Figuring out what you need to buy alongside your acoustic guitar can be tricky. It's always easy to miss something small! With this short list you should have everything important covered.
are a self-explanatory aspect of an acoustic guitar. They are the most essential part of the instrument, with this, it’s essential to have spares! Whether you’re planning on changing strings or not, it’s good to keep a pack handy. You never know when you’re going to break a string.
With acoustic strings, generally, the standard is bronze strings. Though Phosphor Bronze is a lot more popular for some players. Phosphor bronze strings have a warmer tone and tend to last a lot longer than regular Bronze strings. With this, they do cost more!
If you’re looking for standard bronze strings, D’addario
all offer good options that are inexpensive. All are available in different sizes ranging from heavier
depending on how much resistance you want from your strings. Heavier strings tend to sound fuller, but are harder to fret until you build more strength in your fingers.
For Phosphor Bronze options D’addario
make a great set that comes in various sizes.
If you are looking for a slightly cheaper Phosphor Bronze set, Stagg
have a set available in a range of sizes.
Bag or Case
A gigbag or a case
is essential if you plan on transporting your instrument at all. Even for basic storage purposes it is recommended to have at least a gigbag to act as a dust cover and to avoid anything denting the guitar.
A thin gigbag
is fine for very basic transportation and for storage purposes, though would not be recommended if being transported with other pieces of equipment. For that, a padded gigbag
would be much better. Padding ensures that even if knocked against something, the instrument should be safe short of excessive force being used.
A hard case
can be much more protective, ensuring that even with a lot of pressure or weight, the guitar will be unharmed. They are usually heavier, more expensive and a bit bulkier, but if you are looking for the most protection for your guitar they are the best option.
While tuning by ear is a skill that most guitarists pick up, it’s much more reliable to use a tuner
to ensure you can quickly and accurately keep in tune. A tuner will tell you what note or string you are playing, and how far out, or in tune you are.
A great option for any acoustic instrument is a clip-on tuner. These will pick up the vibrations of the instrument to identify the pitch. Chromatic tuners
will display the note value along with how far out you are, this allows for use with other instruments, as well as allowing for alternate tunings. Alternatively, there are tuners which are slightly simpler
, though they display the individual string rather than the note value. With these you are bound to standard tuning.
If you are using an electro-acoustic guitar you can use a floor tuner
. Many favour these as they also mute your signal, which allows you to tune up relatively silently. These tuners do require the use of a cable, and they don’t quite have as long a battery life as the clip-on varieties.
Very popular amongst acoustic guitarists, a capo
allows you to raise the pitch of the open strings on an instrument. This allows you to play open chord shapes in different keys, to save having to use barre chords when playing in more vocalist-friendly keys like Eb.
Capos come in two varieties, one being the trigger capo
which can be easily placed and removed. Where the wrap-around style
is much smaller, but does require a little bit of extra effort to put on.
For acoustic guitar you are going to want to opt for a curved capo, as acoustic guitars, much like electric guitars, have a radius to their fretboards.
While some players may opt for using their fingers, everyone will probably use a pick
at some point. Ideal for strumming or single note melodies, picks come in a lot of varieties.
Generally, the standard guitar pick shape
will be used, but available in multiple thicknesses. Thinner picks
are best for strumming where people focusing more on melodies or solos will opt for a thicker pick.
are a bit more niche, but still very popular. They ensure an even tone and good volume while fingerpicking, which some style of music will benefit from.