Guitar Accessories

Recommended Guitar AccessoriesSo you’ve got your first guitar, or perhaps it’s on the way, and you’re wondering what else you might need to make the most of it. Even before taking any lessons (I teach in Seattle and online via Skype), you can stock up on a few of the essential guitar accessories that I personally recommend below.

Essential Accessories

I encourage every guitar player, even complete beginners, to own or have access to every item on this list. Check them off as soon as you can!

Picks: Most guitar playing is done with a pick, a little plastic triangle you hold between your thumb and index finger to pluck the strings. For a beginner, I recommend a variety pack like the Planet Waves Pearloid Picks, which will give you a few different types for experimenting, and you’ll have plenty of backup picks when you lose them. My personal favorites are the Dunlop Gator Grip 1.5mm and the Dunlop Jazz III XL.

Tuner: It’s very important for your ears (and those of anyone who can hear you) to always play on a well-tuned guitar. I really like the Snark SN-2 clip-on tuner. It will work with any instrument, in case you have a banjo, ukulele, bass, or mandolin lying around. (I also use the Cleartune app on my phone.)

Metronome: So much of music depends on timing that you’ll need a dedicated timekeeper, a metronome, which emits the tick tocks of a clock at any speed you choose. The Wittner MT50 is a nice simple one. (I also use the Mobile Metronome app on my phone.)

Music Stand: You need both hands on your instrument when you play. You’ll have to set your music on a desk, on the floor, or ideally on a music stand, holding it upright in front of your face. I like the industry-standard Manhasset, but any will do.

Strap: Want to play standing up? You’ll need a strap. Tighten it up, and it will help keep the guitar in place even when you’re sitting. I prefer basic black straps like the Ernie Ball Polypro, but they come in all colors and designs. Shop around for one that fits your personality!

Case: Don’t let that guitar go naked! Cases come in soft and hard versions. If you’re only transporting your instrument to and from lessons, a soft case will do. Try the Fender Acoustic Gig Bag or the Fender Electric Gig Bag. If you fear you might drop it or be forced to hand it off to airline baggage tossers, go for a hard case. Hard cases aim for a snug fit on the guitar, so many are made for specific models. The Carrion Dreadnought Guitar Case will fit most full-size steel-string acoustics. The Gator ABS Fit-All will fit most full-size solid-body electrics. If you suspect your instrument is off-standard in size or shape, take it to your local music shop, and they’ll be able to pair it with a sturdy hard case.

Capo: As soon as you’ve learned some chords and you start working through new songs, you’ll quickly encounter the capo requirement. A capo clamps down on all six strings at any fret, moving all your open chords up the neck to a new location. I use the Kyser Capo; it’s the most popular and easiest to use.

Other Accessories

These items are helpful and/or fun, but not required for beginners.

Guitar Stand: Why keep it in its case? Stand it up with pride, and you’ll be more likely to pick it up. The On Stage Guitar Stand works great.

Footstool: If only the guitar were symmetrical. I’ve always been more comfortable practicing with one foot elevated a few inches, the leg on which the guitar rests. Step on a wood block, a stack of textbooks, or a dedicated guitar footstool. The On Stage Guitar Foot Rest does a fine job.

Strap Locks: If you use that strap frequently, it will come undone someday, probably at the worst possible moment. Lock it in place with the very simple Dunlop Straplok System.

Slide: There’s a whole world of technique behind playing great slide guitar, but you can get started and have a ton of fun by just exploring. Try the Dunlop 210 Bottleneck Slide for your first one.

More?

Am I missing anything from this list? Got any questions about what to buy? Let me know in a comment below.