What you need to get off to a good start.
- A decent, playable instrument. Make sure that your guitar, banjo, bass or uke is good enough to get started on. A common mistake is buying or borrowing an instrument without knowing much about whether it’s ok or not. Your teacher will be happy to help you when you’re in doubt.
- A music stand. Music stands range in price from $15.00 up to $100. The low priced ones fold up and are easy to carry around. They work fine unless you have thick, heavy books. The middle price range is like the ones we have in the studios. Heavy duty and sturdy. Prices start around $45.00. Anything above that is just a cooler looking stand, more ornate and usually made of solid wood.
- Electronic Tuner. Tuners are not very expensive, and they help you learn what your instrument sounds like when it’s in tune. They start at about $15.00 and go up from there. You can also find a free tuner on the internet. Two that work well are the Guitar Tuna, and the tuner from the Martin Guitar company, available on the app store.
- A sturdy case. You don’t need an expensive, hardshell case, but a decent gig bag or soft case works well.
- Metronome. The metronome helps you keep the beat and gets you to play your songs without stopping in between notes. They range in price from $15.00 for an electronic metronome, to over $100 for one that has a clock movement in it. If you buy an inexpensive one be sure it’s loud enough, especially if you play banjo or an electric guitar or bass.
- A comfortable chair without arms. The chair should have a fairly straight back, no arms and be comfortable.
- Quiet practice space. It’s not always possible to find a completely quiet place to practice, but if you can find a space without too many distractions that will help a lot.
- Extra strings, picks, strap and capo. An extra set of strings is always a good idea. Sometimes strings break for no reason at all, other times because they were too tight or too old. More than one pick or one set of picks in case they get lost or misplaced. A guitar or banjo strap helps support the instrument, sometimes it’s a good idea to use one even if you’re sitting down. A capo clamps over the strings so you can change hard chords into easier ones.