Jimi Hendrix, who’s widely seen as one of the most influential guitarists in history, knew the value of accessories. But while Hendrix made overdriven amplifiers cool, distortion isn’t always desirable.
Guitarists ready to turn in their 10-watt amps for an upgrade can look to these mid-to-high end accessories when it’s time to get serious:
1. Line 6 Relay G50 Wireless Guitar System
If you’re looking for a wireless sound system that won’t step on your tone, Line 6’s Relay G50 model is the one to beat. Although the G50 does come with cable hookups, who wants to trip over tangled chords mid-set?
With an impressive 200-foot range and eight hours of battery life, the G50 has enough power to perform at large clubs and venues. Amazon sells it for $349.
2. DR Hi-Def Neon Electric Guitar Strings
As the item most frequently replaced on your instrument, strings are one accessory that should always be in your bag. As you progress from a beginner to a more serious musician, your hardened fingertips become better suited to play on thicker strings.
These DR strings are thicker than average, but they’re still thin enough to enjoy while making a cool statement. Their bright colors add eye-catching luminescence to your guitar game. High definition, bright in the day, and really popping under a black light, your stage presence just shot way up.
A pack of six sells for $9 for guitar (model NMCE-10) and $29 for bass (model NMCB-45). They come in multicolor (each string is a different color) as well as red, white, and blue (2 strings per color).
3. PolyTune 3 Guitar Tuner Pedal by TC Electric
Before you lose heart over a chord that sounds … just wrong, check your tuner. Serious guitarists always have a tuner within arm’s reach, whether playing solo or in a band.
A relatively new technology, polyphonic tuners (“poly” = many + “phonic” = sound) allow the musician to strum and tune all the strings at once instead of individually. TC Electric pioneered this technology, and their PolyTune 3 Tuner has an LED screen and the functionality to change modes between polyphonic, chromatic, and strobe tuning. It starts at $79.
4. Dunlop John Petrucci Jazz III Guitar Picks
Like mateless socks out of the dryer, lost guitar picks are Twilight Zone wonders of the musician’s reality. You can never have too many picks.
These Jazz III picks are legendary among serious guitarists because of their precision, agility, and overall performance. What makes the Dunlop John Petrucci Jazz III Guitar Picks special is that John Petrucci himself designed the specs for this tool. This 1.5mm is slightly bendable and displays Petrucci’s initials. Pick up a 36-pack for $26.
5. Gator TSA Series Acoustic Guitar Case
Traveling guitarists need cases to protect, stow, and carry their instruments. Gator, which has a reputation for making quality instrument cases, recently launched its ultra-tough, TSA-approved series of cases. Although the series includes all guitar styles, we’re focusing on the acoustic version for this review.
When you need to fly with your guitar, you’ll appreciate this hard polyurethane case with TSA-compliant locks. But even if your instrument never sees the inside of an airplane, you won’t regret the step-up protection. Shock-proof and water resistant, the Gator TSA Series acoustic model runs $164 and is available at music stores.
6. Kyser Quick-Change Capo
Considered an intermediate level skill, playing barre chords becomes easier with a capo. Even greats like James Taylor have been known to use a capo. The Kyser Quick-Change Capo for six-string acoustic guitars clearly raises the pitch, letting you play in a different key without changing finger positions.
Thanks to the Quick-Change Capo’s one-handed design, you can quickly change back and forth. With a sticker price of $20, this product comes in 23 colors and with a lifetime guarantee. Choose between twelve-string, six-string, and electric models for the same cost.
Great guitar accessories help you find your groove and reflect your personal style. Hendrix didn’t play by the rules of his day, but he did use accessories to help him bring something new and authentic to the stage. Find the tools that work for you, and maybe it’ll be your initials stamped on those guitar picks someday.