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: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0876390114/justinguitar-20
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.
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.
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”.
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:
• GuitarHabits.com 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
Get Guitar in Your School
Attend a Teaching Guitar Workshop and learn how to start or expand a great classroom guitar program. This Professional Development course for school music educators is endorsed by NAfME and backed by the recommendations of thousands of school music educators who have studied with us!