As a Guitarist, Remember Slow is Fast.
When you start out learning and trying different styles of music, remember to learn it piece by piece before you try speeding up. Increase your speed only once you have mastered the technique.
Possessing a guitar is the first step to practice your talent in music. However, the buck does not stop here. You ought to have the needed accessories to complement and keep your instrument in optimum shape. Having the right accessories at hand is always beneficial not just to sound good, but also to help you play better and leave a greater impact on your audience.
Music is not just about the sound that is pleasing to the ear, but also about the instrument. The instrument to sound better has to have essential add-ons, like an amplifier for sound output during shows and concerts. Besides, add-ons like straps, strap locks, and pickguards are some of the best ways to personalize your instrument.
A guitar pick or plectrum, as it is also known as, is used to pick or strum the strings of the guitar. Plucking the strings with a pick produces a brighter sound as compared to finger plucking. They also offer contrasting tones across different plucking locations. Always have in hand a variety of picks and thumb picks in different sizes and thickness; the thinner picks come in handy for strumming, while the thicker ones are of help while playing individual notes.
Heavy strumming or extensive practice sessions could result in breaking a string. A guitar with broken strings is of absolutely no use, which is why it is always better to keep at least two extra sets of guitar strings with you. It makes sense to keep spare G, B, and higher Es as they are more prone to breaking than the other strings.
Guitar stands are used to keep the guitar standing in position. It comes in handy when you take a break between gigs during a show. Using the stand to keep your guitar ensures the tuning stays intact and the keys do not loosen up like they do when kept horizontally.
Straps are essential to keep the guitar stable and personalize it according to your style. Besides, they come in handy for long hours of playing, allowing you to cradle it around you when holding the guitar gets tiring. Opt for a padded strip to rest on your shoulder to avoid cutting into your flesh.
Bags and Cases
Keeping your guitar safe from dust, moisture, and the elements of nature is one of the most important aspects of caring for your instrument. It is always best to store your guitar in a case or bag. It helps not just in storing, but also in easy transportation of the instrument.
Every guitarist knows the importance of periodically fine-tuning his/her instrument. Relying on an electric tuner to tune up your instrument is the fastest and easiest means to notch up your performance even during shows. Electric tuners can be used either in-line with an electric guitar or as an external device that detects sound through a built-in microphone. Tuners help in precise, accurate, and quick tuning of the instrument.
An electronic amplifier is designed to amplify the sound produced by a guitar through a loudspeaker. Apart from that, it can also modify the instrument's tone by adding additional electronic effects like distortion and reverb. An amplifier, or amp for short, is a guitarist's trusted friend especially when playing for shows and concerts and can be used for both acoustic and electric guitars.
A capo is used for shortening the strings and eventually raising the pitch of the guitar. It enables the guitarist to change the key and pitch of a guitar without adjusting or tuning the strings of the guitar. The use of capos enables a musician to attain different tones and textures of particular chords. One can even experiment with varieties of sounds using open chords and alternative tuning with a capo.
Guitar pedals or distortion pedals, also called stomp boxes, are small electronic units used to alter the guitar's sound in specific ways. Traditionally used to produce special effects like delay, tremolo, flanger, distortion, and fuzz, it can also be used to control basic aspects of the guitar's tone. Generally used with an electric guitar, the pedal is designed to operate with low voltages using transistors to generate distortion.
A metronome produces metrical beats, clicks, or ticks representing fixed, aural pulse. It is used by musicians during practice as an aid to keep a steady tempo. It is a must-have if you are beginning to explore the realms of the guitar.
A guitar slide can evoke natural noises and sounds closer to the human voice. A slide placed on the string facilitates the string to vary its vibrating length, thus, affecting the pitch. Sliding it along the string without lifting creates continuous transition in pitch. The material―metal, glass, and ceramic―used to construct the slide affects the tone of the sound produced.
A pickup is a magnetic device that captures mechanical vibrations from the strings and converts them into an electric signal that can be amplified, recorded, or broadcast. A pickup is mounted on the body of guitars and is usually attached either to the bridge, neck, or the pickguard. A pickup is nothing but one long piece of magnet or 6 separate pieces of magnets wrapped in copper wire that is used to create a magnetic field. Simply understood, it is an indispensable accessory that plays a massive role in the tone of an electric guitar.
A pickguard, simply understood, is used to protect the guitar's glossy finish from scratches. It is fixed under the strings of the guitar to save the polished surface of the guitar's soundboard from aggressive strumming using a pick. Electronic guitars come equipped with a prefixed pickguard; however you can have it changed to suit your style. The pickguard can also be used as a tap plate or golpeador in Flamenco guitars.
Cables and Adapters
A guitar ought to be wired for sound, and this you can do with good connecting cables. To avoid minor hiccups like cackling and no sound output, it is best to keep a couple of guitar cables ready at all times. You could benefit from keeping cables in varying length to save you the trouble of a panic attack at the last minute.
Cable Testers and Ohmmeter
A must-have for electric guitars, the cable tester and Ohmmeter test the current flow within a guitar's pickup. Testing ensures you have the desired current passing through the strings. It also helps diagnose a bad cable and determine if it is wired correctly.
Every musician is aware of the importance of having his own music stand. It helps hold the notes at a comfortable level and ensures you do not crane your neck and back to view the notes.
A Guitarist Should Also Possess
An EBow is nothing but a battery-powered magnet that excites the strings of the guitar. It emulates the sound of a bowed instrument like that of a violin or cello and is used to pluck the strings of an electric guitar.
Strap locks ensure the straps do not come off during a show or practice. They are simple plastic or metal discs that secure the straps in place.
Tuning Keys or Pegs
One of the best ways to personalize your guitar is to opt for tuning keys in your style. Depending on your guitar, you can opt for six in-line or three in-line style pegs.
Guitar humidifiers help maintain a proper moisture level, thus, preventing a plethora of adverse effects like buzzing, cracking, and bad string action. It comes in handy in regions which are more prone to dryness and heat.
Besides the above-mentioned accessories, a guitarist should also have a flashlight, cleaning tools and clean napkins, a few pencils, and paper to jot down notes. The guitarist's kit should have a roll of duct tape for minor repairs and wire insulation.