You’ve bought your new guitar? Great!! Next, here are a few cool guitar accessories that you’ll probably want to consider grabbing at the same time.
Honestly, you’ll be able to get by without any of these, but they’ll make life so much easier that you’ll really thank yourself for picking them up. Plus, you’re going to buy all 7 of these awesome gadgets eventually anyway, so you may as well start off on the right foot, right?
I’ve laid out 7 of my top cool guitar accessories below. Links are provided so that you can check out these products for yourself. Let’s dive in…
1. Headstock Clip-On Tuner
The first item on our list of cool guitar accessories is a super cheap gadget that should be in every guitarist’s toolbox! These wondrous little things clip discretely on to your guitar’s headstock and then tune (very accurately) either via a built-in microphone or from the vibrations produced when playing a string. No need to plug in to a bulky, dedicated pedal or rely on tuning by ear from apps and website tools.
My personal favorite, and the best selling tuner in the world, is the Snark. You’ll notice a couple of these retro looking gadgets pictured above in black. There are various models available for different instruments, but the two most popular choices are the SN-5 and SN-8. The SN-8 is a newer model with slightly more accurate tuning and a brighter display, but costs a few dollars extra. The displays rotate and swivel to adapt to almost any guitar. I’ve had mine for over a decade and it’s still going strong (on the original battery no less!).
However, if you have the cash to splash, the new TC Electronic Polytune Clip is pretty much the Rolls-Royce of headstock tuners. This product is constructed to a very high standard and is the only clip-on tuner to feature polyphonic tuning. In a nutshell, this means that you can strum the open strings and the display will show you the pitch of all 6 strings at the same time. Very cool!
2. String Winder
Next up in our list of cool guitar accessories is the String Winder – a handy little tool that’ll cut the time taken to restring your guitar in half (at least!). Unless your guitar has locking tuners (unlikely on cheaper models), a winder will eliminate the tedium of restringing.
On top of that, the winder I recommend also has a string-cutter built in which you can use to trim off any excess length. Don’t be one of those players with several feet worth of string-ends precariously dangling off their headstock – you could have someone’s eye out! And as one final bonus, it also features a bridge pin puller for your acoustic. What a handy little guy!
As far as i’m concerned there’s only one choice, and that is Planet Wave’s winder/cutter. Easy! It’s available for both guitar and bass.
3. Guitar Picks
Chances are, your guitar came bundled with a few standard nylon picks and you’ve just stuck with those so far. However, you’re doing yourself a giant disservice by not experimenting with different options. Picks are available in an almost limitless variety of sizes, shapes and materials – all of which can have a profound effect on your tone.
Thinner picks are great for strumming chords, and thicker picks let you really dig in for an aggressive sound. Metal picks give a very bright sound while wooden options can be more mellow. Sharp tips versus more rounded ones. Small picks or large picks. Picks with special grippy surfaces. Picks specifically for left handed players! Thumb and finger-picks. I even have some swanky picks that were hand-made in the Swiss Alps! You get the picture – there’s a ton of opportunity for experimentation here.
Me? I like fast, technical playing, so my choice is a small, thick and pointy Dunlop Jazz 3. As picks are generally so inexpensive, why not pick up something new once a month and keep going until you find your ideal choice. If you’re brand new to guitar, start with a variety pack which includes a range of different sizes.
4. Maintenance Supplies
Properly maintaining your guitar will keep it looking and sounding (and smelling!) great, and could potentially even save you money!
A cleaning kit such as the Dunlop 65 Kit pictured above contains everything you’ll need for a spotless instrument. It has the usual polishing compounds and cloth, but what you might not have thought about is string conditioner. If you live in a warmer country where you’re more likely to sweat, all of these bodily secretions will work their way into your strings, drastically reducing their lifespan. A quick wipe-down after each session will help prolong their use, saving money over time.
Another must-have as far as i’m concerned, is a nut lubrication kit such as the one pictured above from Planet Waves. This product comprises a syringe full of lubricating compound which should be inserted into the grooves of your nut. This helps the strings to easily glide through the nut, providing more stable tuning and potentially preventing string breakages. A cheap, but slightly messy alternative is to shave some pencil lead into the grooves instead.
5. Guitar Straps
Still using that cheap and nasty nylon strap that came bundled with your guitar? It could be time for an upgrade! Fun Fact – Did you know that just by standing up with your guitar you will be burning an extra 80 calories per hour when compared to sitting down?
An endless number of designs are available, and in various different materials. A wider strap is generally more comfortable, and can also help to counteract neck-dive. Nylon is widespread and inexpensive, or splash some cash and go for a hand-made leather masterpiece. Believe it or not, there are even straps specifically for left-handed players! Double shoulder straps are also available to evenly distribute the load.
Trying to suggest the best guitar strap would be a largely pointless endeavour, as obviously everyone has different preferences. So why not check out the link below where you’ll find some of the more popular choices.
6. Stand or Wall Hangers
Keep your pride and joy safe when not in use. Don’t be one of those guys who props it up against a cabinet between sessions – it’ll end in tears! Second from last in our list of cool guitar accessories is the humble guitar stand.
As with everything in this list, various different designs are available – many of which are shown above. Smaller A-Frame models are compact and unobtrusive, whereas more traditional stands such as the popular Pro Tec Whatever provide a more secure storage solution, and generally fold up into a portable size. One of these would be my choice for use at gigs.
At home, my personal choice would be to use wall hangers – although these are slightly more work as they do have to be safely attached to your wall. For me, a guitar (or row of guitars!) is a much more attractive wall decoration than a painting or a mirror. It’s also a much safer option as it is near impossible to accidentally knock a guitar off your wall as opposed to a stand on the floor.
Last, but certainly not least on our list of cool guitar accessories is the trusty gigbag. Or a hardcase if you would prefer! Although after lugging a heavy hardcase several blocks to get to a gig, you’ll probably find yourself wishing you’d opted for a lightweight gigbag!
The cheaper bags that come bundled with lower priced instruments are perfectly acceptable for transporting guitars, but probably aren’t going to provide much in the way of protection. A quality bag will still be lightweight, but will feature additional padding, extra storage and improved weather-proofing.
A well padded gigbag would also make a perfectly acceptable alternative to a stand if you lack the floor or wall space for your instrument. Simply place your guitar back in the bag after a session and it should offer ample protection against spills.
Cool Guitar Accessories
So there you have it folks – 7 cool guitar accessories that should be in every guitarist’s toolbox!