OK, so you’ve got an instrument you’re happy with. but what about the many guitar accessories out there?
In this guide we run through some of the most important and useful add-ons for your set-up, whether you’re a beginner guitar student or a gigging professional.
Whether looking to refine your sound, expand the possibilities on your instrument, or simply ensure that your guitar is kept safe and in great working order, there are things out there which can help!
Whilst pretty much every instrument out there has a range of must-have accessories, the guitar has arguably more than most…
With that in mind, here’s our pick of the best guitar accessories today.
One of the most essential guitar accessories, a guitar case allows you to take your guitar to lessons, rehearsals, and gigs safely and securely.
A hard-shell case is the best option. However, they can be expensive and cumbersome in some situations, which is why we also recommend having a gig bag.
A hard case not only gives you protection when you travel with your guitar, it can also protect your guitar from environmental issues like excessive humidity or dryness, when you store your guitar in it at home.
In most cases, the best case to buy is the one that was designed for your guitar by the manufacturer.
If you’re having trouble finding the recommended case for your guitar, though, the Gator brand makes great hard and soft cases that usually cost less than the manufacturer’s offering.
A good example is the Gator GC-SGS Deluxe ABS Electric Guitar Case, but they offer designs that will fit any style electric guitar as well.
While a hard case is usually the best option for most guitarists, there are some situations where a gig bag is the better option.
Anyone who has tried to negotiate a bus or a train carrying a hard-shell case will agree that sometimes it is just easier to sling your gig bag over your shoulder and go.
As such, having a gig bag as a backup option is a nice idea if your budget allows.
Fender makes high quality gig bags like the FB-405 that will not break the bank and can easily stand up to the wear and tear rehearsals and gigging. If you cannot find a suitable Fender gig bag, look for a Gator gig bag, like the Gator GBE-Elect.
And, of course, be extra careful when out and about with a gig bag as their lightweight design comes at the expense of safety if you drop it!
Between practice sessions, it is not always practical to put your guitar in its case or gig bag.
Speaking from personal experience, you certainly don’t want to lean it up against your amp, or worse, lay it down somewhere!
What you *do* need is a guitar stand.
Guitar stands are not just for displaying guitars; they play a vital role in protecting your guitar from accidental damage, reducing the number of dents and scratches your guitar will suffer when you are not playing it.
On-Stage makes sturdy and affordable guitar stands designed for one, two, or more guitars, like the On-Stage XCG4 Black Tripod Guitar Single Stand, or the On-Stage 3-Space Foldable Multi Guitar Rack for multiple guitars.
To practice or play the instrument comfortably, it’s important to have your guitar at the right level.
Most jazz and classical guitar players, or any guitarist who plays technical guitar music, needs to have their guitar up fairly high, so they can easily access the entire fretboard.
This involves placing the guitar on a raised knee when seated or adjusting your guitar strap to the perfect height.
Gigging guitarists know the value of a quality strap that secures the guitar in place for your entire performance.
In high-energy performances, though, there is a danger of the strap coming undone.
To guard against this, Dunlop, one of the best guitar accessory brands in the business, has devised a strap-lock kit (the “Straplock Pak”) which holds the strap in place, guaranteeing it will not come undone.
Unless you are taking up fingerstyle playing, you will need to find the right style of guitar pick.
Picks, or guitar plectrums, come in a wide variety of shapes and gauges. For most forms of technical guitar playing, especially jazz, a more rigid pick is recommended.
For less technical guitar playing, like strumming chords, a thinner or lighter pick will do the job.
Most players agree that Dunlop makes the best picks on the market.
The Dunlop Jazz III pick is a time-tested pick design used not only by many jazz artists, but also by artists like John Petrucci who play highly technical instrumental guitar music.
Your guitar’s strings need to be changed regularly if you want to keep the instrument sounding at its best. However, the jury is out regarding how frequently you should do so.
Some guitarists change their strings every day, while others recommend only changing when it’s absolutely necessary – that is when you’ve broken one or when they lose their tone.
While some experienced players like the increased string tension they get from a heavier gauge, most players prefer the feel of a light gauge guitar string, like a set of .009 to .042.
Light gauge strings are particularly recommended for beginning players and players with small hands.
If you have been playing for a while, you likely have a preference in terms of guitar string brands.
However, if you are a new player looking for recommendations, Ernie Ball Super Slinky, the strings in the pink package, feel and sound great.
Another great brand is D’Addario, which makes strings for electric, acoustic, and extended range electrics as well.
You can dive into that topic more deeply in our guide to electric guitar strings.
A string winder is an essential accessory for anyone who wants to keep their guitar sounding great.
String winders allow you to bring each string to pitch in a fraction of the time it would take to turn the tuning machines by hand.
The D’Addario Pro-winder is a great string-winder with built-in clippers that allow you to use one tool to wind and clip your strings when you put on a new set.
It also has a built-in pin puller making it the perfect string changing tool for electric and acoustic guitars.
Guitar Cleaning Accessories
Keeping your guitar clean is not just good hygiene, it’s going to help it play as well as possible.
The best way to keep your guitar looking and sounding great is to incorporate cleaning and maintenance into your string-changing routine.
To do this, you will need guitar polish, cleaning cloths and fretboard conditioner.
You can purchase all of these products separately, of you can try a product like Ernie Ball’s Wonder Wipes.
These are individually packaged cleaning wipes that come pre-treated with instrument polish or fretboard conditioner and are a great way to clean and maintain your guitar.
Amplifiers and Electronics
If you play the electric guitar, an amplifier is an essential accessory that will allow you to be heard when playing in a band or any other ensemble situation.
There are many types of amps on the market that are perfect for home use, including solid state modeling combos like the Fender Mustang and Yamaha THR series modeling amps.
Modelling amps allow you to enjoy a rich, full sound, even at low volume. Also, modeling combos, like the Boss Katana series, have a built-in array of effects and the ability to connect your amp to your computer via USB to download more.
Selecting a guitar amp for gigging is another matter, however, since you will need one powerful enough for a variety of venues.
In the old days, many guitarists would just get a 100-watt Fender tube amp, or a Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120 with 120 watts of power, which would be loud enough for any conceivable gig short of a stadium tour.
Today, the trend is toward lower wattage tube amps like the Fender Blues Jr 15-watt combo or the Laney Cub Super-12 which is also a 15-watt tube amp.
Either of these will be plenty loud enough for most small venues and can easily be mic’d up for larger venues, and both offer lush clean tones that can be pushed into saturated lead tones with nothing more than an overdrive pedal.
You can dive into this topic in more detail via our guide to the best guitar amps for jazz.
Acoustic Guitar Amps
Guitarists who play primarily on acoustic instruments still need to be amplified to play clubs and other venues and will, therefore, need an amplifier for their electro-acoustic guitar.
The best acoustic amps out there are, in our opinion, made by Fishman.
They are the same people who make industry-leading preamp systems for acoustic guitars, as well as incredible pickups for electric guitars.
The Fishman Loudbox Mini delivers 60-watts of power and features built-in chorus and reverb.
Of course, once you go amp shopping, there are a variety of add-ons to consider, including instrument cables, effects pedals, a pedal board, patch cable and power.
For cables, look for options from popular brands like Roland, MXR and Ernie Ball.
The Ernie Ball Woven Straight/Straight Nickel-Plated 1/4″ guitar cable or the Roland Black Series 1/4″ Angled/Straight Instrument are sure to do the job while looking and sounding great.
Thanks for reading this guide to the best guitar accessories in 2022.
Of course, there are many different brands out there, each with their own subtle pros and cons.
If you’re looking to achieve a specific sound, have a look at what set up your favourite players used.
For more info, head over to our guitar home which includes more in-depth content on the best guitar brands and a whole lot more.