We often talk about improving your guitar through hardware, pickups, electronics, paints and stains - but often guitarists neglect to consider the finishing pieces of their setup - their accessories.
Whether it be Clip-On Tuners, Straplocks or Strings, we're going to go through some of our favourite bits of kit that will complete your setup and make you the ultimate guitarist!
Let's start with one of the most useful pieces of equipment on the market, the Clip-On Tuner. These small devices clip onto the headstock of your guitar and use vibrations to detect the pitch of each string. Although back in the day, they tended to be tempermental, advances in technology have made them a really useful bit of kit, with their accuracy and ease of use.
One of our favourite's here at Northwest Guitars is the Snark SN5X, arguably the best Snark on the market. With a bright full colour display, upgraded chip for improved accuracy and innovative, secure, padded grip - it's a go to, not only for tuning your guitar, but your bass, banjo, cello, mandolin and whatever else you multi-instrumentalists might play (however it won't work for drums.)
Another solid choice of Clip-On Tuners is the discreet Fender Bullet. Built with live performance in mind, this tuner is nonintrusive and staunchly accurate, while some may struggle with it's small display, you won't be disappointed with it's oustanding performance.
Straplocks & Straps
Straplocks and straps go hand in hand. If you're gigging or just prefer to stand while playing, then investing in a good strap and set of straplocks will keep your guitar secure and in place.
Starting with straps, we've got plenty of options. If you're concerned with style, then my recommendation would be our Fender Festival Blue Strap. However if you're after a strap purely for it's practicality, then you can't go wrong with our D'Addario Polypro Strap.
As for Straplocks, there's a clear standout in my opinion. The Schaller S-Locks are the culmination of quality German engineering and design innovation. Their unique system makes them the ultimate Straplocks for the gigging musician who wants to avoid their guitar achieving a reliced aesthetic.
Leads can make a huge difference in the way your instrument sounds. A high quality lead will transmit your guitar's signal accurately, without introducing any unwanted noise or interference that cheaper leads may.
Depending on the size of your stage, the MXR 10ft lead is constructed with reliability and longevity in mind.
However if you want something more conspicuous, or tend to fall over things that aren't brightly coloured - this bright yellow Ernie Ball lead may be more up your street.
Probably one of the least thought about, yet most important pieces of equipment in a guitarists arsenal. Unless you're exclusively finger picking you're going to want to find a pick that suits your play style.
A favourite of mine are the Dunlop Tortex Fin Picks, known for their unusual Shark Fin shape, these picks are great for the versatile player, who goes from strumming to picking and everything inbetween.
Alternatively if you're a lead player who likes to shred and do a lot of soloing, then the Dunlop Tortex Teardrop picks might be the one for you.
You may not consider strings an accessory, but if you do then they're certainly the most important of the bunch! Believe it or not, your strings will have a huge impact on the sound of your guitar, so let's have a look at some of our favourites.
My go to are the Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms, as someone who plays both lead and rhythm, having lighter treble strings allows me to bend and play fiddly lead bits, while the heavier bass strings give me full, rich chords and rhythm riffs.
Another favourite at Northwest Guitars are the Elixir Nanowebs, for their durabilty and extended tone life, they're perfect for guitarists who want to get longevity out of their strings.
That's a wrap!
I think we've covered everything? Let us know some of your favourite accessories, what you think of our recommendations and what you'd like to read about in our upcoming blogs! For now have a great day and keep playing!