The 7 Must-Have Accessories for Guitar Players

How exciting! You’ve just purchased an axe, beginning your journey into the wondrous world of guitars. While you’re probably anxious to get practising and learn your favourite songs, you’re going to find yourself in need of some tools. Just like every man needs a dog, every guitarist needs a tuner.

While countless guitar-related paraphernalia is out there, we’ve narrowed the list down to the absolute essentials. In no particular order, these are the 7 accessories to make your guitar experience a fantastic one.

Guitar addicted items checklist

Guitar Strap

While practising on a chair or a bed is fine, the time will come where you’ll need to stand and play, especially if you’re a vocalist. A comfortable guitar strap makes this possible, as well as adding an aesthetic touch to your guitar. However, straps are not made equal. If you’re on a budget, a polyester strap will get the job done, but if you’re going to be using a strap often, it’s worth investing in a high-quality one.

I’ve found leather straps to be the most comfortable and durable. As a bonus, their personality increases with age. Leather straps hover around the $40 mark and go up from there. Before buying, make sure the strap has a working adjustment to match your height. Punk rockers tend to let the guitar hang low, and folk players tend to keep the guitar up high. There are no set rules, though; choose a height that’s comfortable for you.

Tuner

If I had a dollar for every time a guitarist has asked to borrow my tuner, I wouldn’t need to gig anymore. A tuning pedal or clip-on tuner will save you the stress of opening a clunky phone tuning app on your phone every time you pick the guitar up. I’ve even witnessed guitarists Youtube to mp3 correct tunings to play to. It’s not pretty. Getting into the habit of tuning with a proper tuner before playing will save you from wincing at unbearable, out of tune chords.

Detail of a TC Electronic PolyTune Clip fitted to a Martin acoustic guitar, taken on September 27, 2016. (Photo by Adam Gasson/Total Guitar Magazine)

I’d recommend the SNARK SN5X tuner. It’s reliable, accurate, and clips right onto the head of your guitar. The bright colour display makes it ridiculously easy to get in tune quickly or change tunings.

A bucketload of picks

There is nothing more synonymous with guitar players than losing picks. No matter where you put them, they always seem to end up lost, under a pedal, or inside the body of your guitar (if you’re playing acoustic). To avoid running on empty, it’s worth stocking up on a bucketload of picks, so avoid wasting time looking for them. Find a size and width that suits your playing style, then buy in bulk to cut costs.

When your bandmate inevitably asks, “do you have a pick?” you’ll be ready.

Capo

The first time you play with a capo, it feels like magic. The beauty of the guitar-fret design is that anything you play can be pushed up a semitone by simply barring the strings. That’s where the capo comes in. In two seconds, you can change the key of a song from A to C without batting an eye. While not every song needs a capo, plenty of them do, so it truly is a must-own for any serious guitarist.

When buying a capo, look for one that locks onto your fretboard firmly. A dodgy capo won’t probably bar your strings, leaving an unpleasant buzzing sound when you play. As long as it locks on tight and can comfortably manoeuvre up and down the fretboard, it’s a solid capo.

Image: Jim Dunlop

Backup strings

Every guitarist faces untimely moments of a string snapping. Sometimes, the passion is too strong. You’ll strum too hard, and that top E string will give way. When this happens, it’s imperative that you have some backups in your guitar case; otherwise, the jam is basically over.

I’ve personally always been a fan of Elixir branded strings, as they retain their bright tone for a long period of time. However, the choice of guitar strings is entirely up to you and what sound you want your guitar to make.

Cleaning Materials

Like most things, your guitar will need some love from time to time. It’s worth having a microfibre cloth to wipe the body of your guitar and some lemon oil to rehydrate your guitar neck. A sharp pair of pliers will also make the restringing process a lot easier. It’s a good habit to wipe your strings after every practice so that sweat and grease don’t build up. Cleaning your strings regularly will help preserve their tone.

A sturdy guitar case

Frankly, I’ve never believed in using guitar bags (soft guitar cases). Your instrument is just too precious to project with a thin layer of foam. I’d recommend investing in a hard guitar case. This will make lugging your axe around a stress-free experience. A high-quality guitar case will protect it from scratches and dents, which is vital for bumpy car rides.