The guitar shop that rents me a very nice lesson room at a very reasonable rate would love it if I encouraged my students to buy more accessories, but I can’t. As I’m sure you know, there is gear galore for guitarists. Unfortunately most of it is rarely used and quickly turns to junk and clutter. I’m uncomfortable with encouraging some one to spend their hard earned on a widget that is only going to add weight to their case.
Having thus established my credentials, here are the accessories that you actually need:
Tuner. Even if you can tune by ear there will be situations in which it’s too noisy to hear or the opposite; you have to be quiet back stage. More than once I’ve just been too frazzled by complications leading up to a show and didn’t need the additional brain work. I recommend a contact tuner like the Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner which works on both acoustic and electric without interference from outside noise. (What is it about the sound of a guitarist tuning that reminds every drummer in the world to warm up?)
Strap. Performing and practicing, it keeps your guitar where you want it. The best one is totally dependent on personal taste; what works for you. I prefer a soft leather guitar strap such as Levy’s Leathers Guitar Strap, M17D-DBR, 2 1/2″ distressed carving leather guitar strap. Slightly more expensive, but it conforms comfortably to my shoulder and stays in place without slipping.
Strings. I always buy two sets at a time. That way I have spares in case of a break and I always remember what brand and size is on the guitar. These days I use Elixir® Acoustic Bronze Guitar Strings with NANOWEB® Coating, Custom Light Gauge on my acoustic and Elixir Electric Guitar Strings with NANOWEB Coating Custom Light (.009-.046) on my electric.
That’s it. Those are the accessories you should buy with a guitar. Could you get by without even these? Sure, but they all solve problems that you are certain to encounter. Is that all that’s in my gig bag? Of course not! But, that’s a subject for future blogs.