Six Essential Guitar Case Items
It is amazing how many guitar players show up for lessons, practice, or even gigs without basic items needed to be ready to play. I am going to list seven useful items that should all fit in most guitar cases or gig bags. This list isn't intended to be comprehensive. Some players will have other essential items such as a capo or slide, but these are fairly universal items.
A Pack Of Picks
A pack of a dozen picks is only a few bucks, so buy several packs and keep a pack of picks in each of your guitar cases. You will loose picks regularly, and other players who apparently only have one pick to their name and lose it weekly will constantly mooch them off you, so be ready.
Extra Set Of Strings
This one is very important. You may never use them, but what if you break a string on the only guitar you brought? “Excuse me while I run to the music store.” Consider them insurance. If you have them, you probably won’t need them. If you don’t, you probably will.
Needle Nose Pliers
This small, inexpensive tool comes in handy for quick string changes (cuttings strings and pulling stuck bridge pins on an acoustic.) They also come in handy in a hundred other situations (kind of like duct tape.) A couple of small screwdrivers (standard and phillips) are also a good idea. Visit the hardware store and get some.
Obviously you should be able to tune by ear, but unless you have perfect pitch an electronic tuner is very handy. A tuner lets you easily tune to concert pitch (or drop tunings) which is important when playing with other musicians. Tuners allow you tune in noisy situations, which is often the case when setting up for a gig. If you have a tuner you don’t have to bug other musicians with “Can you give me an E?” And you can lend it to those players who never bother to tune their instruments or carry tuners — the “I just tuned it last week!” players.
If you play an acoustic with electronics, or an electric with active pickups, or run an effects pedal on batteries (such as a wah), you need a backup battery (or two) — just like a spare set of strings.
Your strings will last longer if you wipe them off after you play (make sure you don’t use a treated polish cloth to wipe strings.) In a pinch, you can rub the guitar neck across the leg of your jeans.
I didn’t list a guitar strap because, besides being obvious, it may not fit in your guitar case. The main point is be prepared. It will make your musical life much easier.