Category Archives: Guitar equipment

Quality guitar accessories

I’ve tried out a lot of different equipment for guitar over the years, some of it good, some of it mediocre. Most people (myself included) want to get the most for their money. Better to invest in something top quality and reliable than buy multiple items that do a half job. Here I share some products that I have found to be reliable:

Effects pedal – There are oodles of effects pedals out there. Most people own a variety. I particularly like my Electroharmonix Metal Muff distortion pedal. Custom pedals can create a unique sound, with some makers like Cog Effects from my native Sheffield can even include band logos on the pedal!

Recording cables – To record guitar using my iPad I use an iRig connector. Works a treat! Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch.

Guitar strings – For electric guitar strings I like Ernie Ball. For acoustic strings you might also like Martin’s. (Read about types of guitar strings and how to tune them.)

Flight case – I use an Adrenaline Flight Case to keep my instruments snug and safe on a plane. Robust! Faired better on a recent flight than my wife’s Tifosi bicycle case, which lost a wheel.


What to do with unwanted guitar equipment

Eco-friendly guitaring

Browsing the web for crazy things people make guitars out of is quite fun. It’s also interesting to read how some companies make their guitars – some, like Martin, are conscientious about their manufacturing waste. The flip side of considering eco-friendly materials when building or buying a guitar is figuring out how to responsibly dispose of existing guitars and accessories.


Yes, you could take your wooden acoustic guitar, remove the strings and pegs and just burn it, but that would be really sad. People are always taking up guitar, and tired old instruments can be given a fresh lease of life in the hands of a new owner. If you’ve got a functioning but unwanted guitar then sell it through local classifieds like Craigslist, ebay, or Reddit. Often it’s not worth your time marketing and shipping something that’s of small value. A better use of your time might be to just give it away, maybe by donating it to a charity shop or thrift store.


What to do about broken or surplus items? Lots of guitar equipment uses bits of metal and plastic that can be fiddly or even impossible to recycle. Many guitarists I speak to just throw stuff in the trash. Maybe that trash gets sorted by the waste company, but maybe not. There are options to take responsibility for your own guitar waste. I hope by demystifying the process to help make it easier for you to choose these options.

Worn or snapped guitar strings are on their own too small to warrant selling to a scrap merchant, but I recommend storing old strings, wires, cables, metal connectors etc. in a box with your other household metal waste like those old screws you find under the sofa. Small bits of metal including bass or guitar strings can be turned into jewellery like bracelets! Or once the box gets full and heavy take it down to a scrap metal dealership. They will happily take it off your hands and give you some cash in return (remember to take your ID with you). There is one scrap metal dealership just off Garner Rd in Raleigh, but it’s worth searching around to see who’s offering the best prices.

For faulty electronics and old cables keep an eye out for special electrical recycling facilities. Raleigh council offer residents the chance to drop it off for free directly at landfill sites. If you do this not only are you consigning some potentially useful material to be squished in the ground, but it is a waste of your time. Look for recycling options closer to home. At our apartment complex we have a special yellow bin just for recycling electrics, from batteries to switches and leads to small appliances. Some organisations specialise in preventing electronics ending up in landfill, and there’s one in the triangle – contact them to find out how you can best dispose of or pass on your unwanted or broken electrical items.

A final option is to take the item to a guitar shop you know offers repairs of electrical equipment. Maybe you’ve already bought new and don’t want it fixed, but someone else might like to buy a refurbished model.

If you have other ideas for how to responsibly dispose of guitar-related waste I’d be interested in hearing from you!


Unconventional guitar travel

How do you get around? Do you go by bus, car, or unicycle? In a busy urban environment sometimes it’s good to stand out and be different – out of that list of options I bet the unicycle stuck in your mind! Well I like to travel by bicycle. Getting around on a bike is just one way to stick out in Raleigh, and it’s a cheap, fast, and healthy mode of transport. If it gets people noticing me then it can’t be a bad thing.

One difficulty I have had is how to transport my guitar, song sheets, music stand, cables, pedals, amp, and a spare change of clothes on just two wheels pedaled by me.

With a soft guitar case on short trips I carry my guitar on my back using the case’s shoulder straps.

For longer trips, hard cases, and more equipment I need a bike trailer. We had a bike trailer in the UK that worked well for small errands, but it was too small for a guitar. Most trailers are designed for small children leaving scant space for your instrument. As well as looking out for special cargo trailers an important consideration will be the quality of the trailer. To transport heavy equipment like an amp a sturdy frame and axle are vital. I’m still searching for the best product for my purposes. Taking all my requirements into account I seem to be left with something functional, not at all stylish, and a lot like a golf caddy:

Not exactly the kind of image I wanted to portray! Needless to say I’m still hunting for the best means of comfortably transporting my equipment round with me.

One busker I saw in Washington DC carries all kinds on his guitar trailer – now that’s what I’m talking about!

Bicycle and trailer loaded with musical equipment
Guitarist near Du Pont in Washington DC transports lots of his equipment by bicycle.

Bicycle shops in Raleigh

If, like me, you’re looking to buy something cycling related, check out these local bike shops:

, Hillsborough St, Raleigh
, downtown Raleigh
, downtown Raleigh
, Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh
, two locations in Raleigh
, five dealerships in the triangle


Audiovisual equipment in North Carolina

If you’re planning a show, a special installation, or just want an überfantastic home sound system you will want to secure the best musical sound for your money. The following companies provide services like equipment rental, systems design, and sound engineers to wow the audience with your tunes.

In the triangle

, downtown Durham

Elsewhere in NC

, a branch of Wheatstone, Pineville


Accessorise your guitar life

Where to buy useful stuff besides guitars

Most guitar shops stock many of the accessories you will need, but it can be nice to seek out a specialist store. They stock a wider range of products in their niche. They offer an excellent opportunity for you to geek out, find new brands and models, and get an expert opinion.

For electronic equipment including an extensive range of cables, try TigerDirect on Capital Blvd (they also sell online).

Need some beats, crashes, and tinkles to accompany your riffs? 2112 Percussion is a local percussion store.

Another drum shop, The Music Emplorium in Durham, stocks a range of international instruments.

For a unique sound you can order custom compressors from Regular John Recording.

For amplifiers, including repairs ETEK Electronics, Holly Springs.

You might also like this post dedicated to local audiovisual equipment rentals.


Guitar makers and importers near Raleigh

I’ve previously covered guitar shops and repair services in the Raleigh area, but what if you want to order a bespoke handmade guitar? These guitar makers might be just what you’re looking for:


My songs online

In Sheffield at the end of 2012 my friend Ozzie helped me produce my EP: The Potter’s Clay.

I’ve been recording music myself using Garageband on an iPad since about the same time. (I love the simplicity of this setup – see this blog for more info, but I’d like more control over the volume of the vocals.) I’ve uploaded some of these recordings to Soundcloud so you can stream them free online.


Solo material

Songs I composed and performed with Black Soul