There’s no doubt that playing the guitar is an experience in and of itself, but adding accessories into the mix can amplify the enjoyment no end. Being one of the most popular instruments in the world, it’s no surprise that there are dozens of parts and accessories available to help you become a better player, and to help you explore and experiment with your guitar.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Guide, we’ll be introducing you to every guitar accessory worth having.
- Picks and Pick Accessories
- Acoustic Specific Accessories
- Learning Aids
- Guitar Playing Accessories
- Storage and Transport Accessories
- Care and Maintenance Accessories
- Cables and Cable Accessories
- Headphones and Monitors
Picks and Pick Accessories
Guitar picks, sometimes referred to as plectrums, are small implements used to pick or strum the strings of a guitar. They are usually triangular, although other shapes are available, and are typically made from a single material. Common materials include nylon and celluloid, although others like felt, wood, and even stone do exist. (also check out our guide to picks for beginners)
Best Guitar Picks – Dunlop Gator Grip Jazz III 1.4mm
Finger/thumb picks are specialty guitar picks that attach to the thumb and fingertips. They are used to sharpen a players attack and increase their volume when fingerpicking. Common materials for these picks include steel, brass, and celluloid. Fingerpicks are used by many fingerstyle players, but are most common in bluegrass music styles. (also check out our thumbpick guide)
Best Finger/Thumb Picks – Dunlop 9020R Finger Picks Shell
Mic Stand Pick Holder
Mic stand pick holders are devices that mount to a microphone stand and hold a number of picks – they are used primarily by gigging guitarists in order to have spare picks standing by in case one is dropped during a performance.
Best Mic Stand Pick Holder – Dunlop 5010 Mic Stand Pick Holder
Guitar Mounted Pick Holder
Guitar mounted pick holders stick to the back side of a guitar and provide a place to store extra picks. They are often spring loaded, so, when you remove a pick, the next one is ready to be taken out if necessary.
Best Guitar Mounted Pick Holder – Dunlop 5005 Pick Holder
A pick punch is a device that allows anybody to create their own guitar picks from thin pieces of plastic (think old credit cards or exhausted gift cards). It’s environmentally friendly, and can be a lifesaver if you need a pick and don’t have access to any.
Best Pick Punch – Pick-A-Palooza Pick Punch
Slides are cylindrical objects that are worn over a finger on the fretting hand of a guitarist who is playing slide guitar. They result in a very expressive, glissando tone that is unmistakable. Slides are very popular in the country music and blues genres, although their use isn’t limited to those styles. There are a number of materials used to make slides, each having an effect on the resulting tone.
Glass slides are among the lightest examples available (barring specialist materials), making them very popular for electric guitar slide players. They are incredibly smooth, and have a warm tone with a short sustain.
Best Glass Slide – Dunlop Derek Trucks Signature Glass Side
Brass slides are extremely heavy, and have moderate hardness. The resulting tone is dark and loud with a long sustain. As brass slides age, they gain a patina that warms up the tone further.
Best Brass Slide – The Rock Slide Aged Brass Slide
Steel slides are heavy, and very hard, making them some of the brightest sounding slides with the longest sustain. They are normally chromed, or made of stainless steel, and won’t age or gain a patina.
Best Steel Slide – Dunlop 221 Chrome Knuckle Slide
Ceramic slides are harder than brass and steel slides, but offer a lower weight, resulting in a bright tone and a short sustain.
Best Ceramic Slide – Dunlop 257 Joe Perry “Boneyard” Slide
Magnesium slides are incredibly lightweight, yet they offer some of the tonal properties of steel, including a bright tone and long sustain. The light weight makes them easy to use on guitars with lower actions as they are easy to control.
Best Magnesium Slide – MojoTone MS1 Pinky Magslide
Acoustic Specific Accessories
Acoustic Sound Hole Cover
Acoustic sound hole covers are designed to reduce, and even eliminate the feedback that is often experienced when amplifying acoustic guitars. They are rubber discs that are simply placed into the soundhole, which prevents the guitar from resonating with the frequencies coming from the amplifier.
Best Acoustic Soundhole Cover – D’Addario Screeching Halt Acoustic Guitar Feedback Eliminator
Soundhole ports are used to provide a boost in the low end frequencies of an acoustic guitar. They fit directly into the soundhole, but leave a large hole in the middle. In addition to boosting low end frequencies, they increase volume and projection, and assist in reduction of feedback under amplification.
Best Soundhole Port – D’Addario O-Port
The primary purpose of a bridge pin is to secure a string to an acoustic guitar at the bridge end, but because they work as a vector between the string and the soundboard, upgrading the stock pins can significantly improve tone and sustain. Inexpensive pins are usually made from plastic, while premium bridge pins can be made from bone, synthetic bone, wood, or even metal.
Best Bridge Pins – Graph Tech TUSQ Bridge Pin Set with Paua Shell Dot Inlay
Percussive pads are slimline snares that are attached to the body of an acoustic guitar to facilitate more interesting textures during percussive playing, which is a subgenre of fingerstyle that involves a guitarist tapping, slapping, or otherwise knocking on the soundboard to create a percussive beat that accompanies their own playing.
Best Percussive Pads – Schlagwerk SamJam
Acoustic Soundhole Pickups
Acoustic soundhole pickups are a non-destructive, non-permanent way to amplify an acoustic guitar that does not have built in pickups. They slide directly into the sound hole and clamp into position without the need for tools.
Best Acoustic Soundhole Pickups – Seymour Duncan SA-35C Woody HC Hum-canceling Acoustic Soundhole Pickup
Finger Strength Trainer
Finger strength trainers are hand held devices that allow guitarists to build up strength and work on coordination in their fingers. They have 4 spring loaded buttons that are individually depressed with each finger on the hand. As strength increases, the tension on the trainer can be increased. The ultimate aim is to improve finger dexterity.
Best Finger Strength Trainer – ProHands PRO Hand Exerciser
A metronome is a device that keeps a steady rhythm for a guitarist to play along with when practicing. This helps to improve timing when having a drummer is not possible, or practical. Traditional metronomes provide a simple click or beep, while more modern metronomes are worn on the body and vibrate, making them more effective in loud conditions.
Best Metronome – Soundbrenner Core Steel Musician’s Smartwatch
Practice Guitar Neck
Practice guitar necks look like the lower end of a real guitar neck, including strings. They are extremely compact, and are designed to allow guitarists to practice chord shapes and scales on the go, and in silence.
Best Practice Guitar Neck – Shredneck Practice Guitar Neck
A guitar trainer is an electronic device that allows a guitarist to upload their favorite songs and play them back at a slower speed without altering the pitch. This is very helpful for practicing licks and passages, especially when combined with tabs, and is also beneficial for overall accuracy improvement.
Best Guitar Trainer – TASCAM GB-10 Guitar and Bass Trainer
Headstock Phone Holder
Headstock phone holders clamp on to a guitar’s headstock in much the same way as a clip on tuner, and they feature a bracket that allows a player to mount a cellphone. They are useful for reading tabs, lyrics, chords, or sheet music without having to look away from the fretboard.
Best Headstock Phone Holder – CALIDAKA Universal Headstock Phone Holder
Guitar Playing Accessories
Clip On Tuner
Clip on tuners, as their name suggests, clip on to a guitar to assist in tuning. They work by feeling the frequency of the vibration caused by each string, making them useful even in noisy environments. These tuners are suitable for both electric and acoustic guitars. They are either chromatic, or non-chromatic. Chromatic tuners can tune a string to any pitch, allowing for easy alternative tuning, while non-chromatic tuners are usually set to standard pitch, and will only tell the user whether they are in tune or not. (check out our full clip on tuner guide)
Best Clip On Tuner – Peterson Stroboclip HD
A line in tuner plugs into the output jack of an electric or semi-acoustic guitar, and has its own line out that passes through to the rest of the signal chain, or direct to the amp. The output signal frequency is measured to detect the pitch of each string. These tuners are not compatible with acoustic-only guitars. Like clip on tuners, they can be chromatic, or non-chromatic.
Best Line-In Tuner – Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner Pedal (check our our TU2 vs TU3 comparison)
A capo (which is short for capodastro) is a device that guitarists use to increase the pitch of their guitar, letting them play in different keys without needing to learn new chord shapes. Capos are normally spring activated, or screw tightened. They clamp to the neck of the guitar, and barre across the fretboard, acting like a repositioned nut (you can also make your own capo).
Best Capo – D’Addario Pro Plus Capo (full list of our favorite capos here)
A string dampener is a simple device that wraps around your guitar’s neck and sits on the lower frets of the strings. Its purpose is to dampen, or mute the open strings with the aim of keeping the guitar quiet and preventing open strings from ringing during solos and finger tapping. (Check out our guide to fret wraps)
Best String Dampener – Gruv Gear FretWraps
Sustain enhancers are designed to increase the sustain of your guitar. They are clamp-like devices that add mass to the headstock, and increased mass correlates with increased sustain. They are removable accessories that won’t damage the structure or finish of a guitar and start working immediately after installation.
Best Sustain Enhancer – Fender FatFinger Guitar Sustain Enhancer
The Ebow is a specialty device used to create otherwise impossible sounds and textures with a guitar. This handheld device vibrates guitar strings in a similar manner to a violinist’s bow, allowing you to play with infinite sustain and any number of other interesting techniques.
Best Ebow – Ebow Plus Electronic Bow
Guitar stools are chairs that promote the proper posture and form when plying guitar from a seated position. They offer comfortable, padded seats, a place to rest a foot, and usually don’t feature arm rests, which tend to encumber the fret hand. (We also have a full stool guide)
Best Guitar Stool – Roc-N-Soc Tower Saddle Stool
A foot rest is designed to allow a player to comfortably raise their support leg in order to maintain better control of the guitar, and raise the angle of the neck. They offer multiple height and angle options to suit all players. Foot rests are mostly used in classical and traditional guitar styles.
Best Foot Rest – On Stage Stands 5 Position Footrest
Mic Stand Tablet and Smartphone Holder
A mic stand tablet holder clamps on to a microphone and holds a tablet or smartphone for easy and convenient viewing on stage.
Best Mic Stand Tablet Holder – On-Stage Stands TCM1500 Stand Mount
Music stands offer a raised platform from which sheet music, tablature, or other musical directions can be viewed while playing. They usually have a tripod base for stability, and a large, lipped plate at the top to hold papers, books, or even tablets.
Best Music Stand – On-Stage Stands SM7211B Music Stand with Tripod Base
Music Stand Light
Music stand lights are clip on lights that provide illumination for sheet music or tablature on a music stand in dark conditions. They are bright enough to see the papers, but provide directional light, so the whole stage doesn’t become illuminated. These lights are also useful for pedal boards.
Best Music Stand Light – Gator Frameworks GFW-MUS-LED Clip-on LED Music Lamp with Adjustable Neck
A guitar strap is a strip of fabric, often made from nylon, synthetic leather, or genuine leather (although many more materials are available) that is used to allow a guitarist to carry their instrument hands free. This allows for easy playing while standing. (Click to learn how to solve neck dive with a strap)
Best Guitar Strap – Dunlop BMF Leather Deluxe Guitar Strap
Strap locks are designed to lock your guitar strap in place and prevent it from slipping off while you’re using it. High end strap locks replace the stock strap buttons on your guitar, while cheaper examples slip over the top of the OEM buttons. Installing strap locks may require drilling or routing depending on the guitar you have.
Best Strap Locks – Schaller S-Locks Security
A pedal board is a rack, most often made from aluminum, that allows for the attachment of stomp boxes and effects pedals in order to make it easier to transport them, and to keep them laid out in the correct order.
Best Pedal Board – Pedaltrain Classic Jr
Pedal Power Supply
Pedal power supply blocks are DC power converters that can provide power to multiple pedals at the same time, while only occupying one single outlet. Unlike daisy chain power adapters, they provide equal current to each pedal, ensuring no signal degradation, even for pedals at the end of the power link.
Best Pedal Power Supply – Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 3 High Current 8-output Isolated Power Supply
Storage and Transport Accessories
Gig bags are lightweight, easy to carry bags for transporting guitars from place to place. They are not designed for long term storage and don’t offer adequate protection for use during air travel, or touring, but are ideally suited for taking guitars between home and lessons, or home and gigs. Good gig bags offer ample padding and lots of storage compartments.
Best Gig Bag (Electric) – Gator 4G Series Gig Bag – check out our electric gig bag guide
Best Gig Bag (Acoustic) – Gator 4G Series Acoustic Gig Bag – check out our acoustic gig bag guide
Hybrid cases are a blend between hard cases and gig bags. They have the soft outer shell, backpack straps, and comfortable carry handles of a gig bag, yet they have semi rigid internal construction, providing a higher level of protection than a standard gig bag.
Best Hybrid Case (Electric) – Mono Vertigo Electric Hybrid Gig Bag
Best Hybrid Case (Acoustic) – Mono Vertigo Acoustic Guitar Hybrid Gig Bag
Hard sided cases are guitar cases with a solid outer shell and a soft, padded interior with complete neck support. Some hard cases are model specific, and are molded to perfectly fit a specific guitar. Others are generic, and accommodate almost all guitars.
Best Hard Case (Electric) – SKB 1SKB-6 Economy Rectangular Case
Best Hard Case (Acoustic) – SKB 1SKB-8 Acoustic Dreadnought Case
A flight case is the most protective guitar case you can buy. They are normally made from ABS plastic, and are designed to withstand the rigors of flight. They feature multiple locking points, and most are at least weatherproof, if not entirely waterproof. The best flight cases feature TSA approved locks so that authorities can inspect inside without damaging the case or its contents.
Best Flight Case (Electric) – Gator TSA Series Electric Guitar Case – LED Edition
Best Flight Case (Acoustic) – SKB 3i-4217-18 iSeries
Single Guitar Stand
Single guitar stands are devices that store or display a single guitar. The majority fold so that they can be stashed away when not in use. Some simply allow a guitar to rest on them, while others have locking mechanisms to prevent guitars from falling if they are bumped into. (check out our guide to guitar stands)
Best Single Guitar Stand – Hercules Stands GS414B PLUS Single Guitar Stand with Auto Grip System
Multi Guitar Stand
Like a single guitar stand, a multi guitar stand provides a stable place to keep a guitar when it’s not in use, although these racks allow for the storage of multiple guitars. Some multi racks are tree style, hanging each guitar by its headstock, while others place them all together in a row. (check out our guitar rack guide)
Best Multi Guitar Stand – Hercules Stands GS525B Multi-guitar Rack for up to 5 Guitars
Guitar Wall Hanger
Wall hangers screw into the stud of a wall and allow for the hanging of a guitar by its headstock. They keep the guitar away from the floor, reducing the chances of knocking the whole stand down. (check out our wall hanger guide)
Best Guitar Wall Hanger – Hercules Stands GSP38WB PLUS Short Arm Wood Base Wall Mount Guitar Hanger with Auto Grip System
Care and Maintenance Accessories
String cleaner is a guitar safe solution that is applied to the strings after each use. It breaks down the skin cells and oils that cause strings to become dull, and extends their lifespan. Some string cleaners also apply a lubricant layer to the outside of the strings, helping to improve playing speed and reducing string squeak. (check out our guide to cleaning strings)
Best String Cleaner – GHS Fast Fret String and Neck Lubricant
Guitar humidifiers are designed to promote and maintain ideal conditions of humidity for an acoustic guitar. Humidifiers either absorb or release moisture into the guitar case in order to prevent shrinking and expansion, which can cause catastrophic problems. Modern humidifiers are Wi-Fi linked so that guitarists can monitor the conditions inside of their guitars remotely from their compatible smartphones.
Best Guitar Humidifier – D’Addario Humidikit Bundle
Cleaning and Care Kit
Cleaning and care kits are bundles of products that are designed to keep guitars in peak condition. Included products typically include polish, fretboard oil, cleaning solution, microfiber cloths, and fine brushes. (check out our guide to cleaning kits)
Best Cleaning and Care Kit – Music Nomad Total Guitar Spa Kit
A neck support is designed to keep the most fragile part of your guitar, its neck, properly supported during maintenance, including everything from string changes to refrets. Neck supports come in many shapes and sizes, with some closely resembling pillows, while others offer multiple surfaces, designed to accommodate necks of different sizes, and also to allow proper cradling of a face down neck.
Best Neck Support – Dunlop NC65 Maintenance Station Neck Cradle
A work mat provides a padded, non-slip surface from which guitar maintenance can be performed. The material will not leave fine scratches, making them suitable, and highly recommended, for all guitars, including delicate and vintage instruments.
Best Work Mat – Music Nomad Premium Instrument Work Mat
String trees are small components that screw into the headstock of a guitar to provide downward tension on the string, improving the break angle. They keep the strings seated better in the nut, which prevents buzzing and rattling within the nut slot. Upgrading string trees can also improve tuning stability by allowing the string to move more freely over the surface when a guitarist plays bends, vibrato, or uses the tremolo arm.
Best String Trees – GraphTech PQL-7004-00 String Trees
Nut lube is a lubricant product that can be applied directly to the nut slots, string tree, saddles, or any other point at which strings come into contact with the guitar. It prevents strings from hanging up on these points, which can reduce breakages and improve tuning stability.
Best Nut Lube – Big Bends Nut Sauce
String winders are devices that use mechanical advantage to speed up the process of winding strings. They are available as hand cranked manual winders, electric winders, or automated winders with robotic tuning.
Best String Winder – Band Industries Roadie 3 Automatic Guitar Tuner
Cables and Cable Accessories
¼” Instrument Cable
Standard guitar cables have a ¼” jack at either end and are used to link the guitar either to an FX unit, or to an amplifier. Jacks are usually straight, or they will have a 90 degree bend in them. Cables are available in lengths from 1’ to 50’.
Best ¼” Instrument Cable – Mogami Gold Instrument Cable
Patch cables are used to interconnect multiple FX pedals. They are much shorter than instrument cables (usually between 6” and 1’), and usually always have 2 90 degree jacks to allow pedals to be mounted closer together.
Best Patch Cable – Mogami Gold Pedal Cable
Cable ties are simple strips of hook and loop material that will allow you to coil your cables and keep them tidy without having to tie knots in the cables, reducing the risk of damage. Unlike zip ties, they are reusable, too.
Best Cable Ties – Hosa WTI-508 Hook and Loop Cable Ties
A cable organizer is a wall mounted rack specifically for keeping cables safely stored, preventing the need for over coiling, which will eventually lead to kinks and damaged leads. These organizers work well for both instrument and microphone cables.
Best Cable Organizer – Gator Frameworks GFW-CABLEHANGER Wall Mountable Cable Hanger And Organizer
Wireless Guitar System
Wireless guitar systems are made up of a transmitter and receiver, and allow a guitarist to move around a stage without the restrictions of an instrument cable. THe transmitter plugs into the guitar, and the transmitter goes directly into the rig. They usually work via radio, but Bluetooth options are available.
Best Wireless Guitar System – Xvive Audio U2 Digital Wireless Guitar System
Headphones and Monitors
Studio Monitor Headphones
Studio monitor headphones for guitars are similar to standard headphones in both construction and appearance, but there are some key differences. Regular headphones often have bass boost or some other biased EQ to enhance the sound of pre recorded music, studio monitor headphones give a more accurate reflection of the true tone coming from the amplifier they are plugged into.
Best Studio Monitor Headphones – Shure SRH840 Closed Back Pro Studio Monitor Headphones
In Ear Monitors
In Ear Monitors, like studio monitors allow guitarists to hear an accurate reflection of their amp’s tone without coloration or EQ bias, although rather than sitting on top of the ears, they go into the ear like a traditional ear bud. They’re commonly used in place of floor mounted monitors for gigging artists due to their low profile and comfort.
Best In Ear Monitors – Shure SE425 Sound Isolating Earphones