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Wondering what accessories to buy with your electric guitar? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of essentials you need to get up and running with your electric guitar. In addition, we’ve put together some optional accessories you might want as you progress in your guitar-playing journey.
These are the essential accessories you need with an electric guitar: a guitar cable, amplifier, picks, guitar strap, tuner, guitar strings, a case or gig bag, and training resources. Other useful accessories are a tablet or mobile device, software, wireless setup, headphones, pedals and effects, maintenance tools, strap locks, metronome, capo, guitar stand, and a notebook.
Keep reading for some tips on what to buy. With our list in mind, we’ll explore some of the finer points of these items such as cost, brands, and other options. You might get some ideas even if you are a seasoned professional.
Electric Guitar Cable
You need an electric guitar cable to connect to an amplifier or an audio interface. As you are just starting out, you don’t need anything longer than 10 feet or anything particularly fancy. A standard cable from a name-brand manufacturer will be fine. Stay away from the inexpensive cables from off-brand manufacturers. Check out our blog post to learn about the difference between electric guitar cables.
While you can play an electric guitar without an amp, having a small practice amp is beneficial when you are just starting out. Something like the Blackstar ID Core or the Spark Amp would be great. Check out the Fender Mustang amp for another excellent and affordable practice amp.
The amplifiers listed above are all amp modelers. They are solid-state amps or speakers that include settings to model specific amps, effects, and tones. The Blackstar ID Core has tone settings for clean, crunch, and high gain. With the Spark amp, you can emulate classic sounds from Fender, Marshall, Vox, Dumble, Klon, and others.
The Fender Mustang ties in with the Fender Play and Tone apps. If you are learning a specific song on Fender Play, you’ll be able to recreate the guitar tone with the Mustang by downloading the tone preset with the Fender Tone app.
You will also need some guitar picks unless you are playing electric guitar without a pick. As a beginner, thin picks are great to start out with. You may end up using medium-weight or heavier picks as you progress.
Just buy a pack of thin picks for now, or go with a variety pack if you want to try out some different weights and shapes. We recommend the nylon picks from Dunlop. The Max Grip picks have some extra texture on the pick to help with your grip.
You will likely be playing while sitting down to practice. However, getting a guitar strap is also a good idea. You can practice while standing or use it to keep your guitar secure while sitting. A guitar strap can also help encourage good posture while playing, which is vital to protect your back.
A guitar tuner is essential to keep your guitar in tune. The clip-on tuners are affordable and work just fine. They clip onto the headstock of your guitar and pick up the vibrations from your strings.
Your guitar amp may have a tuner built into it. The Spark amp and the Blackstar ID Core amp have tuners as part of the amp. I use a standard clip-on Chromatic Tuner from Snark and combine it with the tuner built into my amp to get the best results.
If you don’t feel like buying another accessory, you can just use an app on your phone or tablet. The Fender Tune app works well. I used this recently while traveling to tune up an acoustic guitar at a vacation home.
Private guitar lessons are a great way to start out. If you have the means and can find a good guitar teacher, starting with private instruction is an excellent way to go.
For many of us, online instruction is more accessible and affordable. Some great places to start are the Fender Play app, Justin Guitar, and Jamplay.com. Both the Fender Play app and Justin Guitar have step-by-step courses for beginners.
Justin Guitar and Jamplay.com also have courses for intermediate and advanced players. The Fender Play app has a good selection of songs to learn, which keeps things fun. It’s more enjoyable to play songs than endlessly practice scales.
Case or Gig Bag
A good hardshell case or gig bag is essential to store your electric guitar while not playing it. Leaving it out is a great way to damage it from an accidental fall or by knocking it off a stand.
By keeping your guitar in a case, you avoid additional wear and tear, and your guitar will remain in good condition. Who knows, someday your guitar will be vintage if you keep it long enough.
You’ll need a fresh pack of guitar strings when it’s time to change your strings.
Your guitar likely came with a set of 9 or 10 gauge strings. I recommend a light gauge of strings when starting out. A set of 09-42 strings is perfect for most beginners.
A pack of strings costs under ten dollars, and you can save money by buying in bulk. Coated strings cost a little more, but they have a protective coating that helps them last longer.
An Open Mind And A Good Attitude
Learning a new skill can be difficult. The guitar is no different; it’s a challenging instrument to learn. Patience and a positive attitude will be helpful to you as you move through your guitar journey.
Sometimes you get stuck, and having a good attitude helps you work through the rough spots. Consistency and a steady practice routine are essential to developing your skills.
A positive outlook helps you keep going and keep up your momentum.
Along with those essential must-have accessories, there are some items that you might want with your electric guitar. These will help you progress with your guitar playing and venture into recording and customizing your tone.
iPad, Tablet, Or Mobile Device
An iPad, tablet, or mobile device will be helpful when using apps, amp simulators, and even recording your guitar.
Some amps, such as the Spark amp, use an app to control the amp. For example, Spark lets you explore different effects pedals utilizing the app. You can change basic settings with the physical amp controls, but you will need to use the app to switch amps or pedals and fine-tune the settings.
Software (DAWs and Amp Simulators)
Software on your computer or mobile device will help record your guitar and change the tone. The recording software is called a DAW or digital audio workstation. Several systems are available, ranging in cost from free to thousands of dollars.
If you have a Mac, you already have access to GarageBand. Also, try Cubasis LE on your mobile device and PreSonus Studio One. Both have free versions that are bundled with certain amps and other software.
There are many amp simulators on the market, such as Bias FX and Amplitube. With this software, you can even replace your guitar amp and play using your computer or mobile device and a pair of headphones.
You might explore going wireless with your electric guitar end ditching the guitar cable. The wireless setup gives you some freedom of movement. This may be especially useful if you are performing on stage. But even when practicing at home, eliminating the cable as a tripping hazard is beneficial.
A good pair of headphones is essential for recording and using amp simulator software with your guitar. You’ll find different types of headphones, such as open and closed-back headphones. Look for a high-quality general-purpose pair to get started.
Pedals and Effects
If you don’t want to go the software route and you prefer a more analog approach to your guitar playing, you might get into using guitar pedals. Instead of using software, you use a physical pedal to change your guitar tone.
These are great; however, the cost quickly adds up if you want to buy several.
Instead of individual pedals, you can buy a multi-effects pedal such as the Boss GT series. These will pack multiple effects and amp tones into one device.
String Change and Maintenance Tools
To change your guitar strings, you’ll need some basic tools. At the minimum, a pair of wire cutters and a string winder will make the job faster.
Maintenance tools such as cleaning brushes, a microfiber cloth, and fretboard conditioner will also come in handy. Check out our post on electric guitar maintenance for a complete list of tools and resources you need.
These are small locking devices that, as the name suggests, lock your guitar strap to the guitar. Strap locks keep your guitar from disconnecting from your guitar strap and protect against falls. These little devices can be an instrument lifesaver.
As we discussed in our post about electric guitars and humidity, a case humidifier is an excellent way to keep your instrument at a consistent humidity level. A hygrometer will help you measure the moisture level in the case.
A metronome is an essential practice tool. It will help your sense of rhythm and keep you playing in time. As a beginner, you should practice with a metronome, so you don’t develop bad habits. You can buy standalone metronomes or use an app on your phone or tablet.
A capo is a simple device that presses down all the guitar strings at a specific fret. This allows you to change the starting point of the strings. You can then play open chord shapes that you wouldn’t be able to play higher up the neck.
For example, if you wanted to play a C open chord shape. Capos are also helpful if you can’t play Barre chords.
Although you might be learning with your tablet or computer, a music stand is nice to have if you are using any paper sheet music or tablature. And it will save you from hunching over your computer.
Alternately, you can keep things digital and buy a stand for your tablet or phone.
A guitar stand is great to have as a safe place to put your guitar during breaks from playing. We recommend keeping your guitar in a case when not in use, but a guitar stand is handy for your practice sessions.
A dedicated music stool or even a chair without armrests is good to have for practice. Playing guitar in a chair with armrests is difficult because the armrests get in the way of your guitar.
A music stool will solve this and give you freedom of movement to quickly adjust your amp or pedals when playing.
Notebook and Sheet Music Paper
Keep a dedicated notebook to track your progress and jot down notes on anything you learn during your practice. With blank sheet music or tablature paper, you can write down your song ideas, so you don’t forget. It’s very easy to come up with a great riff or idea, only to forget it when you try and play it again the next day.
Music is best when it’s shared and played with other people. If you have someone you can practice with, that makes it all the more fun.
Practicing together, one of you can take the rhythm part while the other takes the lead. You’ll learn some practical skills such as improvising and playing with others. These are essential if you ever want to play in a band.
Many of these electric guitar accessories are straightforward and things you would have expected. The main thing is to keep on practicing and playing! We hope we have given you some other things to consider and additional accessories to explore.