April 09, 2015
9 Great Guitar Accessories You Should Try
Picking out playing your first guitar is an exciting experience. But did you know there are many guitar accessories you can use to make your life easier and your playing experience more satisfying? An upgrade in your accessories can not only improve your guitar performance, but also provide you with a more comfortable and successful playing experience. Plus adding a little style and pizzazz makes it all the more fun! Check out these upgrades you’ll want to consider for your guitar accessories.
Why would you want higher end strings? Believe it or not, there have been some wonderful innovations in string development in the past few years that are worth investing in. Guitar strings that are coated offer protection from corrosion due to skin acidity, salt, and moisture without compromising feel and sound. They produce their original characteristics for a longer period of time so you don’t have to change them as often. Similarly, there are strings that have been cryogenically treated for longer life. And guitar strings made of materials like nickel or phosphorus/bronze alloys have tonal characteristics that you might fall in love with. The only way to know if new and upgraded strings will inspire you is to give them a try!
And speaking of strings, perhaps the most dreaded but necessary task for every guitar player is changing your strings. You’re sure to get a hang of it as you do it more frequently. One accessory that really helps is a peg winder. The main function of a peg winder is to help you easily turn the tuning peg faster, allowing you to change strings quickly. Some also have peg puller insets and wire clippers to make life even easier. Highly recommended! And if you really change your strings frequently, you’ll want to invest in a powered peg winder that’ll move those tuning heads with lightning speed.
When you start out you’ll probably use a standard guitar cable to plug in. But if you want to ensure that your signal comes through loud and clear, take a look at upgrading to better quality cables. They’re shielded well to eliminate hum and some even have gold connectors to increase conductivity and resist corrosion. You’ll find both straight and angled connectors, which can help prevent your cable from being pulled out erroneously. Solid sheath construction can help your cables last a whole lot longer too, which makes them a great investment in the long run. Bored with a standard black guitar cable? There are plenty of other styles to choose from too. From colored woven designs to vintage-looking coil cables, the choice is yours!
Many of us have a reasonably priced capo (or two). But if you find that you are using one more and more, a higher end capo will serve you well. With more solid construction and clamping mechanisms, you’ll get even pressure across the fretboard, eliminating buzz and maintain your tuning. Some also are made of state-of-the-art lightweight materials so they don’t add weight or bulk to your guitar neck. You’ll find some capos are made for specific neck shapes and guitar types, so make sure you think about your use wish list before you purchase.
You’ll probably learn to play by using a pick to strum or pluck your guitar strings. Believe it or not there are several choices when it comes to picks. The most common attribute to look at is the weight or thickness of the pick. If you like a more heavy, chunky strum, choose a thicker pick. If you like more flexibility and a lighter touch, choose a thinner one. Picks come in different sizes and materials as well. Some folks like picks that have a rougher area on them that helps you maintain your grip. You can also find picks made out of stone, wood, metal, celluloid and other plastics. Each will affect your tone in its own way. Smaller, thicker picks might work better for smaller hands. Upgrading your picks might cost a bit more but can allow you to play in new ways that can energize your performance.
You can definitely get a nice basic stand for your guitar for a very reasonable price. But soon you’ll want to upgrade to a higher quality stand, as they are more solid and stable. You can find several that are also really beautiful and add a nice look to your studio and practice space. In addition, if you like to keep multiple guitars out so you can grab ‘em easily, you can purchase a stand that holds several guitars. Some stands also fold up so they are easier to drop into your gig bag and go!
Perhaps the accessory with the most choices is the guitar strap. Whether you upgrade to a nicer quality strap to express yourself or for comfort or utility, you’ll want a guitar strap that feels and looks great. From gorgeous soft-as-butter premium leather, to studded embellishments, to woven jacquard and everything in between, straps are a form of expression that combines form and function. Some have special features, like locking mechanisms that help keep your strap secure, and wider or padded straps might make a heavier guitar more comfortable and stable. Worried about your strap falling off mid-performance? Check out strap locks too!
Cases and gig bags
Your guitar may have come with a case but if you’re planning to fly, you’ll want to make sure that your hard case is rated for flight so that your guitar is safe from overzealous baggage handlers. A snug and secure case will keep your guitar in pristine condition, so you’ll want to make sure it’s padded and velvet lined. You can also find some wonderfully constructed gig bags that are more lightweight, but make bringing your guitar along a breeze. If you upgrade and spend a little more you can find bags with stable padding, sturdy zippers and handy pockets. Some are made of more high-end materials like leather, and you’ll even find gig bags that hold two guitars. Remember, your guitar deserves to be well-protected when you’re out and about!
What do you look for in a tuner? Accuracy, versatility, convenience? All of the above, right? There are many upgrade options for tuners that will help get you in tune easier and quicker than ever before. A pedal tuner is great for live performance. Pass your guitar signal through and just stomp with your foot when you’re ready to tune. Polyphonic tuners will allow you to tune all of your strings at once. Chromatic tuners work for multiple tunings and instruments. Others have larger, clearer displays that work in both low light and bright sunlight. Some include other features like metronomes, tone generators and more. A good tuner is your best friend. Worth a little more, don’t you think?
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When you’re ready to try an upgraded accessory, dig into the feature list and make sure you’re planning for your needs, both for today and tomorrow. Just like a better quality guitar, upgraded accessories can be essential in making your playing and learning experience more enjoyable and will help you to progress more quickly. And don’t forget, upgraded accessories make great gifts for guitar-playing friends and family, too!
Check out another guitar accessories article – Beyond the Guitar – for more accessories you need to know about!