There are thousands of guitar accessories on the market. Some are meant to make you play better, some are meant to make cleaning your guitar easier; some are meant to make your guitar spew bars of gold from the amp jack.
Okay, maybe not spew gold, but there tons of products on the market aimed at such a simple instrument. So what are the types of guitar accessories, and how are they used?
First off, we are going to sort our accessories into two categories; necessary, and unnecessary.
Necessary products include string winders, capos, microfiber cloths, guitar strings, picks, guitar straps, strap locks, and anything that a guitarist will actually need.
Unnecessary products include humidifiers, MIDI consoles, tone finger ease string lubricant, and other products meant to bedazzle you into thinking they’ll do some magic.
Let’s go over the unnecessary products first. There will always be a company, or string of companies, looking to make a fast buck off the budding guitarist looking for that one cheat code for learning guitar.
Also, there will always be a horde of guitarists lazy enough, and gullible enough, to think that there is some way around practicing in order to become a great guitarist. There will also always be a vast array of absurd products that aren’t even close to a necessity.
Some of the unnecessary products include sprays that will supposedly make you play faster by coating your strings with some sort of alien magic. At least, that’s what it would take for a spray to make you play any better. Also, humidifiers are a waste of money for a guitarist; wiping down your strings and keeping your guitar in a gig bag or case is a proven way to keep it in great condition. Humidifiers are not.
Now the necessary products; these include the above stated products –products that will make guitar maintenance easier, or will allow you to change your tuning. A capo doesn’t promote itself as magic, as it is simply a gentle clamp that, well, clamps your string down, thus ‘altering’ the position of your first fret.
A microfiber cloth and guitar cleaner are the only products you will ever need to keep your body shining and your strings singing. Wiping off your strings with the cloth, then wiping down your guitars body and tremolo system will keep it running smooth for years. Also, no magical promises to make you an insane shredder; no product can do that, only you can.
String winders were created to make stringing your guitar fast and easy. They succeed. Simply push the head over a knob and wind away to your heart’s content. Guitar strings and picks, for obvious reasons, are necessities as they allow you to actually play your instrument. Straps and strap locks will keep your guitar from having a bad accident.
The bottom line when shopping for guitar accessories is simple; the more the product sounds like magic, the more of a gimmick it truly is. Great products promote themselves. Guitar strings don’t claim to make you Eddie Van Halen, and guitar polishes don’t promise to make your guitar fly. Why should any other products?
Some musicians have it easier than others. Take vocalists and keyboardists for example; neither have to worry much about maintaining their equipment or supplying extra parts or pieces.
All they have to worry about is practicing and a small portion of equipment. With guitarists, it’s a bit different. Guitarists have to worry about strings, picks, tuning, intonation, and so much more.
In this article, we will go over the absolute best guitar accessories to buy. These are the ones that will be your lifeline for a time to come.
The first is simple; strings. You need strings in order to learn to play guitar. That is, unless you are content with using your guitar as a percussion instrument. And in that case, if you are, then you might as well sell it off and buy a set of bongos as they’ll sound much better.
Strings come in dozens of different gauges from dozens of different companies. There are also differences between different types of strings; steel, nickel wound, nylon, coated. You should know what type your guitar requires (in this case, we mean that if you own a classical guitar, you should know that only nylon strings will work with it because they tie to the bridge). What gauge, and whether or not you want a certain metal or coating, all depends on your tuning and your taste.
Next up is the ever important tuner. The only reason that this isn’t first on our list is that without strings, you’ll have nothing to tune. There are many different types of tuners. The most useful is the chromatic tuner.
Chromatic tuners make it easy for you to tune to the tuning of your choice. It also makes it possible for you to tune to accidental notes (sharp notes or flat notes). Some tuners have bead readouts, some have LED readouts, and some don’t have any readout at all. The tuners without readouts will do one of two things.
Either they will measure the frequency of the note through the vibrations of the headstock, or they will emit a pitch or frequency that you will have to match with your guitar by ear. All tuners have their use, and the one that works best for you is the right one to buy.
The accessory on our list is a small toolkit. Your toolkit should include hex wrenches (also known as Allen wrenches), screw drivers, wire cutters, and (if you have active pickups, such as EMG’s or Seymour Duncan Blackouts in your guitar) a battery tester.
The wrenches and the screw drivers are for adjustments to your guitar, such as bridge adjustments, pickup height adjustments, and any other maintenance work that will need to be done.
The wire cutters will make your life a whole lot easier when changing strings (you may also want to consider a string winder). The battery taster is, of course, to test the batteries that are in your guitar to make sure that your pickups are always fresh.
Now that you know what the best accessories are, it’s time to stock up!
#1 – Tips For Choosing a Suitable Guitar Strap
A guitar strap is an essential piece of accessory for guitarists who want to play the guitar while standing up. Depending on what your needs are, there are different types of straps you can get in the market.
#2 – Guide to Guitar Pickups – Buying & Choosing
If you are thinking of building your own custom electric guitar or want to upgrade your current instrument, this guide to guitar pickups is a must-read for you.
#3 – What Guitar Effect Pedals Should I Use
With the various types of guitar effect pedals available in the market, what are the ones you should get? In this article, we will give you some insider’s advice to buying pedals.
#4 – Tips on Using a Guitar Chorus Pedal
One of the most popular pedals used in modern guitar playing is the chorus pedal. In this article, we will discuss the basics of how to use the chorus pedal in order to change up your playing.
#5 – Types of Guitar Strings And What to Expect
Like many other things about the guitar, the strings are also available in a choice of different gauges and material. Find out how your style of music would dictate your choices in this article.
#6 – Introduction to the 7 String Electric Guitar
The 7 string electric guitar offers the player an additional range of notes at his disposal. However, this also complicates things as the extra string affects how you hold your chords.
#7 – Guitar Hangers For The Wall
If you want to show off your guitar in your room or want easy access to the instrument, a wall hanger is probably what you need. Find out more details in this article.
#8 – Guitar Multi Effects Pedal Or Single Pedals?
Given a choice between buying multiple pedals or a singular multi-effects pedal, how do you make a decision on what to get? Read this article to find out more details…
#9 – How to Use a Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
The distortion pedal is perhaps the most popular one that many electric players start with. In this lesson, I will show you how to use the distortion pedal to its full potential.
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