Glenn here with The Best Guitar World.
Today I want to discuss a little bit about simple guitar accessories. Things that may not be needed, But, could be a Great benefit to you in the future, even if they are not right now. These common accessories can be acquired for a pretty low cost, But some can get pretty pricey. I will walk you through the simplest of a few accessories, explain what they are used for, and try to give you a better perspective on the need, if any, and the possible costs involved.
So, let’s just jump Right into it –
As simple as a guitar pick may sound, there are so many different types, and you certainly do not want to get into the Hype of it all. Colors, shapes, pictures, designs – none of this matters! What matters the Most, is that you are comfortable with the feel of the pick in your hand.
It’s like I always say…”if you can’t hold onto it, or you find it too thick to glide across your strings, or too thin to make a powerful sound…then what does the shape or color matter. Too many folks forget about simplicity and look to “Unique” right away.
I have been playing guitar for a long time. Today, I buy the same style pick, the same color, and the same thickness all the time. In fact, I usually have one in the strings of every guitar I own, and about 10 or 15 spares to replace them when they wear down. Oh, and by the way, YES, they Do wear down, and they can become very cumbersome when they do. Mainly because the end of them are generally pointed in some way.
Wear and Tear
As you strum and pick over and over, using the same pick, It will eventually wear. Your once rounded end, now looks like a straight edge, or, a very sharp point…lol They are generally made of some kind of plastic, nylon, wood, or metal….all sorts of materials. Being so small and thin, a pick will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. If you have been playing for any amount of time, you probably know this already.
The advice I generally give to other guitar players, test some out, sample different shapes and thicknesses until you find one that you are comfortable with. For me, whether I play an Acoustic, or Electric guitar, I love the 60 mm. It seems to be that “Perfect Balance” between thick and thin, and I very seldom drop one while I am playing.
I just recently ordered 6 picks, the same color, the same thickness, But, on one side of these picks is a sort of grip. Dots like a Blind person may use…kind of like a Braille covering. I am hoping these picks are comfortable enough to continue to use, than, the worry of dropping one has just decreased immensely. Only Good can come from that ??
As you can see above, there are many different types of guitar tuners as well. Guitar tuners have become More, and More advanced. They pretty well do the same thing, tune your guitar, But, some are less sensitive to surrounding sounds, so there is Less interference when you are trying to tune your guitar in noisy areas.
I would think the best type of tuner, with the least outside interference, is the tuner that is in a pedal, or a part of an Amplifier. The pedal , or amp, is plugged into a power supply, and your guitar is connected somehow to it. SO, there is literally no outside or surrounding interference.
The Clip On tuner is the type I use Mostly. As you can see above, they are simply clipped onto your headstock. The vibrations from your guitar drive a colored line or block to the center of the tuner. Once your string is tuned, the line or block usually changes color, and remains solid. There are many other types of tuners, but the Clip on is probably more than you will ever need. They work well, and are also pretty inexpensive which is almost ALWAYS a good thing.
However; if you ever plan on becoming the next Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Eric Clapton…you should probably consider something a little more advanced than a clip on tuner. But, like I said before….try not to get caught up in the Hype and Marketing for these items. A simple clip on tuner will suffice just fine for now.
If you prefer to play in only 1 or 2 keys, than a Capo is probably a good thing for you. If a song is played in a key that is too high or low for you, you can always use a Capo across all 6 strings, and play the song in the 1 or 2 chords that you like to play in. Just by placing the Capo on the fretboard a strategically placed fret. For those more advanced, the Capo is not necessary as they can usually play Barre Chords to replace what a Capo would do.
Again, there are many kinds, colors, and designs. Just look above here….The main thing to remember when purchasing a Capo, is the strength, and durability of the compression. This is almost always a spring, but there are other types that actually allow you to tighten the Capo around the neck of the guitar. You should speak to somebody that knows a little about them prior to purchasing one.
This is where you can spend some money. Guitar straps are very important to the guitar in many instances, However; you certainly do not have to own one to be able to learn how to play. They come in different lengths, designs, colors, and even widths…..The materials that a guitar strap is made of, and the details put into the creation of a guitar strap generally determines the cost of the strap.
They can be as inexpensive as $10 or $15, or, depending on what you want, I have seen many that cost over $100. The guitar strap is designed to hold the guitar in place in front of you while you play. Anybody that plays on stage professionally will tell you it is a necessity, even a MUST HAVE.
Even if you are not a professional guitar player, you may get restless or sore sitting in the same position while Practicing for hours. If you own a guitar strap, you could simply stand up and stretch, while still playing or practicing.
Let me say this gain, the guitar strap is not necessary to own, However; I do have a guitar strap for all of mine. I tend to get a sore back if I sit too long, so I need one in order to be able to practice standing up. Another thing to keep in mind…if you are planning on doing any kind of stage performances, it would benefit you to actually Practice standing up as well. This will help get you prepared for the plans you have.
As you can see from the many different pictures above, choosing one of these items can be pretty confusing. Which design, what color, what type? These are all questions we need to ask ourselves when we look to purchase these things, BUT, we need to Avoid the Hype, and the bells and whistles.
If you are a Beginner, just starting out, ask yourself these questions. Do I NEED a pick? Can I Do without a CAPO? Should I purchase a Tuner? Do I NEED a strap. The answer to these questions will lead you to a purchase. Technically, you actually do not NEED any of them to learn how to play a guitar. The most important thing to add to your arsenal is the guitar pick, And you really do not even need that. If you prefer the sound of soft, resonating sounds, and you are looking to learn finger picking, then even a guitar pick is not necessary.
In my opinion, the Guitar pick, and the guitar tuner are must haves. For any beginner, you obviously want to be able to tune the guitar by ear. Hear the notes and tune to them, But, the reality is…..you cannot always have the quiet needed to do this. If you have a clip on tuner attached to your guitar, then you can use it in noisier situations. As you become more and more familiar with the sounds of the tuned strings, you can use the tuner OR your ear. The guitar pick, to me is a necessity because I like to strum really hard, and belt out the sounds, and I like to do a little soloing as well. The pick actually helps with that.
The Capo, and the strap, are additions you can have because you want them. You can spend little, or lots, that is entirely up to you. Just remember, you Never have to spend a lot of money to to own these accessories, Unless, your personal preference leads you to.
It has been a pleasure providing this information to you. I enjoy helping others understand the choices available to them, and the “UNBIASED” details of some the items available. Remember, some are SIMPLY that – “additions” to your guitar arsenal.
I hope this Article helps you to understand what IS, and ISN’T, necessary to own when learning to play. In our next Article, we will talk a little bit about…..the Guitar itself, and the many different makes and models available. This is really where a Newbie can end up spending a whole lot more money than they need to.
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Forget the Bells and Whistles – Learn to play the guitar HERE!
Until next time – Keep On Rockin’ ??