Along with your trusty guitar, there are some items that you won’t want to do without. These tools serve specific purposes so you will want one when the situation calls for it. If you’ve been wondering “what guitar accessories do I need?”, here’s a list of essential ones that you should never go without. There are many accessories out there, but these ones that I recommend beginners should have right from the beginning.
Table of Contents
This is usually one of the first guitar accessories you need, especially when first starting out. Having a guitar tuner is useful in the early stages because most of the time, the new player hasn’t developed their ear and has no reference to what the pitches of the strings are supposed to sound like.
Later down the road, you will probably have a keener sense of the pitches and can start tuning by ear. However, this can still take some time, and it might not be as precise.
In my opinion, unless you have perfect pitch, I believe a guitar tuner is a convenient tool for all players. It’s usually always accurate, and it will most likely save you time!
I’ve personally used the Korg GA-30 tuner for many years and it has served me well. However, like its metronome counterpart, the GA-30 model has been discontinued in favor of a newer one.
I actually like how this one looks more than the GA-30, to be completely honest with you. In terms of functionality, it should work exactly the same and last a very long time.
Why fiddle around wondering you have the correct pitch, or if you are slightly too flat or sharp? Developing your ear is a skill that you will need to practice, but for the sake of efficiency and preciseness, I’d say get a tuner right now.
Metronomes are a handy little device that provides a steady pulse and will become your best friend while practicing the guitar. It’s designed to help people develop their sense of rhythm and timing and it’s also fantastic for working on your technique.
Some people might not recommend metronomes for complete beginners, and that they should just be encouraged to explore one their own. While I think this does have a time and place, and beginners should enjoy the adventure of first starting out but I also introducing a metronome into your practice routine as soon as you possibly can is only beneficial in the long run.
After all, who doesn’t want to start improving faster?
That’s exactly what they will help you do if you get acquainted with them and incorporate them into your daily practice.
Nowadays, you can find tuners and metronomes both in one singular device, which is convenient and cost effective. However, if you’d like to learn more about metronomes and what other kinds there are out there, check out my guide on them here.
99.9% of guitarists will be playing with a guitar pick. If you haven’t realized already, guitar picks tend to somehow disappear into a black hole that you just can’t happen to see, lol. You will set the pick down somewhere, and it just vanishes; nowhere to be found when you need it.
Unless you’re exclusively playing fingerstyle, you will need guitar picks – that is a given but having a place to put them when you are done using them will save you some frustration. A pick holder like this Dunlop one will do just fine. Out of all of the guitar accessories for sale, this one is highly underrated.
In reality, your picks are most likely under your bed, in the washing machine or dryer, or some other place you didn’t immediately think to look. Having a guitar pick holder or case will prevent you from losing picks and having to buy a new pack of them frequently. This is why it makes the cut in this guitar accessories guide.
As for guitar picks themselves, some of my personal favorites I’ve used for years that have a standard-shape have been the Dunlop Nylon Max-Grips.
I particularly love the gripping on these because my hands and fingers tend to sweat a lot when playing, and they’re awesome for both electric and acoustic guitar playing.
At the end of the day, picks are mostly a preference thing, and you can feel free to try out whichever kind you want. However, if you’d like to check out some more recommendations, these ones are great for acoustic guitar, but can also be perfectly fine for electric guitar too in medium to heavier gauges.
You can’t play guitar without strings, and it’s inevitable that you will snap some at some point, even if you are being careful or gentle. They will also catch a lot of oils and grease from your fingers, and if you don’t change them when it’s recommended, the strings will become thin, brittle, and just feel kind of gross. I consider strings themselves an essential part of a guitar accessories list.
There isn’t really a set agreement that’s written in stone about how often you should change your strings, but I’d say every few weeks is a safe bet, but it also really comes down to how much you play too. You will definitely know if the time comes when you need to change your strings.
You should also have some handy if you’ve accidentally snapped one while bending the notes to your favorite solo. It will happen when you least expect it so you will want to be prepared because, regarding guitar accessories, strings will need to be replaced more often than others.
Luckily, strings can be bought in bulk, so you don’t need to buy individual packs each time an incident happens. Usually, strings can be bought bundled as packs of 3, 6, 10, 12, and occasionally you can find sets of 25! If you have a string that you already know that you like, you can buy sets in bulk and potentially save quite a bit of money. It will add up over the years.
Before I moved up to 11-gauge guitar strings, I used to get these all of the time. They were reliable strings that sounded good, but I also didn’t need to order new ones all of the time because I had a large box of them. A 12-pack like this would last me about a year.
If you don’t feel like committing to a particular brand, you can buy smaller sets or single packs, that’s okay too. Just make sure you have some ready; otherwise, you’ll be out of commission for a bit.
You can tune by turning the pegs – sure. However, what if you could expedite the process? That is made possible with a string winder which is one of the few guitar accessories for changing strings.
String winders are a small (usually plastic) tool that has a part that attached to the tuning peg of the guitar. It has a handle that you can hold onto. You could twist and rotate the tool faster than you can if you were turning the tuners by hand.
Some people are oddly hesitant about buying one of these tools. They usually feel that they’d rather save the few bucks and turn the pegs by hand. String winders typically last forever and think about how many strings you will be changing in a lifetime of guitar playing. That’s a lot of strings! It’s also a lot of time you will be saving by investing in a string winder.
These are one of the other guitar accessories for changing strings that you will want to invest in. Without a way to trim your guitar strings once you’ve got them tuned, you will have a floppy mess around your headstock.
Some people like to leave excess guitar string around their headstock. Usually, it’s to make some kind of statement and they just like the messy look. However, most players like to cut that extra string off and the ones that don’t are kind of rare, from what I’ve seen.
Trimming your strings at the headstock can also make things safer, believe it or not. Years ago, I bent over and accidentally poked myself in the eye with some guitar string that was hanging off. Ironically, it was when I was trying to cut them! Be careful and pay attention to where your headstock is before bending over. I was more than likely looking for the string cutters.
Some people make products that are labeled as string cutters, but these cutters are essentially just wire clippers. Regardless of what you want to call them, you will want a pair of these as one of your guitar maintenance accessories. Strings are basically metal wires. Finding a string cutter online is pretty inexpensive, but if you can find a pair of wire clippers in your dad’s toolbox that will suffice too! Here is a pretty innovative gadget that includes a string winder and cutter all-in-one!
Since these definitely aren’t disposable, you will want to make sure that these are one of your higher quality guitar accessories. You shouldn’t ever have to replace it.
If you’re starting out with an electric guitar, you won’t be able to plug in your guitar and play through your amplifier if you don’t have at least one of these! I actually recommend having a spare one in case your current one randomly decides to stop working.
Instrument cables are also known as quarter-inch (1/4) ones and you can find them with flat or angled heads. Angled heads are nice because it prevents the cable from bending unnaturally and possibly breaking.
Additionally, these types of cables will be the same ones that you will be using for guitar pedals, though they’ll be shorter and you might need quite a few. These shorter ones are called “patch cables.”
There are a lot of fancy and expensive cables out there, but as a beginner, I recommend just getting something very basic yet reliable and affordable like this one from Ernie Ball.
Guitar Stand and/or Case
Once you’re finished jamming out, you’re going to need to put your instrument back somewhere safely, so it doesn’t get knocked over and damaged. A guitar stand allows you to put your guitar away responsibly, but also allows for convenience – you can just grab the guitar off of it and start playing again.
I’ve really enjoyed this guitar stand from Amazon. Don’t be alarmed that it doesn’t have a “back area” for the guitar’s neck. I was worried at first too but realized it isn’t necessary. This stand is compact, very sturdy and your guitar won’t fall over unless a freak accident happens.
If you want the best protection for your instrument, however, you may want to invest in some kind of guitar case. A hard-shell case will, by far, be the best way to do this, but there are also excellent soft cases too. Sometimes it may be a little tedious to find the right kind though because one size does not fit all.
Alternatively, you can opt for a padded and secure gig bag too. They can still offer adequate protection for your instrument and usually, weigh much less than a hard-shell guitar case. Either way, you will want something that you can store your instrument in if you need to go jam with your friends or go to your local guitar lessons.
If you’d ask me “what guitar accessories do I need?” in person, these are ones I’d tell you – 100%. These are the most basic, but vital, accessories that any player should have ready and are essential for both performance and maintenance.
Sure, there’s a bunch of other accessories out there, but these are essential accessories that beginners should pick up, especially those who’ve just recently purchased their first guitar. For example, it would feel pretty awful to get excited about playing their new guitar but not being able to tune it up, or worse, deal with a snapped string and not be able to replace it.
Hopefully, this guide has shown you exactly what you’ve needed or have been missing on – some things like your tuner, metronome, and picks, are things that you’ll use daily, whereas it’s good to be prepared by having some a fresh pack of strings on standby and the tools to help you get them on there.
Until it happens to you as a beginner, you have no idea how much of a relief it is if you run into a situation where you need something ASAP, but you have them ready for you!