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Recommended equipment & services

Guitar & Ukulele Stuff

What should you get? Where should you go to get it? Who can fix your guitar? On this page you will find my recommendations.

Some links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. This means I receive a small percentage on any sale driven through the click of said link. This comes at no extra cost to you, and helps fund my website. I only link to products I have actually used and recommend.

A selection of guitar equipment



guitar strings, electric, classical, acoustic, flamenco: Ernie Ball Super Slinky, Hybrid Slinky, Regular Slinky, Elixir Nanoweb Bronze, D'Addario Pro Arte


You should change your strings regularly – every 3-4 months. I know that most of you won’t of course! Probably because you’re scared of getting it wrong. It’s not that hard, and I made some detailed videos on how to do it:

Which strings? You may want to find out which strings are on your guitar and replace like with like, or at least use the same gauge. If you are struggling to fret the notes, you could try going to a lighter gauge of string.

Here are the strings I use:

Guitar cleaning products: Jim Dunlop 65 Spray Wax, Jim Dunlop 65 Deep Clean, Jim Dunlop 65 Lemon oil, string winders

Instrument care & maintenance

For cleaning, conditioning & restringing my guitar, I use these products:

For repairs and setups, go to a professional guitar tech. If you have a good music shop near you, chances are they will have a good guitar tech in store, or can direct you to somebody. Here are some guitar techs I that have done good work for me.

  • Tim Marten Guitar Repairs: Tim has done a lot of good work for me on my electric, acoustic & 12 string guitars.
  • Andy Gibson: Andy has been fixing and setting up guitars on Denmark Street for as long as I can remember and has done a lot of work for me over the years.
  • Jack’s Guitars: Jack did loads of great work for me when he was based in London, now he’s moved to Yorkshire but still in business!

For amp/PA repairs

  • Service Dept: Steve did some great work on my amp and some PA equipment that nobody else would fix!
  • JPF Amplification: Frank did some pedal mods for me which revolutionised my live setup – he had some great ideas that I would never have thought of. He builds and fixes amps too.

If you want to have a go at setting up and repairing your own guitar, then I generally buy my luthier tools from:

  • Stewmac: they are based in the USA, but they ship to the UK, their tools are second to none, and they have great resources on their website.
guitar picks, plectrums, finger & thumbpicks

Picks (plectrums) & finger/thumbpicks

I generally use a pick for electric & 12-string guitar, use one about half the time on acoustic guitar, and never use one on classical guitar or ukulele. For slide guitar I tend to use finger & thumbpicks or just my fingers.

Guitar tuners: Boss TU-3, Peterson Stroboclip HD, Snark Super tight, TC electronic Poly Clip and Poly Tuner Stomp


Please tune up EVERY time you play your instrument! A clip on tuner is great for home use, but I prefer pedal tuners live. A tuner app on your phone is a good backup too.

Metronomes: Seiko SQ50V, Wittner Super-Mini Taktell 903014, Korg Ma2-BLBK


Every musician needs to practice with a metronome sometimes. It’s a great way of measuring your progress, working on your rhythm and building up speed on difficult passages. I use a metronome regularly.

There are also many free metronome phone apps.

Guitar practice amps: Fender frontman 10G, Line 6 spider V20 MKii, Vox VT20X

Practice amps

I don’t use amps at home any more (I moved to modelling technology), but here are some that I have used/owned in the past.

  • Line 6 Spider V20 MKII: great sounds in small, cheap package. I have used previous versions of this amp and am always blown away by the sound quality at this price point.
  • Vox VT20X: I used the previous model of this amp for many years – it’s a great all rounder.
  • Fender Frontman 10G: a basic amp for beginners that does the job for a reasonable price.
bottleneck slide, tonebar, knuckle length slide in chrome, brass, steel glass & nickel

Guitar slides

For slide guitar, I like brass slides for acoustic, and steel or glass for electric. There are many on the market, the main thing is it needs to fit your finger – not too tight, not too loose. Which finger you use is up to you. I put it on my 4th finger most of the time, but some songs require it to be worn on the 3rd finger. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top wears it on his 1st finger.

Here are some slides I like:

  • Jim Dunlop 220 Chrome Slide: A full-length metal slide, not too heavy. Good for electric and acoustic guitar.
  • Jim Dunlop 202 Glass Slide: A full-length glass slide, not too heavy. Good for electric and acoustic guitar.
  • Jim Dunlop 222 Brass Slide: A full-length heavy brass slide, good for acoustic guitar and guitars with a high action. If you have a very low action you may damage your frets with this beast!
  • Jim Dunlop SI Chrome Slide Kn/M: a short metal ‘knuckle length’ slide, which enables you to bend your finger to fret chords, and use the slide only when needed. ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams or ‘Scar Tissue’ by Red Hot Chilli Peppers are two songs that require this.
  • Jim Dunlop SI Brass slide Kn/M: a short brass version of the above, suitable for acoustic guitars or guitars with high action.
Guitar and ukulele capos: G7th, Kyser, Shubb, G7th Newport 12 string capo, ukulele capo


If you play acoustic guitar or ukulele, you’ll need one at some point. Less so for electric guitar, but it’s still handy for some songs. For classical guitar, you’ll rarely use a capo. Here are some capos that I own and recommend.

Schubb capos are indestructible and have tension adjustment, which is essential for tuning stability.

G7th capos are also indestructible, but the tension adjustment is easier to use and they have a more ergonomic design. They are also more expensive than Shubb!

Guitar straps: Levys black leather and fabric with suns. Schaller strap locks.

Guitar straps & strap locks

If you want to play standing up, you’re going to need a guitar strap! They can also be useful if you sit down with a Les Paul shape guitar, as they are narrow waisted and can be uncomfortable to play sitting down.

I don’t use a strap for ukulele, I hold it in the crook of my arm when I stand up and play.

Nylon straps create a lot of friction and may irritate your skin. I like straps made from a soft material or leather. Leather grips your skin and clothing nicely so it’s easy to get the guitar to stay where you want it.

There are so many straps on the market, I’d say just get one that suits the colour of your guitar! I do like Levy’s leather straps though

Straps can fall off quite easily, with catastrophic consequences, so I always use strap locks.

Guitar footstools, tiger, red and black


A footstool is essential for classical guitar. You will put your left foot on the footstool. If you are playing acoustic or electric guitar and you sit down a lot, a footstool can be useful too – you’ll normally put your right foot on the footstool.

The purpose of the footstool is to enable you to get the guitar in a more comfortable position, by raising the leg that the guitar is resting on. i.e. if you sit with the guitar resting on your right leg, put your right foot on the footstool to raise your right leg. If you sit with the guitar resting on your left leg, put your left foot on the footstool to raise your left leg.

This may seem obvious to you but I have seen SO MANY people doing it wrong!

If you play a left-handed guitar you need to flip all of the above info the other way around.

I’d say any footstool will do. This one is as good as any, and reasonably priced:

Audio interfaces: focusrite Scarlett Solo, 2i2 and 18i8

Audio interfaces

At some point, you will probably want to plug your instrument or vocal into your computer to record, or to use a modelling application etc. Plug your instrument into an audio interface, then the interface into your computer to achieve this.

I have had many audio interfaces over the years, and the best one I’ve used is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. The very useful Focusrite Control app comes with it. I had a Universal Audio Apollo Twin previously (a very highly rated interface), but I never really understood how to use it properly.

The Focusrite is so much easier to understand and use, and their customer support is fantastic. They make smaller (Scarlet Solo and 2i2) and larger (Scarlett Octopre) interfaces, pick the one that suits your needs.

Phone, tablet, laptop with music apps running

Apps & Software

One of the most useful apps when learning songs gives you the ability to change the tempo of a song without changing the pitch, or change the pitch without changing the tempo. I have good experience with these three apps (I use Transcribe on my Mac and AnyTune on my phone):

If you are transcribing music or composing for a music course etc, you may want to present it in a professional format (rather than writing it out by hand). I use these two pieces of software.

  • GuitarPro: music notation software for fretted instruments
  • Sibelius: music notation software for all instruments

I’m Mac based, so I also use these Apple applications:

guitar & instrument cables, microphone cables, jack cables, XLR cables, TRS cables, Planet Waves, Fender, Roland


Cheap cables often pick up interference, break quickly and need to be replaced. Below are some quality cable manufacturers that I have had good experience with. I haven’t linked to individual cables because it depends what type of cable you need, how long, what colour etc.

Instrument cables (also called jack/TRS cables) are for connecting your instrument to an amp/PA system etc. XLR cables are used for microphone and some speaker connections. Phono/RCA cables are used for some other connections on mixing desks and hi-fi equipment.

  • Planet Waves/D’Addario: great quality – huge selection. Lifetime guarantee on some products. Planet Waves was, until recently, part of the D’Addario brand, and their cables are being sold under both names at the moment. The quality is the same it’s just a different logo.
  • Fender: I’ve never had a bad Fender cable
  • George L’s: Great if you need a specific cable length for a pedalboard. You buy the cable and connectors separately and assemble them to your own requirements – no soldering required. Awesome product!
  • Design A Cable: if you know exactly what you want, they will make it for you. Excellent product quality and service.
Guitar and ukulele cases: Gator, mono gig bag

Guitar & ukulele cases

Forget about the flimsy vinyl case you got free with your guitar. It offers virtually no protection. Get yourself a (properly) padded gig bag for your budget or mid range guitar. If you have a pro level guitar then PLEASE get a hard case for it!

If the manufacturer of your instrument sells a case for it, that is often the best bet. If not it can be best to take it to a shop and get something that fits. If you can barely close the case then it’s too small and you’ll damage the case and probably the instrument as well. If your instrument is rattling around inside, then the case is too big and you can damage the instrument. Don’t fall for the sales pitch of “You can just add some extra foam to it”! Just buy a case that fits.

Here are some manufacturers that I have had good experience with:

  • Gator Cases: I have some of their hard shell cases and they are really tough and lightweight for a hard case. Not too expensive either.
  • Hiscox Cases: Amazing quality, small form factor and incredibly strong. Huge range.
  • Mono: the best design of gig bag that I have seen.
  • Gear4Music: If you’re looking for something cheaper, have a browse on here, just make sure any gig bag has plenty of padding, and any hard case closes securely. You can always send it back if you’re not happy with the quality
Guitar headstocks: fender stratocaster, telecaster, gibson les paul classic, epiphone les paul deluxe, PRS McCarty 594 single cut


If you’re not sure which kind of guitar you need, please read this article.

You have two main options when buying a new instrument: go to a shop or buy online. You will have more choice online and may save some money, but you will be able to try several different guitars in a shop, receive advice and receive follow up care such as setups and repairs where necessary.

If you go to a shop, do your research and go to a GOOD guitar shop. Small local music shops often (but not always) have a very poor selection of instruments.

If you have some experience and know what you want, you could always try your luck on the secondhand market (try Reverb and eBay), but if you’re a beginner it’s best to go to a reputable shop.

Here are some shops I recommend:

  • The London Guitar Studio, London (classical & flamenco guitars, ukuleles, books, sheet music, accessories) – please tell them I sent you!
  • Wunjo Guitars, London (electric, bass & acoustic guitars, amps, pedals, accessories)
  • Sixty Six Sounds, London (electric, bass & acoustic guitars)
  • Regent Sounds, London (electric, bass & acoustic guitars, amps, pedals, accessories)
  • GuitarGuitar, London (electric, bass & acoustic guitars, amps, pedals, accessories)
  • GAK, Brighton (electric, bass & acoustic guitars, amps, pedals, accessories)
  • The Duke Of Uke, London (ukuleles)
  • Andertons, Guildford (everything!)
  • Rose Morris, London (books & sheet music)
  • Musicroom, London (books & sheet music)
Guitar headstocks: fender stratocaster, telecaster, gibson les paul classic, epiphone les paul deluxe, PRS McCarty 594 single cut

Here are some guitar & ukulele brands I have had good experience with:

  • Alhambra: classical and steel-string acoustic guitars
  • Auden: steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars
  • Balaguer: electric guitars & basses
  • Camps: classical & flamenco guitars
  • Cort: electric, steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars, basses
  • Epiphone: electric & steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars, ukuleles
  • ESP: electric & steel-string acoustic guitars, basses
  • Fender: electric, steel-string acoustic, 12-string & classical guitars, basses, ukuleles
  • Gibson: electric, steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars, basses
  • Gretsch: electric, steel-string acoustic, 12-string & resonator guitars, basses, ukuleles
  • Guild: electric, steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars, basses
  • Ibanez: electric, steel string acoustic & 12-string guitars, basses
  • Kala: ukuleles, steel-string acoustic guitars
  • LTD: electric guitars, basses
  • Martin: steel-string acoustic guitars, 12-string guitars, ukuleles
  • Sire: electric & steel-string acoustic guitars, basses
  • Takamine: steel-string, nylon-string & 12-string acoustic guitars, acoustic basses
  • Tanglewood: electric, steel-string, nylon-string & 12-string acoustic guitars, ukuleles, basses
  • Taylor: steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars
  • Vintage: electric, steel-string acoustic & 12-string guitars, electric & acoustic basses
  • Yamaha: electric, 12-string, steel-string & nylon-string acoustic guitars, basses

There are so many good makes, models and variations of guitar that I can’t possibly list them all here. If you need any help choosing an instrument, please get in touch.

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