5 Accessories Every Guitarist Needs, But Never Has
As a guitarist, I have a constant fear that arises every time I open my case. As I undo the locks on the battered black case, I imagine what items should be sitting there, untouched from my last jam. Obviously, the guitar should be sitting there, but what about the many accessories a guitarist comes into use of throughout their career? But alas, as the case sits open before me, the various gadgets and accessories that I want to use most are missing in action.
I know I’m not alone. Guitarist are always losing or forgetting these accessories when they need them most. Here are the 5 accessories every guitarist needs, but never has.
Nothing sounds worse than an unturned guitar strummed by an unexpecting and unfortunate guitarist. Although many acoustic guitars manufactured today have inbuilt tuners, many older guitar models and most electric models do not. For those who don’t have the superhuman ability to guess perfect pitch, or who don’t have piano to run to, this essentially renders the guitarist a sitting duck with a rather nice looking guitar. Sure, there are tuner apps one can get on their phone, but the noise around the guitarist means they are not very reliable. Nothing beats a good clip-on tuner or tuning pedal, and nothing is worse than a guitar rendered unplayable
The feeling of shredding a killer solo is kind of diminished when you’re forced to sit down. All because you were missing a piece of leather to prop your guitar up.
Forgetting your strap leaves you with three options. 1) Go strapless, hold your guitar awkwardly in your arms while you try to strum without knocking your guitar to the ground. 2) Borrow a strap from a friend, having to suffer with the setting they forbid you from changing, as you play the guitar around your knees. And 3) sit with your instrument, and watch as your friends jump about with full mobility granted to them with their straps, almost mocking you. Not a fun time.
You never know when the urge to play some Nashville, blues filled licks with a slide, to pretend to be a Robert Johnson, Jack White or Jimmy Page. By when that hollow tube of metal or glass is absent from your case, you have to make do with using your fingers to play those tasty blues licks (how unoriginal). I’ll admit to using unconventional substitutes for a slide in dire times; a hollowed out glue stick, a whiteboard marker, a shot glass, even trying the face of a watch. Not only did I destroy a perfectly working watch, but also I felt like a bit of a ninny whacking random household objects on my guitar neck.
The capo; the automatic car to a guitarist’s manual. Its simpler to use, but still gets you from A to B. A lot of guitarists use capos, it lets you experiment with different keys, lets you easily stay in particular registers, and using it on only a couple of strings lets you incorporate unique open tunings and playing styles. And sometimes, you might not want to play bar chords, open chords will be just fine, thank you. There is no shame in it. But alas, if you find yourself without a capo, you have to remain with those pesky bar chords. And as your hand gets tired from jumping around the neck, and the fingers strain from the increased pressure, you imagine the simple open chords you were wanting to play, but were restricted by the song’s key.
“I have enough picks”; four word of false assurance that many guitarists think to themselves before playing. I personally buy my picks in bulk, 100s at a time for dirt-cheap. However that never stops me from losing the 5 I put in my pocket, the 10 I put in my case and the 20 I fit in my sock. I always find myself without one. For those rock songs with heavy strums and shredding solos, my fingers fail me in achieving the definition, clarity and ease of playing that a pick can provide. This essential accessory has become a staple in requirements of guitar playing. However, I still always have friends coming up to me asking for one of these plastic pieces.
It’s a curse guitarist’s share, losing these items when we need them most. At gigs, during jam sessions, recording sessions or even practice. So next time you shopping for your next axe, ask yourself, what else might you need?