January 26, 2016 | Read in 3 minutes
Playing guitar is good for the soul. But we all feel a little stale sometimes. Luckily, simple gadgets can bring back the magic fast.
I’ve found 9 great ones. Most are under $100 and my list is sorted by cost. Blue links point mostly to Amazon and open in a new tab. I created gadget #4 with a friend of mine. It’s a guitar app bundle! Let’s begin.
1. Thumb-Picks | $4
I love playing without a pick. It lets me grab the strings in a cool way. Double-stops, delicate plucking, you name it. Things get romantic without a pick. However, throwing a thumb-pick into the mix gives you some great practical advantages. And it sounds fresh when you’re feeling stale. Jump to 3:39 in this vid to see a close-up.
2. Slider | $4
Smart people out there call this thing a “slide”. Congrats. You guys are great. I think “slider” is the right name for this tool and whoever named it a slide doesn’t have a clue! Anyway, what matters is that you buy one and leave it in plain sight. In two seconds, your strings will sing and you’re back in the swing. A slider is a shortcut back to cool.
3. Capo | $6-20
The capo is a better friend to me than most of my ex girlfriends were. This little guy immediately opens a door to greener pastures. One minute I’m at death’s door strumming a dreary old tune and the next minute, the hills are alive! Johnny Capo is a constant fixture on my headstock whenever I may need thee.
4. Lead Guitar 3-Pack Apps | $15
These are my creations! iPhone apps for guitar players. We built “practice buddies” that give you helpful accompaniment fast. The first is a fun scale trainer jam machine. The second is “color by numbers” for playing killer guitar licks. Third is a beautiful modal scales trainer, if you can believe it. Apple, Guitar World, WIRED and guitarists all over the world are praising our fun simple apps. So, check us out! TIP: Save $5 with the bundle.
5. Orange Micro Crush | $69
Ok. There’s something about an Orange amp. Maybe it makes me reminisce about the Smashing Pumpkins. Maybe it’s just a kick-ass amp. The Micro Crush screams “play with me”, and play you will. It’s irresistible. Having this amp around will make you happy.
6. Hammer Jammer | $80
I love the idea of this thing. You basically piano-ize (pianize?) your guitar strings. It sounds beautiful. It’s super fun to tap away at. Very refreshing, and dare I say…delightful! Check out the cool sounds this guy makes:
7. Ditto Mini-Looper | $95
My brother has this pedal and I plan on stealing it from him. It’s mini, it’s hip, and it looks like something James Bond would use. The Ditto hypnotizes you with layers of your own funky looping awesomeness with the tap of a button. And while there are many looper pedals out there, I think this one is the coolest. Keep it around for a rainy day and you’ll see. TIP: even better when combined with toy 8.
8. eBow | $100
When I use an eBow I seriously believe I’m controlling the universe. It’s magical. This pocket-sized wonder creates endless sustain through some magnetic wizardry. Don’t worry, it’s quite possibly the easiest thing ever to use. Which is why it’s so addictive. Combined with delay or looper pedals, watch out: Your weekend will be lost in space.
9. Seagull Dulcimer | $129
Last but not least, the Seagull Dulcimer! I just bought one from Guitar Center last weekend. What a joy. When I’m bored with my regular guitars, I pick up this little guy and am reborn. Take a look at the fretting. There isn’t a bad note on it! Plus, the light weight of the body makes playing it effortless. The smooth wood give it real charm. Feels like my little Mini Martin. A great addition to my setup and quite possibly the fastest musical purchase I’ve ever made.
Music is the best thing ever. Making music is somehow even better than that. These simple guitar gadgets can bring the fun back fast when we misplace it. Thanks for stopping by!