Guitar Playing Gear & Accessories
If you have an electric guitar, you will need an amp.
Without an Amp your not gonna be able to rock out.
You don't need an expensive amp to start out with. A practice amp will
work just fine. With today's technology, even small inexpensive amps can
crank out some big watts and have some really cool built in affects that
can make your guitar sound like Eddie Van Halen. Okay, maybe not that
If your going to play in a band, you will of course need more wattage than
a practice amp will put out. But unless money is not an object, you can
wait on this until you are actually in a band.
Some cities actually have practice rooms that you can rent out. They have
amps and all the equipment your band needs to practice with. All you
bring is your axe.
Effect pedals are little boxes that take the sound signal from your guitar
and change it into all sorts of cool sounds when you activate them by
stepping on it.
You can get individual pedals for each specific sound, or an all in one
type of multi processor that has several affects built in. Most guitarist
prefer the multi processors because of the programmable features that it
has built in.
The choices are hard to make. They can get pretty expensive as well.
Some of the most popular and preferred sounds that most guitarist like to
get from these devices are:
Delay - Repeats the notes you play after you play them. Echoes.
Chorus – Gives a fat soothing sound as if many guitars are playing at
once. Tremolo effect.
Distortion – The overdriven power sound preferred for metal and rock
guitar. Also can be reduced to give a crunchy sound that is not so
overdriven. This is ideal for playing blues or when you want to be able to
hear chords or strings more clearly but still have some bite to it.
Wah – Wah A device used in old disco songs but also made popular by
Creates a wah sound by altering the high and low signals when you press
up and down on the pedal with your foot.
Reverb - Reproduces the natural echo sound you would get from a
particular type of room. A big hall, to a small room. Most amps have this
feature built in.
Flanger - Creates a swishy swirly effect. Jet plane sound. Popular with
Eddie Van Halen.
A guitar case is almost a necessity if you care about protecting your
instrument while transporting it.
Most expensive. Preferred.
Best protection from shock, dropping, or stacking with other luggage.
Soft cases and Gig bags
Although they are made of soft material, they still provide pretty good
Straps over your shoulder making it easy to transport and travel with.
Doesn't take up much space.
Doesn't provide protection against crushing.
Minimal bump protection.
Picks – also called the plectrum, is what you use to strike the strings.
Picks come in a range of thickness from very thin to very thick. Most
beginners should use a medium thickness pick.
Strings – strings come in extra light to heavy gauges. The thickness of
the strings determines the tone you will get from them.
Beginners should start with a extra light or light gauge until the fingers
have become stronger from playing often.
When buying guitar strings, most people will use the gauge size of the first E string as a reference guide for the whole pack. In other words, if you go to a music store and ask for .009 gauge electric guitar strings, or ( 9's ), the clerk will know that you want light strings.
Electric Guitar String Gauges
Light gauge .009 for the first -E string.
Regular to heavy gauges .010, .011 for first - E string
Acoustic guitar strings
Light gauge .011 or .012 for first E - string Medium to heavy gauge .013 first - E -string.
Most beginners should start with a light gauge string. As your fingers become stronger and more callused, you could move up to a thicker gauge if desired. A thicker gauge will produce a deeper tone that some guitarists prefer. However, keep in mind that a thicker string will be harder to press and bend. You will figure out your favorite brand with a little trial and error. A few popular favorites of mine and many other guitarists are: Martin, Dean Markley, Fender, Ernie Ball, D'Addario.
String winder/clipper – an inexpensive but valuable devise that helps
wind the strings around the tuning pegs when installing new strings on the
guitar. Some models have additional features for clipping excess string
and removing the pins that hold the strings in the saddle of an acoustic
Straps – worn around your shoulder to hold the guitar when standing.
Choose a strap that is comfortable, but also one that matches your guitar
Capo – is like a clamp that acts like a strong finger that you can place
over the fingerboard at any particular fret. The capo enables you to raise
the pitch of the open strings to any fret, while you finger the chords in the
usual way. This is helpful when you want to transpose a song to a
different key without having to change all the chords to the new key. It
also gives an interesting new voicing to the chord sound. It also helps out
a little with playing barre chords.
Tuners – electronic devises that help you tune your guitar to perfect pitch.
Caring For Your Guitar
Cleaning – As you play the guitar, moisture from your fingers, hands and
arms will start to create grime on your guitar and especially on the strings.
Every now and then it's a good idea to take a cotton rag and dust your
guitar. You don't need to use any chemicals unless it is really caked on.
Then you could use some guitar polish.
Changing strings - You will need to change the strings when you notice a
grimy buildup under the strings. Or when they start to sound dull and
won't stay in tune. This can be monthly, bi- monthly or even weekly
depending on the situation. Just don't let them stay on too long in a grimy
condition. This can start to deteriorate the wood on the fretboard.
Wiping down the strings after each time you play will help prolong the
string corrosion process.
See the resource section to see popular guitars, amps, and accessories.