It probably didn’t take long after you began researching guitars, that you also discovered there are a ton of accessories available as well.
Seriously, there are thousands – and manufacturers will try and convince you that every one of them is a necessity. As you could imagine, the costs can add up quickly – especially since new accessories seem to come out every single week.
The truth is however, not all of them are actually that important to most players.
Therefore, in this article I’m only going to focus on the necessities – the accessories that every electric guitar player should have, regardless of the guitar they’ve purchased or the genre they plan to play.
Without any further ado, let’s begin.
1. A Hard Guitar Case
This one isn’t particularly exciting, but it’s very important.
Many new guitarists end up putting this off until it’s too late. But after you damage your first guitar, you surely won’t be making that mistake again.
Instead, it’s better to simply buy a hard case from the very beginning, to protect your guitar from any potential damage while transporting it.
Because let’s be real, accidents happen. You don’t have to be running a huge tour to incur damage. Even if you’re only taking your guitar to your friends house on the weekends, it still pays to have a quality case.
If you can’t get both, we recommend getting a hard case over a soft one (usually called a ‘gig bag’) as soft cases – while convenient to carry, won’t protect your guitar from any serious impacts.
Every guitarist should own a capo – even if you are an electric guitar player.
What is a capo? Put simply, it is an accessory that goes over the strings on your guitar, holding them down at your desired fret. This allows you to shift everything up in key easily. The capo shifts the pitch of any open strings that are strummed, allowing you to keep the same chord shapes.
There will undoubtedly be songs that you want to play at some point which require a capo. If playing along with a vocalist, a capo also allows you to more easily match the vocalist if they decide to sing the song in a key that is more comfortable for them.
Capos are very cheap, so there really isn’t any good reason to avoid picking one up.
3. Extra Strings
Another thing you’ll be kicking yourself for if you need them, but don’t have them, is extra strings.
At some point, you will break a string. It is inevitable. Frequent guitar players break strings regularly, and you’ll always want to have a spare set or two on hand. Even if you don’t break a string, your guitar will sound nicer if you re-string it every so often.
String choice is a highly personal decision, and there are quite a few factors that go into most people’s preferences – including string gauge, material, and brand. However, you can view a few popular choices below:
4. Guitar Strap + Strap Locks
Even if you primarily play guitar sitting down, you’ll want to get a strap.
And if you ever plan on doing shows, well, you don’t have a choice. I’ve been to hundreds of small rock shows and can’t imagine how hilarious it would be to see someone try to play without something as important as a strap. That might work for classical guitarists, but it doesn’t work for just about everyone else.
Some guitars come with straps, but they tend to be rather cheap and are prone to splitting or falling off. Therefore, it’s still beneficial to purchase something a little bit more durable – and a little bit more comfortable as well.
In addition to a strap, it is also worth picking up strap locks to guarantee the strap stays on the guitar. They are quite cheap and add an extra layer of security. Some of our recommendations for both straps and strap locks can be found below.
5. Extra Picks
It seems like however many guitar picks you have, you’ll always need more. Guitarists lose picks so frequently, it’s almost a joke.
My solution? Buy so many of them, that you always seem to be able to find one when you need it. Or, buy a good set and a pick holder – a small little plastic accessory that can be stuck onto your guitar. Meaning you’ll always have picks available if you’re responsible enough to actually put them back.
As far as picks themselves go, these are another thing where people tend to develop their own personal preferences for brand, thickness, and material. If you aren’t sure yet, consider buying a mixed pack.
A cable is necessary to connect your electric guitar to your amplifier. That much is probably obvious.
What may not be obvious however is that the cable itself has an effect on your overall sound. Cheap cables can add unwanted noise and damage tone.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an (in our opinion) overpriced cable, but you don’t want to get the cheapest guitar cables either.
Nobody likes listening to a guitar that’s out of tune.
And even if you don’t mind, your spouse, friends or neighbors may begin secretly plotting to send your guitar back to wherever it came from.
Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and buy an actual tuner. Tuning by ear is great and it’s a skill that you’ll naturally develop over time, but even if you become amazing at tuning by ear – yes, even then, you’ll still want to have a tuner.
We recommend the BOSS TU-3 Stompbox. It’ll give you the most accurate tune, and has the added benefit of muting the sound if you need to re-tune during a gig. Note that if you do purchase it, you will also need to purchase an extra cable.
If the TU-3 isn’t within your budget, you can also buy a clip-on tuner which would be much cheaper. We recommend the KLIQ UberTuner.
8. GHS Fast Fret
Over time, dirt and grime will build up on your strings. GHS Fast Fret is cheap, and is loved by guitarists because it…
- Removes all of that dirt and grime, leaving your strings nice and shiny.
- It helps the strings to last longer.
- It acts as a lubricant and helps you move your fingers up and down the fretboard more smoothly.
Fast Fret on it’s own won’t turn you into a guitar superstar, but it’s worth keeping in your case and will last you a year or longer.
9. Guitar Stand
You will play your guitar more frequently if it is convenient to do so. Even if it’s only for 30 seconds at a time.
Also, you will probably need to go to the bathroom at some point while you’re playing. This means you’ll need a quick, convenient, and safe place to set your guitar down while you’re gone.
A stand makes this much easier, and let’s be honest – you get to admire your guitar’s beauty when you’re not playing it, which is a benefit of its own.
There’s not a whole lot to say about stands. They do come in a couple of different styles. We’ll link some popular ones down below.
10. Optional: Multi-FX Pedal
Last but not least, we have a multi-fx pedal.
Pedals are a rabbit hole of their own, and it’s not uncommon for guitarists to eventually collect dozens of them – building larger and larger pedalboards as time goes on.
If you’re just starting however, a multi-fx pedal could be a good first pedal to buy.
A multi-fx pedal does exactly what it sounds like – it combines multiple effects into a single pedal. The cost of this is that it really doesn’t handle specific effects as nicely or as cleanly as a dedicated pedal would.
The upside is that you have a lot of different fun effects to play with, all in one pedal.
This gives you the added benefit of discovering which effects you care about the most, giving you an idea on what you should buy first when you’re ready to start purchasing multiple pedals.
For beginner-intermediate players, we recommend the Zoom G1X FOUR, which is an incredible value for the price. It has over 70 built-in effects, as well as a looper and a tuner. Honestly, you can get so many more sounds out of your guitar with this one multi-effects unit alone.
Although there are thousands of options we consider these 10 to be some of the most important electric guitar accessories to purchase.
If there are any questions that we can answer for you about any of these accessories, or you believe there’s something important we should consider adding to this list, we’d love it if you’d let us know. Leave a comment using the form down below.
Wishing you the best, and enjoy your guitar!