There are a lot of accessories for string instruments, but when you search for them it is not obvious what they do, how to use them, and even if you need them in the first place or not. In this guide for beginners, we’ll answer that question.
- Bags and cases
- Battery / Transmitter
- Cleaning Kit
Bags & Cases
Bags can be anything, just check your instrument measurements and get a bag slightly bigger in every dimension, get material for the bag that it’s resistant to the weight and in a color that doesn’t let people see that you’re carrying an instrument if you want to be extra safe.
Cases are usually made specifically for the instrument, they come in soft and hard forms, more info in the video below, in general, you’ll find that it keeps the instrument safer but it’s more expensive than a bag and heavier too, so you have to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.
Battery / Transmitter
Also known as a wireless system, this goes for the electric instruments, like the guitar, bass, or violin. You connect the battery and pair the amplifier or any other device so you can move around with your instrument without worrying about any cable.
These are great for short sessions like practices or performances since the battery will last a couple of hours. The ranges vary but you can cover 20 meters minimum in every direction, so you can move around the scene without worrying. The last thing is that they are smaller and easier to carry than a cable especially if you’re on a band with multiple electric instruments.
Cleaning kits come with varying combinations of the same products, you’ll usually get a microfiber polish cloth, some brushes, polish, and wax. The way you clean your instrument depends on their materials and finishes, so we suggest once you have your cleaning kit looking for a “how to clean” video of your specific instrument.
There are holders not only for sheet music but phones and picks too. You put the holder on different parts of the instrument, for example, sheet holders and phone holders usually go on the head of the instrument, for you to be able to see them clearly while you play. Pick holders can go on the bridge or body, making it easier for you to keep them accessible and to not lose them.
Slides are pieces of glass, ceramic, brass, or stainless steel that go in one of your fingers that presses the strings letting you play using an effect called “slide”. These are very self-explanatory, we recommend you test a lot of them before you choose, different sizes for different fingers, different weights depending on the material and different looks (glass is transparent, and ceramic can be any color).
Straps let you carry your instrument easier, these ones are very simple, if you plan to play while you stand up or move get one since playing most string instruments requires the use of both hands and having to use one hand to carry the instrument will limit your ability to play and get you tired faster.
Instrument stands to support your instrument, if you use your instrument frequently but don’t want to put it in a case every time you’re not using it, this is the solution. You can put stands on walls or corners to use the instrument as decoration.
Stands are normally made of metal, plastic, and ethylene-vinyl acetate that will protect the instrument when not in use, especially during a practice or during a break. There are different stands for each instrument, but since most instruments are similar you can use generic stands or adjustable stands to support any instrument
If your instrument is out of tune and you don’t have a pitch-perfect ear, how would you tune it? Well, using a tuner of course. This used to come in various shapes and sizes of physical form, but nowadays you can install an application on your phone for free, so there is no excuse to be out of tune anymore.
The vary grip is an accessory that doesn’t need an instrument but will let you play better. It’s a handle that lets you press valves with each finger, helping you get strength and speed. Using this is especially useful when you can’t play your instrument or during a warmup. Some grips have different functionality, we recommend getting one similar to the one in the next video.
Which one do I get?
If you’re still not sure go to the next list:
- I need to carry my instrument. Get a bag
- I need to carry it without damaging it. Get a case.
- I hate cables. Get a wireless system.
- How do I clean my instrument? With a cleaning kit.
- How do I look at sheet music while I play? With a holder.
- How do I get a blues-style slide sound? With a slide.
- How do I carry my instrument easier? With a strap
- Where do I put my instrument while I’m not using it? In a stand.
- How do I play faster? Train using a vary grip.