Guitarists are very often said to be fixated on equipment – gear, pedals, upgrades, and customizations. This combined with the current protracted period at home with ample opportunity to do a lot of playing, means that it’s the ideal time for some quick and easy, at-home upgrades.

So here are 5 great ideas to get you started down that path:

1 – D’Addario NYXL 1260 Strings

A regular string change is nothing unusual for the even semi-serious guitarist, but this is something a little different. The gauge of this set of strings – as the product name kind of suggests – ranges from a .012 high e or ‘1st string’ to a 0.60 low e or ‘6th string’.

For many players this may represent at least one size heavier than usual, and these strings may not be for everybody – it’s probably not recommended to jump from playing with size 9 strings up to these ‘12’s’ for example – however, if you’re a heavy string player, whether for tone, for de-tuning, or just because that’s the way things have always been, then you have to try these NYXL strings. It’s also worth noting that guitarists will sometimes deliberately move up to higher gauge strings as heavier, fatter strings are known to give a fuller tone.



2 – Taylor Guitars 2.5″ Sanded Leather Guitar Strap

Guitarists may start out choosing cheaper, thinner, more colourful models of guitar strap, but sooner or later they end up with something like this. One reason is that those other straps don’t tend to endure to well, perhaps favouring style over substance at times. Another reason is that as our guitar collection becomes increasingly precious (whether financially, sentimentally, or likely both) so does our desire to protect it.

Reliability and durability are key to this Taylor strap. It’s thick, it’s made of strong material, it’s durable, reputable, and solid. And it’s what you need to protect your guitar. Time for an upgrade!



3 – Fender Road Worn Machine Heads

This particular example is a Fender model recommended for your Strat or Tele, but obviously just apply the principle of pimping your machine heads to your particular specific make/model.

These Road Worn machine heads from Fender represent a beautiful, authentic little customization you can make at home. The look and feel that they’ll give is something instantly recognizable, with a vintage aesthetic representing a bygone – and undeniably cool – era.



4 – Big Bends Original Nut & Saddle Sauce

Of course, replacing a nut or saddle in its own right is its own kind of upgrade, so go ahead with that if that’s something you’re keen to do. But let’s draw attention to this fantastic solution from Big Bends – their ‘Original Nut & Saddle Sauce’.

They’re taking on the age-old problems of tuning stability and string breakage, with two main principles – stropping string drag/friction at the nut and saddle, to reduce tuning stability and string breakage respectively. It’s non-toxic and won’t affect your guitar’s finish, so give it a go!



5 – KNA HP-1 Acoustic Humbucking Magnetic Soundhole Pickup

Whether you’re an acoustic guitarist seeking a pickup to try for the first time, or looking to upgrade your existing one, this HP-1 is fantastic. Maker HP-1 describes it as “For the discerning acoustic player” especially as it replicates a humbucking sound and claims to do what all good acoustic pickups should do – authentically capture the sound of the instrument.

It’s an easy, at-home self-installation job, with no instrumental modification required, so is an ideal upgrade for us all, whatever our level of guitar maintenance experience. Give it a go, have fun, and enjoy the dynamic resulting sound!




Alex Bruce is a writer for and