You’ve got your guitar… what else do you need?
There’s nothing better than picking up your guitar for the first time. The look and feel of a new guitar is truly something special. There are a few essentials, and a few nice to haves that will set you up for your journey to guitar mastery. It can be very confusing trawling through article after article and product after product trying to find the most suitable kit. I’ve pulled together a list of the best guitar accessories for beginners and provided a recommendation for those just starting out. After all you don’t want to drop a ton of cash on accessories when you don’t need to, right? Need a recommendation for a beginners guitar? Read my post on the best electric guitars for beginners.
This is something that’s overlooked by many beginners. The temptation is to lean your new guitar up against a wall. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t prop your guitar against any vertical surface. Firstly the neck will start to warp, which will affect the performance of your guitar. Eventually this can cause damage which is difficult and potentially expensive to diagnose. The second danger is that your guitar can easily get knocked over. This can cause all sorts of damage from snapped strings on the minor side of things to chipping and other physical damage on the more serious side.
The most simple stands are “A-frame” stands. Here’s what to look for:
- The materials in contact with the guitar are soft to prevent damage to the body
- The legs are sturdy so that you can be sure that your guitar will be safe when on the stand
- It’s easy to fold for storage and so that it’s portable
- It’s can accommodate different sizes of guitar (I would hate to have to use a specific stand for my acoustic or electric)
RockJam Universal A-Frame Guitar Stand:
- Sturdy yet light for portability
- Soft materials to protect your guitar
- Great value
- Perfect for beginners
This stand is brilliant value. A sturdy stand for your guitar doesn’t need to cost the earth. The light-weight design makes it easy to take with you when gigging, giving you peace of mind that your guitar is comfortably and safely seated wherever you are. This stand can house acoustic guitars, electric guitars and even bass guitars. An essential for any guitarist on a budget.
To keep you on the straight and narrow you’ll need a tuner. Your strings will slip out of tune for a variety of reasons. Changes in temperature, accidental impacts on the head-stock and sustained strumming are the most common reasons that guitars slip out of tune. It’s awful when you’re in the middle of a song and realize that your B string is too sharp!
A cost-effective and simple way to make sure you’re in tune is to use a clip on tuner. They clip onto your head-stock and work by picking up the vibrations through the guitar to give you visual feedback about whether your strings are in tune. Most tuners can be used on all sorts of stringed instruments, so if you’re thinking of picking up a bass guitar you don’t necessarily need to buy another tuner.
You want a tuner to be accurate and flexible. Accuracy is key when you’ve haven’t got long to tune up between songs. Flexibility is desirable when you need to quickly drop your low E to a D, or even to change the tuning of all six strings quickly. Battery life is also something to look out for. It’s not always convenient to change the battery when you’re in the flow!
NEUMA Clip on Tuner:
- Bright display for ease of use
- Swivels so you can position as needed
- Fast and accurate
- Battery included!
- Easy system for swapping the battery
- Automatic off function
- Tuning for multiple instruments
- 18 month warranty – great value!
This tuner is a brilliant buy for new guitarists. It’s low cost but comes with everything you’ll need (including a battery for quick start). The large and bright display gives you clear visual feedback to make tuning simple under any conditions. The swivel head makes positioning the tuner flexible so you can easily change the position to suit your needs. It’s very accurate so you can have peace of mind that your instrument will perfectly in tune. It also comes with an automatic off function if your haven’t used it for five minutes, preserving it’s battery!
Plectrums, or picks, are not essential but they add dynamism to your playing. It’s generally personal preference whether or not you use a pick. In general you get a cleaner and brighter sound when using a pick. However some songs will require you to use your fingers rather than a pick. Rock style guitarists almost always use a pick. The only time I don’t use a pick is when I’m playing a song specifically written for finger style. They do take some practice to get used to, but they definitely add an edge, especially when playing a solo.
16 Piece Starter Set:
- 16 picks – thicknesses from 0.46mm (thin) to 1.2mm (extra heavy)
- Variety of colors – style does matter!
- Celluloid material feels natural and produces a great sound!
- Great box for storage – the amount of picks I’ve lost over the years!
A capo effectively moves the nut of the guitar up or down dependent on where it’s positioned. If you place the capo over the strings on fret 1, a G chord becomes an A flat. If you place the capo on the second fret a G chord becomes A. You place the capo just before the fret, not over the metal fret its self. Using a capo can mean not needing to play tricky chords, or can make a song fall within yours or another singers vocal range. A capo can make the sound brighter, so you can do a lot of experimenting with this handy piece of gear.
You’ll want a capo that’s easy to fit. Most modern capos are spring loaded to make removal very easy. My first capo was held on by a strap, which was really fiddly! You’ll also want a robust design with decent materials. You’ll want a soft material on the arm that grips the back of your guitar’s neck to protect against damage too.
Donner DC-2 Quick Change Capo:
- Easy to move and remove
- Silicone pad protects your guitar’s neck from damage
- Grips well – no buzz from the frets
- Sturdy build to ensure longevity
When you first start playing the guitar, you’ll probably be sat down. At first it feels like this gives you more control over the guitar, but at some point you’ll want to stand up and play. For one you’re back will thank you for it! That’s where a guitar strap comes in. You’ll want one that’s adjustable and comfortable. There’s nothing worse than a strap that doesn’t quite suit your stature, or that’s uncomfortable on the shoulder. Decent straps are inexpensive these days and thanks for the need to innovate you can get some cool additional features!
Tiger Strap with Pick Holders:
- Adjustable length (86 to 148cm)
- Suits a variety of guitars (including bass)
- Strong nylon strap for durability
- Includes a shoelace (for use with classical guitars)
- Includes three pick holders for ease of access
- Comes in a variety of colors (again style is important)
If you’re taking your guitar anywhere you’ll need a case or a bag to protect it. It’s easy to damage your guitar even if you’re only travelling a short distance. That’s where a guitar bag or case is a must. Hard cases tend to be a little more pricey than bags, so we’ll focus on a bag for now. One of the key things is padding. If you have a bag that’s just a cover you’ll stop the worst of the weather, but you won’t protect your pride and joy against damage. Materials are also important. You’ll want one that’s waterproof and one that you can comfortably carry or wear on your back. A guitar can be unwieldy to carry so your bag really should make it as easy as possible for you. Additional features to look for are pockets to carry music or other accessories. Ideally these should be big enough for you to accommodate all of your portable accessories.
Cahaya Guitar Gig Bag:
- Suitable for most guitars up to a body thickness of 12.5cm
- 12mm compacted sponge padding keeps your guitar protected
- Lots of space of accessories with 2 external pockets
- Adjustable straps allow you to carry on your back
- Fantastic value
Having spare string s is like having a rope when climbing. You hope you’ll never need it but invariably you will. The facts of life mean that strings will snap from time to time. Rather than having to put down your guitar, go out and buy a new set, wouldn’t it be great if you already had some to hand. Admittedly some guitarists snap more strings than others. One of my friends seems to snap them every time he plays live, whereas I tend to get away with changing mine for maintenance rather than because one has broken. Never-the-less having spare strings is a real life saver when the worst happens!
D’Addario EJ16-3D Phosphor Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings:
- Available in a variety of gauges
- Packaged to prevent corrosion
- Available in bulk
- High quality materials
Ernie Ball 2221 Regular Slinky Electric Guitar Strings:
- Element shield protection to keep strings sounding fresh
- High quality materials
- Available in different gauges
- Available in bulk
If you have an electric guitar you’ll need an amp to get the most out of your pride and joy. When you’re a beginner you don’t really want to drop a lot of cash on an all singing amplifier. Thankfully you don’t have to spend a lot to buy a good quality practice amp. Sure, a practice amp won’t fill a large hall with noise, but it’ll serve you well in a small space. More importantly it’ll allow you to practice your art. If you have an electro-acoustic guitar you can choose to plugin or not, but an amp gives you an extra option. You’ll want an amp that has a gain control to enable you crank up the distortion but also allow you to play bright and clean. You’ll want equalizer controls so that you can alter the bass, middle and treble easily. A headphone jack is also useful, if you want the noise of the amp without disturbing others. A sturdy build is also desirable as your amp will probably serve as a seat at one time or another!
- Boost button to instantly switch between clean and distortion
- Lightweight – just 4.2kg!
- Headphone jack – to keep the neighbors happy!
- Volume, Gain and EQ control to fine tune your sound
- Excellent value for money!
I hope that this has given you a good idea of what else you’ll need when learning to play the guitar. There are a myriad of products available, but I believe that these are the best value for any new guitarist. Playing the guitar should be accessible for all and you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune to get going. Happy strumming and remember to check out my post about the best way to learn the guitar.
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