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For many musicians, their electric guitar is their favorite toy. Learning to play well is hard work, but getting your hands on a gadget that can add an extra “X-factor” to your practice is incredibly rewarding.
New guitar technology is coming out all the time, but it can be hard to sift through all the newest products to find the truly useful and high-quality ones.
Read on to discover six cool guitar gadgets which are must-have inventions for the experienced guitar player.
What are the Best Guitar Gadgets?
Guitar Gadgets Reviews
Most floorboards and floor pedals have a few effects that you can play with. The Neural DSP Quad Cortex, however, has a mind-blowing amount of over 50 amps, 70 stomps, and 1,000 cabs which you can use to bend your sound into whatever direction you want!
This isn’t your ordinary foot pedal. You can download preset effects from the cloud without even plugging into a computer and even plug multiple players in at one time. Backups and firmware updates are also done completely via Wi-Fi, so you’ll never need to plug this into your laptop.
The Quad Cortex is simply a phenomenal guitar gadget. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and sounds incredible.
It also has a full-color touchscreen that is a full 7-inches, so you’ll be able to see exactly what settings you have even in the dark, standing at your full height. Its 11 rotary footswitches can be completely navigated with your feet.
- Virtually limitless options for sound editing and manipulation
- Presets available via Wi-Fi to download from the cloud
- Option to plug multiple separate guitarists simultaneously
- Extremely costly
The Apogee Jam+ is a simple plug-in for your electric guitar, bass, or keyboard that will allow you to transmit your sound into your computer. If you need to practice silently but still want to hear how you sound through an amplifier, this neat tool can get you to play directly into your program.
It has a sturdy metal shell and a soft-touch base, so you won’t break it by tossing it in a purse or backpack. With 24-bit and 96kHz resolution and an Overdrive mode, you’ll have a detailed sound with realistic virtual effects.
This little gadget will work with a Mac, PC, or iOS device. It also has a headphone jack, so if you’re stuck with a laptop without a headphone output (which is becoming more and more common in iOS devices), you’ll still be able to practice silently.
- Zero latency, so there's no delay between your playing and your sound
- High-resolution sound that won't sound tinny or buzzy
- Built to last
- No Bluetooth capabilities
Gigging guitarists know the frustration of breaking a string mid-gig and having to frantically restring and re-tune. The Band Industries Roadie 3 will make this process so much easier that you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.
With a 120 rpm motor, quick string changes are much less of a hassle. It uses vibration detection so that you get accurate tunings, and it has over 100 onboard tunings. Even if you’re in drop D, open C, or any other alternative tuning, you should be able to set all your strings to the right notes quickly.
If you’re worried that you’ll run out of charge at a critical moment, you’ll be happy to know that this tuner can tune a single string 150 times with one full charge. Simply plug it back in after every gig, and you’ll never run out of battery.
The Roadie 3 works on electric, acoustic, steel, and classical guitars, plus banjos, ukuleles, and mandolins. If you love staying on key, then this is one of the must-have guitar gadgets you should put on your Christmas list.
- Makes tuning onstage quick and easy
- Over 100 onboard tunings, so even alternative tunings can be quickly changed
- Works with many kinds of stringed instruments, including the banjo and ukulele
- Not compatible with electric bass guitars
If quick string changes aren’t a concern for you, you might not need an automatic tuner. That doesn’t mean you want to keep using your old tuner with its fuzzy gray screen. Instead, try out the TC Electronic UniTune Clip-on tuner.
This handy little tuner gets you to precisely the right note with a bright, colorful display, so you’re always clear on what note you’re playing. It uses a lithium battery to charge and can support 18 hours of usage on a single battery.
With its stainless steel clip, this high-quality tuner will last and last.
- Doesn't look nearly as clunky as a traditional tuner
- Bright, easy-to-read display
- Not an automatic tuner and not so helpful for quick string changes
If you want to practice your scales or a particularly complicated riff without annoying your roommates, the Fender Mustang Micro is a relatively inexpensive way to practice with some killer amp effects. This great little gadget has 12 amps and 13 effect models lifted straight from Fender’s Mustang GTX 100 amp.
It has a headphone jack that can work with any wired headphones. You can’t transmit your guitar audio to wireless headphones, but Bluetooth audio streaming from your laptop or tablet is supported, so you can play along to your favorite songs.
With its rechargeable lithium battery, you can play for up to six hours on each charge.
- Effects lifted from Fender's Mustang GTX amp
- Supports Bluetooth streaming from laptop
- Extremely portable; will even fit in your front pocket
- Cannot transmit guitar sound to Bluetooth headphones
This isn’t your ordinary guitar cable: with the Gibson Memory Cable, you can record 13 whole hours of playing via its in-line MicroSD recorder. If you’ve ever had a great idea for a riff and lost it, you know the value of having a recorder handy.
This cable gives you CD-quality audio and lets you store it on a 4GB memory card, which is included. You can transfer files to your computer with a card reader.
It operates on only one AA battery, which will last for up to 8 hours. Plus, it only records when you’re playing, so you don’t have to worry about draining the battery life when you unplug.
You can use the memory cable on all electric guitars, synthesizers, drum machines, and electric basses.
- Compatible with electric guitars and several other electronic instruments
- Stores CD-quality audio
- Powered by just one AA battery
- Will only stay charged for 8 hours
Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Coolest Guitar Gadgets For You
Even if you’re always on the lookout for the best guitar gadgets, don’t mindlessly click “Buy” on every new piece of tech that’s available. Buying too many toys for your guitar will just make you feel like you need to use all of them to get your money’s worth and won’t necessarily improve your playing.
Here’s how to pick out the gadgets that you’ll want to use:
The Best Gadgets for Songwriters
- Tech that will help you record yourself. Writing music is hard, and it’s so easy to believe that you’ll remember something that falls right out of your head. Buying a guitar recording device like the Gibson Memory Cable will make this much less likely.
- Tech that offers you unique effects. If you play prog rock or in another genre that requires a lot of effects, it can be helpful to have a floor pedal like Neural DSP Quad Cortex that has a wide variety of effects to choose from. You may not expect to build a riff around that one wah-wah effect, but learning to build a song around a particular sound is a great exercise.
The Best Gadgets for Gigging Guitarists
- Tech that will make transitions onstage easier. Gigging guitarists need to move quickly—no noodling around trying to find the right note or effect. Find tech like the Band Industries Roadie 3 that’ll let you make presets or will help you tune up faster.
- Tech that will smooth out your live sound. Are you having issues getting your guitar to sound just right when you’re playing at a gig? Look for gadgets such as TC Electronic UniTune Clip-on tuner that can fix that.
The Best Gadgets for Practice
- Tech that you can plug a laptop or headphones into. Electric guitars are traditionally plugged into an amplifier, which is why some people dread rooming with guitar players. Luckily, there are now plenty of ways that you can sidestep the amplifier and still hear yourself playing with cool effects. You can either get the Apogee Jam+ to transmit your audio to your laptop or a Fender Mustang Micro to transmit your music directly to your headphones.
- Tech that’ll allow you to play along with recordings. Ever wanted to hear how you sounded when playing side-by-side with Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen? Find a gadget that can simultaneously play your guitar and a recorded song.
Taking your playing to the next level will require lots and lots of practice, not fun toys and gadgets. But you can make your practice much easier and more fun by buying the right kinds of gadgets for you. There are all kinds of new tech to upgrade your guitar sound all the time, so keep an eye out for the right gadgets for you!