Every guitarist has a plethora of guitar accessories, gadgets, gizmos and tools to help them out. These are for various purposes such as changing the sound, enhancing performance and just general tools to make life easier when playing, and maintaining guitar.
So here are some of the best guitar accessories that we recommend:
Extra Guitar Strings
Arguably the most important must-have guitar accessory – having suitable strings. What strings you choose is going to vary on playing style and genre, but one thing is for certain, having fresh guitar strings on is absolute bliss and the sounds can’t be beat.
In terms of metal guitar, there are two strings that you can’t go wrong with, the Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky and D’Addario NYXL.
Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky
The Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky strings are beastly for metal guitar. These are an extremely well made set of strings that are thicker than most players are going to be used to – this makes them easy to grab, however it can mean that hitting those pitch perfect notes are a little more difficult.
But when you do, boy will you know about it.
Beware however, these strings are a challenge to play with at first, but persevere and you will be rewarded with true feelings of pleasure when you hit those dark, heavy notes.
Designed for heavy use and sustain, you can be sure that Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky guitar strings are a great set of strings for metal guitar playing with great tones.
For strings that will bend farther, scream louder and withstand heavy playing, you can’t go wrong with D’Addario NYXL strings for metal guitar.
Stated the strongest electric guitar strings ever made, these strings are of the highest quality and will stay in tune for a long time – even during some heavy playing sessions.
Although a little bit pricier than the previous Ernie Ball strings, these strings are definitely better quality and are the strings I would take for gigging with.
There are a huge choice of D’Addario strings to choose from, however one of my personal favourites is the D’Addario NYXL 11-56 with a medium top and extra heavy bottom.
Overall: I would recommend using the Ernie Ball strings for practising alone, but for band practise or gigging, you will need that extra bit of quality to really drive home the sound. In that case I would recommend the D’Addario NYXL strings in a heartbeat.
Regardless of your playing style, a tuner is a key guitar accessory, especially when playing with unusual tunings.
We would recommend that beginners and experts alike get a tuner. However, the difficult part is choosing which tuner to buy.
These are the most common tuners that you are likely to see – and for good reason! They are compact, relatively accurate (even in noisy environments) and don’t need to be plugged in.
As you may have guessed, they clip on to the headstock of the guitar and use a microphone to judge the pitch of your strings.
We recommend this tuner by Fender – check it out here on Amazon. It’s responsive, looks great and does everything you really need it to do – tune your guitar accurately, even when in a noisy environment.
Now for the big guys – pedal tuners. These are much better suited for electric guitar.
Pedal tuners are often built into a chassis, allowing them to fit nicely onto pedal boards and easy to use. Unlike clip-on tuners, pedal tuners need to be plugged directly into the guitar as they don’t contain built-in microphones.
These tuners are ideal for gigging with their bright displays and unobtrusive nature.
Built with old-school quality, the BOSS TU-3 Tuner Pedal is probably the best on the market. This chromatic tuner pedal can tune 7 string guitars (and 6 string basses) and flat tones are supported – allowing drop tunings up to 6 semitones lower than standard!
This is a great pedal tuner for metal guitar. Does exactly what it says on the tin and wont ever let you down.
Now these are a great piece of kit – and one that we expect to drop in price as the technology advances and becomes more popular.
While standard guitar tuners allow you to tune one string at a time, polyphonic tuners allow you to strum the whole guitar. They will then identify any issues with tuning on a string.
Although these tuners are more expensive than standard tuners, they come packed with a load of features – whilst maintaining the accuracy of standard tuners. The polyphonic mode allows you to strum between songs and make quick adjustments – ideal for gigging.
Check out the price on Amazon here.
Sometimes seen as a tool that novices use, capos are a surprisingly useful bit of kit. Although not used as widely within metal, they can allow you to create flowing soft, melodic interludes by altering the pitch of the guitar.
There are more capos than first meet the eye, but we would recommend using a capo that is made from a lightweight metal such as aluminium, stainless steel or bronze. Avoid plastic as these generally aren’t as stable or durable.
We recommend the Adagio Pro Deluxe Capo. This fits guitars with varying fretboard sizes and provides strong, even pressure – ensuring that there isn’t any buzzing across the strings.
For more information on how to use a capo correctly, see the video below:
If you are playing in an apartment, have thin walls or generally don’t want to make much noise then headphones are a must! This is such a broad topic that will be covered in future articles but whatever you do, make sure that you grab an adapter!
String Winder and Cutter
These are an underrated piece of equipment that will save you the frustration of having to unwind each string, which when you just want to get back to playing feels like it takes an eternity!
There isn’t really too much to these – but we would recommend one of reasonable quality, as there is nothing worse than cutters that can’t cut through the strings.
Something like this D’Addario is great and does everything you need… Unless you want to go that extra mile and get the Ernie Ball Power Peg Pro (which looks awesome, even if it’s excessive!)
Obviously, an essential when playing metal guitar is a guitar pick! But there are such a huge variety of different guitar picks, coming in various shapes, sizes, thickness (gauges) and materials. This can make it hard to choose what the best pick is for you.
One thing you need to ask yourself is what is your preferred playing style. If you are a lead player, you are generally going to need a sharper ended pick, whilst rhythm players are better suited to a rounded tip.
As for material and thickness, this is completely down to personal preference as there is a number of pros and cons to both thick and thin picks, and the same goes for materials. This will require you to experiment and learn which is best for your playing style.
Personally, I use the Jim Dunlop Petrucci Jazz III. These are a thicker pick with tremendous grip and a sharp tip that allows for fast and precise playing – I wouldn’t use anything else after switching to these.
I would highly recommend picking some up, you’d be amazed at how much it can improve your playing ability!
Guitar Strap & Locks
The last thing you want is your guitar flying into the floor at high speed during an intense shred – believe me.
That’s why a quality guitar strap is a must! But don’t be afraid to show off your style here – whether you want just a “Fender” branded strap or one laced with bullets, go for it.
However, more important than the strap, the strap locks.
Strap locks are what is going to hold your guitar strap in place. Although expensive for what look like two glorified screws, these will pay for themselves many times over by stopping your guitar from flying into the crowd. Plus, just like with the guitar straps, they come in a huge variety of styles – a black chrome set looks awesome!
After a hard night of shredding, you need somewhere to rest your axe. Even if you’re a bedroom rocker, you need a guitar stand – because if you rest your guitar against a wall, you’re just asking for it to be damaged!
Now for which stand you get simply depends on your storage space. Wall mounts are good if the wall is strong enough and you don’t have enough floor space, otherwise I would recommend getting a guitar stand if you have a single guitar, or a guitar rack if you have several.
Well that’s it for the top metal guitar accessories. There are of course many more that we could have included such as a carrying case for gigging, pedal board and so on – but if you think that we’ve missed a key piece of equipment that you simply couldn’t live without, let us know in the comments below!