Playing your guitar loses its impact and enjoyment when you have a broken string or your tuning machine is on the fritz. It can be frustrating to deal with missing or damaged parts because you may have to take a break from playing while you wait for new parts and pieces to arrive in the mail or to find the time to go to the store and shop for them. The obvious solution is to keep a stash of guitar accessories on hand at all times so that when something goes wrong, you can quickly and easily swap out the parts with a spare. Here’s a list of the most important extra pieces to consider keeping close.
Because many guitars feature plastic nuts, you can assume they aren’t going to last forever and will break with repeated use, over time. For that reason, it makes sense to keep a pile of extra guitar nuts with your spare parts stash. If you want to avoid the continued breakage of plastic nuts, consider choosing those in sturdier materials, such as bone nuts or Tusq nuts, both of which are more durable and longer lasting than their plastic counterparts, though often more expensive. Consider the following information as you make your choice.
- Plastic guitar nuts – can crack or break with use and extreme temperatures but are the most affordable option.
- Bone nuts – made from organic bone materials and lightweight but may not produce the best sound from your guitar.
- Tusq nuts – made from advanced polymer materials and highly durable but are more expensive than other options.
Not only is a guitar strap functional because it allows you to hold the guitar more efficiently, but the strap also adds to the vibe and appearance of the instrument. Some musicians choose a strap that allows them to spin their guitar or perform other entertaining stunts during a show. There are some factors to consider when you choose guitar straps, but the bottom line is that you should have a few extras, just in case one of them is broken or lost. Consider the following when making your strap choices.
- It should be comfortable
- It needs to be compatible with the attachments on your guitar
- The material should be able to withstand your performances (i.e., you get really sweaty)
- Consider customizing your strap
- Choose strap locks if your strap becomes unattached often
You can’t correctly play your guitar without operable guitar strings. This is the guitar part that musicians most often need to replace, so it goes without saying that you should keep a few extras lying around at all times. Consider the type of guitar you have, the thickness of the strings and the material for the strings, so that you can have a stockpile of compatible strings for your guitar. Use these tips to help you decide which is best.
- Type of string – acoustic or electric?
- String gauge – light gauge or heavy gauge?
- String materials – bronze, nylon, steel or nylon?
Tuning pegs work to hold the strings onto the guitar and allow you to tune the instrument when you play. Many tuning pegs are designed to last for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into a broken or malfunctioning one from time to time. Having a couple of extras allows you to swap in a new one and get you back to playing your guitar right away, instead of having to shop for a new tuning peg or wait for it to arrive in the mail. Keep in mind that most acoustic guitars will require vintage tuning pegs, while electric and modern models will likely need sealed housing tuning pegs. Having the right one is important for the function and sound of your guitar.
- Vintage tuning pegs – refers to the style, not the age of the pegs. Contain pressed-in tight bushings, which fit into the headstock before installation.
- Sealed housing tuning pegs – die cast housing that encloses the electronic components of the pegs. This type of peg comes permanently sealed and lubricated.
It’s important to practice good maintenance and care of your guitar, whether it’s electric or acoustic. Having the right parts and accessories is part of this responsibility and that’s why it’s smart to keep some spares, so that you can ensure proper function of your instrument every time you pick it up to play.