Are you an aspiring axeman on a hellblazing trail of destruction towards your very own spot on the rock and roll hall of fame? Well, get ready for a long and bumpy yet exhilarating road. But first, are you sure you have the gear necessary to make a forcible entry with your shredding skills into the pantheon of the guitar gods? It’s time to grab your marker and start marking the following gadgets and add-ons off your must have guitar accessories checklist before embarking on your journey to rock stardom.
List of Must Have Guitar Accessories:
1. Additional Guitar Strings
Nothing is more frustrating than having a guitar string break right in the middle of a performance. Save yourself the trouble by carrying an extra pair of strings. You also need to change your guitar strings regularly to maintain that sharp and in-tune sound.
Some of the best acoustic guitar strings on the market today include the Elixir Nanoweb HD Light, Martin Lifespan SP, and the Ernie Ball Earthwood Extra Soft Silk And Steel. These are sure to last you longer than the average acoustic strings while maintaining a clean and crisp tone.
For an electric guitar, you’ll require more much stronger and reinforced strings than the ones used for an acoustic guitar, especially for hard rock or heavy metal gigs where playing a badass solo is essential to compete against the spiraling ego of the lead singer.
The Ernie Ball Tone Pack is an ideal pack of strings for those unsure of what tone they prefer. This pack offers three different sets of strings, each one varying from the other in terms of tone, output, and stability. Other high-quality and ultra-strong electric guitar strings include D’Addario XL Nickel Wound Strings and D’Addario NYXL Nickel Plated Strings.
2. Additional Guitar Picks
All guitarists know the pain and suffering that they have to go through to find their lost guitar picks after they’ve been sucked into an infinity vortex that looks like Mick Jagger’s mouth. To avoid such a hassle, you should always have plenty of guitar picks handy at all times.
A few inexpensive packs of guitar picks that you should consider having include the Dunlop Nylon Jazz III, D’Addario DuraGrip, Dunlop Tortex, and the Fender 551 Shape Classic Celluloid. They’re all available in a variety of thicknesses for you to pick from. You should go for heavier-gauged picks for shredding or for a generally heavier sound. However, you should go for a lighter-gauged pick for acoustic playing or strumming.
3. Electric Guitar Cables
Unless you’re planning on performing in front of a clairaudient crowd, you’re definitely in need of some electric guitar cables so that you can plug into an interface or amplifier. While some cables provide slight advantages in terms of durability and noise, there’s no need for expensive cables as most cables sound almost the same.
The Fender Performance Series Instrument Cables are a cheap and reliable option that will get the job done. They also come in a variety of length options for your convenience. Just make sure that your guitar cable is long enough for the rehearsal room or the stage you’re performing on.
4. String Cutter/String Winder
Some guitarists prefer doing chores around the house than changing their time-worn guitar strings as this process usually takes forever and a day to do. This will eventually leave the strings looking obnoxious and grimy. However, using the right tools, you can easily change your guitar strings in a flash.
All you need is a string cutter and a string winder. You can even find products that combine both tools together such as the Pro-Winder Guitar String Winder and Cutter. This tool will allow you to wind the strings quickly rather than turning the tuning pegs by hand. Additionally, it has a built-in string cutter that you can use to remove your obsolete strings or to snip off excess string ends. You can also use the Cruztools String Cutter and the Dunlop String Winder if you prefer both tools to be separate.
5. Guitar Capo
Let’s say you’re stuck in a band with a singer that barely has a 2-octave vocal range, you’re going to have to change your chord shapes just so you can match the singer’s preferred key. Enter the guitar capo, a simple yet effective tool that you can place on any fret of your guitar and it will let you play multiple songs while having the same chord shapes you’re used to.
Guitar capos are extremely important and must have guitar accessories to possess and are super cheap, so do yourself a favor by getting one, at least until you find a vocalist with a formidable vocal range. A great choice for you to buy is the WINGO Guitar Capo. You can use it for an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, or a bass guitar. Not to mention that it comes with 5 medium-sized picks for you to lose.
If you are interested to know more about guitar capo, we have an article on the topic of how to use a guitar capo.
6. Pick Holder
By keeping track of your picks, you reduce your chances of always having to buy new ones. Think about it, instead of wasting all your money on an endless supply of picks, you can just buy a pick holder that will eventually pay for itself considering that you’ll no longer be buying guitar picks on a regular basis. Not that pick holders are expensive anyway. There isn’t a specific quantity of picks that a pick holder can keep, it all depends on the thickness of your picks.
A very cheap and basic pick holder that you can use is the Dunlop Series 5005 Pick Holder. This pick holder is made of durable plastic and is loaded with a spring that will keep your picks ready at all times. Moreover, it features an adhesive backside that can be used to mount it close by while you’re playing. The Dunlop holder has the capacity to store around 5 to 10 picks that would have otherwise been devoured by a black hole in deep space, never to be seen again.
7. Guitar Strap/Strap Locks
Guitars are pretty heavy and you most likely have to be standing up when performing on a stage, which means that you’ll have to add a guitar strap to your list. A strap will help you hold your guitar at a certain height while playing. You can adjust the strap to have your guitar hanging at the height that you prefer.
The Ernie Ball Black Polypro Guitar Strap is a cheap, durable, and comfortable strap that you can buy. The length of this strap can be adjusted anywhere from 41″ all the way up to 72″. However, if you’re looking for a more high-quality guitar strap, the Legato Guitar Strap will offer comfort with a stylish and professional look. The Legato strap is 3″ wide and is adjustable from 50″ to 57″ long.
Now, if you want to demonstrate some showmanship and entertain the audience with some guitar spins and flips, you’re going to need some strap locks because you don’t want to experience the dreaded look on everyone’s face when your guitar strap is suddenly undone and your axe is sent flying from your hands and into someone’s face.
Guitar strap locks will help protect the wellbeing of everyone around you by keeping the ends of your guitar strap securely in place so you can flip and spin your guitar all you want. The Guitar Savers Premium Strap Locks and the D’Addario Accessories Guitar Strap Locks are great choices for you to choose between.
8. Clip-On Guitar Tuner
Whether you’re an advanced or a beginner guitarist, you should always have a tuner handy at all times. A clip-on tuner is a very affordable and accurate option that you can use. Just clip the tuner onto the guitar’s headstock and observe the note displayed on its screen when you strum a string. How exactly do they work? The clip-on tuner senses the vibration produced by the string and then translates it into a readable pitch.
A couple of very affordable and efficient clip-on tuners that you should try are the D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner and the Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner. Both models have high definition display and a metronome mode that will help you in your practice. You can also utilize clip-on tuners for pretty much all other fretted instruments.
Also Read: How to tune an acoustic guitar
9. Guitar Humidifier
A guitar humidifier is a must-have accessory if you have an acoustic guitar. Acoustic guitars are made of thin wood that doesn’t hold up well against dry weather conditions – it begins warping and cracking. Just imagine fixing your guitar or losing it completely just because it isn’t humid enough where you live. Sad, isn’t it?
A great humidifier you can use for your guitar is the D’Addario Acoustic Guitar Humidifier. Thanks to its design, you can leave the humidifier in the guitar’s sound hole to prevent it from touching the instrument’s body. Simply moisten the sponge and let humidifier distribute the moisture slowly and evenly, keeping your instrument properly humidified.
10. Lemon Oil
There are plenty of ways you can clean your guitar, one of which is by applying some lemon oil. This trick is used by a lot of professional guitarists to polish their fretboards whenever they change strings. Simply spray some lemon oil onto a clean piece of cloth or directly onto the fretboard then start wiping down the frets to bring life back to your guitar.
A popular choice that will help you remove any grease, wax, and dirt found on your guitar is the Planet Waves Lemon Oil. This natural cleaner and conditioner will also help resist dryness, which will prolong your guitar’s life significantly. Please note that you can use lemon oil on all fretboards and unfinished wood apart from maple.
11. USB Audio Interface
You’re probably wondering why guitar amps aren’t mentioned at the top of this list. Well, because you don’t really need one at all if you have an audio interface. Not only is a USB audio interface necessary if you don’t own an amplifier, but it’s also a must-have accessory if you’re planning on recording at home. An audio interface will allow you to plug your guitar into your computer or any sort of studio monitor, and then you’ll be able to get all the guitar tones you want using VST amp simulator plugins.
A great bundle you can find on Amazon is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface Bundle which includes an XLR cable, a 1/4″ cable, Samson Studio Headphones, and FiberTique Cleaning Microfiber Cloth. The Focusrite Scarlett audio interface has a very sturdy build and great preamps. It also has two inputs that you can use to record both guitar and vocal lines at the same time.
12. Acoustic-Electric Transducer
Acoustic electric transducers are basically magnetic pickups that you can use to transform a steel string acoustic guitar into an acoustic-electric guitar without undergoing expensive modifications. With a transducer, you can plug your acoustic guitar into an amplifier or a USB audio interface for much more versatility.
An affordable transducer you can buy is the Luvay Guitar Pickup Acoustic Electric Transducer. This transducer comes with a lengthy 10″ cable that will suffice in all spaces.
13. Micro Guitar Amplifier
Assuming you’re not that into technology and don’t really want to use an audio interface, you can always go for a micro guitar amp. Why use microamps? They’re much smaller than a full amplifier and therefore much easier to carry around. Microamps are great for beginners as they’re actually meant to be practice amps.
The Marshall MS2 Micro Guitar Amplifier is a very small yet extremely powerful amp. It looks and sounds great. It’s also battery-powered so you can take it anywhere with you and practice on the go. With the MS-2, you can switch between a clean and an overdrive channel. It also features an output for headphones just in case the neighbors threaten to call the cops on you.
With the above-mentioned must have guitar accessories at your disposal, you’re now ready to bless the scene with your virtuosity. A musical career is a journey full of ups and downs, don’t let anyone put you down or tell you that you’ll never make it. Give it all you got and the world will be yours for the taking.