This is the question that every beginner guitarist will ask himself at some point. The electric guitar requires some additional equipment unlike the acoustic guitar in order for you to completely unleash the beast.
The first steps for some people may be daunting, especially if it is the first time you are trying out the electric guitar. There is nothing to worry about, transitioning from acoustic to electric is a beautiful journey to take.
Through this article, I will do my best to go through the essential equipment every guitarist needs in order to play and explore the world of electric guitar.
Which Electric Guitar Should You Use?
One of the first obvious things you will need is the electric guitar. But there is a question of which is the correct guitar for you. Today, the world of guitar manufacturing and type of guitars is huge. The short answer is that it all depends on what type of music you want to play.
For genres such as hard rock, metal, or heavy metal the perfect choice would be a guitar with dual humbucker pickups, in other words, a guitar such as Gibson Les Paul. On the other hand, for genres such as blues, pop or country people would usually recommend using a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster.
Each of these companies has at their disposal budget versions of their guitars. And I believe they are the right choice for everyone. In case you are not sure which genre you would like to play, Fender Stratocaster is considered to be the most tonally versatile guitar.
Which Amplifier Should You Use?
Although the electric guitar can be heard playing without the amplifier, to unleash its full potential you will need the correct amplifier. Today, there are as many types of amplifiers as there are guitars.
What is usually recommended for a beginner guitar player is a small practice amp with 10-15watts of power. This will be enough for you to practice and not annoy your neighbors.
Fender and Gibson have great electric guitar starter kits which include amplifiers along with many other accessories.
In case the budget is a problem and you have a computer at your disposal, there are plenty of amp simulation plugins and programs that you can download for free.
What Kind Of Guitar Cable Should You Use?
In order for you to connect the electric guitar to the guitar amp having a cable is essential. You can get them in many different sizes, colors, types, and brands. There are a few things that you should note in terms of the cables.
Buying a better quality cable is a much better idea than buying the cheap one. Apart from it having better signal strength, it will last you a long time. Chances are that you will save more money by buying better quality cable than going through many cheap cables.
Another thing to note is to take care of your cables. Storing and cleaning them regularly will improve the life of the cable by double. Try your best not to step on them or pinch them with the chair and you will have a cable that will last you a lifetime.
What Non-Essential Equipment Is Recommended?
The electric guitar, amplifier, and cable are enough to get you started, but there is much more you buy to improve the experience.
Like with the electric guitar, having a correct guitar pick will make the utmost difference in your playing. As you already know, there are many different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses of guitar picks.
What is usually recommended is to use a guitar pick that is thicker for better control and speed while thinner picks are perfect for strumming. My personal recommendation is to find a mid-point between these two so you can practice strumming as well as soloing.
There is nothing worse than playing and being out of tune. Investing in the tuner is always a good idea, especially if you are not comfortable tuning by ear.
Apart from improving your musical ear, it will make your guitar get used to the tuning and over time it will better keep in tune, especially if its better quality guitar. Today, there are thousands of types of tuners.
The best option is to use the clamp-on tuner since it is the easiest to use. In case you do not want to spend money on tuners there are plenty of apps that you can download on your phone.
Guitar Effect Pedals
What every electric guitarist will get obsessed with is the effect pedals. This is not necessary for the transition to electric, but it will make the most difference to the sound. With the pedals, you can get some great variety in your tone.
I would recommend starting with overdrive and reverb effect pedals in case your amplifier does not have one
Spare Set Of Strings
This is one of the first things that you should have at your disposal, whether you are an electric or acoustic guitar player. There is nothing worse than breaking a string while playing, especially if it is a live situation.
Having a set of spare strings with you is essential in these situations. Combining this with the string winder, you will be back on track within a couple of minutes. For beginner guitarists, it is recommended to use lighter gauge strings like .010-.046 or .009-.045.
There is nothing worse than a musician that cannot keep time, especially if he is playing in a band. For beginner musicians, and this goes for every instrument out there, using the metronome while practicing is essential.
Still, this does not mean that your need to break your budget to get one. Many tuner apps have metronome within them and you can always download a full metronome app that is in most cases free.
Without a proper guitar strap, you will be stuck playing while sitting down. Having one or two at your disposal is never a bad thing. As a matter of fact, practicing standing up will save you the hustle of adjusting to the live situations where you will be standing.
Like with the cable, investing in better quality one is better than buying cheap low-quality ones. With the guitar strap, having a strap lock on your guitar is a good idea, especially if you like to move around while playing.
Owning a guitar stand will prolong the life of your guitar a lot. Leaning your guitar on the wall or desk will most likely result in the guitar falling down and in some cases breaking the neck of the guitar which you do not want believe me.
Guitar Case or Bag
Like the guitar stand, properly storing your guitar will mean the world to your guitar. At some point, you may start touring and playing gigs. In that case, your guitar will go through the beating, which is completely normal.
Although it is more expensive, I would recommend investing in a guitar case rather than a bag since it will properly protect your guitar. The guitar bag will protect it from scratches and dents but it will not protect it from snapping in half.
Moving from acoustic to electric guitar can be a daunting experience for a guitar player. Nonetheless, it will change your life and you will most likely fall in love with it. I would say that the acoustic guitar is a bicycle and the electric guitar is a motorbike. You will get faster and your playing will improve quickly as you practice
In conclusion, the essential for you to play electric guitar is to have an amplifier, guitar cable, and of course an electric guitar. Over time you can invest in other things such as tuners, guitar pedal effects, strings, and many other. The world of electric guitar equipment is a rabbit hole from which you will not want to get out.