1. A Guitar Book
Today students can search video after video of guitar instruction and piece together a decent intro. But there’s nothing like a single book with a table of contents and established expertise to get you answers when you need them. Here’s one that comes highly recommended from the experts over at Berklee College of Music:

2. Capo
The capo is an essential guitar accessory for beginners and players of all levels. Having one means you’re unlimited in your ability to change key during a song or in-between songs. Dunlop and Kyser make quick release versions.

3. Tuner
There’s no skipping a guitar tuner when you’re starting out. Playing an out-of-tune guitar is like swinging a cracked bat for a baseball player. There are plenty of good, affordable options out there. Korg makes tuners that are widely recommended for beginners, for less than $20. Check out these tuners reviewed side by side.

4. Strings – lots of ‘em
A beginner might not realize that having backup strings on hand is a must. Though there’s no set “change by” date, tarnished, tune-resistant strings will need a change. Broken strings will need a change; not having a set on hand when you need them may result in a lost opportunity. Check out options such as GHS Strings and choose your brightness.

5. Strap
Do you really need a strap for your first guitar. This answer is yes – if you ever want to stand and play at the same time! The good news is, when you’re starting out on guitar, you’ll be playing seated a lot more than standing. Still, straps keep your guitar where it belongs (not smashed on the ground); they come in all shapes, sizes, textures, and materials, so choose one that says, “You”.

6. Picks
You might be the next finger picking wizard or a lead guitarist in a metal band. Whatever the future holds, you’ll definitely want to get used to using a guitar pick as a beginner. Since choice of pick often comes down to a subtle difference in sound and feel, go for something basic that you won’t mind losing in the couch cushions (for now). How to choose and use a guitar pick as a beginner:

7. Guitar Bag/Case
Do you absolutely need a guitar bag? Yes, absolutely. Is there any reason to spend more than 20 bucks on one? Maybe. Though you can find perfectly good bags and cases for $20 and under, take your own lifestyle into consideration before you buy. Do you tend to carry multiple bags or toss things around (or have a family member who does)? You may want spend a bit more and invest in a hard case for adequate protection.

8. …Oh, um, the guitar!
Guitars are expensive – even cheap ones are pretty expensive. So don’t underestimate the importance of choosing a first guitar that you really love. How do you know if a guitar is right for you?

* Does it feel comfortable when you hold and play it?
* When you compare it to other guitars, do you like the way it sounds?
* Are you happy with the look/stlye? (Guitar envy is usually avoidable.)

Here is some other advice from around the web for buying a guitar: gives you 12 Tips
Sweetwater has a comprehensive guide on how to buy an acoustic guitar.
Guitar Hangar tells you what to avoid when buying an Electric Guitar

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