3.4 Essential Guitar Accessories

Andy | August 24, 2015 | 21 Comments

Although you may not need all the amps, effects and gizmos for your acoustic, there are still some essential (and not so essential) accessories you will require to begin your journey ahead.

Picks (or plectrums as they are sometimes known) for picking and strumming.
These are cheap and come in different sizes, thickness and materials. Experimentation will help you decide on your pick of choice (generally the thinner more flexible ones are best for beginners) but you will need quite a few spares because, bedrooms especially, “eat them.”

A Tuner to ensure your guitar is tuned accurately.
From using your iPad, to a simple digital tuner or app, the choice is yours, although we will show you how to tune by ear later on. Always have one handy.

Strings.
Like picks, they come in different gauges (thicknesses) and material (such as nylon and steel) and you will find the ones that suit you. As a general rule, at the outset, steel light to light medium gauges will be the most appropriate. Just ask for this at your local music store and see how you get on.

A strap.
Essential if you stand up when playing. Just make sure it is comfortable, there is somewhere to attach both ends on your guitar and buy a cool one!!!!

A metronome
To ensure you stay in time

Some non-essential accessories;
These will come into play as you progress further.

A guitar stand
To ensure you have somewhere safe to rest your guitar when you are not playing

A capo.
This fits on the guitar between the fret wires to help you play simple chords in different positions on the neck. It is also useful for playing songs in a different key……….but more of that later

Trainers and supports
For when you are really hammering those practice sessions

Nail Clippers.
Yes…….we have just said nail clippers. Long nails on your hand you use to hold down the strings will hamper your playing. Keep your clippers hidden – no one will ever know. These do not therefore need to be cool-looking; except when you become famous

Groupies.
Not initially readily available, but a great motivational tool at any stage.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Alan weaver says:

    Regarding straps: the wider straps spread the weight across a larger area of your shoulder, which makes a very big difference if you are holding the guitar for any length of time…ask any woman and she’ll tell you narrow bra straps “cut” and hurt…

  2. jim crossland says:

    Think the most important Accessory is someone to keep you motivated and driven

  3. Gary Stout says:

    3.4 Essential Guitar Accessories: You mention Strings come in different materials, may want to mention that nylon on steel guitar won’t produce as good of sound and steel on a nylon guitar will ruin the guitar – something a beginner might try to do. You also refer to “records” in the video and most people aren’t as old as we are so they probably don’t know if that’s something they need to buy to learn. Might mention CD or MP3 instead of “record,” something these kids will recognize.

  4. Jack Runnels says:

    just good advice remember you may have students that are from all ages and both sexes so you might consider dropping the groupie line

  5. Anthony Mucci says:

    Some non-essential accessories;
    These will come into play as you progress further. Take this out

    Most battery tuners have metronome function

    What are Trainers and supports?

    save the capo for next module(s)

    I prefer nail files, 2-sided for coarse and fine. I file daily. Wash hands thoroughly, rub with fresh lemon slice, finish with a drop of 50/50 Olive/Grape-seed oils using an eyedropper or syringe. Excellent hand and fingernail moisturizer.

    Shhhhhhhhhhh the Groupie thing is a secret!!

  6. Ronnie Holderfield says:

    Hey Andy, I think that light Guage strings are better for learning to play the guitar. Now, I learned with a heavy Guage strings but that was 48 years ago and I didn’t know anything about the guitar at the time. I’ve always heard that a pick is a pick and the guitar that I learned on didn’t have any strap henges. Oh by the way, I think your jokes are great for the course

  7. Brian Armstrong says:

    You mention that there are different grades of strings heavy through to light. Why is it easier to play the light strings and do the different gauges give a different sound.

  8. Paul Dennee says:

    Like the jokes. You could mention that a guitar stand is important because you are much more likely to practice if the guitar is not hiding away!

  9. Richard McKay says:

    Gig Bag or Case. And also, do we discuss humidity at this point. Laminated guitars don’t need it as much so maybe a sidebar.

  10. Charles Butler says:

    Andy, I really do enjoy your personable teaching style. The bits of humor are spot on as far as not too much or too little. This will help the beginner become more comfortable and the business of learning guitar.

  11. Robin Haynes says:

    Andy, I think it’s important at some point to mention that certain guitars are designed for certain kinds of strings. For example, putting steel strings on a guitar that’s made for nylon strings will destroy the neck. Even steel “folk” guitars are sometimes designed for a specific gauge of string. Smaller bodied guitars are often limited to light gauge strings. Most guitars have a trussrod in the neck to reinforce it, and it can be adjusted for different string weights. I guess my point is that a little care needs to be taken to ensure that your guitar can handle and is adjusted for the gauge of string you want to use. I know I’ve gone on at great length here, but I think it could probably be summarized in just a few words.

  12. JL Brunet says:

    A cool little accessory for electric: amp plugins like this: http://www.voxamps.com/amplug2 — portable, sounds great. There’s also a bunch of cool apps on smartphones – some you mentioned before – ampkit is awesome.

    Yes keep up the jokes!

  13. Yves Jalbert says:

    Andy guitar courses are serious stuff but it has to be fun so your small jokes like you do are fun and always welcome !! Thanks.

  14. Anthony Gable says:

    Unfortunately My Seagull guitar does not have the 2nd strap pin. I hear there is another small strap that slips under and around the stock under the strings. Any advise on something like this?

    • Robin Haynes says:

      That’s how I’ve seen most straps attach when they’re attached at the headstock. I think it’s probably a better idea than tying it around the tuning peg. For one thing, the headstock is sturdier, and for another it won’t accidentally turn the tuner.

      • Marcus Hunt says:

        Definitely! The lace should pass around the headstock, not the tuning key.

        Also, I think I would say that to most guitarists a capo is an essential accessory. Okay, maybe not absolutely essential right at the beginning but if you want to sing and accompany yourself on the guitar at any stage it’s really an essential tool.

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