GEAR GUIDE: 8 Must-Have Accessories for Guitarists
Every muso relies on a handful of essential accessories that they simply can't be without, whether they've just picked up their instrument for the first time or have been playing for 50 years.
Keep reading to find out what the guitar gurus at Living Music rate as the top eight must have accessories for every guitarist.
There's nothing worse than an out of tune guitar. While tuning by ear is an impressive skill, it can be time consuming. For the sake of tuning speed and accuracy, most guitarists will use a tuner.
Tuners come in many forms, from pedal board tuners to smartphone apps, but at Living Music we usually recommend a clip-on headstock tuner. Clip-on tuners are convenient, accurate, and very affordable.
Simply clip the tuner on to the headstock of your guitar and strum a string; the tuner senses the vibration of the string and displays the pitch on the screen. As long as you know which note you are aiming for, you're golden!
At Living Music, we are loving the Crossfire CHST-65 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner (RRP $29.95) and the Boss TU-10 Clip-On Chromatic Tuner (RRP $49.95). You can also view our whole range of clip-on tuners HERE.
Just about every guitarist will use a capo at some point. A capo creates a new nut on your guitar, thus raising the pitch. Capos are super handy when you need to transpose a song, as they raise the guitar's pitch without having to change your chord shapes. This is especially useful if you're a vocalist or accompanying one.
Capos come in a range of styles and price points, sometimes starting as low as $3 for a generic capo online. However, we always recommend buying a higher quality capo as they tend to last longer and apply more even pressure to your strings, which prevents intonation issues and buzzing.
Acoustic capos can usually be used on electric guitars. If you're playing a classical or 12-string, it's best to shop for a specific capo for your needs.
Depending on your budget, we recommend a few different capos. For beginners looking for their first capo, the Crossfire Trigger Style Acoustic Guitar Capo (RRP $24.95) is ideal. For intermediate players who want a higher quality capo, go for the G7th Nashville Steel String Guitar Capo (RRP $52.95). For the seasoned pro, we always recommend the G7th Performance 2 Steel String Guitar Capo (RRP $89.95).
3. Gig Bag or Hard Case
This one seems like a no brainer, but having something to transport your guitar to and from lessons or gigs is absolutely essential!
Whether you opt for a hard case or gig bag is completely up to you, but in general we recommend a gig bag for children or players taking guitars to and from lessons and a hard case if you're doing some serious gigging or travelling with your instrument.
The right case or bag should fit your guitar snugly enough that it doesn't wiggle around too much in transit. When in doubt, check the internal measurements of the case you're looking at.
One thing we unfortunately often see is guitars that have been damaged, or even broken in half, because they have been stored standing in a corner, leaning against an amp or lying on the ground. Because of this, we always recommend storing your guitar on a stand, regardless of whether you're at home or playing a gig.
An added bonus of a stand is that your guitar is within arm's reach at any time; you'll be surprised by how often you feel inspired to pick it up if you're looking at it every day!
A guitar strap's primary purpose is to allow you to comfortably play your guitar standing up. Guitar straps are available in a huge range of materials, styles, colours and price points, you just have to find what works for you! The most common materials are synthetic (Nylon, Polyester, Polypropylene etc), leather and suede.
Living Music has a huge range of straps available instore and online. Check them out HERE.
One of the most frequently misplaced or lost accessories is the humble guitar pick (also called a plectrum). You never know how much you rely on a pick until you don't have one handy! Picks are available in a huge range of materials, textures and thicknesses. The pick you use is ultimately your personal preference. In general, we recommend starting with a medium gauge pick and working your way up or down, depending on what feels best for you.
Shop our range of picks HERE. A great partner accessory to picks are pick holders. These handy little gadgets can be stuck wherever you need them - even right on to your guitar! They're a great way to keep your picks within reach when you need them.
7. Spare Strings
It's every guitarist's worst nightmare: You're mid-song at a gig and your string goes PING. Having a spare set of strings in your arsenal will get you out of trouble.
In general, Living Music recommends changing your guitar strings at least every six months, more frequently if you regularly play your guitar.
For acoustic guitars, we usually recommend a Custom Light gauge.
For electric guitars, we usually recommend a Standard Light gauge, which is suitable for standard turning.
For classical guitars, we usually recommend Normal Tension strings.
If you are using alternate tunings or playing styles, you may need a heavier or lighter string gauge. When in doubt, contact us; we are more than happy to make suggestions based on your specific needs.
8. String Winder
A string winder makes the task of changing your strings an absolute breeze. It fits around the machine head of your guitar and allows you to quickly turn it. This turns a task that can take minutes into a task that takes seconds. You won't know how you ever changed strings without it!
We like the Crossfire Heavy Duty String Winder (RRP $7.95), which can be used by hand or with a drill to speed up the winding process even more.
Ultimately, the accessories you choose will depend on your individual needs, but we hope this list is useful for you! If you think we've missed any essential guitar accessories, you can let us know by leaving a comment below.
- Living Music