So you have a guitar, now what? Buying some guitar accessories will make the most out of your guitar-playing experience. In many cases, they also allow you to personalize the look or sound of your guitar.
Regardless of whether you play an acoustic or electric guitar, you should have the following accessories:
Unless you plan to play sitting down, you'll need a guitar strap. If you're playing an acoustic guitar, having the guitar strap will allow you to walk around and play wherever you want.
It's always a good idea to have some extra guitar strings on hand; you never know when one may break on you. A pack of guitar strings tends to run less than $10, so there's no real reason to not have at least one extra set handy at all times.
A guitar stand provides a safe place to store your guitar between songs. While not a necessity, having a guitar stand helps protect your guitar – laying it on the floor or against a wall could be an accident waiting to happen, so why take the risk?
Guitar tuners are another great investment. Learning on an instrument that is not tuned properly is more difficult, and nobody wants to hear it either!
If you have an electric guitar, you'll need more accessories to even be able to hear your guitar:
An unplugged electric guitar requires amplification to make it loud enough to play with other musicians. There are plenty of guitar amps available to choose from. If you're just starting out, it's best to buy a combo amp – this is a guitar amp and a guitar cabinet combined in one portable unit. A basic guitar combo amp will include a master volume, some basic equalization controls and may even offer different built-in guitar effects. Those looking for more volume and features may opt for a guitar stack with a separate guitar amp head and as many as two guitar cabinets.
The guitar instrument cable or patch cord is required to transmit the sound from the guitar to the amplifier. The quality of the cable will alter the output from the guitar, with cheaper cables adding noise and reducing the full range of sound frequencies available. If you use guitar effects, you'll need an instrument cable to go from the guitar to the effects, and another to go from the effect to the guitar amp. Having an extra backup guitar cable is necessary for guitarists who perform live regularly.
Lastly, having guitar effects can make playing guitar more fun and experimental. While you don't need effects to play guitar, most of the guitar recorded over the past three decades has had some form of effect processing. Some of the more popular guitar effects include reverb, distortion, flange, chorus and wah. Effects can be used individually or mixed to add more depth and uniqueness to the sound; they are available as single units or increasingly in affordable digital multi-effect formats.
Like other music hobbies, playing guitar is a great way to have fun and express yourself. Guitar accessories help to personalize your instrument and create a sound that's all your own.