Top essentials you need when starting to play guitar

My Top essentials for starting to play guitar. These are my own recommendations.

In no particular order…

Guitar Strings

Acoustic or electric you will need a decent set of strings and a spare set in case you break a couple ripping out a solo or just by tuning.

For my electric guitar I use Ernie ball light. I find these are perfect for my Fender Stratocaster as they are nice and light and I can solo easily.

For my Acoustic I use Elixir Bronze Acoustic Strings they last a long time and are recommended for my Tanglewood acoustic guitar. They are quite pricey so if you are looking for something that is still good quality but a bit cheaper I would recommend Martin Acoustic SP 


I always recommend you learn how to tune by your ear with other instruments, but it’s also good to get your instrument in tune properly. My Tanglewood Winterleaf Koa comes with an inbuilt chromatic tuner on the B-Band unit. For tuning my Fender Stratocaster I would recommend using a clip on tuner. These are small and light and they clip on the head stock of your guitar. You can also leave them on whilst you are playing for a quick tune up in between songs. The D’Addario PW-CT-17BK Eclipse Tuner  is just under a tenner and has a nice swivel design which means you can angle it for a perfect viewing position. 

winterleaf chromatic guitar tuner

Guitar stand

Leaning your guitar against chairs and sofas and walls is OK but they do get knocked over. If you are travelling around a lot with your instrument then a small compact guitar stand can fit in your bag along with your music and other accessories. These Martin Smith fold able guitar stands do the job perfectly for acoustic and electric guitars.


Plectrums and picks are very handy and I would say to buy as many as you can because they will go missing! Start by getting some light ones to start with as they are really good for strumming and will help with your technique. You will eventually settle on your right one, and you will always be in disagreement with what any one else uses! This Jim Dunlop PVP101 Variety Medium/Light Guitar Pick Player Pack has a variety of picks so you can find the right one for you. 


Maybe not for when you first start learning guitar but when you go into being an intermediate player. Capo’s are really handy for helping you play in the right key and playing the chords you have learnt. Basically you won’t need to play any strange chords or barr chords. They are also handy for transposing for singers if the normal key is a bit too low. You can change it by placing a capo and moving it up the guitar next to where the singer feels comfortable to sing the song to. There are loads of different styles of capos but I prefer the clamp ones where you squeeze the handles for a quick release. I use this one Adagio PRO DELUXE CAPO it’s pretty cheap ££ and really good!

adagio guitar capo

Guitar strap and locking system

Depending on how heavy your guitar is will determine which strap to buy. When I was giggling with my Fender Stratocaster I found it to get quite heavy after a couple of hours of playing so I chose a nice wide leather strap, This protected my shoulders and back a lot better than a thinner canvas strap. I would recommend a lock to go on the end of your strap to stop the guitar from escaping and crashing to the ground. They are inexpensive and will save you from spoiling your baby! Acoustic guitars are a lot lighter so find whatever suits you. I would suggest trying some on in a shop with your guitar to get the best fit. It is really important to protect your posture and back and otherwise you will pay for it in years to come!

Guitar case or bag

These are important for keeping your guitar protected when in storage or travelling around. I prefer using a gig bag when out and about with my acoustic and I use a solid case to store my electric guitar. My TGI padded rucksack bag is great for popping over my shoulder and marching about with. It doesn’t slip off my shoulder and my guitar stays nice and snug. My Fender Stratocaster lives in a Freestyle Guitar Case which was bought for my nearly 20 years ago! It’s still in perfect condition (mainly because I look after it!). It is however very heavy and I wouldn’t say you could walk with it very far. Instead use a TGI padded rucksack case for electric, that’ll do the trick.


When you are starting out a small amp with be just right. it won’t annoy your family and you can carry it around to practice and friends houses for jamming. I use a mini Vox amp. This isn’t the one I use as I bought it a while ago, but it’s closer to what I have got Vox mini 5 rhythm. They are tiny but loud! They also come in lots of different colours to suit your tastes. When I am gigging I like to hook up to a nice Marshall Amp they are meaty and loud and iconic to electric guitar playing.

Guitar leads

You can’t be heard without a lead! Plug in to any P.A or amp with a decent lead. Try to look after them too and regulalry check for splits or cracks as you could electrocute yourself! Fender Instrument cable

So there we go, that’s my roundup of what essentials you will need. There will probably be others and if I think of any I will add to this list! Amy


2 thoughts on “Top essentials you need when starting to play guitar”

  1. If you are just starting out you could do worse than just getting a six string acoustic guitar and Russ Shiptons “The complete guitar player” book.
    Oh and remember pain is normal until your fingers get calouses! You have to press the strings pretty hard at the beginning to get clean notes. Play for a few minutes a day until your fingers start to harden on the ends and it wont hurt so much and you wont need to press so hard either.
    You can get handy free guitar tuning apps for your smartphone if you have one, to help you tune your guitar, like Pro Guitar Tuner. Or search for guitar tuner on youtube for those standard tuning notes.
    But the most important thing you’ll need is perseverance!

    1. Bruce, thanks for your comment! Funny you should mention The Complete Guitar Player book as that’s the book I learnt to play on! I still have copies now that I teach with 🙂
      You are right about perseverance, it’s what playing an instrument is all about.

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