Some beginner guitar accessories are essential when you learn to play guitar, and some other accessories will make your learning experience simpler and more enjoyable.
Some desktop guitar accessories(tuners and metronomes) can be downloaded free.
Links to the free downloads pages are farther down this page.
Here's a list of accessories I recommend and explain in this chapter:
Guitar picks, (plectrums), are essential, unless you're learning classical guitar. For a beginner it's not a good idea to use your thumb for picking and strumming, it may feel easier at first, but, you won't be able to develop speed or accuracy, or "color" the sound.
Get yourself a good supply of picks in different thicknesses, they're cheap, and you'll find that you can loose them quickly.
Picks are measured in millimeters. Thin picks(less than 1mm), are easier for strumming because they are more flexible than thick picks, helping you strum chords faster and smoother. However, the thinner a pick is the quieter it is too. If your pick is too thin you will hear it make a clicking sound and your guitar's volume will suffer, I don't recommend picks less than ".50mm".
Thick picks are better for playing individual notes when playing scales or lead guitar. Try to work your way up to a thick pick as you get used to using only the very tip of the pick.
Visit the section How to Use a Guitar Pick, to discover how to use a pick properly. It's important beginner information because it's the pick connecting with the string that creates the sound.
A metronome is necessary to develop a good sense of rhythm. You should always use a metronome when practicing.
Metronomes come in two basic types; pendulum type, and electronic.
Some people think that a pendulum type of metronome is best because you can watch the pendulum swing back and forth to anticipate when the next click is coming. Personally, I think as a beginner there are other things you should be looking at, such as your sheet music, your fingers, or your pick.
Click here for some free desktop metronomes from my "Metronome Freeware" download page.
You can probably learn to play guitar hopping around the internet from free lesson to free lesson, but it's the least efficient way.
Quality guitar lessons follow a plan that teaches what's most important, at the right time. To learn to play guitar fast and well, you must follow a lesson plan.
Another of the beginner guitar accessories that you need is a guitar strap. You can buy one under ten bucks if money is an issue. You'll want to make sure that your guitar has strap buttons before you buy one though.
Why is a strap important? When you learn to play guitar you'll soon find that the more stable your guitar is, the easier it is to hit the right strings! When you use a strap you can position your guitar exactly the same every time you play, both when you're sitting or standing. This helps you subconsciously know where to play the notes once you pass the beginner stage.
If you plan on performing for others you will want a strap so that you can play guitar standing up, so, you may as well get accustomed to it early on. If you want to sing you should definitely practice while standing, so your diaphragm won't get squeezed, and your singing will be better than if you're sitting.
If your guitar is heavy, a better quality padded strap is recommended.
If you're using a strap, you need strap locks. Straps pop off of guitars very easily, and it's heartbreaking to snap a neck or otherwise damage your guitar! Guitar strap locks vary in price, you can buy inexpensive flat plastic ones for a couple bucks, and they go up to about thirty dollars.
A guitar tuner is one of the beginner guitar accessories that you'll use frequently, because guitars go out of tune easily. You can tune your guitar here online, but eventually you'll need a tuner that you can use away from your computer.
There are various chromatic tuners, that work by "listening" to the strings pitch and guide you to tune higher or lower with a needle, arrows, blinking lights or a combination of these. Some tuners serve dual purposes by including a metronome.
Download some guitar tuning software free!Click Here for Free Guitar Tuning Software Downloads.
If you are going to do any traveling with your guitar you'll need a case. You should always store your guitar in it's case. Cases are either hard shelled or soft shelled.
You can buy soft vinyl bag cases inexpensively. They protect against dings and scratches, but they won't protect your guitar from serious spills.
There are also better quality soft cases which provide somewhat better protection. Soft shell cases usually have ample storage for accessories, electric guitar cables, and some books.
Hard shelled cases provide better protection against bumps, but, they don't have a lot of storage space.
It's harder to focus on what you're doing with your guitar if you have to turn to the side to read a lesson book on the bed, or on a chair in front of you. Music stands are adjustable, so you can always have your books right in front of you at a comfortable playing position.
Stands come in handy when it's time for a break. They cradle your guitar in an upright position quickly and easily, and prevent your guitar from getting stepped on or knocked over.
I use guitar holders that screw onto the wall, then hang my guitars securely from the nut area of the guitar. I really like these because I don't have a lot of floor space.
Capos are little gadgets that you attach to the neck of your guitar, behind a fret. They hold down the strings, helping you play in different keys using chords that you are familiar with.
If you want to sing but have trouble singing along with the chords for the song, a capo allows you to sing the song, easily playing the same chord shape, somewhere else on the guitar.
Capos vary in price starting under ten dollars.
You'll probably need a capo when you jam with other people because some songs use capos.