10 Must Have Items for Guitarists
- Thursday, December 11, 2008, 14:58
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Let’s imagine for a minute you are a carpenter (maybe you are a carpenter; for the rest of you, stick with me). You get hired to build a house. Even with all your knowledge, experience and desire to do the job, what do you need before you can get to work? You need the tools of your trade, of course! For a carpenter it would be your hammer, saw, measuring tape, etc.
Well, guitarists have their tools of the trade, too. If you want to ‘build-up your musicianship’ (get it?) I suggest you ‘equip’ yourself with the following must have items for guitarists, listed somewhat in order of importance.
#1 – Guitar
This item may seem laughably obvious but I do get people who show up for their first guitar lesson without owning a guitar. Bottom line – if you want to be a guitarist your need your own guitar to practice on whenever and wherever you choose. A borrowed instrument implies an impeding date of return to its owner. With the availability of inexpensive, good quality guitars these days, you have no excuse to not own your instrument. PS: Remember to include an amplifier with your purchase if you want to be an ‘electric guitarist’.
#2 – Tuner
The greatest guitarist on earth will struggle to sound good on an out-of-tune guitar. As a guitarist starting out, how could you expect to sound good when you don’t know if you are in or out of tune? Do yourself (and everyone around you) a favor and get a guitar tuner. They are easy to use, inexpensive and take the guess work out of tuning.
#3 – Metronome
A metronome takes a bit of experience to use but is an invaluable tool to work on your rhythm and timing. It can also help you track progress as you work on building speed technique.
#4 – Guitar Stand
“Out of sight out of mind” is a bad presage when it comes to your guitar and you. Practice more often by getting your guitar in plain sight with a guitar stand or guitar hanger.
#5 – Music Stand
Perching precariously on the edge of your bed, craining your neck and holding open your guitar book with your feet is no way to practice. Get a proper practice space happening by purchasing a music stand. The trip you save yourself to the chiropractor will pay for the music stand and you might even have enough left over to buy a decent chair!
#6 – Guitar Strap
If you play classical guitar you can skip this. Otherwise, invest in a guitar strap even if you play seated most of the time. It will help your playing posture and allow you to move more freely without worrying about dropping your guitar. And you can stand up and play.
#7 – Picks
Again, if you play strictly classical guitar or finger-style guitar this is not for you. Most contemporary guitarists use guitar picks, however, so if these are the styles you want to play move this item up the chart.
#8 – Replacement Strings
Strings break. Strings get old. You’re going to need to replace your guitar strings eventually. Why not have a set or two on hand? Most electric guitars come with ‘extra light’ strings and most acoustics with ‘light’. How to change them? See my string changing lesson.
#9 – Book
Guitar books divide into three main types: sheet music, method books, and reference books. Sheet music shows how to play a song or songs grouped by artist or style. Method books help in a step-by-step approach towards improvement. Reference books are like dictionaries; more material, less instruction. All three have their place on your guitar bookshelf. My favorite site for guitar books is Sheet Music Plus. You can also find good selection at Amazon.com.
#10 – Lessons
For the best in guitar lessons go to GuitarTeacher.com. 8)