Accessories That Will Keep You Playing Your Best
If you have been playing guitar or bass for even a short time, you probably understand the importance of having an extra set of strings, and extra picks if you use them. (If you don’t have backup strings, they should be a priority. Nothing is worse than a broken string with no replacement, particularly if you are playing in front of an audience.) You probably also own a hard or soft case. As with backup strings and picks, if you do not have a case, get one as soon as you can. Even an inexpensive gig bag will provide a decent amount of protection from damage and the elements when you are not playing and can prolong the life of your axe.
Assuming you already have these items, there are several other items you may want to consider purchasing. The items on this list are generally inexpensive and can help you in different ways. Some are for maintenance; others are intended to expand your tonal possibilities.
If you use your guitar on a frequent basis, or if you play live, a guitar stand is a great idea. Leaning your guitar against a wall or setting it down “safely” into a corner is a recipe for disaster. If a guitar falls over, it can cause anything from minor cosmetic dings to component damage that can be very expensive to repair. Guitar stands start at under $20 and can be purchased online or at most music stores.
Because of the way most guitar straps are made, over time they may lose their tightness and can slip off. To prevent that from happening, you can put these nifty little gadgets on your guitar or bass. As the name of the product implies, they make it impossible for your strap to slip off. These are highly recommended and easy to find.
Most guitarists (and other fretted-instrument players) should carry one of these in their case. A capo acts as a permanent 1-fret barre. In just moments you can change your guitar’s key without any complications. Capos come in screw-on, strap-on, “spider” and several other designs. They are relatively inexpensive (ranging from less than $5 to just over $30, depending on your taste and needs). Capos are one of the best investments a guitarist or bassist can make.
Humidifiers and Hygrometers
It is important to store your instruments in an environment that is not too hot or cold, and not too humid or dry. In extra dry environments, a humidifier is an excellent way to maintain the proper level of air moisture to protect your guitar. A simple air humidifier, such as those offered under the Vicks or Sunbeam brands is a decent choice; they are cheap and easy to find. A better choice is a humidifier designed specifically for guitars. Most of them can be directly attached to your guitar.
But how do you know if your environment is too dry (below 40% relative humidity)? A hygrometer is a meter that measures the humidity in your environment. If you use a humidifier, you really should consider purchasing a hygrometer as well. They are often sold together as a package for a very reasonable price.
As you can see, you don’t have to break your bank to make significant improvements. Talk with your local store or go online to find these and other great accessories for your guitar.