When you are just getting started with your guitar, you have the illusion that the only thing you will need is the instrument itself. You spend so much time picking the right one that you do not really think about anything else. But as the time passes by, you start realizing that something is lacking in your gear. That is when you understand how important guitar accessories can be and how much difference they can make. If you do not know what exactly you will need, you might end up spending excessive time and money. Don’t you worry, though, I am here to help. Today we will be talking about all the essential guitar (regardless of the type) accessories so that you can find what you are looking for. Let’s get started!
No matter what kind of guitar you play, at some point in life you will probably need a pick. Many musicians prefer to feel the strings with their fingers and perform that way, however, to me, picks are the way to go. They make your sound more audible, accentuate your notes and define everything pretty well. Picks are rather inexpensive and generally come in all the shapes and sizes. What thickness, texture or material you choose is completely up to you. For starters, you will most likely get the first thing you encounter, but as you mature as a musician, you will switch to more tailored picks. And the most important piece of advice: just go on and buy several, maybe even the whole set. Picks have the ability to vanish in thin air, so make sure you have extra just in case.
If you play acoustic-electric or electric guitars, you will probably have to experiment with different pickups. They “read” the vibrations from the strings, “translate” them into electric language and transfer it to the amplifier. For this reason, they can impact your sound a great deal. The most common types of magnetic pickups are single-coil and humbuckers. The former is noisier than the latter. When it comes to electric pickups, you are most likely to encounter piezo pickups that have their own distinctive sound. More often than not, guitars have pickup configuration – a combination of single-coils and humbuckers. Either way, these small accessories are very easy to experiment with and can even be the tools you have been missing.
If you have ever dealt with screwed up connection and that nagging hum that appears to come out of nowhere, then you already know how significant quality cables can be. The main beauty of guitar cables is not rooted into their length – shorter cables deliver greater accuracy and clarity. The most important thing here is durability. Cables are generally thrown, dragged, stepped upon, shoved carelessly in the back of the van… and they are likely to fall apart. To avoid buying new cable before each and every performance, I recommend investing in the material that will last you for a long time. And do not forget to pay attention to the connectors – they can wear out easily as well.
Guitar Straps and Strap Locks
If you have ever performed or rehearsed in a standing position and have held your guitar for several hours, you will know how much the guitar straps can simplify your life. Plus, they are the easiest to choose. The only determinant here is their convenience. They might be thick or thin, built with nylon or leather, and have dull or fancy appearance. Which type you choose is completely up to your preferences. Just consider to invest in sturdy material so that it will not rip mid-performance. The rest is the matter of taste. When it comes to the strap locks, they make sure that your strap will not come off unexpectedly. I do not wish anyone to experience the heartbreak even a scratch on your dropped guitar can cause. It is always better to pay a bit extra in the beginning and secure everything in place,
Guitar Cases and Gig Bags
The battle between guitar cases and gig bags comes down to your budget and the level of protection. The former is more expensive than the latter but will safely store your instrument no matter what. The latter, of course, is cheaper and does not offer that much protection. But if you get the one with padding, it will work perfectly unless you want to drop your guitar from the roof. Gig bags are also more lightweight than cases and are way more portable.
Capos and Slides
If you want to achieve more versatility without too much fuss and headache, you should definitely consider capos. They can change the key of your guitar by altering the pitch, allowing you to use the same exact chords but still receive different sounds. Capos can cover several strings or all of them, depending on what you are looking for.
As for the slides, these glass, ceramic or metal tubes are utilized to add certain depth to your sound. This technique is generally used in blues, but you could experiment with it and see, if it suits your style. Depending on the precision, you might want to get thin or thick slides. And make sure they are wide enough to fit your fingers.
Guitar Tuners and Metronomes
Well, no matter how professional you are, you need some sort of tuner in your rig. It can be in any shape, but you have to own one. It makes tuning so much easier and saves quite a lot of your time. If you are on a budget, you can easily find an affordable version that will work just fine.
And if you are a beginner, I would highly recommend getting a metronome. It helps you develop the sense of rhythm and play in sync with others. Metronome is a great practice tool and can affect your craftsmanship a great deal.
I will not waste too much of your time on this, because everything is quite straightforward here. If you do not want your guitar to be shoved here and there and get in everyone’s way, you need to invest in a guitar stand. The most basic type is A shape that can be folded and carried around. You can also purchase a hanging version so that no one bumps into your guitar. And if you own several instruments, a guitar rack might be the best option. But if you choose to go with stands, consider the finish of your guitar, so that the materials of the stand do not ruin your guitar.