different colors and sizes. As far as what slide to choose, it largely depends on your preferences. It’s worth experimenting with several different kinds to see what’s right for you. In general, glass slides tend to be a little more forgiving of error, and brass slides tend to produce more unwanted noise (thus the need to work on your muting techniques).
Every session player should be able to play some slide, and for that reason alone, you should own one. Don’t forget to practice your open tunings either!
Ok, now let’s look at the other 4 must have accessories for guitarist.
5. Electronic Guitar Tuner
There’s nothing more unprofessional than a guitarist that isn’t tuned up and ready to go. Other instruments might be able to get away with minor pitch issues, but guitar is in that range where tuning issues are pretty noticeable.
It takes a little bit of time to figure out exactly how to tune a guitar. An electronic tuner does make life a lot easier, but even then some people still end up turning the tuning pegs the wrong way.
Don’t worry; if you keep at it, you’ll eventually figure it out. Just remember that your guitar should be tuned E-A-D-G-B-E, from the thickest string to the thinnest.
6. String Winders
Newbies sometimes freak out when they break a string for the first time. The truth of the matter is that it’s nothing unusual. The more you play, the greater the likelihood that you will snap a few strings here and there.
The trick is to have spare strings and a string winder at the ready. You probably won’t notice how much work it is to wind a string on a guitar until you break one, but getting a new string to its proper tension by hand takes a lot of effort. A string winder will make things a lot easier. It will speed up the process of getting new strings on your guitar, and it will also do it with more accuracy than you could without one.
7. Guitar Stands
Again, this is more of an essential than an impulse buy, but guitar stands come in handy in a variety of different situations, including rehearsals, live performances, and longer practice sessions.
Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better the quality of the stand. Of course, you can also find multi-guitar stands, which are great for keeping multiple guitars out in the open for recording sessions or concerts.
8. Strap Locks
For better or for worse, you can’t always count on your strap to hold your guitar up. You probably won’t run into any major issues early on (while your strap is still new), but if you plan on doing guitar acrobatics (as in with your guitar, not on your guitar), then strap locks are indispensable.
These are also good to have if you own particularly expensive guitars, and you hope to avoid dropping and damaging them. It isn’t much fun when your prized possession is wounded, and the way some guitars are built, they break pretty easily, so beware.
Make sure to have some restraint if you happen to walk into a guitar shop with a bunch of money in hand. Accessories are important, but you can easily walk away with more than you actually need.
Some experimentation is necessary, especially with picks and slides, but you probably don’t need to stockpile tuners or capos.