Guitar Accessories – A complementary good.
While using an automobile have you ever wondered the importance of its regular servicing from your trusted mechanic? Well, it is, indeed, the most important step for ensuring proper maintenance of the automobile, which further ensures its minimum depreciation and maximum durability. A similar analogy can be drawn in case of guitars, where the servicing motive is fulfilled by a luthier (a person who fixes stringed instruments). Moreover, a healthy and well-maintained guitar requires a guitarist to be well equipped with guitar accessories. So, what comprises of a good stock of guitar accessories? Well, some essential guitar accessories are:-
- A guitar cover (or case):A guitar can be kept uncovered in a showroom, but doing the same while carrying it is a nightmare for a guitarist. Well, we can understand that the owner of a guitar with a well designed, sleek body, and a good brand name, would seek for maximum opportunities to show his/her guitar. But, the most important step for a well-maintained guitar is to keep it safe from the exterior elements like dust, dirt, moisture, accidental scratches and collisions. For this, a sturdy, impervious, and a protective guitar cover is required. The owner of the guitar should not compromise when it comes to the quality of the guitar cover. A good guitar cover is one of the essential guitar accessories for regular maintenance of a guitar.
- Replacement Strings: A guitar string has a very high tensile strength, which is due to the properties of the material used to make such strings. But, this doesn’t mean that the strings become unbreakable. It is really hard to predict when a string could break, and, it is necessary for all strings to be there on a guitar (and properly tuned) in order to get the best sound out of it. So, to avoid the consequences of the loss of a string, a guitarist should always have a stock of replacement strings, i.e. a pack of strings (Which consists of six strings). The owner should have at least one spare string of a type ( the type used in the guitar). My personal advice is that keep more 1st strings(E) and 2nd strings(B) because they tend to break more frequently, due to their less thickness, and consequently, less tensile strength. Hence, it makes an important place among the essential guitar accessories.
- Guitar Strap: During elementary lessons, a guitar student is taught how to hold a guitar. The student is instructed to keep the guitar on the lap, when he/she is playing while sitting, but can’t-do the same when playing the guitar while standing. So, here comes the role of this crucial guitar accessory i.e. a guitar strap. A guitar strap is a belt-like accessory which has a hole on its each side. The belt requires being affixed on both sides to the guitar, which would allow a guitarist to hang it suitably on his/her shoulder while playing. Hence, a guitarist could play the guitar while standing too. Nowadays, another type of strap has come, in which, the ends of the strap have a clip, rather than the hole, for better affixation of the strap to the guitar.
- Guitar Picks (a plectrum): A guitar can also be played by naked fingers. However, a proper technique and, a lot of practice is required for a guitarist to do so. A guitar is played using a small, flat, triangular object (usually) known as a plectrum (British English), commonly referred to as a guitar pick (American English). A pick can be distinguished on the basis of its thickness, its material, and its brand. A pick used for a specific style of playing has some specific characteristics. For example, if a person wants to choose a pick for alternate picking (lead), I would recommend a thick and a tough pick with a rough surface ( for a firm grip). Whereas, a thick, stubby pick is recommended for a bassist (only if the bassist requires a pick). A pick with normal (0.96>.. but >0.46) thickness is required for playing rhythm on the guitar. A guitarist should make sure that he/she is always carrying this little guitar accessory with himself/herself.
- A Guitar Tuner: When a guitarist takes his/her guitar out of the cover, the first thing he/she should do is to check whether the guitar is in tune or not? A guitar tuner is required for tuning the guitar (you might not need it if you have an extraordinarily well-trained ear). The standard tuning of a guitar is E B G D A E, but it can be modified accordingly (as per the need of the melody). A clip tuner is attached to the head of the guitar while tuning the guitar, and the Note of the string is indicated by the L E D lights. Another type of tuner is a metronome-tuner. In such a kind of tuner, a metronome is also provided i.e. a beat keeping device, which is required for a guitarist to play the guitar on the beat and match the tempo. A guitar student cannot avoid having this guitar accessory with them.
- Allen Key: An important feature of a guitar is that its action can be adjusted, i.e. the distance between the strings and the fretboard can be adjusted. This adjustment takes place by adjustments in the truss rod (a metallic rod in the guitar neck). So, if the distance is more than recommended, a guitarist would find it really tough to play that guitar. However, if the distance is less than the recommended distance, the strings will be in contact with the fretboard, which would produce an unpleasant ‘buzzing’ sound on plucking the strings. So, here, action adjustment comes in effect, which rectifies this problem. The action of the guitar is adjusted using an ‘Allen Key’. It is an L-shaped key with a hexagonal cross-section. However, it is recommended that you give the guitar to the luthier and let him/her use the Allen key to make the adjustments in the action, and avoid using it yourself. Every guitar has a different Allen Key. This guitar accessory is much needed for smooth guitar playing.