What Do You Need To Play Electric Guitar? (Essential Gear & Equipment)

electric guitar

To play electric guitar, you will need an electric guitar, an amplifier, and a cable to connect the guitar and amp. It’s also recommended to have accessories like guitar picks, a tuner, and a strap. Some guitarists also use effects pedals to shape their sound.

Note: If you don’t want to waste time, then you can’t go wrong with this electric guitar pack which includes: Fender Squier 24-Inch Short Scale Strat Pack – Transparent Blue Bundle with Frontman 10G Amplifier, Instrument Cable, Tuner, Strap, Picks, and Online Lessons.

Check out my epic guide on how to learn guitar once you have everything you need to play the electric guitar.

What You Need To Play Electric Guitar

  1. Electric Guitar: A solid body electric guitar is the most common type of guitar for beginners. This is a good starter guitar option for those who are just beginning to learn to play. Link: Electric Guitar
  2. Guitar Amplifier: An amplifier is required to play an electric guitar. There are many different options available, including combo amps and head and cabinet setups. Link: Guitar Amplifier
  3. Guitar Cable: A cable is needed to connect the guitar to the amplifier. A standard 1/4 inch cable is usually sufficient for most setups. Link: Guitar Cable
  4. Guitar Picks: Picks are small, thin pieces of plastic that are used to pluck the strings of the guitar. They come in various shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Link: Guitar Picks
  5. Tuner: A tuner is used to ensure that the guitar is in tune. There are many different types of tuners available, including clip-on tuners and pedal tuners. Link: Guitar Tuner
  6. Strap: A strap is used to hold the guitar in place while playing standing up. They come in various materials, lengths, and designs. Link: Guitar Strap
  7. Strings: Strings are the actual sound-producing component of the guitar. There are many different types of strings available, including different materials and gauges. Link: Guitar Strings
  8. String Winder: A string winder is a small tool used to quickly and easily wind the strings onto the guitar. Link: String Winder
  9. Cleaning Kit: A cleaning kit is used to keep the guitar clean and in good condition. It includes products like polish, cloth, and fretboard cleaner. Link: Guitar Cleaning Kit
  10. Case or Gig Bag: A case or gig bag is used to protect the guitar during transport. They come in various materials and designs. Link: Guitar Case or Gig Bag
  11. A Way To Learn Guitar: I recommend using this how to learn electric guitar guide which includes tons of other resources.

1. Electric Guitar

The electric guitar is a versatile and exciting instrument that can be used in a variety of music genres, from rock to blues to jazz. To get started, you will need an electric guitar, an amplifier, a cable, a pick, and a tuner.

An electric guitar is different from an acoustic guitar in that it requires an amplifier to produce sound. The pickups on the guitar convert the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal, which is then sent to the amplifier to be amplified and shaped into a desired sound.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Music Merchants, electric guitar sales in the United States have been on the rise since 2013, with over 1.3 million units sold in 2020 alone.

Recommended Electric Guitar to buy:

2. Guitar Amplifier

A guitar amplifier is an essential piece of equipment for electric guitarists as it amplifies the sound of the guitar and allows the player to shape and adjust their tone.

Here are some fundamentals on guitar amplifiers:

  • Types of amplifiers: There are several types of guitar amplifiers, including tube amps, solid-state amps, and digital modeling amps. Each type has its own unique sound and features.
    • Tube amps: These use vacuum tubes to amplify the guitar signal and are known for their warm, natural sound.
    • Solid-state amps: These use transistors to amplify the guitar signal and are typically more reliable and affordable than tube amps.
    • Digital modeling amps: These use digital technology to simulate the sound of various amplifier types and effects.
  • Power and wattage: The power and wattage of an amplifier determine how loud it can get. A lower wattage amp may be more suitable for bedroom practice, while a higher wattage amp is better for playing with a band or performing in larger venues.
  • Channels and effects: Many amplifiers have multiple channels and built-in effects, such as reverb, delay, and distortion. These can be useful for shaping your tone and adding variety to your playing.
  • Speaker configuration: The speaker configuration of an amplifier refers to the number and size of speakers it has. A larger speaker will typically produce more volume and low-end, while a smaller speaker will be more focused and articulate.

It’s important to consider your needs and preferences when choosing a guitar amplifier. Some top options on Amazon include:

  • Fender Champion 20: This is a solid-state amplifier with 20 watts of power, two channels, and built-in effects. It has a 1×8″ speaker and is suitable for practice and small gigs.
  • Boss Katana 50 MkII: This is a digital modeling amplifier with 50 watts of power, five channels, and a variety of built-in effects. It has a 1×12″ speaker and is suitable for practice, recording, and live performances.
  • Marshall DSL40CR: This is a tube amplifier with 40 watts of power, two channels, and built-in reverb. It has a 1×12″ Celestion speaker and is suitable for gigs and recording.

Remember to also consider factors such as budget, genre of music, and intended use when choosing a guitar amplifier.

3. Guitar Cable

A guitar cable is an essential component for playing an electric guitar. Here are the fundamentals on guitar cables and why you need one:

  • A guitar cable is a shielded cable that transmits the signal from your guitar to an amplifier or audio interface. Without a guitar cable, you won’t be able to hear your guitar through an amplifier or record it into a computer.
  • The quality of the guitar cable can affect the tone and clarity of your guitar’s sound. A poorly made cable can introduce noise or interference into the signal, while a high-quality cable can preserve the full frequency range of your guitar’s tone.
  • Guitar cables come in different lengths, typically ranging from 6 feet to 25 feet. It’s important to choose a cable length that is appropriate for your playing situation, as a longer cable can introduce signal loss and degrade your guitar’s tone.
  • Some guitar cables also feature angled or straight connectors, which can affect how the cable connects to your guitar and amplifier.

Recommended Guitar Cable to buy:

4. Guitar Picks

Guitar picks are an essential part of playing the electric guitar as they help to produce the desired tone and volume. Here are some fundamentals on guitar picks:

  • Guitar picks come in different materials, shapes, and sizes, each with its unique sound and feel. Some of the popular materials used for guitar picks include plastic, nylon, metal, and felt.
  • The shape of the guitar pick can also affect the tone and attack of the guitar. Common shapes include standard, teardrop, and jazz.
  • The thickness of the guitar pick, measured in millimeters (mm), can also influence the tone and feel of playing. Thicker picks generally produce a stronger sound, while thinner picks provide more flexibility and ease of playing.
  • Using a guitar pick is also important for electric guitar players as it can help to improve accuracy, speed, and control when playing.

And here is the best guitar pick on Amazon:

5. Guitar Tuner

A guitar tuner is an essential tool for any electric guitar player, as it ensures that the guitar is always in tune, which is critical for producing a good sound.

See my article on the best guitar tuners to choose from.

Here are some fundamentals on guitar tuners:

  • Types of Tuners: There are various types of guitar tuners available on the market, including clip-on tuners, pedal tuners, and smartphone apps. Clip-on tuners are the most popular choice for electric guitar players as they are compact, accurate, and easy to use. Pedal tuners are a bit larger and typically used by professional guitar players. Smartphone apps are also available for tuning guitars, but they may not always be as accurate as clip-on or pedal tuners.
  • How they Work: Clip-on tuners work by sensing the vibration of the guitar strings, while pedal tuners work by processing the sound coming from the guitar through a microphone or a direct input. Both types of tuners use LEDs or a display to indicate whether a string is in tune or not. Smartphone apps use the microphone of the device to pick up the sound of the guitar, and the app processes the sound to determine if the guitar is in tune.
  • Why You Need One: Tuning your guitar is essential for producing a good sound and playing in tune with other musicians. Even the most expensive electric guitar will not sound good if it is out of tune. Additionally, playing an out-of-tune guitar can be frustrating and may discourage you from practicing.

The best guitar tuner on Amazon is the Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner, according to customer reviews and ratings.

6. Guitar Strap

A guitar strap is an essential accessory for any guitarist, providing comfort and stability during playing. Here are some fundamentals on guitar straps and why you need one:

  • Comfort: A guitar strap helps distribute the weight of the guitar across your body, reducing strain on your arms and shoulders. It allows you to stand and play for longer periods of time.
  • Stability: A guitar strap helps keep the guitar in a consistent position, which is important for playing and avoiding injury.
  • Style: Guitar straps come in a variety of colors, designs, and materials, allowing you to express your personal style.

When choosing a guitar strap, consider the following:

  • Material: Leather, nylon, and suede are popular options. Leather is durable and comfortable, while nylon and suede are lightweight and easy to adjust.
  • Width: A wider strap distributes weight more evenly, while a narrower strap can be more comfortable for some players.
  • Length: Make sure the strap is adjustable to fit your body and playing style.
  • Attachment: Choose a strap with sturdy attachments that fit your guitar’s strap buttons.

As for the best guitar strap on Amazon, the Ernie Ball Polypro Guitar Strap is a popular and highly rated choice. It is adjustable up to 72 inches in length, made from durable polypropylene material, and features a comfortable shoulder pad.

7. Guitar Strings

See my article on the best electric guitar strings to choose from.

Guitar strings are an essential part of playing the electric guitar, as they produce the sound when played. When it comes to choosing guitar strings, there are several factors to consider, such as material, gauge, and brand. It’s important to choose the right strings for your playing style and guitar type to ensure the best sound and performance.

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing guitar strings:

  • Material: Guitar strings are typically made of steel or nickel. Steel strings are brighter and louder, while nickel strings have a warmer, smoother sound. Some strings also have coatings to increase their lifespan.
  • Gauge: Guitar strings come in a range of gauges, which refers to the thickness of the strings. Thicker strings have a richer, fuller sound, but can be harder to play, while thinner strings are easier to play but may lack some depth.
  • Brand: Different guitar string brands have different characteristics and reputations for quality and sound. Some popular brands include Ernie Ball, D’Addario, and Elixir.

Best guitar strings on Amazon:

8. Guitar String Winder

A guitar string winder is a small tool that is used to wind or unwind guitar strings when changing them. It is a handy tool that makes changing strings easier and faster. Here are some fundamentals about guitar string winders and why you need one:

  • Convenience: A guitar string winder is a convenient tool that helps to speed up the process of changing strings. With a string winder, you can easily wind or unwind the strings without having to use your fingers.
  • Efficiency: Using a guitar string winder makes the process of changing strings more efficient, allowing you to change strings faster and get back to playing.
  • Accuracy: A guitar string winder helps to ensure that the strings are wound properly and evenly, which is important for maintaining proper intonation and tuning.
  • Protection: A guitar string winder can also help to protect your guitar’s finish by preventing accidental scratches and dings that can occur when winding or unwinding strings by hand.

If you’re looking for the best guitar string winder on Amazon, we recommend the D’Addario Pro-Winder. It is a high-quality, all-in-one tool that includes a string winder, cutter, and bridge pin puller. It is durable, easy to use, and compatible with most guitars.

9. Guitar Cleaning Kit

Maintaining a clean guitar is an essential part of guitar maintenance. A guitar cleaning kit includes all the necessary tools and materials for keeping your guitar clean and well-maintained. Here are the fundamentals of a guitar cleaning kit:

  • Microfiber cloth: A soft, lint-free cloth that won’t scratch the finish of your guitar.
  • Guitar polish: A specially formulated polish that will help to protect and preserve the finish of your guitar.
  • Guitar cleaner: A cleaning solution designed to remove dirt, grime, and other debris from the surface of your guitar.
  • Fretboard oil: An oil designed to keep your guitar’s fretboard from drying out and cracking.
  • String cleaner/lubricant: A cleaning solution designed to remove dirt and grime from your guitar strings, and a lubricant to help your strings last longer and play more smoothly.

A guitar cleaning kit is essential for keeping your guitar in top condition, and can help to extend the life of your instrument. It’s also important to regularly clean your guitar to prevent buildup of dirt and grime, which can affect the sound and playability of your guitar.

And here’s a link to one of the best guitar cleaning kits on Amazon:

10. Guitar Case or Gig Bag

See my article on the best guitar cases and gig bags to choose from.

A guitar case or gig bag is an essential accessory for any electric guitar player, as it provides protection for the instrument during transport and storage. Here are the fundamentals on guitar case or gig bag and why you need one:

  • Protection: A guitar case or gig bag protects your guitar from scratches, dings, and other damage that can occur during transport or storage.
  • Convenience: It’s much easier to transport your guitar if it’s in a case or gig bag. Many cases have handles and/or straps to make carrying your guitar more comfortable and convenient.
  • Durability: A good guitar case or gig bag is built to last, so you can use it for years to come.

And here is the best guitar case or gig bag on Amazon:

11. A Way To Learn Guitar

See my epic guide on how to learn guitar.

Learning guitar can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. There are a variety of ways to learn guitar, including private lessons, online courses, instructional books, and video tutorials. It’s important to choose a learning method that fits your individual learning style and preferences.

Private lessons are a great way to get one-on-one instruction from a professional guitar teacher. They can provide personalized feedback and help you develop good habits early on. Online courses and video tutorials offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. Instructional books and resources can be helpful supplements to other learning methods.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to set goals and practice regularly. Consistent practice is the key to improving your skills and becoming a better guitarist.

It’s also worth noting that having a supportive community can be invaluable when learning guitar. Joining a local music group, online forum, or social media group can provide motivation, feedback, and opportunities to collaborate with other musicians.

There isn’t necessarily a “best” way to learn guitar, as everyone’s learning style and preferences are different. It’s important to experiment with different methods and find what works best for you.

What You Need To Play Electric Guitar: Important Things To Consider

  • Determine your budget for the guitar and related equipment.
  • Decide on the type of music you want to play on the guitar.
  • Consider the guitar’s body type, size, and weight.
  • Choose the right pickup configuration (single-coil or humbucker).
  • Check the guitar’s neck profile, fretboard radius, and scale length.
  • Test the guitar’s playability, intonation, and tuning stability.
  • Decide on the guitar’s aesthetic design and color.
  • Research and compare different brands and models before making a final decision.

What isn’t Necessary To Play Electric Guitar But you Still Might Want

While the essentials for playing electric guitar are relatively straightforward, there are several additional items you might want to consider for a more enjoyable experience. These items include:

  1. Effects pedals: These can be used to add various effects to your guitar sound, such as distortion, reverb, and delay. While not necessary, they can greatly enhance your playing experience and allow you to create unique sounds.
  2. Guitar stand: This is a convenient way to store your guitar when you’re not playing it. It can also help keep your guitar in good condition by reducing the risk of accidental damage.
  3. Extra guitar cables: Having a spare guitar cable on hand can be a lifesaver in case your current cable breaks or malfunctions.
  4. Guitar humidifier: If you live in a dry climate or store your guitar in a room with low humidity, a guitar humidifier can help prevent your guitar from drying out and becoming damaged.
  5. Music stand: If you plan on reading sheet music or tabs while playing, a music stand can make this much easier and more comfortable.

While these items aren’t strictly necessary, they can greatly enhance your playing experience and help you take better care of your guitar.

What you DON’T Need To Play Electric Guitar

While there are many accessories and gadgets that can enhance your experience playing electric guitar, there are also several things that you don’t necessarily need in order to play:

  1. Expensive Effects Pedals: While effects pedals can add a lot of depth and variety to your sound, they are not strictly necessary for playing electric guitar. In fact, many classic guitar tones were achieved without any effects pedals at all.
  2. Advanced Recording Equipment: While it can be fun and rewarding to record your own music, you don’t need a full professional studio setup to get started. Many beginner-friendly recording options, such as smartphone apps or digital audio workstations, are available.
  3. High-End Gear: While it can be tempting to splurge on expensive guitars and amplifiers, they are not strictly necessary for playing electric guitar. There are many affordable options available that still provide good sound and playability.

Remember, the most important thing when starting out on electric guitar is to focus on developing your skills and technique, rather than getting bogged down in gear and gadgets.

What Do You Need To Play Electric Guitar: (Essential Equipment) FAQs

What do I need to go with an electric guitar?

To play electric guitar, you’ll need the following items in addition to the guitar itself:

  • Amplifier
  • Guitar cable
  • Guitar picks
  • Guitar tuner
  • Guitar strap
  • Guitar strings
  • Guitar string winder
  • Guitar cleaning kit
  • Guitar case or gig bag

Do I need an amp to play electric guitar?

Technically, you can play an electric guitar without an amplifier, but the sound will be very quiet and lack the characteristic tone of an electric guitar. To get the full experience and sound of an electric guitar, you’ll need to use an amplifier.

Can I start just playing electric guitar?

Yes, you can start with electric guitar. However, it is important to note that electric guitars are typically easier to play than acoustic guitars due to the lower string tension and thinner strings. So if you start with an electric guitar, you may find the transition to acoustic guitar more difficult.

How do I get started with electric guitar?

To get started with electric guitar, you’ll need to:

  • Choose and purchase an electric guitar
  • Get the necessary equipment (amplifier, guitar cable, etc.)
  • Learn the basic techniques and chords through online tutorials or lessons from a teacher
  • Practice regularly to improve your skills

What do I need to know before buying an electric guitar?

Before buying an electric guitar, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Budget
  • Body style (solid body, semi-hollow, hollow body)
  • Scale length
  • Number of frets
  • Pickups
  • Bridge type
  • Tuning stability
  • Neck shape and width
  • Quality of construction and materials

Can I directly learn electric guitar?

Yes, you can learn electric guitar directly through online tutorials, instructional books, or lessons from a teacher.

How much do I need to spend on an electric guitar?

The price of an electric guitar can vary widely depending on the brand, model, and quality of construction. You can find budget-friendly options for around $200, while high-end models can cost thousands of dollars. It’s important to set a budget and consider the quality and features you want in an electric guitar before making a purchase.

Do you need a computer for an electric guitar?

While a computer is not necessary to play electric guitar, it can be useful for recording and editing music. Additionally, there are various guitar software programs and online resources that can aid in learning and practicing.

Do you need big hands to play electric guitar?

No, you do not need big hands to play electric guitar. Many successful guitarists have smaller hands and have found techniques to compensate for this.

Is an electric guitar easier than acoustic?

Generally, electric guitars are considered easier to play than acoustic guitars due to their lower string tension and thinner strings. However, both types of guitars require practice and skill to master.

Can I use my iPhone as a guitar amp?

Yes, there are various apps available that allow you to use your iPhone as a guitar amp. However, it’s important to note that the sound quality may not be as good as a dedicated guitar amplifier.

Do all electric guitars need a speaker?

No, not all electric guitars need a speaker. The sound of an electric guitar is amplified through an amplifier, which is then output through a speaker. Some amplifiers have a headphone output, allowing you to play silently without a speaker.

Does electric guitar need capo?

While a capo is not necessary to play an electric guitar, it can be useful for changing the key and playing different chords. It is a personal preference whether or not to use a capo.

Related Posts:

David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others.
Check out my recommended guitar gear!
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Romans 10:9-10

Recent Posts