Necessities for Beginning Guitar Players
Being a guitar player is more than just owning and using your guitar. When you visit your local music shop, you are often met with an array of accessories for both acoustic and electric guitars. Some help protect and maintain your axe, while others allow you to expand your tonal range. Here are but a few recommended items.
If you do not have a backup guitar, this may seem obvious to you, but always, always, ALWAYS have extra picks and strings on hand, especially if you are a performing musician. Many a string will break in the middle of a live performance. This is not the time to run to the guitar store. It is far better to take a few minutes to restring-the audience won’t mind-than it would be for you to have to figure out how to play around a broken string.
Picks can get easily lost or broken. The good news is that they are cheap to replace. Make sure you have several at your disposal every time you get ready to play.
You can tune your guitar using a piano, assuming the piano is in tune. But you probably don’t have a piano everywhere you play. Tuners are inexpensive and portable. Some are basic reed tuners that you blow into. Some electronic tuners attach directly to your guitar. Others allow you to plug in to them with an electric guitar cord. Nothing sounds worse than a poorly tuned guitar. Always have a tuner stashed in your case. Your vocalist will thank you.
A capo attaches to the neck of your guitar and holds the strings down on a chosen fret, shortening the string length and thereby raising their pitch. The capo allows you to play songs at a higher pitch while still using the fingering you would have used without the capo. This is a very convenient tool, particularly if you are a beginner or intermediate player.
When using a capo, put it on very carefully over the fret to avoid string buzz or flatness. Be extra careful when removing it, as well, to avoid injury.
A metronome is another essential tool for improving and maintaining your playing excellence. It is a portable drummer of sorts, keeping a precise beat for you to play along with. You can choose a traditional metronome with the swinging arm, or you can get a portable electronic one that can fit in your guitar case. Both types offer a full range of beats. These are handy for those times when a drummer isn’t available. Metronomes are useful for all musicians, and you shouldn’t be without one.
Pedal to the Metal
As you progress in your guitar playing, you may find yourself looking to expand your sonic palette. Effects pedals allow any electric guitarist (or bassist) to shape their sound electronically. Some pedals provide extra distortion; some allow for flanging, some can be used to simulate other instruments. A loop pedal is a great way to work on your playing and songwriting skills. As the name implies, it allows you to record a passage, and then play it over and over in a loop while you play a different passage. The sky is the limit!
The above items are only a handful of great products to help you along your path to guitar godliness. Check your local retailer to see what is available to you.