20% GUITAR RESOURCES
We thought it would be helpful to include an awesome resource page with the best guitar related material we’ve found!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links listed below are affiliate links, allowing us to earn a commission. There is no additional cost to you. We’ve spent years enjoying the guitar and discovering what we feel is the best of the best. We highly recommend anything below and have each personally used these products and sites. It does not need to cost too much money to play the guitar. However, if you do choose to purchase any of the below items, please consider using our links below. Thanks so much!
Ovation – There are so many great guitars out there, but if you’re a beginner, you probably don’t want to spend a lot money on your first guitar. Ovation offers a very high-quality sound for its entry-level guitars. This was a tough choice for us, but we believe Ovation can provide you with a great beginner guitar. As you progress in your playing, you may want to consider higher-end models from Martin or Taylor. Alvarez – Like the Ovation entry series, Alvarez has a great line-up for quality acoustic guitars. If you are looking for an acoustic guitar that you can plug into an amplifier (commonly referred to as an “acoustic-electric” guitar), then the Ovation series will be the way to go. Otherwise, Alvarez has a wonderful selection of beginner acoustic guitars, and most of them fall around $199 and under. Great for a starting guitarist!
Fender – If you have a bit more money to devote to your first guitar, the Fender Series is a facelift from their Squier Series. This Fender Stratocaster model has been played by many established guitar players (Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, to name a few). The individual parts of this guitar are a bit better than the Squier Affinity series and the maple fretboard (that lighter color) gives it a sleek look. If you are comfortable in this price range for your beginner guitar, this is a great fit!
Squier – The best beginner electric guitar can be found in the Squier Series. To be more specific, this Affinity Series from Squier gives the beginner a solid guitar made with durable wood (alder), a nice looking dark fingerboard (rosewood) and an all-around great beginner guitar at a very reasonable price. Be sure to pick up a strap, cable and amp to plug into if you do not have one already.
Snark – It’s so important to make sure your guitar is in tune! The Snark is a clip-on device that is inexpensive, adjustable, fast and extremely accurate. It’s a great tuner to have by your side and the digital readout it perfect for keeping your guitar in tune, and great for on stage performances, coffee houses, or just practicing at home. We highly recommend this tuner!
BOSS TU-80 – If you are taking lessons or want to upgrade using your computer’s seconds clock for your guitar exercises, this BOSS TU-80 is a fantastic tuner/metronome that has easy functionality to switch between the two. As musicians, we should learn to play in time if we ever want to play with other people, and this metronome/tuner combo is a great way to access that. Also, there is an input and an output slot so you don’t have to unplug your guitar from you tuner and plug into the amp; just keep everything connected!
Elixer Acoustic Polyweb Strings – (Acoustic Players) If you’re playing a lot, make sure to change your guitar strings to keep the sound at its best. If you’re playing a few times a week for more than 15 minutes, we recommend changing your strings twice a year. Additionally, for acoustic players we highly recommend this Elixer string package. There are a few versions you can experiment with, but these Polyweb, medium-gauge strings help to bring out a vibrant and rich sound.
Slinky Electric Guitar Strings – (Electric Players) Slinky Strings come in many shapes and sizes and are great value for the price. If you’re just starting out, you are probably going to break a few strings (particularly the high e string), so you won’t want to go really high-end and pay extra bucks. We recommend you go for function only for now, and that’s exactly what Slinky delivers. Great for the beginner electric guitar player, as well as for more experienced players! Eric Clapton, Steve Vai and Jimmy Page are all known to have used Slinkys!
GUITAR STRING WINDER AND CUTTER:
Planet Waves Pro Winder String Winder and Cutter – When you are putting on new strings, you want an easy way to cut and wind them up. Look no further than the Planet Waves Pro Winder approach. It’s a small tool that definitely comes in handy, especially when you need a quick way to change your strings. The winder fits right over the tuning pegs and allows you to wind up your strings faster than if you were to do it by hand. This combo approach saves time and money.
Kyser 6-String Capo – When it comes to making capos, Kyser has the formula for a terrific product! It’s so easy to clamp this capo onto your guitar and there is no need to adjust anything. The design is simple and elegant, and makes for a great experience to quickly pull on or off during playing, especially for a beginner guitarist. This is a must have item if you want to easily change the key of a song while practicing your 20% chords.
GUITAR EFFECTS PEDALS:
BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal – (Electric Guitar Players) If you are playing certain genres of guitar that require effects pedals, you can go one of two routes. Either buy the effects pedals one-by-one (about $50-$70 per pedal, depending on the effect) or by a programmable pedal board. Unless you are a seasoned guitarist planning on playing a lot of gigs (and even if you are…) this BOSS ME pedal board is the best one we have found. It’s very durable, versatile, portable, has a built in tuner & loop station and over 30 different pedal effects built in; plus, it doesn’t take up the room of 30 pedals. This also has an Aux-In feature into which you can connect an outside source to hear through your speaker (or headphones – yeah, it has those outputs too) to play along with your favorite tunes. For those who are looking for effects, this is a much cheaper way to go than buying all those pedals one at a time.
Vox AC15VR Combo Amplifier – Okay, here’s the deal with guitar amplifiers… For a starting guitar player, you definitely want a “combo” amplifier (meaning the preamp and the speaker are in one unit, not two separate ones). While these can run into the thousands of dollars, or as low as $60, there is definitely a happy medium with this Vox amp. What we love about it is that it uses tubes, has reverb and overdrive built into the amp (so you don’t necessarily have to spend all the money on the multi-effects pedal at first if you don’t want to), and heck, this amplifier was originally built in the ‘60s for The Beatles at Shea Stadium! It’s a great all- around amp and, as tempting as it is to potentially buy this used, we would recommend purchasing it new so you know the delicate tubes powering it aren’t damaged or in need of replacement. Note of caution: When you first get this amp, do not turn it on and play immediately, turn on the amp with the volume down to zero and let it sit for three to five minutes without playing it. Not doing so could damage the tubes. By doing this, you will hear a beautiful, clean tube sound, to which you can add reverb and overdrive at your leisure. This is a fantastic, all-around great amp!
Monster 1⁄4” Instrument Cable – If you are playing electric or electric-acoustic, having a solid cable to pass your sound through is a must-have. Monster cables are the best brand for getting the job done. While the company has an S Series cable (which you can also view via the link above), we would recommend the M Series as a step up. It’s not a huge cost to have this upgraded cable and it will last you a very, very long time with top-notch quality transfer. Note, the link above is to a 6’ cable – if you need a longer cable, be sure to purchase the right length.
Guitar Polish and Cleaner – To keep your guitar body clean and shiny on the outside. While this sometimes is advertised as an acoustic guitar cleaner, it works just fine for both electric and acoustic guitars. If you own both, there’s no need to buy two different cleaners (and the same goes for the string cleaner below).
Guitar String Lubricant – Remember how we said to change your strings every six months? Well, you may be able to get them to last a little longer if you throw this stuff on after you use the strings each time. You’ll want to use a rag with this and when you apply it, be generous. The lubricant takes the oil you have deposited onto the strings (by playing it) and removes it. This can increase the life of the strings to the point where you could get away with changing your strings potentially once a year, depending on how often you play. For any regular player, this is a must.
Guitar Picks – Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with a guitar pick company, you just need to have some on hand. That being said, our preference is Fender. Picks come in three main categories; light, medium and heavy. The heavier the pick, the stiffer it is and the harder the string will sound. If you’re playing acoustic guitar and a lot of chords, a light or medium pick will suit you well. If you’re playing heavy metal (perhaps with the pedal previously mentioned) you may want to consider a heavy pick.
Guitar Straps – If you plan on standing while you play, this is necessary. Good straps are not hard to find, but finding one that will last you forever is a little more difficult, and it all has to do with the strap material. This strap here is made of leather, but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you want to get a little more fancy than this, go right ahead. However, make sure it’s made of quality material!
The 4-Hour Workweek – This is the book that sparked the inspiration for 80/20 Guitar. If you want to be in control of designing your lifestyle, be more productive and escape the typical “nine to five” job, then this is a highly recommended, fantastic resource for you! Thank you Tim Ferriss!
GUITAR TEACHERS: (FOR THOSE WHO DESIRE 80% MATERIAL)
Marty Schwartz – Are you looking for a humorous, talented and spectacular guitar teacher who can help expand your playing past the 20%? If so, Marty is your man. He has hundreds of hours of free material on his YouTube channel and also offers a variety of courses through his website, GuitarJamz.com. We highly recommend Marty, and he is definitely one of the finest online guitar teachers we have ever seen. You need to check him out!
Justin Sandercoe – Just like Marty, Justin truly has a gift for explaining all the different aspects of playing guitar. His website and videos, located at JustinGuitar.com, are completely free, and cover all sorts of interesting song lessons, topics and techniques. Justin also has a YouTube channel with millions of views and an outstanding number of positive comments. In our opinion, he is another outstanding teacher very worthy of your time.
Desi Serna – Do you want a teacher to help you understand the finer details of guitar music theory? Desi has a fantastic style of teaching this concept for guitar players. You may want to start by listening to his free podcasts. There are several hours worth of free, terrific content. If you want to learn more using his style, consider purchasing his Fretboard Theory Volume I and Volume II courses.