Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Guitar Accessories for Beginners

When learning guitar for the first time, there are a few accessories that you need to be aware of. These accessories are either absolutely necessary for certain songs, or will just help you improve your playing and make it easier to learn. Either way, here are some things to consider when you’re just starting off.


A good quality tuner is absolutely essential to learning to play guitar. If you’re not a musician, you may struggle to tune your guitar properly. If this is the case, you’ll sound awful no matter how well you play. There are many different types of tuners available. Some pick up sound through a microphone, others clip onto the headstock of the guitar, and a few can also pick up a signal by being plugged directly in to an electric guitar. Headstock tuners area the most convenient, especially for a beginner. They work great in loud environments and don’t require a cable to be plugged in, so they can be used with both electric and acoustic guitars. They’re also clearly visible when you’re looking at the headstock to tune and inexpensive compared to some of the professional style tuners. A good choice for a beginner would be the Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner.


As you look through some of the music for songs you’re trying to learn, you may notice they need a capo. This tends to be more common on acoustic guitar songs, and it allows you to play in a different key while still playing the same open chord shapes. Without a capo, playing some songs would not be possible, or it would be difficult since it would require bar chords. The capo clamps your strings across a fret you set it at, and basically becomes like the nut at a higher position on the fretboard. A good choice is the Kyser KG6B 6 String Capo. This capo clamps solidly to the fretboard so there’s no buzz when using it, and it releases easily so it can change frets quickly. It also features rubber padding to prevent it from damaging the finish on the guitar neck.

String Winders

A string winder is really helpful, though not completely necessary, when changing strings. Many guitar tuners have a high gear ratio, so it takes many turns to get the string to wrap once around the post. String winders allow you to quickly wind the string on the post, and it will save a lot of time if you change your strings often. Some string winders, such as the Planet Waves Pro Winder also feature a cutter so you can trim the excess string when you’re finished.

Strap and Strap Locks

If you’re planning on playing with a band or doing any sort of performance, you’re going to need a solid guitar strap and a set of strap locks. The strap locks are used to prevent the strap from slipping off the guitar while you’re playing. Though this may seem unlikely, it’s actually quite common, and the guitar can be damaged when the headstock hits the ground. For this reason, we also recommend a good quality strap that isn’t going to stretch too much as it’s used. Levy's Leather Straps tend to be reinforced and don’t stretch, especially when used with strap locks. We’ve covered a few of the different strap lock systems here and would recommend the Dunlop Straplok® Dual Design Strap Retainer System, since it features strap buttons that can easily be used with different straps.


If you’re playing a guitar with a very shiny finish, you’ll definitely find that it gets covered in finger prints very quickly. To keep your guitar looking it’s best, you should use a proper guitar polish that won’t damage your finish or cause it to deteriorate over time. A good option is the Ernie Ball Guitar Polish, which also includes a cloth that won’t scratch your guitar.

For those with rosewood fretboards, applying lemon oil to the fretboard will keep it from drying out a provides a nice appearance. We recommend this for use each time you change your strings, but keep it mind it can’t be used on maple fretboards. We recommend the Dunlop Ultimate Lemon Oil for use on your guitars.

Guitar Stands

Any guitar player should have a guitar stand. This gives you a safe place to put it down when you’re not playing and helps prevent it from being damaged. In most cases, a simple tripod stand such as the On Stage Tripod Guitar Stand will work just fine. If you find you’re low on space or have many guitars, you may consider hanging them from the wall (as long as you don’t rent of course). The Hercules Guitar Wall Hanger is a solid choice, and it even locks the guitar when there is weight placed on the hanger to prevent it from being accidentally knocked off and damaged.

Gig Bags and Cases

Depending on how much you plan on traveling with your guitar, you may consider either a gig bag or a hard case to protect it. Some of these are generic, such as the Gator Electric Guitar Bag, which will fit just about any electric guitar. Keep in mind that an electric guitar gig bag will not fit an acoustic guitar or bass, since they are both too large. You can also get a hard cover case for an electric guitar. There are cases that will fit any electric guitar, or some that are designed to tightly fit common models such as a Les Paul or Stratocaster. If you have an acoustic guitar, you should definitely use a hard case, since these guitars are much more delicate. You’ll have to consider what style your guitar is, but most will fit in a dreadnought case such as the Musician's Gear Hardshell Dreadnaught Case.


Choosing picks for playing guitar is a very personal decision and depends a lot on your playing style. There are different shapes and thicknesses of picks, but a good balance is the 0.73 nylon picks. Thinner picks are nice for strumming, since they tend to pluck the strings effortlessly and have a softer attack. Thicker picks can give you more control and work well for fast picking, with a heavier sound. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend the Snarling Dogs Brain 0.73 Guitar Picks. These picks are easy to use and have a grip that prevents them from sliding out of your hands if they get sweaty while you’re playing.


The last accessory you may need is a cable if you’re playing electric guitar to connect to your amp. Many guitar starter packs will come with a cable, but they’re typically pretty low quality and won’t last very long. Instead, choose a good cable with proper shielding and it will last much longer. We recommend something like the Fender Custom Shop Cable. From personal experience, this brand of cable has lasted much longer than any other we’ve purchased in the past.

No comments:

Post a Comment