When you are first starting to learn how to play guitar, it may seem overwhelming to get to know every single accessory and chord all at the same time. You may feel lost and confused without knowing exactly what accessories you need to start learning and improving your playing.
While there are plenty of accessories out there that may seem important, there are just a few that you need to develop your playing and start improving. To help guide you, this article will explore 10 essential guitar accessories that every beginner must have.
Most beginner guitar players will often start playing with their fingers, which is great but eventually, you need to move on to playing with a pick because it is the only way to improve your playing. Unless you just want to learn fingerpicking guitar style, a pick is an invaluable guitar accessory that every beginner must have because it will help you develop the dexterity required to play with a pick.
Holding a pick requires practice, especially if you want to control the intensity of the picking and master different picking styles. Picks come in all shapes and sizes, and a beginner needs to get acquainted with as many different picks as possible to develop your playing.
They come in different thicknesses and materials, each with its unique sound and feel, and for that reason, you should get a pack of different picks to see which ones you like the most. Thicker picks provide a more articulate and percussive sound, while thinner picks have a warmer and more delicate sound. Different materials such as celluloid, nylon, and metal can also change the tone and feel of the pick.
Picks also provide more precision and control when playing. Using a pick allows the player to pluck the strings more accurately, which can be particularly helpful when playing faster passages or when playing chords with complex voicings.
2. Guitar strap
While we can debate whether or not a guitar strap is absolutely essential, it all boils down to a single question – do you want to play standing up? If you do want to be able to stand up and play guitar, then a guitar strap is absolutely essential to have.
How do you think famous guitar players can go on stage and perform with their guitars standing up? They use a guitar strap and practice playing standing up. This can also be more comfortable for some players than just sitting with the guitar on their lap and can help to improve the posture and improve your arm and hand positioning, which can help prevent shoulder pain.
A guitar strap also helps to distribute the weight of the guitar evenly across the player’s shoulder and back, which can help to reduce fatigue and discomfort during long practice or performance sessions.
While there are some expensive guitar straps, a simple one will do the job, and you can choose a strap style that you like, or that matches your guitar look.
If you are getting a guitar strap, you should consider getting strap locks as well. Strap locks are little metal pieces that lock the guitar strap to your guitar and prevent it from falling. When you first start using a guitar strap, it is far too common for the guitar to fall or the strap to come off the pegs.
Strap locks are devices that attach to the guitar and the strap and help to keep the guitar securely attached to the strap. They can help to prevent the guitar from accidentally slipping off the strap and falling to the ground, which can be potential damage to the guitar or injury to the player.
Strap locks are essential for beginner guitar players who are still developing good playing technique and may not have a firm grip on the guitar while standing. They can also be helpful in situations where the player moves around a lot while playing, such as during a performance.
Using a guitar strap lock prevents this from happening, and it will give you total peace of mind to play without worrying if your strap will fall out of place.
A capo is one of the most important accessories for beginner guitar players because it will help you play in different keys with a lot of ease. A capo is a small device that attaches to the guitar neck and holds down all the strings at a specific fret. This effectively raises the pitch of the entire guitar, allowing the player to play the same chords and fingerings but in a different key.
Many songs are performed using a capo, and unless you have one, you will not be able to play or learn them efficiently. It also prevents you from having to change your guitar tuning to play certain songs and also gives you more possibilities to experiment with different tonalities, chord progressions, and melodies.
A capo is also extremely affordable, and it is a must-have accessory for guitarists of any level.
A tuner is absolutely essential for ensuring that the guitar is in tune, which is necessary for playing in pitch and making sure the notes sound correct. Especially when you first start out playing, you will not be able to tune your guitar without using a tuner. Also, if you are taking lessons, you shouldn’t wait for your next lesson to get your guitar tuned.
Additionally, cheap guitars also tend to go out of tune pretty easily, and most beginner guitar players start with a relatively cheap guitar, which means it goes out of tune constantly. Without ensuring that your guitar is properly tuned, you will be playing chords, melodies and songs without sounding right, which can be a source of frustration, and even dampen your learning progress.
Playing an out-of-tune guitar can make it difficult to hear the right notes and make practicing and learning more challenging. Your guitar needs to be in tune to play with other musicians and in ensemble settings, as it allows all the instruments to sound in harmony with each other.
A tuner is also a great tool to train your ears to hear the different pitches and intervals and to develop good intonation. A simple and affordable digital tuner can quickly and accurately indicate whether the guitar is in tune and can be a valuable tool for any beginner or intermediate player.
Ideally, you want a clip-on guitar tuner, which you can clip onto the guitar’s headstock and tune your guitar fast and easily.
While some accessories on this list are a must-have for guitar players, others are essential for musicians in general. The metronome is by far the most important accessory any musician can have. You can only develop a sense of rhythm and improve your tempo by practicing with a metronome.
One of the biggest struggles with beginner musicians and guitar players is tempo and how to keep a steady tempo and know exactly when to play each note. A metronome will help you to keep the tempo, and practicing with it will make you a better guitar player and overall musician.
Metronomes are also affordable, especially digital ones. If you want, you can always buy one of the mechanical metronomes, they are a little more expensive, but they surely won’t break the bank.
7. Spare strings
You never know when you are going to accidentally break a string, and the best way to be prepared is by having spare strings with you at all times. While guitar strings do not break at all times, they eventually break, and if you cannot fix them, you will have to replace them.
Having an extra set of strings always with you is a great way to ensure you can replace the broken string quickly. You will also need to learn how to change your guitar strings at some point, and you cannot just rely on the guitar tech at the store or your teacher to help you whenever one of your strings breaks. It’s also a great way to learn about the types of strings available and develop a sense of what kind of strings you prefer.
8. Gigbag or a hardcase
If you are moving around with your guitar, you will need a gig bag or a hard case to protect your instrument at all costs. While a gig bag is a padded case that can be easily carried and is lighter, they do not protect your guitar or a hard case. A hard case will be more expensive, bulkier, and heavier, but if you can spend a little more money, they are worth it.
Gigbags and hard cases will be helpful to keep the guitar in good playing condition and prolong its lifespan. They also help to protect the guitar from changes in temperature and humidity, which can cause the wood to warp or the strings to rust, and provide a safe and secure storage option when the guitar is not being played.
9. Guitar stand
A guitar stand helps to keep the guitar safe and off the ground when it is not being played and ensures that your instrument is not lying around the house in places where it can be damaged, slip or fall onto the ground.
Guitar stands are super cheap, and they can be placed on a wall or the floor, depending on your needs. It keeps the guitar in a convenient location, making it easy to grab and play when the player is ready.
10. Maintenance kit
A maintenance kit provides guitar players with all the necessary tools to properly care for their instrument and keep it in good playing condition. A maintenance kit typically includes a guitar polish, a cloth, a small brush, a fretboard cleaner, or maybe even a truss rod wrench.
These items can be used to clean and polish the guitar’s body, clean and condition the fingerboard, and adjust the guitar’s truss rod (a metal rod inside the guitar’s neck that helps to adjust the guitar’s action and intonation), among other things.
By having a maintenance kit and using it regularly, beginner guitar players can ensure that their guitar stays in good condition, maintains its sound and playability, and prolongs its lifespan.
Additionally, maintaining a guitar can help the player to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for their instrument, which can make playing more enjoyable and rewarding.
I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.