Once you make the decision to buy your first guitar, there are a few extra things you'll want to buy. These accessories will make your life a bit easier, help you out, or even save you money in the long run.
Here are my recommendations on what you need to get, and why. As you know, I've been teaching guitar for many years now, and these items are what I deem to be important for a beginner guitarist. Of course, you can go wild, and spend an extra $1000 on things you don't really need, but why would you.
All you need is the following. And your guitar of course.
Electric tuner - $10
If you get a beginner guitar pack, you may already have an electric guitar tuner, but if not, I really recommend you get one. They are cheap, and they'll save you lots of time and pain.
I recommend getting a clip-on tuner, which you clip-on the headstock of your acoustic or electric guitar. The tuner will pick up the vibration of your guitar, and indicate what not it "feels". This is much better than traditional electric tuners which worked by sound since these vibration tuners can be used in loud environments.
Capo - $15
A capo is a device that will allow you to basically move the nut of your guitar upwards. Lots of songs use capos, so make sure to put it into your shopping cart.
They may try to sell you a separate one for the electric and acoustic, but don't fall for it. You only need one, a good one.
Also, I recommend the quick-change capo, specifically the Kyser capo. I've had mine for about 15 years, and it's as good as new.
Guitar stand - $13
I always thought that getting a guitar stand is a trivial thing, but it's not.
Do not just put your guitar in your gig bag or into your closet when you're not using it. You need to place your guitar on a guitar stand out in plain sight where you can see it. Trust me, you'll pick it up more often, which will help you get more practice. And of course, guitars look cool 😉
You can also opt to have a wall-mounted guitar holder, the purpose is the same.
String cleaner or string wipes - $5
When you practice, the dirt and sweat from your hands all end up on your guitar strings. This really reduces the life of a set of strings, and the neck of your guitar will be dirty as well.
Get yourself string wipes to extend the life of your strings, and keep your guitar beautiful.
You can get a cleaning system, or just presoaked wipes. If you don't get either, I strongly recommend wiping each string after each practice session with a piece of cloth, that works as well.
String winder/cutter - $7
Yes, believe it or not, you're going to have to learn to change guitar strings, you can't keep on taking it to the guitar shop forever. It's easier than it seems, especially with the right tools.
Basically, the only thing you really need to change strings is a string cutter, but as marvelous as technology is, you can get it built into a string winder as well.
The string winder will save you a lot of time winding your strings, it's a very practical tool.
Extra picks - $4
Seriously, the number of picks you'll end up losing around home is ridiculous, I don't know how they can just disappear all the time.
And of course you also always want to keep a pick in your wallet as well, you never know when you'll need it.
Get a combo pick pack, which has several varieties of picks. Experiment with them, you'll develop your taste for picks with time. Of course, if you're more into strumming, you'll want thinner picks, and if you're into lead, you'll need thicker picks.
Gig bag - $30
Your guitar most likely came with some sort of storage option, but if not, you'll definitely want to get a gig bag or a hard case. How else would you get your guitar from A to B?
If you do lots of traveling, a hard case is better, but a gig bag is good enough for most guitarists. I would recommend spending a bit extra and getting one that has 2 cm of foam padding, so it protects your guitar better.
It's a bit more expensive, but you only need to buy it once, and it can mean the difference between crying over a broken guitar or being thankful that you bought the thicker padding.
Metronome (optional) - free online
Metronomes are really useful practice tools since they help you develop your sense of rhythm and timing. The reason they are optional on my list is that you can download metronome software onto your computer or a metronome app for your phone, or even use our online metronome.
Guitar lessons - free to $15/month
And once you're packed up with all these goodies, you'll need to practice and practice and practice as much as possible, to become the guitarist you always wanted to be.
There are many guitar lesson websites for beginners, the ones I recommend are (no bias whatsoever)
- TheGuitarLesson.com (this site 😉 )
- GuitarTricks.com - they have a free trial
- JamPlay.com - here are some coupon codes
And here is a comparison of these lesson sites.
So there you have it, these are pretty much all of the accessories and tools a beginner guitarist will need. My recommendations are inexpensive, but they are tried and tested products you'll be using for years to come.