28 October 2009

5 Essential Guitar Learning Accessories

What are the essential accessories you wouldn't be without to learn to play guitar? Of course, you need your guitar, but there are many other useful accessories that can help make learning easier or more effective. Here are the five essential accessories I have found most useful to learn guitar.

1. Guitar Tuner

An electronic guitar tuner makes it easy to keep the guitar in tune at all times. A well tuned guitar not only sounds better as you play it is also important to teaching your ears to recognize music.

2. Metronome

Once in tune, the next most important tool for me is my metronome. I use it to keep the beat as I practice or play. Playing in time not only makes your guitar playing sound better, it's an essential skill to have if you want to play in a band with other musicians.

3. Recorder

Listening to the sound of the guitar as you play is a difficult task. I use a small digital recorder to record practice so I can listen back and check how well, or not, I'm doing. The recording makes it easy to check how well I kept time, the sound I get out of the guitar, and to hear how cleanly I play.

You don't have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment for this. For practice a small dictaphone will do the job, or I record myself on a computer with a microphone or by plugging my guitar jack into the line or mic entry.

4. Notebook and pen

Many things can happen from one practice session to the next and I don't always remember what I did or what I planned to work on next. A small notebook and a pen or pencil is an easy and effective solution to keep track of progress. They fit easily into the guitar case and are always ready whenever I take out my guitar. A couple of notes jotted in the notebook help to get started quickly and save wasted time wondering what to do next.

5. Guitar Pro

I've recently started to make more and more use of Guitar Pro, a software program that is a great personal guitar tutor and coach. I download music or create exercises and music in Guitar Pro tab format.

I then use Guitar Pro to play along with the music while it highlights the notes and neck positions on screen, like a karaoke machine for guitar music. Guitar Pro makes practice more fun and I don't know what I'd do without it's built in tools for working on speed and individual passages.

These are my essential guitar learning accessories, they make learning more effective and easier without much expense. What about you, what is your favourite guitar practice accessory?

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Rob said...

Good advice! Especially the part about the notepad and pen.

I might add that you want to use the notepad/pen to plan out a practice schedule to stick to- rather than just notating what you did. That's what I would do.

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Rob,

Indeed, jot down what you plan to do next in the notepad. This is far more useful than a list of what you did. This post on Practice Log from the Classical Guitar Blog gives some good examples.

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