When buying a guitar it’s important to buy the essential accessories that you’ll need to practice, learn and perform at your best.
Ask any guitar player you know and they’ll probably all tell you that there are a few items that, as a guitarist, they simply can’t live without.
Knowing which guitar accessories are right for you can be difficult. And like guitars, there are so many to choose from.
So to save you time and effort, here’s a run down of the top 21 essential guitar accessories.
A gig bag is a great alternative to a hard guitar case. A good gig bag will not only keep your guitar well protected from bumps, scratches and the weather, but it will also make your instrument much easier to transport.
A good gig bag will have handles or straps which allow you to wear the case like a rucksack. This makes it an ideal choice for walking to school or your next band rehearsal.
Put simply, whether you play classical guitar, acoustic guitar, steel string or electric, you can never have enough spare strings.
Whilst you may wish it wasn’t so, guitar strings can break easily, so having spares you can change quickly before a guitar lesson, performance or rehearsal is a must for a guitarist at any level.
You should note that different types of guitar require different strings. Electric guitar strings won’t work for acoustic guitars and vice-versa, so always check what you need and what you’re buying.
It’s also worth knowing that many online retailers will offer a discount if you place large bulk orders so perhaps club together with some friends and split the cost or get a lot of what you want on your own if you can afford it.
And whilst we’re on the subject of changing strings quickly the guitar gadget you’ll need to do that is a string winder.
Many, like this excellent winder from MOREYES, also have a pair of wire cutters built-in to the handle so you can cut the string to the length you want, thread the string through the guitar tuning head and then use the winder to tighten the string in a matter of seconds.
Guitar picks (or plectrums) are small pieces of plastic that the guitar player uses to pluck the strings. These come in many shapes, sizes and thicknesses, so there are plenty of options for you to try out to find out what you like best.
As with strings, it’s best to have some spares in your gig bag because picks can be lost easily! And many online retailers offer discounts for large bulk orders.
Whilst picks are easily lost, you’ll lose considerably less of them if you have a pick holder!
A pick holder is a small plastic pouch that can be attached to your guitar with an adhesive strip. The pouch can hold a lot of picks and once they’re in the pouch it’s hard for them to fall out so they’re safe and won’t be lost easily. This really neat one from Jim Dunlop is spring loaded so you’ll always have a pick ready to grab.
Whilst being able to tune a guitar is an important skill worth learning, you should also invest in a good, electronic chromatic tuner.
Whilst you’re still developing your own ear you can use a chromatic tuner to tune accurately and many will also allow you to tune silently so you don’t disturb your band mates during a rehearsal or class.
These tuners can come as guitar pedals like the brilliant, best selling BOSS TU-3, or in the form of the next item on this list..
CLIP ON TUNER
A clip on tuner is a great type of guitar tuner to have. Clip on tuners are usually cheaper than foot switch tuners and they are still very accurate.
Clip on tuners also allow you to tune silently or at low volume, and you have the added bonus that you’ll probably never forget it because it’s attached to your guitar!
A guitar stand is a must. Whether you’re at home, at school or in a rehearsal, you don’t want to prop your guitar up against a wall or a table because as soon as it gets the slightest knock it falls, and it will most likely pick up a nasty dent.
A guitar stand like the RockJam A Frame solves this problem.
In fact, many are designed to fit inside gig bags, like the ultra-light, ultra-compact D&A Guitar Gear GS-0100. Whether it’s at home, school or anywhere else, a good stand will keep your guitar protected from falls, scratches and nasty dings.
Playing in a standing position is something that many guitarists prefer because it’s comfortable and a fun way to play and perform. And to play whilst standing you’ll need a guitar strap.
A strap doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to be comfortable. This will of course mean different things to different people. Regarding size or material, some will like them made from a particular material and so on, but what matters most is what you find comfortable.
We can’t think of a better place to start than a lovely Italian leather strap from connoisseurs, Perri’s Leathers.
And of course, take a look round the stock of a good online retailer and read customer reviews. If a strap has a lot of positive reviews then it’s probably a good one to buy.
A metronome is one of the most useful practice tools you will ever own.
Every good teacher will encourage their students to use one while they practice, and whilst it may seem that you simply need one to keep time, there’s actually a little more nuance to it than that.
There are two types of metronome. Electronic and wind-up metronomes.
Wind-up ones are more traditional but as the mechanism inside them winds down it loses tension and this means it beats slightly slower each time. That said, though, some people love a mechanical one for how they look, sound and the visual element of the pendulum swinging. This beautiful walnut model from Wittner is of the highest quality.
Granted, it’s not massively noticeable but it’s worth keeping in mind that the whole point of having a metronome in the first place is that it gives you a completely steady pulse to practice to.
This is where an electronic metronome like the brilliant little KORG MA2 is much better. The pulse will be exactly the same every time.
A guitar capo is a small clamp-like device which a guitar player will attach to various points of the neck and it allows them to play in different keys more easily.
The WINGO 6 is a low cost, but very sturdy option to go for.
Many teachers encourage their beginner students to use a capo because it means the student can play more of their favourite songs having only learnt a few basic chord shapes.
Strap locks are another life saver for guitar players which many don’t actually know about.
Ask any guitar player you know what their pet peeves of guitar playing are and at least one will say “when my strap falls off”.
The leather material on a guitar strap that hooks over the strap pins will age and get soft making it more prone to slipping off the pin over time but a strap lock will quite literally lock the strap into place making it impossible for it to fall off the guitar by accident.
If you’d rather not see your guitar slip out of your hands and pick up a nasty dent then strap locks are a cheap and worthwhile investment.
Whilst you may think you can get by reading sheet music that’s precariously placed on your knee, you’ll soon change your mind once you learn how uncomfortable it is to do just that.
A good music stand will let you keep your sheet music at a height where you can see it and also play your guitar comfortably.
Music stands are cheap and worthwhile investments for any level of guitarist. Many are portable and lightweight, and can be packed down to fit inside a guitar case, so you can take them to school or a performance.
The industry standard model for young performers and students is the Eastar Music Stand. And you’ll find some very useful accessories come with it too.
Guitar cables (professionally known as jack cables) are used by electric guitar, acoustic electric and bass guitar players alike. They allow you to plug your instrument into an amplifier.
There are many different lengths to choose from and whilst it may not be necessary to get a mammoth ten metre cable, you may want to get a metre or two more than you think you’ll need.
If your guitar cable has no slack it’s at risk of being pulled out of the socket and accidentally damaged.
The Fender Deluxe cable is a durable yet affordable option.
This option is much more for electric guitar and bass guitar players. These two instruments will need guitar amplifiers to be heard but that doesn’t mean you need to buy something expensive.
Many amp companies make smaller “practice amps” like the Vox MINI3 which will be perfect for most beginners. Many of these small amps will even work well at a small band practice or rehearsal.
However, if you want to jump straight into the world of 1×12″ combo amps and make a big impact, we recommend seriously considering the Fender Mustang GTX 50 1×12 Combo.
Whilst shopping, try to look for customer reviews or audio demos so you can get a good idea of what you’re buying.
An amplifier case is another useful accessory if you practice in a room that is quite damp like a garage, basement or attic.
The case will stop moisture, dirt, grime and dust from getting inside the amp and causing damage to the electronics. It could also help you safely transport the amp, like the top selling, versatile Gator G-112A. Ideal if you just bought the Fender 1×12″ combo in the previous section!
A good case shouldn’t be too expensive but when it comes to amp protection, it is the more expensive option when compared to the next item on our list.
An amp cover offers many of the same benefits of a case but usually, they come at a smaller cost.
Whilst a cover is good, they don’t offer as much all round protection as a case.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s a bad accessory.
Take a look around your practice room and ask yourself which of these options would serve you best. After all, this is your amplifier that’s being protected and if a cover is all you need then so be it!
Foot Switch Pedals
During a performance, many guitar players will want to change the sound they are getting from their amplifiers and taking their hands off the guitar to fiddle with an amp in the middle of a song simply isn’t an option.
This is where a foot switch will come in handy. It’s one of the few truly essential guitar pedals for beginners.
Usually, a foot switch will allow the guitarist to change between the sounds that are built into the amp itself.
More and more of the songs that guitar students learn these days will require the guitarist to use different sounds in a single song and a footswitch is the ideal way to make the changes.
Whilst you can buy foot switches on their own, it’s often best to get them with an amp so you can be sure that the amp and foot switch are compatible as in this Boss Katana bundle.
Fast Fret Cleaner
If there’s one thing that every player hates it’s grimy, dirty guitar strings. Both the strings and the guitar neck can be a magnet for dirt and sweat, and when enough of this builds up over time it can actually make the guitar harder to play.
Fast Fret is a cleaner that most online retailers sell that solves this problem.
Fast Fret is cheap, easy to use and each unit comes with a small cloth to wipe down the strings with after using.
It only takes a few seconds to apply and using it once a day will help keep your guitar clean and in good shape for years to come.
Portable Tool Kit
A guitar is something you need to take care of. This will mean tightening screws, changing batteries and changing strings from time to time, so it’s important that you have the right tools for the job with you at all times.
Many online retailers sell small tool kits which are designed for guitar players specifically. They include wire cutters, allen keys, string winders, a screwdriver and all the other essentials you’ll need to keep your guitar healthy and enjoyable to play.
This Ernie Ball guitar kit will give you everything you need.
Whilst a slide isn’t the most essential bit of guitar gear on the market, it is something that many young students get interested in because, let’s face it, they sound really cool.
A slide is a small cylinder of either glass, plastic or metal that slips over your finger and you use to play notes with.
Like many accessories, it’s something you can pick up cheaply from major on-line retailers and they are small enough to fit inside a gig bag easily.
If you’re not sure which slide material to buy, this amazing value 2 piece kit from Pangda let’s you try both glass and stainless steel for under $10 (£7).
21 Essential Guitar Accessories
We hope you enjoyed our essential guitar accessories guide. All guitarists need gear that is reliable, performs great and is cost effective. We play guitar to have fun; and the accessories listed above will make sure you can do to the max! From acoustic guitars to electric guitars, we think we have covered everything!
Now here is a plea to all you guitarists out there; whilst we’ve come to the end of our guitar accessories list, we should acknowledge that there are still some questions you’d like answered. Please do comment below and ask your questions, and we will answer them as quickly as our little fingers can type!