Apple Valley Guitar and Piano Academy





Essential Guitar Accessories


1. A spare set of strings matching the ones on the new guitar 


This ensures that when the strings need changing (after about six months), the guitar will sound exactly the same as when it was new.  In contrast, nothing is more disappointing than installing a different set of strings later, and finding that the guitar no longer sounds as good.


The guitar salesperson should know the brand, model and TENSION/GAUGE-COMPOSITION of the nylon/steel strings on your new guitar.  If they don't, contact the manufacturer through their website, specifying the exact model name or number guitar you have purchased.


Example of nylon string specs: Savarez (brand), Corum/New Cristal (model) High/Hard (tension).  Example of steel string specs: Martin (brand), SP Acoustic (model), 92/8 Phosphor Bronze (composition), Medium (gauge)


Note: Nylon strings are available with a "gold" coating on the lower three "bass" strings (4-5-6/D-A-E); the upper three "treble" strings (1-2-3/E-B-G) are sometimes made of carbon fiber, "titanium" or other synthetic materials.  We prefer the traditional silver coated basses and pure nylon trebles, specified in the example above.  Phosphor bronze steel strings are recommended for their brighter basses; light gauge are best to accommodate weaker beginner fingers.


2. An Electronic Tuner-Metronome


Each string on a guitar needs to be frequently tightened or loosened until it produces the correct pitch or "note".  An electronic tuner indicates this with note names, lights or a moving needle. 


Without one, most beginners will be unable tune their guitar properly, and won't get much enjoyment out of playing it. 


Note: Your guitar should be tuned before every practice session.


A metronome is essential to keep a steady beat and to calculate basic rhythms. 


Our recommendation for an integrated unit, which we use in the studios, is the Korg TM-50.


3. A hardshell case for full-size guitars 


Under no circumstances should you purchase a quality guitar, made from fragile wood, and keep it in a nylon gig bag or other soft case.  If you do, expect it to be seriously damaged, and in some cases, beyond repair.


The best option is an arched top hardshell case.  These cases are heavier, providing more overall protection for the guitar.  Specifically, the most fragile part--the top or soundboard--gets additional protection through wood bent into an arch shape.


Unfortunately, hardshell cases for 7/8, 3/4 and 1/2 size guitars are difficult to find.  For the 7/8 Cordoba "Dolce" and "Parlor" classical guitars, you can use a full-size hardshell case and add padding to keep the guitar from shifting longitudinally towards the head or base.




This is a link to a detailed article that can make the difference between a seriously damaged guitar that doesn't live up to its full sound potential and one that lasts for decades and always sounds beautiful.  Please give it careful consideration.

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