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[2019-11-06] 3 Things Needed New Guitar - THUMB

3 Things You Should Get When You Get a New Guitar

09/06/2019 12:00 PM

By Dan Amrich

Congratulations! You've found the perfect bass. The electric guitar of your dreams is sitting in your hands. Strumming this acoustic, you know it's going home with you. It's a significant investment, but before you total up everything at the cash register, there are a few things you should pick up sooner rather than later – preferably before you leave the store.

Some guitars come with a sturdy wooden or high-impact plastic case; if yours doesn't, consider one if you expect to frequently travel with your guitar.

A case
Whether you're taking your gear to a friend's house or just occasionally stashing your guitar in the closet, you should always try to protect it from dings and scratches. The cheapest case worth buying will be a nylon "gig bag," which might run you $30, though you can get fancier ones with more padding and extra pockets for significantly more. This goes double if you are buying an instrument with an aggressive shape, like an Explorer – those wild contours are hard to keep safe. Consider getting a hard-shell case built for your instrument's unusual shape; it might set you back $100 to $150 if it's not included.

Your practice space doesn't have to look like a guitar store – but with enough secure wall hangers, it could!

A floor stand or a wall hanger
On the other hand, an instrument that lives in a case in the closet won't be played, so a stand keeps your new toy in sight at all times – and makes it easy to pick up and play whenever the spirit moves you. Whether it's a tripod design or a folding A-frame, you will find you can get something sturdy and stylish for less than $20. If you want your instrument to double as art in your room, consider a wall hanger in the same price range.

A few seconds with a screwdriver can help ensure your strap stays on your instrument – especially critical in the case of this fragile hollowbody Hofner bass.

Strap locks (to go with your strap)
Even the most affordable strap will keep your instrument at the correct playing height even when seated – but we need to talk about those horrifying moments when it slips off the tiny pegs and sends your beloved crashing on the ground. You'll find multiple affordable methods to avoid that, from simple rubber gaskets or plastic clips (less than $5) to replacement hardware ($15 to $20). The semi-permanent systems by Dunlop, Ernie Ball, and the Schaller system adopted by Fender can be easily installed in a few minutes using a simple screwdriver. Some straps even have locks built in. Choose whichever method fits your budget and level of commitment, but it's a worthwhile security step that can save your guitar or bass from a nasty fall in the heat of a performance.

Get a slightly fancy version of each of the above and you've probably spent less than $100 – but these small investments will help keep your new music-maker safe and secure for years to come.

Dan Amrich started his music journalism career at Guitar World and Country Guitar magazines and is the co-creator of Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans. He joined the Rocksmith team in 2014.

Photos by Katrin Auch

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