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What Accessories Do I Need to Start Playing the Guitar?

Updated: Mar 28

Let us assume that you’ve bought a guitar for the first time, or you’ve moved to another country and you are starting your rig from scratch. A collection of musical equipment accumulates over time, and trying to think of everything you might need can be overwhelming. 

If you are a beginner, I would recommend buying a starter kit from any of the main guitar retailers, avoiding online companies like Amazon or Rakuten if possible. Please see my blog post here for advice on buying a guitar. Sometimes, however, you may find the perfect guitar that is not part of a starter kit, maybe you were gifted a guitar by itself or you just couldn’t find one. Let us think about accessories, what you would benefit from but not necessarily need and peruse some of my recommendations.


First we should discuss what accessories are shared between acoustic and electric guitars. Just as the fundamentals of each instrument are the same, so are the essential items to go along with it. 


I have written a blog post that you can read here. I can’t really give you a specific recommendation, as plectrums are such a personal thing. Having a few of these to hand is going to come in handy, especially when they disappear so easily! If you already know what you like then I would recommend buying a small pack, usually containing 12 picks.


Electric guitars almost always have two strap buttons, making fitting a strap easy. Some acoustic guitars, however, only have one. This means that you have to use some string to attach the strap to the headstock - just something to bear in mind. 

Whilst leather straps are nice to use, good quality ones can be very expensive. The cheap ones split, harden and fail quickly so it is best to just avoid it unless you are happy spending the extra money. Some straps can be expensive purely because of the design, and not that the strap itself is any good.

Aim for something that is padded (if only slightly!), wide and that has plenty of adjustment. Make sure you avoid straps that are thin and are made from a material that could irritate or react with your skin.

As a side note, if you have an expensive guitar, then you might want to look at buying some strap locks. These can be great and act as a safety net for your expensive instrument though often causes issues with fitting in cases. To that end, I use something called a DiMarzio Clip-lock strap ( The best thing about this is that it replaces the screws in your strap buttons (longer and wider means the screw grips better and doesn’t come out!) and it’s made of seat belt material, so it is super strong!


A good tuner is a must have for any guitarist, regardless of their skill levels or the progress of the guitar journey. I don’t like using apps for this, as they rely on the microphone of your chosen device, and this can be inaccurate. Others don’t like using pedal tuners, though they tend to be more accurate, because they either want to keep the space on their pedalboard for something else, or they have an aversion to using pedals.

The most expensive clip-on tuners can be quite pricey (around ¥8,000 in Amazon) and I would tend to avoid them myself, for I am clumsy and would lose it quickly. Something that is accurate, but inexpensive is going to be the goal here.

You can find really cheap ones, but the display is poor, the springs for the clips themselves are sub-par and they are so inaccurate you may as well just use an app.


Not everyone uses a capo, and I personally believe that you should be able to use barre chords and a capo interchangeably, so it is probably a good idea to find a good one. Capos are used for changing the key of the song you’re playing in whilst keeping the chord shapes you play the same. For a capo to be used effectively, it needs to apply even pressure across all the strings and, depending on the design or the strength of the spring, uneven pressure just sounds terrible (the strings are rattle, the chords will not be properly in tune etc).

Much the same as tuners, you can find some great ones (check out G7th Capos) but they are easily lost. As we have already learned, cheap ones are no good, so I would suggest the type that screws on.


This should really depend on the value of your instrument, and the environment you live in. The cheapest of cases are barely waterproof, and offer no protection for the head, the neck or the extremities of the instrument. 

I will break my rule here, and suggest that you go for what I consider to be the best cases available. Mono makes the best products in my opinion, and mine have followed me around the world whilst protecting my prized instruments. They are not cheap, not even remotely! Not only are the products themselves fantastic, the company also has great customer service and everything has a nice style. 

It would be unwise to spend more money on your guitar case than the guitar itself. The link below is for a good case, though it will not last you forever. Just make sure it is padded - this is important. Otherwise you may as well wrap your guitar in a pillowcase. 

Cleaning Cloth

Not everyone is insistent on cleaning their guitars properly, I am guilty of that myself. Others never clean their guitars, which is a travesty, whilst some people seem to spend more time polishing their pickup covers than practicing the instrument. 

In this case, I would recommend buying some microfiber cleaning cloths for wiping down your strings (extending the string life and saving you money!), and dusting off the guitar occasionally. Buying branded cloths is expensive and mostly pointless, though the Babymetal cleaning cloth does look really cool! I will recommend some cleaning products later in this blog.

Make sure you buy a pack of them; it is a good idea to use separate cloths for dusting, buffing and wiping down the strings.



Deciding on buying an amplifier is no mean feat. As a beginner, or hobbyist, it is recommended to buy something versatile. Those of us with the luxury of money (and space!) can buy lots of different amplifiers. There is no real answer to this question, so instead I say the following. Take a close look at what you play and how you play it. If this is likely to change, then take that into consideration. 

There are so many different variations of amp, cab, combo and multi-FX units that you are guaranteed to find something that works for you. 

You may have more luck using a headphone amplifier, and modeler (like the Line 6 Helix or Kemper Profiler), then again… sometimes you just need to plug in to a big tube amp and let it rip!


A cheap cable is just horrid to play with. If it is unshielded then it can be noisy, cheap materials can cause breakage prematurely and the frustration that comes with that is no fun for anyone. At the other end of the spectrum, you can buy super-premium cables, milled from metal taken from the summit of Mount Olympus, wrapped in a polymer found only on the 13th moon of Jupiter… or at least that’s what it seems like with such extortionate prices. 

Just like guitars, expensive cables do get better as the price increases, but they hit the ceiling a lot quicker!

This cable is not cheap, but it is not expensive weather, and they last a long time - they are well worth the cost! 


Dehumidifier Packs

This may seem a bit silly, but these little packs can prevent some serious issues with your acoustic guitar later down the line. The construction of an acoustic guitar means that problems with humidity and moisture can be disastrous, and these packs help maintain the correct balance.

You can buy specially designed ones here, but my recommendation does the same thing, with the same balances, for a fraction of the cost.

Soundhole Cover

This little piece of rubbery plastic helps eliminate feedback if you mic up your acoustic guitar during a live performance. It also lowers the volume slightly, as the sound struggles to escape so this could also be used to practice quietly (though not as quietly as you’d think!).

My recommendation is a solid product, but you may need to buy a specific one if the soundhole of your acoustic is different - they are not all the same!

Acoustic Pickup

My main recommendation here is to buy an acoustic that already has a pickup fitted from the outset, although there are many types of acoustic pickup you can get retrofitted to your guitar. Some of them involve quiet a bit of work, so I’d recommend taking your guitar to a luthier in that case. 

For ease of use, you could try something like the Seymour Duncan Woody, although this sits in the soundhole in such a way that you can’t use a soundhole cover (though you wouldn’t need it as you’re using the pickup!).

Optional Extras

You may also want to do some research, and get some tools for basic maintenance, which would include a string winder amongst other important little gadgets.

A multitude of cleaning sprays and wipes can be purchased in any guitar store, but the finish and condition of your guitar, and the materials it was constructed with, can determine what you would specifically need,

Lastly, get a stand or a wall hanger, depending on your situation. As long as it is sturdy and protects your instrument at all of the contact points, then you will be fine. As normal, don’t go for the cheapest option if you care for your instrument.



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