PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- November 28, 2016
- Guitar Accessories
All serious guitar players have their bag of tricks. Like a magician, you need all the little things that make you better. A cool bag that fits in your case or a small backpack will usually get it done. No fanny packs please! Those need to stay in the past. We’ve all been on the stage and suddenly realized our “whatever” is missing. You either left it on the music stand at home or in the studio somewhere but you’re in the moment and can’t find your dang capo. Oh, but wait, you remember borrowing your friends last week when this happened and you think it’s still in the gig bag. Don’t be that guy running off stage to find what he’s looking for. Here are a few of the best guitar accessories every player needs. Time for inventory.
Must-Have Guitar Accessories
Let’s start with a tuner. Now, you might have a tuner on your pedalboard or effects processor, but if not, you’ll need a Snark or some other clip-on or pocket tuner. Either way, a tuner is #1 on the list.
Picks are #2. If you’re a fingerstyle guitarist, you may fee free to fly by this one, but if not, you’re probably using a flatpick or thumb pick. Most of us keep them in our pockets, but if you’re one of those who put them in the case, you’ll need to make sure there are picks in all your guitar cases, or just put plenty in your main gig bag.
A good guitar strap is #3. We don’t know why, but it seems the strap often gets moved to another guitar that you didn’t bring to the gig. Suddenly, you’re strapless. Bummer! You’ll want to have a guitar strap for every guitar you plan to use.
#4 is a good guitar cable. Cables get shorts or just crap out. You always need an extra cable or two, especially if you’re using a pedalboard. Those little jumper cables are the worst. Have a few spares. Finally #5 is strings. You should keep at least one spare set of strings in your case or bag and it’s smart to keep spare singles for strings one and two (or E and B).
Nails Nails Nails!!!
We know it might seem a little odd to consider fingernails as one of the best guitar accessories, but these things can be very important for certain players. If you use your fingernails, you know you need your file and clippers. Maybe you should add some nail strengthener polish and super glue too. Nails are a serious component to a finger style guitarist. Gigs can be postponed or delayed due to a broken nail. Some go to a salon and have acrylic nails put on. Things just happen and nails get chipped or broken. For fingerstyle players, having your nail repair and maintenance kit is a top priority.
Best Guitar Accessories - Optional, but Smart
Let’s start with your capos. Those need to be in the bag and not in the guitar case. You might bring a different guitar and realize you’re missing them. Also, bring a string winder and wire cutters. Ok, so you might not change strings much at the gig or you only rarely break a string, but when you need them, a string winder can save your life. You can bend and break the string or just leave the excess dangling from the headstock, but a small pair of wire cutters is on the list for sure.
Strap locks are optional, but how much money could have been saved if Mr. Rock and Roll would have had strap locks on his guitar when he swung his guitar over his head and his Les Paul went flying across the room? These things are way too cheap to disregard.
Guitar polish and a good polishing cloth aren’t vital, but there’s something to be said for a shiny, clean guitar. Maybe leather and poorly-lit rooms are more of your cosmetic vibe, but nothing looks more impressive than chrome sparkling in the lights.
Other Best Guitar Accessories
Don’t forget your slide, man. If you’re a slide player, even if it’s just one song, make sure you have a couple slides in the bag. If those glass slides roll off the amp, they’re likely to break when they hit the floor, so make sure you’ve got a spare. This one’s random, but if you use an Ebow or some other quirky device to manipulate the strings, you’ll wanna be sure it’s in the bag or case.
If you’re a tube amp guy, it’s smart to bring an extra 12AX7 and a pair of 6L6’s or whatever your amp uses. We’re being thorough here, but one of those pick holders for your microphone stand, a spare power adapter for your pedalboard, and all necessary hex/adjustment wrenches need to be in the bag too. While you might could make do or borrow some of these things, it makes you look more prepared and professional to have your own junk. Don’t forget an extra battery if you have active electronics.
There are plenty of gadgets we didn’t mention and every guitarist is an artist, so there are some weird ones in the bag too. Our good friend Phil Keaggy has a spare bottle of Cayenne Pepper in his bag, just in case the venue doesn’t provide it. Whatever keeps your head in the game.
Sure, part of playing live music is having the ability to adjust, but leave your cut-capo at home and that changes the way you approach the song. No slide = no down home blues if you know what we mean.
Finally, get yourself a great bag. Find one you’re proud to carry and take good care of it. Be the guy who is always on his game. It’s one thing to have the best guitar accessories, but you also want to know how to use and maintain them. You should go through your accessory bag before each gig or practice session starts. Test your gear, check your batteries, change your strings etc. the night before you know you’ll need them. Musicians are notorious for being late or unprepared. It’s up to you to bring your best.
Once you’ve got the best guitar accessories, there shouldn’t be any excuses for not being the best guitar player you can be. That means it’s time for guitar lessons (even for non-beginners) and a consistent practice schedule. Let the professional instructors at Pro Lessons take care of the former while you work on the latter. Our guys are traveling with bands like Brantley Gilbert and others throughout the year, but they’ve saved time to teach you how to be a better guitar player. To find out about our affordable rates, click on the link below.