We’ve updated our list for 2014! Check out our Top 10 Essential Accessories for 2014 here!
We’ve gathered together some of our very favorite, most essential music gear accessories for the guitarist. At least as of the end of 2010, these are what we consider the best! We really stand behind every item listed here – we use them ourselves and we happily offer them here at our store in Lawrence. Some are classics and some are new this year, but we at Mass St Music think they are all totally essential (they also make great gift ideas!). Please note these are not in any particular order of importance – they’re just all amazing and essential in our book.
1. Kyser Humidifiers – next to insurance, a humidifier is the most important thing you can do for your acoustic guitar. The Kyser is super easy to use and is recommended by our own repair shop – who often see the cracks and lifted bridges of not using humidifiers in the winter time. Start using it in the winter, particularly when the heat goes on in your home. Just soak the sponge, squeeze it out, dry the outside of it and place it in your acoustic’s soundhole (and keep your guitar in the case for it to work). Check it weekly or so til you figure out how often you need to refill it, which depends on the conditions in your home or studio. It’s an inexpensive way to keep your guitar healthy and it costs a heck of lot less than a bridge reglue or crack repair.
2. Picks – we’ve seen some seriously great picks this year -seriously! Our favorites have been the Griffith Pick, made from bovine hoof, which works great for so many playing styles, and also the Blue Chip Picks which are pricier, but really last a heck of a long time and make a real difference in playing. We think they’re made from kryptonite or something. The Blue Chip CT55, the Blue Chip TAD50 are amazing and if you don’t believe us, stop by and try one out for yourself – you’ll hear and feel the difference immediately.
3. Tuners – Such an important part of playing, right? And so many to choose from. Our favorites include the super easy to use and dead on accurate Planet Waves Chromatic Tuner. This picks up vibrations, rather than using a mic for tuning so it doesn’t matter who you’ve got near you making noise. John used this on a 12-string at a live show and said it was spot on. As for pedal tuners, it’s a tie – the Boss TU-3 is a significant improvement over the TU-2 and is a new classic in its own right. And the TC Electronics Polytune is a revolutionary leap forward in tuning – check all your strings at once. This is incredibly handy when you’re playing live. Store your settings if you like, strobe or needle display…This is spot on, super fast, and it’s true bypass too.
4. Stands. We take these little guys for granted, but there is a difference in guitar stands. The super adjustable GS-100, the classic GS-200 and the Ultimate Amp Stand are our favorites – these are sturdy and super portable and won’t let you (or your gear) down. The other ‘stand’ we really love is the old String Swing Wall Hanger. This thing is so essential to us…when you’re in the store next time, just look around and you’ll see them all over our walls. It’s a great idea for practice spaces, music rooms, studios, dorms…keeps them off the floor, out of the wall corners, away from the dogs and kids and in a safe spot – and still within your reach. A little thing that makes a big difference.
5. Grosh Humbuckers – We’ve been huge fans of Grosh Guitars for a very long time and we’re thrilled when they began offering their pickups for sale. Don puts as much knowledge and craftsmanship into his pickups as he does with each of his amazing guitars. John’s got the 327 Zebra hums in one of his guitars and says they are incredible. “Best in class” to quote the boss. Also putting some killer new pickups in your existing guitar is a genius way of practically getting a ‘new guitar’.
6. Coated Martin Lifespan Strings – If you love Elixirs (and we do!) you are gonna love these Lifespans too. These are coated, offering you longer life to your strings, but the key here is that their Cleartone coating is super, super light and really lets the strings ring truer, like an uncoated string. Plus these offer the player a more natural feel to the fingers. Great new strings.
7. Mogami Gold Cables – Mogami 10 foot or Mogami 18 foot, these seriously are killer cables. Does it make a difference? Yes it does! When you go to all the trouble to get the most excellent guitar and the perfect amp then get your pedal board all set up, you want to ensure that your tone gets through the way you want it to. Besides the incredible basic construction, these have an extra PVC coating on the outside to ensure no handling noise gets through either. Stage, studio or practice space, this is the way to go.
8. Paige Capo – When you’re capo-ing, you want to be sure it’s just the way you want. The Paige Capo delivers even pressure and offers ‘fine-tuning’ of the pressure so you’re getting exactly what you want. The Paige Banjo-Mando Capo is also fantastic too. We’ve tried many kinds and this is our pick of the year.
9. Pedals – really hard to pick just one, so we didn’t, we picked two! The Xotic EP Booster and Dr. Z Brake Lite are tied as super essential gear items. The EP Booster gives you fidelity clean boost in a super tiny package. You get a really nice expanse to your tone, not just more volume. It’s all you, only better. The Dr. Z Brake Lite gives you your full-on sound at any volume -you’re easily able to get the sound of your amp on ‘eleven’ at a volume. The really nice things is this year the Doc came out with a stand alone version of the Brake Lite so it’s even easier to use on any amp at any time. Both these pedals are small things that can make a real difference in your sound and playing. Will quickly become part of your standard arsenal.
10. Mass St Music Coffee Mug. Okay, this isn’t really music gear, but man we love these. We use ’em every day, and you can too.