So, you’ve just decided to begin learning the guitar! Congratulations on choosing a gratifying hobby, past-time, career, etc…
That’s right, guitar playing can become whatever you make of it. There are some guitar accessories that you will need to get started. We’ll let you know exactly what those essential accessories are.
They are just a few things necessary to play the guitar and a few things that make the whole getting started process so much easier. Learning to play the guitar can be tough and frustrating.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of items that help along that process so you don’t have to worry about what you need to do to get started.
Now, let’s get to that list!
Accessory #1 (King of all guitar accessories) – Get Yourself A Tuner
The very first thing any guitarist should do before actually playing the guitar is to tune the thing. Playing an out-of-tune guitar is simply unacceptable to an audience.
The truth is any instrument that is out of tune is unpleasant to the ear. Your listeners will run away or possibly throw things at you if you are badly out of tune.
It can’t be assumed that a novice will begin with a good sense of pitch or the ability to tune the guitar by ear so it is a must that you purchase a small tuner. It is one of the most essential guitar accessories!
Yes, there are of course other ways to tune a guitar than using a tuner, such as a tuning fork or a piano, but for the novice. it’s simply easier and faster to purchase a reliable tuner.
Here are the top three tuners I would suggest for a beginner:
- Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner
- Korg PitchCrow-G Clip-On Tuner
- BOSS TU-2 Chromatic Tuner Pedal
Let’s discuss them some more!
First Choice – Korg CA-1 Chromatic Tuner
This is a great little tuner that is reliable and allows for tuning of acoustic and electric guitars. You can pick various tunings easily such as Standard, E Flat, or any number of other tunings since it is chromatic. Very portable, accurate, and dependable.
Second Choice – Korg PitchCrow-G Clip-On Tuner
I was amazed at this little guy from the first time I used it. It’s easy to use, easy to see, and it’s accurate. In short, it works great and does what it’s supposed to do. Lets you tune in silence, or while playing.
Third Choice – Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner Pedal
If you are learning on an electric guitar, a floor tuner might be the best for you. The Boss TU-2 is built like a tank and it will not let you down.
Picks are such an essential part of playing guitar that some may not consider them guitar accessories at all as they are a key necessity for playing guitar. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to guitar picks. It is truly up to you what feels the most comfortable. There are various thicknesses and sizes you should try out though.
They range from heavy to thin generally speaking. Heavy being the thickest and stiffest, and thin being the lightest. You should buy and experiment with all kinds of picks.
Guitar pick thickness:
You should at least purchase two of each thickness heavy, medium, and thin. And then there are different grips offered as well. I like the Dunlap nylon grip picks myself.
I like to use Fender medium picks often. I find them to be thin enough for strumming and thick enough for picking.
Don’t bother ordering off the internet until you know what you like. Just stop in at your local pawn shop or guitar shop and chances are you find a decent selection
There are many options to choose from here. It’s safe to say you don’t have to start with anything fancy. just pick something that is the right size and a comfortable fit.
The only real requirement for a strap is that it holds onto your guitar and does not let it drop to the floor. Straps are only necessary if you will be playing while you stand.
In many cases, complete beginners will mostly sit while they are learning to play. It is a good idea occasionally to switch things up and attempt to get used to playing while standing.
Later down the road, when performing, in most cases people will expect you to be standing. One suggestion I have here is to not let the guitar hang down low when you play standing up.
Adjust the strap to where the guitar is in the same position, relative to your body, as it would be when you are sitting and playing.
Accessory #4-Finger Ease
This is just a product that you spray on the strings that helps lubricate them. It also helps condition and protects the strings and fretboard. This product will cut down on friction to the fingers enabling you to play longer before the fingers get sore.
When you are just starting to play, your fingers will become very tender. Anything that can help your fingers slide across the strings with less friction is a plus. There are of course other brands and products that do the same thing so you can pick the one you like.
If you do this, along with wiping your strings with a cloth after playing, you will get a lot more life from your strings, and your instrument will stay cleaner.
A capo is a device that you put on the neck of the guitar to raise the pitch of the guitar(shorten the length of the neck). It is often used for players to put a song into a key that is more vocal-friendly for guitarists.
You just squeeze and put it where you want it. There are other styles but complicated is not what we are going for here.
Kyser Capo is a very reliable and popular capo that will not let you down. They come in all kinds of different colors so you can pick one that suits you with no problems. They are inexpensive (usually between $15-$20) and will last for ages.
Accessory #6-Polish Clothes/wipes
You’ll need to wipe off the strings after you play. The oil and dirt from your fingers will rust steel strings. Plus, dead skin cells and dirt from your fingertips are gross.
For this, I mostly use a plain washcloth (dry). Do not wet the washcloth or put water on your instrument for any reason. During string changes, I will give the entire fretboard a good wipe-down while the strings are off, giving a lot of attention to the frets themselves.
To remove fingerprints and smudges from the body and back of the neck you will want to use a less abrasive polish cloth. Walmart is a cheap place to find these.
Or often you may find them at your local pawn shop or music store. Gently polish away fingerprints and smudges using a circular motion and elbow grease.
Take your time and be patient. This is a time to pamper your guitar and admire it.
Accessory #7-Method Book
Honestly, I don’t tell people to trust the internet to teach them how to play the guitar. You need a simple tried and true method book. I consider a good method book one of the most essential guitar accessories. These method books teach you the basics about your instrument and the rudiments of music.
Some experienced players may disagree and exclaim that a method book is unnecessary and that you don’t need it.
While they may have some points, I will still disagree and recommend that you start with one anyways.
Reason 1: Great method books that are used in college curriculums like the ones I’m about to recommend to you, use tried and true pedagogy. This means, although they might be tough to get through, and perhaps a bit dry and boring, if you follow the method to the end, you will learn to play.
Reason 2: Method books present the basics and what some people refer to as the mundane and boring part of learning your instrument.
So if you find learning the essential parts of playing your instrument and music as a whole for that matter to be boring, then perhaps playing the guitar is not actually for you.
Better to find this out early in the process instead of spending many hours watching youtube videos only to realize you need to go back to basics and who wants to do that?
I recommend the following method books:
- “Hal Leonard Guitar Method”
- “Modern Guitar Method” Mel Bay
- “Mastering The Guitar” Mel Bay
- “A Modern Method For Guitar” by William Leavitt
Let’s talk about them some more!
Easiest – For the hobbyist
Hal Leonard Guitar Method – This is a three-book series that is probably the easiest for a complete beginner. No need to complete all three books right now though. Learn Book 1 thoroughly and you will be off to a great start!
Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method – This is a seven-book series that is quite popular. It is a little more challenging than the Hal Leonard method. No need to worry about completing all 7 books. Do book 1 for now and your cooking with gas.
A Bit More Challenging – For serious students/college level
“Mel Bay Mastering The Guitar” series – There are six books in this guitar method. It is used as the standard method at some colleges. This series is very thorough and can be quite challenging.
It contains a vast amount of material. Beginners should try to complete Books 1a and 1b.
William Levitt’s “A Modern Method For Guitar” by Berkely Press – This is another standard method used in some college curriculums including the Berkely School of music.
It is a three-book series that will challenge players of all levels. What makes this one so challenging is the original material used to explain the concepts. You will not find folk and spiritual tunes that have been around for 60 years in this method as you would in the Mel Bay and Hal Leonard books.
Accessory #8-Chord Book
A good chord book is a necessity for guitar players of any level. In the beginning, a focus on learning chords is a must. You need to at least learn the most common major and minor chords played in guitar music.
“Mel Bay Guitar Chords” – This is probably the best-selling guitar chord book of all time. You will learn major, minor, 6th, 7th, and 9th chords, as well as movable rhythm (barre) chords.
Another solid option is “The Guitarists Chord Book” by Peter Vogl.
Whichever book you decide on, dive into it and try to learn and use as many chords as possible. Learning chords is an essential part of being a rhythm guitar player.
It would be best if you practiced the technique and correct fingerings first and foremost. Then practice switching between different chords, starting with the most common major and minor chords first. This is where a good strumming technique is developed.
If you can get good with chords and strumming patterns, and later picking patterns, you will always be valuable in a musical setting with other musicians.
Counting is a big part of playing music. Not that you have to be great at math or anything like that, because you certainly don’t. Being able to count to ten is about the gist of it.
That’s where metronomes come in. They help us count with a steady meter.
When you’re learning to play, it helps tremendously to have the metronome provide the meter for you while you count along with it.
Many people think they have great timing and rhythm when they are speeding up and slowing down without realizing it. This is where the metronome helps most.
If you ever plan on making a recording, you should try to get used to playing along with a metronome and learning to count internally while you play. It’s generally true that a metronome needs to be involved if you want to make a great recording.
You don’t have to spend much money on these. You may already have one on an app for free on your smartphone. If you own a digital piano, you may find that it has a programmable metronome. You could even download one for free from the App Store.
Whichever you decide to do, get one and use it constantly. You won’t use it when performing live (unless recording), but you should always use it when practicing and learning new material and recording in your home studio, or any recordings you make.
So, there you have a list of nine essential guitar accessories that a beginner should have. These are not all the things a guitarist will ever need, just a starting point.
As your skills and interest increase, you will pick up many accessories and learning resources. Many guitar players, including myself, have a large library of learning materials.
But for now, you should be able to use the recommended guitar accessories to speed up your initial learning process. Another resource that can help speed up your learning process is our 12 guitar chords for beginners post. The classical guitarist may find this classical guitar accessory page helpful as well.
Go ahead and bookmark this post for your reference, and share it if you found it useful!
Don’t forget to join our mailing list!
See you in the next post!