Guitar Equipment Every Guitar Case Should Carry

Guitar equipment for every guitar case

While I know it’s true that the primary purpose of my guitar case is to protect my guitar, sometimes it seems that it serves to fulfill a more important role: providing pockets and compartments for my guitar equipment.

Some of the guitar equipment is small and light while some is bulky. Some is cheap while some is a bit more expensive. Some guitar equipment I use each time I open my case and some are there for a rainy day.

Regardless of how often I use this guitar e, however, I have never regretted having them available at that critical moment when I needed it.

Scan the list below and see if this matches what you have in your case. If not, why not? I’d also love to hear what you have in your guitar case that isn’t on this list, so feel free to leave a comment!

Spare Full Set of Guitar Strings

An extra set of guitar stringsBy far the most important thing you should be storing in your guitar case (aside from your guitar, of course!) is at least one complete set of spare guitar strings. The key here is “complete set.”

In my experience, what usually ends up happening is that I break a string while out at a gig and in the rush of the moment I only replace that one string. If I don’t get around to changing the entire set iimmediately after the gig, over time I forget about the incomplete set of strings. Not good.

In accordance with Murphy’s Law, the next string I break is always the one I’m missing in the set. Always.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you have a complete set of guitar strings in your guitar case.

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Gaffer Tape

Gaffer Tape for GuitaristsThis may seem like an odd item to have on this list, but hear me out. If you play gigs, at the local bar or at church, this is simply a must have.

For a guitarist, gaffer tape is like duct tape: it fixes almost everything.

Let’s say your mic clip is broken or loose and there’s not another replacement to use. Use gaffer tape. Or you need to tape down some cables that are getting in the way. Use gaffer tape. Perhaps you need to mark cables or mic stand placement or…the list goes on. Like duct tape, gaffer tape has many uses; but unlike duct tape, it thankfully doesn’t leave a residue.

Gaffer tape isn’t a common item to have stored in your guitar case but when the need arises you’ll be a hero for having it available.

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Pliers or String Cutter

Guitar pliers, string cutter and fret pullerNot much explanation should be needed for a string cutter in your guitar case but often guitarists don’t consider the need for pliers.

I’m partial to needlenose pliers, most of which have a wire cutter included. But why pliers?

I use my pliers for a number of different reasons: I bend down my strings on the headstock after cutting them so they don’t snag on anything. I’ve had to adjust the cable input when it became loose. Pliers can be handy for general equipment issues at a gig as well.

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Alan Wrench

Guitar-Alan-WrenchYou don’t need a whole set of Alan wrenches. Usually just one, maybe two, will do the trick.

Rarely do I adjust my truss rod while away from home – as a matter of fact I have never done that – but this is one of those “once in a blue moon” type of tools that I always keep handy just in case.

Make sure that the Alan wrench you have fits your truss rod – or just get a specific truss rod tool.

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Guitar Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

A microfiber cleaning cloth for guitarsEvery time I put my guitar back in its case, I wipe it down with a microfiber cleaning cloth. I do this for two reasons.

First, I like to keep my guitar finish free of smudges and fingerprints. I think that’s the OCD in me coming out 🙂

The second and more important reason is to wipe off the oils left on the strings by my fingers. This tends to lengthen the life of my strings. There are special string cleaners that some people use to wipe the strings down more effectively, but I find the microfiber cleaning cloth does just fine for me.

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Guitar Picks and Pick Holder

Guitar-PicksIn my experience, it’s good to keep not only a number of extra picks in your guitar case but also to keep a number of different types of picks.

This means getting some different sizes and thicknesses, even if they’re not the type you usually play. The reason for this is that you might find that in different settings you’ll need a pick that gives you the ability to attack harder than you normally do.

There’s also those times when other people ask to borrow a pick. Having different kind of picks not only keeps you from having to give away your favorites, it also increases the chances that you’ll have exactly what they need. It’s a win-win!

And for goodness sakes, get a pick holder! Your guitar case isn’t a purse…digging around to find loose picks is lame.

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Extra Batteries

9V battery for a guitarIn most cases you’re going to want a 9V battery handy. This is what most acoustic guitar pickup systems and guitar pedals use.

Double check, however, to make sure. There are some pedals that use other battery types and you’ll want to have one or two extra on hand in your guitar case.

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  • Whatever-the-heck is hanging at the checkout counter at your grocery store.

Guitar String Winder

String Winder for GuitarsA string winder is a simple and cheap tool that just needs to be in your guitar case.

Not only does a guitar string winder give you the ability to quickly unwind your strings, most good string winders also have a cutout on the top that helps pull out the bridge pins if they get stuck.

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A Guitar Capo, Ebow or Guitar Slide

Guitar CapoDepending on what type of guitar or style you play, you may or may not need each of these items. The Ebow and slide specifically are two items that only apply to certain players.

The capo, on the other hand, is a tool that I personally believe should be in every guitar case no matter what you play.

There are a number of different kinds of guitar capos, so choose the one that fits your needs and keep that one in your guitar case.

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A Guitar Tuner

The Snark Guitar Tuner, a clip-on tuner that costs under $25I know far too many young guitar players that walk around thinking they don’t need a guitar tuner. They can do it by ear just fine.

Please don’t let that be you. Swallow your pride and get a tuner.

I don’t care if it’s a standalone tuner, a clip-on tuner, a pedal tuner or a tuning app on your phone – just make sure you have access to a tuner. I’ve been playing for 25 years. I’ve trained my ear extremely well yet I still have a tuner in my guitar case. There are hundreds of different guitar tuners out there but I only use a select few.

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Some Guitar Polish

Guitar PolishRemember how I told you about my OCD tendencies? It’s showing itself again with this particular guitar item.

Do you really need guitar polish in your case at all times? No. But here’s why I like to have it on me:

The best time to polish your guitar is when you’re changing the strings and have all of the strings off the guitar. Sometimes I do that at home but I also often change them on the road. I hate to miss an opportunity to polish up my guitar.

I’ve written before on the best ways to clean your guitar. There are entire kits you can purchase and have in your case, but I’m content to just have one bottle of cleaner.

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A Guitar Case Humidifier

Guitar Case HumidifierThis may be far down on this list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. On the contrary, a guitar case humidifier may be one of the more important items you have in your case.

I used to use a sound hole humidifier for my guitar but I didn’t like stretching my strings or putting plastic over the sound hole. So I switched to a guitar case humidifier.

A guitar case humidifier regulates the humidity of your entire guitar case without having to put something on/in your guitar. You don’t dip them in water and they can even help in regions where you’re worried about too much huimidity.

You can read more about guitar humidifiers on the GuitarAdventures complete guide to guitar humidifiers, but suffice to say you need something.

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A Pen or writing utensil

Whether you’re writing on your music sheet or set list, I always find that I enjoy having my favorite pen with me instead of the one supplied by the venue or fellow musician.

It may seem trivial, but it’s an easy and cheap thing to add to your guitar case. So why not?

A flashlight or LED light

There’s no need for a massive Maglight, just a small LED light should be fine. You never realize how often you’ll use a light until you have it.

Sure you can use your phone, but in my opinion its cumbersome. I prefer having a simple light that I can drop without worrying about breaking it.

But…That’s Too Much Guitar Equipment!!

Perhaps you’ve read through this list and you’re thinking to yourself: “But that’s too much crap to carry in my guitar case!

A musician's bag to carry all your guitar accessories and toolsI completely understand. You can pick and choose what you think is most important here. You can also combine some things (string winder and wire cutter in one!).

If you play out often, though, you might eventually just have to invest in a guitar bag. It’s something extra to carry but it keeps you organized without cluttering your guitar case.

What do you think?

Is there any other guitar equipment that you would add to this list? Or something here that you think absolutely doesn’t need to be there?

Let us know in the comments below!

15 thoughts on “Guitar Equipment Every Guitar Case Should Carry

  1. Josh, I’m a big fan of the CooperStands that fold up to fit in the guitar case. Easier than carrying around a clunky folding guitar stand. You didn’t mention a strap? I keep a small set of screwdrivers in a separate bag too.

    1. Great additions, Ken! Thanks for sharing.

      I do keep a strap in my case as well…not sure why I didn’t add that to this list. As for screwdrivers…what’s your particular use for them?

  2. I’m not a big fan of the Snark clip-on tuners. I got one a couple of years ago, and the clip broke through normal use. I contacted the company but never got so much as a reply. Then I bought another one a few weeks ago, and it doesn’t seem to be very precise although when I test it via specific frequencies (e.g., 220 Hz A)it’s spot on. The Snark just wanders all over the place on my Martin MMV with 5 strings muted. I tried a friend’s Peterson “strobe” clip-on ($$$), and it was very precise, just like their regular strobe tuners, showing a slight spike at attack and a slow decay during sustain. I’d be interested in hearing other player’s thoughts.

    1. I have yet to meet a clip-on tuner that can tune better than my ear, but then again that’s probably why they cost less than US$20. Really, the point isn’t *which* tuner to put in your case as much as that you put one in your case!

      Thanks for the comment, Rick 🙂

  3. This is a great list, but you’ve left out one very important item. Something to write on. I always keep a small tablet or some Post It notes in my case. Thx for the list. It seems that I need to add a few things to go mine. =)

  4. I usually throw my guitar in there as well, I find that one is key. Hard to gig using a pen and a bottle of polish. Great list, espeically the humidifier as many seem to not have one….yeah, including me.

    1. Ha! So true. Although this is a list of “accessories”, I would be remiss to point out that not putting your guitar in the case would be a huge mistake. 🙂

  5. I carry a small set of screw drivers for the cover for the neck rod. I wish there was stuff for the strings. the oil from your hands make them go black. one other thing is a micro recorder for when you get that idea that leaves you as fast as you get it.

  6. As an alternative to lemon oil and a bottle of cleaner, I have quickly become a fan of Dr. Ducks axe wax. You can use it on every inch of the guitar including the fretboard (not maple), lube the strings, but, tuners, and you only need a couple drops. I used this stuff on my acoustic and it literally took 6 drops to do the entire guitar. 1 bottle, 2 rags.

  7. Having had a capo break in the middle of a set and not having a second, I always carry a replacement. An extra bridge pin or two might also be a good idea. I broke a string once in the middle of a song, and in the process of removing it in a hurry, lost the pin. I just happened to notice it under a chair later.

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