Recommended gear for guitarists

There are so many options when it comes to gear or equipment for guitar players. So, below I’ve compiled a list of recommended gear for guitarist, including pedals, accessories, applications and tools.

I have personally bought and use every recommendation on this page.

I’ve included links to store listings for each product.

Disclaimer: I’ve found all of the gear on this page to be great purchases and I recommend them all. But, we are all different and what I think is perfect might not be perfect for you. Please keep this in mind if you decide to buy something and don’t buy anything unless you can afford it!

Recommended gear for guitarists: live sound and practice room

These are all the pieces of gear and equipment I recommend to guitarists; both for use on gigs and in the practice room. I generally recommend keeping things simple.

There’s an infinite amount of gear and guitar pedals that we could spend our time trying out, buying and then selling again.

Unless you have very specific needs though, I recommend getting guitar gear that fixes problems and makes life easier.

Aim for guitar gear that’s ‘very good’ rather than ‘perfect’ and you’ll be a happier and wealthier guitarist!

Bogner Alchemist 112

Amp for gigging

After the guitar, the most important piece of gear for an electric guitarist is the amplifier.

For gigging it has to be a valve amp, and I use a Bogner Alchemist 112.

It’s fairly low-end for a Bogner but it’s a great workhorse with a punchy clean sound and a decent crunch though I have to dial up the treble and mid to get the sound I like.

It also has built-in reverb & delay – very handy for keeping your pedal-board simple. This amp is now out of production so the link below takes you to the range of Bogner amps on Amazon:

Bogner amplifiers on Amazon

Practice amp

No fancy amp modelling or novelty noises here. But if you want a simple amp suitable for the home, then I recommend this one from Peavey.

The clean and crunch channels are good and there’s more than enough gain for rock soloing. It has built-in reverb and two inputs, so you can plug two guitars into it; very useful for teaching:

Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube Amplifier

Pedaltrain 2

I highly recommend this pedalboard to any gigging guitarist. It’s built like a tank and big enough for about 12 pedals.

It comes with plenty of heavy duty Velcro, and has space for a power supply underneath the rails, as well as space for all your patch cables. Highly recommended:

PT-CL2-SC Pedaltrain Classic 2 w/soft case

Xotic EP booster

This fabulous pedal changes a nice clean sound into a beautiful one!

It’s officially a boost pedal but the sparkle it introduces is so gorgeous that my advice is to leave it on all the time with gain set to minimum.

If I had to recommend one guitar pedal from the ones on this page, this would be it. A beautiful sound in a very small package:

Xotic EP Booster Mini EQ Effect Pedal

Xotic SP compressor

If you’re looking for a compressor to add to your guitar set-up I recommend this the SP. I’ve tried several compressors over the years, and found this one to the best. It’s versatile and takes up very little room on your pedalboard.

I have this first in my effects chain and it’s on all the time set quite low, giving me a more even clean sound than I would otherwise have:

Xotic Effects SP Compressor Effect Pedal

Xotic Polytune tuner

If you’re looking for a great guitar tuner, I can’t recommend the Polytune enough.

It’s small but with a very clear display; it responds very quickly and can show tuning for all 6 strings at the same time:

TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Polyphonic Tuner

Xotic RC booster

This is the pedal I use as my Booster when I need to poke my head up above the rest of the band.

You can get some lovely sounds from it; both with and without introducing drive. The EQ dials sound great all the way from minimum to maximum:

Xotic RC Booster Pedal

Boss SD-1 overdrive

Yes really! Guitar gear doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve bought other pedals, including ones that cost five times the price, but I keep coming back to this one.

I genuinely think this cheap little pedal sounds the best driving my valves so, naturally, this is my recommended overdrive pedal:

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

MXR MC404 wah

This fabulous wah from Custom Audio Electronics both sounds and feels great!

It has two different sounds – I prefer the brighter one – and it has a built in boost control:

MXR MC404 CAE Dual Inductor Wah Wah

Boss FV500H volume pedal

As I mentioned above, a lot of the recommended gear for guitarists on this page is to fix problems.

Single note lines are quieter than strummed chords so often need a boost in volume to match the sound of the band. Similarly, we sometimes need to back off on the volume for quieter strummed tunes.

This nice solid volume pedal allows me to blend in with the band whatever we’re playing:

Boss FV-500H Volume Pedal

Mooer Green Mile overdrive pedal

This is a nice little overdrive pedal that’s based on the Ibanez Tube Screamer.

It sounds best in front of a tube amp but it’s pretty good going through my practice amp too. It provides a warm and pretty natural overdrive sound. If you want a good, low cost overdrive pedal I recommend this:

Mooer Green Mile overdrive micro pedal

TC Electronic Ditto X2 looper

Looper pedals are handy for quickly creating simple backing tracks to practice over. Play a couple of bars into the looper and off you go.

It’s a nice alternative to backing track generators when you want something with a little more ‘feel’.

The Ditto is easy to use, and has big solid responsive foot-switches that make it easy to punch in and out of your playing accurately:

TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper

Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus

It’s hard to get excited about a power supply but when it comes to recommending guitar gear, we must have super-reliability.

The PP2+ is very well built and fits discreetly under my pedal board (recommended above).

It has 8 outputs: 6 delivering 100mA and 2 delivering 250mA in case you have any super-hungry pedals that need feeding. It’s never let me down:

Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus Isolated Power Supply

Recommended gear for guitarists: cases

If you’re taking your guitar and gear on the road, it’s going to take many knocks.

The quality of casing that you use to protect your guitar gear is one area where you really shouldn’t skimp.

I recommend the following cases for guitar and pedalboard.

Mono M80 guitar case

This is a fabulous electric guitar case that I can’t recommend enough.

It’s not cheap, but you can see where your money is going. Although it’s a ‘soft’ case the material it’s made from it so tough and it has plenty of padding to protect your guitar.

Never again will your pride and joy hit the deck due to a strap breaking. This is the Rolls Royce of guitar cases:

Mono M80 Electric Guitar Case

Mono M80-PB2 Pedaltrain 2 case

Just like the guitar case I recommend above, this is an equally fabulous case for the Pedaltrain 2 pedalboard.

It’s made of the same super-tough material as the guitar case, has seemingly unbreakable zips, and a large second compartment for cables, etc:

Mono M80 Pedalboard Case

Recommended gear for guitarists: accessories

Here are all the recommended extra pieces of gear for guitarists.

I’ve included everything from strings and picks to pieces of gear to keep your practice room and life as a guitarist organised.

Some are more important than others, depending on how you work and what your priorities are.

D’Addario EXL120+ electric guitar strings

It’s hard to give a clear recommendation when it comes to guitar strings because the best string thickness depends on your needs, tuning and style of music.

So, this is a very personal recommendation. I’ve tried a wide range of different string gauges and brands over the years, and D’Addario EXL120+ are my favourites.

I like the bendiness of thin guitar strings and the wild vibrato you can get out of them; but I miss the power of thicker strings.

I’ve found these to be the best compromise between these two factors:

D’Addario EXL120+ Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, Super Light Plus, 9.5-44

V-Picks medium pointed lite emerald green guitar pick

Over the years I’ve tried many different guitar picks but since I was introduced to V-picks I’ve been hooked.

They’re more expensive than regular picks but for me the cost is well worth it. They’re made from acrylic and have a slight tackiness to them, making them extra secure, and I love the sound that they produce.

Of the V-picks range, these medium lite emerald green ones are the ones I like best and that I recommend:

V-Picks Medium Pointed Lite Emerald Green Guitar Pick

Whirlwind guitar cables

A list of recommended gear for guitarists must include guitar leads, and these are one of my strongest recommendations of all!

I’ve used nothing but Whirlwind guitar leads for about 15 years now. As far as I’m concerned there’s no better cable. With their trademark tough molded jacks and lifetime guarantee they really do seem to last forever.

Although they’re more expensive than other leads, it’s those ‘other’ leads that break or become unreliable; a potential nightmare on a gig.

Whirlwind leads come in many different lengths. These are the 10ft ones with straight jacks:

Whirlwind Leader Instrument Cable (Straight, 10 ft)

Hosa CPE-106 Right-Angle 6″ Guitar Patch Cable

Gear for a gigging guitarists must be reliable to be recommended. I’ve used these patch cables on my pedal board for years and they’ve been perfect.

They’re very well-built, take up very little room and are pretty low cost.

These are the shortest 6″ ones. You may need one or two slightly longer ones depending on the arrangement of your pedals:

Hosa CPE-106 Right-Angle to Right-Angle Guitar Patch Cable, 6 inch

Fender monogrammed guitar strap

I’ve tried many guitar straps over the years, and found many to be too long or awkward to adjust.

Of all the guitar straps I’ve tried, I recommend this classic monogrammed strap by Fender.

It’s comfortable, it’s length is very adjustable, it lasts a long time and is low cost:

Fender Black/Yellow/Brown Monogrammed Strap

Schaller Security Straplocks

Again, recommended gear for guitarists needs to be reliable. This is no less true when it comes to straplocks.

Straplocks secure your strap to your guitar so there’s no chance of your guitar ever popping off and hitting the floor.

These are the ones I use and recommend:

Schaller Straplocks, Nickel

Orchestral music stand

I’m also recommending gear for guitarists for use in the practice room, and this may be the most important. If you don’t have a good music stand, I strongly urge you to get one. Hunching over a desk is not good for our long-term health.

I recommend any good orchestral music stand. They are sturdy and have a deep lip which can support a big fat folder of material, and still leave space for a metronome, tuner, pens and highlighters.

Your back will thank you in years to come:

Collapsible Orchestra Music Stand

Heavy duty footrest

If you play classical guitar a footrest is an essential piece of guitar gear. But even if you play electric, I recommend getting one.

If you play electric guitar with your right foot on tip-toe to raise up your guitar, your body is trying to tell you something: “get a footrest!”

Cheap footrests are a false economy; they break in no time at all. I recommend this extra sturdy guitar footrest by Neewer. It will save you money in the end:

Neewer Extra Sturdy Guitar Footrest

Polytune clip-on guitar tuner

On gigs I usually use my tuning pedal but it’s good to have a clip-on guitar tuner for the home and for gigs when I don’t need a pedalboard.

I recommend the TC Electronic Polytune clip-on guitar tuner. It has a very clear display and the battery seems to last forever:

TC Electronic PolyTune Clip-on Tuner

Seiko SQ50-V quartz metronome

If there’s one piece of guitar gear that all guitarists should own, it’s surely a metronome.

Whilst I sometimes use an app as a metronome, there’s something nice about having a good physical metronome. They’re usually quicker to adjust, are often louder and won’t run your phone battery down!

I’ve used Seiko metronomes for many years and I find them to be well built, low power consumption and good value:

Seiko SQ50-V Quartz Metronome

Mini pliers

A pair of mini pliers is an essential tool for changing guitar strings, and performing other minor repairs, and you should never be without one.

Any pair will do. I keep one in my gig bag and another in a drawer in my practice room:

Precision Long Nose Mini-pliers

Heavy duty Velcro

Depending on how often you reorganise your pedalboard, you may need to buy extra Velcro. Don’t buy cheaper unbranded rolls; they won’t last. For fixing your guitar pedals securely you need high quality heavy duty Velcro.

This 50mm wide Velcro branded roll is the only one I use:

VELCRO Brand – Industrial Strength – 2″ x 15′ – Black

Velcro one wrap cable ties – roll of 100

These little cable ties are fantastic!

With a handful of these you can keep all your cables and leads beautifully tidy and wave goodbye to the tangled mess of cables on gigs or down the back of your desk forever!

I use them to keep cables tidy and neatly coiled all over the house including my phone charger and earphones:

VELCRO Brand One Wrap Thin Ties, Black, 8 x 1/2-Inch, 100 Count

Brother PTH110 labelling machine

Why is a labelling machine on a list of recommended gear for guitarists?

1. To put your name on all your cables so they don’t get mistakenly picked up by someone else at gigs.

2. To label all those chargers, adaptors, hard drives, USB leads and plugs running all your equipment at home and on gigs.

This may seem a little thing but the more organised all your stuff is the less time you have to spend figuring out which cable is for what, and the less likely you are to lose an important cable.

A labelling machine is the kind of thing that, once you’ve got one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it:

Brother P-touch Easy Portable Label Maker

Recommended gear for guitarists: microphones for gigging

Depending on the kind of music you play (acoustic or electric guitar?) and whether you are a singing guitarist, microphones may or may not be essential pieces of gear to you.

There are many options on the market but the microphones I recommend here are generally considered to be the industry standards.

Shure SM57 microphone

As a gigging guitarist you’ve got to be able to mic up your amp. The Shure SM57 is widely considered the recommended industry standard.

Even if you’re working for a band that is supposed to be responsible for mics, bring yours anyway! One day you’ll be the hero that saves the day, and more likely to get hired again:

Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone

Shure SM58 microphone

This is an optional piece of recommended gear but, just as a gigging guitarist ought to have a good mic for their amp, it’s a good idea to also have a good vocal mic (unless of course you never do any vocals at all).

The SM58 is the recommended industry standard vocal mic for live gigs:

Shure SM58-LC Vocal Microphone

Recommended gear for guitarists: applications

Back to recommended gear for the practice room again. There are several excellent applications available for creating scores, and improving guitar practice and musicianship.

I’ve found each of the following applications to be very useful tools.

Guitar Pro: a tablature editor, a score player, and a backing band all in one

Guitar Pro – tab editing software

Guitar Pro is without a doubt the best guitar tab application there is.

If you want to produce beautiful guitar tabs of your own or to view tabs downloaded online, then I highly recommend Guitar Pro:

Download Guitar Pro here.

Earmaster – ear training software

Earmaster is a recommended piece of guitar gear that is for improving musicianship. It’s a marvellous application for PC or Mac.

It is package of numerous different exercises including melodies, chord progressions, chord identification, rhythm training and more.

It’s excellent value for money and can only help you become a better musician, whatever style you play:

Download Earmaster.

Band in a box

Band In A Box – backing track creator

Band In A Box is a great application that allows you to create backing tracks to use with your guitar practice.

What is so good about this application is the flexibility and speed with which you can create the backing tracks. It saves you countless hours that you would otherwise have to spend constructing backing tracks from scratch with conventional music software.

Less time creating backing track means more time practising:

Download Band In A Box.

iRealPro

iRealPro – backing track creator

iRealPro is much like Band In A Box, though it’s slightly more geared towards jazz and not as user-friendly.

It is however much cheaper than Band In A Box, so if you’d like to keep costs down, try this instead:

Download iRealPro.

Recommended gear for guitarists: home recording

If you’re interested in recording yourself at home then you need a few essentials.

As with everything else on this page, the products below are what I personally use. They are not top-of-the-range but I’ve found them to be more than adequate for my needs.

I recommend them, again with the proviso, that you can always pay more for higher grade gear.

Apogee Duet – audio interface – Mac/iPad only!

To record guitar playing on your computer you need an audio interface. If you have a mac or iPad then I highly recommend the Apogee Duet. It’s simple, easy to use and very high quality.

It has two input channels (both accept XLR and jack), so you can record vocals and guitar at the same time. It has two output channels to go to your speakers, and a headphones socket:

Apogee Duet Audio Interface for iPad & Mac

M-Audio BX8 monitors

If you’re going to be recording and mixing your guitar playing, you need a pair of monitors. This is the newer (and improved) version of the BX8 D2 monitors which I use.

As with all things, you can pay much more and get something better, but for a basic home recording set-up I recommend these; they sound very good and are relatively low cost:

M-Audio BX8 Carbon 8″ Single Speaker Studio Monitor

Rode NT1-A condenser microphone

Condensor microphones are ideal for home recording; whether it’s for a voiceover, a vocal track, or recording an acoustic guitar. They provide a richness and sparkle that you don’t typically get with dynamic microphones.

I recommend the Rode NT1-A. It’s the perfect low-cost option, and comes with popshield and shock mount:

Rode NT1A Vocal Condenser Microphone Package

WD 2TB external hard drive

If you’re going to be recording or videoing your guitar playing, an external hard drive might be a necessary piece of gear for storing all your audio and video files. This keeps your computer’s main drive clear and your machine working efficiently.

I also recommend having two back-up drives: one to back-up your audio drive and one to back-up your main drive. These should be updated regularly and stored in a different location to your computer:

WD 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

Audio Technica ATH-M30x headphones

Mixing is best done on speakers, but for accurate recording, headphones are an essential piece of gear for guitarists. In addition to avoiding bleed from speakers, headphones allow you to work on audio late into the night without disturbing those around you.

As with speakers, you can pay enormous sums of money for headphones. But for a relatively low cost set, I can’t recommend these enough:

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Logitech HD Pro webcam C920

A good webcam is definitely recommended gear for guitarists that want to start their own Youtube channel.

I recommend the Logitech C920, which is simply superb. It’s more expensive than your average webcam but it produces stunning high definition video with clear crisp colours. To see for yourself just take a look at the guitar videos on my Youtube channel which were all filmed with it:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Widescreen1080p

Belkin 7-port powered desktop hub

Again, not an essential piece of gear for every guitarist, but if you have several USB devices it makes sense to get a powered hub. This way you can leave all your devices plugged in at the same time rather than having to constantly plug and unplug things.

This hub is for standard USB-A ports:

Belkin 7-Port Powered Desktop Hub with USB-A Ports

I hope you find this page of recommended gear for guitarists useful. If you do, please share this page with others. I’ll be updating this list from time to time, so check back now and again to see what’s new.

For more recommendations visit my Recommended Reading for Guitarists page.

photo credit: brue’ A Dream Team via photopin (license)