Every year, something new comes out related to guitar that makes most of us shake our heads in shame. But how often do we actually take a good look at them? Today we check out some of these mostly silly gadgets.
The Dumbest Guitar Gadgets Of 2020: WARNING!
Before we begin, let me throw a little disclaimer out for everyone to read: These gadgets are not exactly “gadgets” as much as they are purely gimmicks. As guitarists, we are steeped in a kind of weird culture that is full of bias, and tradition. We often scoff at a new product that could possibly be beneficial and go about sniffing corks.
I mean, look how we treated Line 6 all of these years. Detestable!
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But that’s the thing about these products. They have no real benefit when it comes to honing your skills as a guitarist. They are simply there to make a quick buck and prey on your buying impulse. These products are not beneficial, and never will be.
So the criteria for this list goes as such:
- It must be basically useless
- It is obviously a gimmick
- It tries to circumvent actual practice and routines
- It is suspiciously cheap
- No Guitar Teacher on earth would suggest these
Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s take a step back and have a few laughs. Because at the end of the day, these are silly products. No need to handle them with kid gloves. They are self-aware silly, even. I will save the best for last!
Pykmax UP: An Honorable Mention?
Ok, this one straddles the line a little bit, which is why it’s going first. Does that make it completely useless, or just an honorable mention? I will let you decide. I know how I feel about it.
PykMax UP solves the problem of you dropping your pick. Or does it?
The advertisement says:
“Ergonomic grip feels super comfortable in your hand – great for beginners and experts alike. Play comfortably for hours, enhance your performance, and never drop a pick!“
I don’t know… picks will fly out of your hand when you are playing. It’s a natural phenomena for every guitar player. It even happens to the pros.
What you do, is grab another one real quick. Most guitarists have a stash of picks near the guitar, ON the guitar, on the mic stand, or even on top of their amps. So there really isn’t a problem here.
I would go as far as to say that recovering on stage after you have dropped a pick is a tiny artform! Everyone has a different way of doing it, without being too obvious or stopping the song. I simply play with my fingers until I can grab another pick. Usually taped to the back of my headstock.
This is an idea I stole from Steve Vai. If you watch his performances, you’ll notice he has four or five picks attached to the back of his headstock. Although these days, neither Steve or myself have a problem with dropping picks.
Eventually it becomes something that might happen every so often, I suppose. For me, it would happen maybe once during a stretch a shows. The audience never noticed, and it didn’t ruin my night or anything. It certainly didn’t ruin guitar playing forever for me.
“Even if you have trouble holding a regular guitar pick, Pykmax can help you start playing guitar again.“
OK. Now this is where I have an issue calling this product outright “dumb”. You may have an injury or disability that no longer allows you to hold a pick. If that is the case, then it makes total sense to use a gadget like this to help you. This is the only reason I am not giving this product the Hell it deserves.
Otherwise, I feel like it is one of many products that act only as a gimmick. If you are a beginner, and start your playing experience with something like this, you may never hold a pick in a natural way that allows for accuracy and feel.
So PykMan, you get a half-pass. It’s a gimmick, but it can be useful under the right circumstances. Definitely not one of the dumbest guitar gadgets. Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get on to the really ridiculous stuff.
Riff BANDZ: The Ultimate Shortcut to Playing Better
When learning piano, hand posture is very important. Piano teachers will often put a coin on the top of your hand, to make sure the hand isn’t flopping about when playing. This ensures economy of movement in your hand, so you can hit the keys accurately.
Riff Bandz is NOT that kind of thing. The product is basically four rubber bands connected together that go over your fingers, limiting your movement and making it harder to reach frets. This isn’t prime “dumbest guitar gadgets”. But it definitely ranks high.
“Riff Bandz work for the same reason that swinging a weighted bat before stepping up to the plate works. Train with resistance, and when the resistance is removed the movement feels lighter and easier. Strengthen your fingers by using Riff Bandz resistance bands while you practice and play.”
It sounds like a pretty good idea right? I mean, baseball players do it!
You know what also helps you to strengthen your fingers and extend your range? Playing your guitar. There is no excuse to not have a proper practice routine set up that includes stretching your fingers. Just by sheer playing alone, you can achieve the same results.
It’s like switching to a 7 string guitar, or a baritone guitar. You may struggle at first, but in a couple of days, you will get used to it. No gimmicks needed! Your fingers will adapt all by themselves.
Not to mention, it is also important to be playing the right guitar for you. Scale length is very important, as well as string gauge. This is all comes naturally, as you become more proficient.
We can even bring anatomy into this! Your fingers don’t really have a lot of muscles to begin with. If you are playing guitar properly, then you know that tendons play a much bigger role in how you approach the neck and fretboard. Your fingers don’t get jacked like your arms when you hit the gym!
20-Pack Grips for Guitar Picks Stop Dropping your Guitar Picks while Playing Non-sticky Stays in your Hand Epic Accessories
If that title sounds insane, please don’t blame me. That is the actual title that I just copied and pasted from the advertised product. Apparently, every guitarist is just dropping picks left and right all willy nilly, it’s absolute chaos. Dropping picks is just plain destroying whatever enjoyment is left in your life, and other’s lives across the globe.
There is no other solution, except to put a piece of grippy tape on your pick. You couldn’t possibly just buy a pick that has a grip to it already. Could you??!!
If the Pykman is just too cumbersome for you, then you are in luck with the 20-Pack Grips for Guitar Picks Stop Dropping your Guitar Picks while Playing Non-sticky Stays in your Hand Epic Accessories. I mean, it’s all right there in the title.
I guess the good thing about applying stickers to your picks so you don’t drop them, is that no one will really notice that you have them. Unless you’re some weird person that shows everyone your picks. If the “Rig Rundown” team comes around, they will probably notice.
You can also buy little hats for your guitar picks, that are definitely function-over-fashion. These little hats do the same thing as sticker grips, but they add a bit of flair at the same time!
Little hats for your guitar picks can go a long way, but why stop there? At this point you are only adding hats to guitar accessories. Why not take the extra step to make yourself one with the silicone?
Silicone Finger Coverings
During the first few weeks of playing guitar, your fingers are going to hurt a little. Not only do you need to get acclimated to the pressure required to fret a string, you also need to build callouses on your fingers. Once you have built up you callouses the pain goes away.
Your guitar teacher will usually tell you to power through this beginning phase. Not only will you have a sense of progression, but you will be proud of yourself for taking the first steps to playing guitar. Call it a rite of passage, if you will.
Or, you can cover your fingers in little silicone hats, and never actually get used to playing the guitar. I suppose you can carry these around in your pockets until the opportunity strikes you at a party where someone has an acoustic guitar. Then you can put on your little hats, and play “Wonderwall” for everyone.
Impressive. But we can bypass even touching the strings, if you wish…since we have ran out of hats. I present to you the official winner of the dumbest guitar gadgets!
EZ Fret Guitar Attachment
If you have always wanted to play guitar, but you cannot be bothered to pick one up and learn basic chords, then the EZ Fret is for you. This amazing gadget does everything for you, allowing you to skip the boring parts of guitar like learning.
The EZ Fret allows you to play the guitar without any bothersome fretting of notes, or learning actual chords. This gadget turns your real guitar into a glorified Guitar Hero controller, minus the video game aspect. No visuals, so only a nightmare inducing sound coming from your guitar will comfort you.
“For those who have given up playing the guitar due to finger pain, string buzzing, or the need to develop callouses when fretting the strings directly. Over 110 chords, full scales of “C” and “F” available. Simple rugged design, relatively easy to install.“
That’s right. If you have repeatedly rage-quit guitar over the years, there is no reason to give up just yet. There is no need to deal with those pesky strings and frets anymore. Just attach the EZ Fret to your guitar, and start mashing buttons.
Learning how to play an instrument is such a pain, and who has time for such nonsense these days? Why do it the hard way when you can do it the EZ way? This also knocks out the money hungry middle-man that lurks in the shadows: The Guitar Teacher.
The Dumbest Guitar Gadgets Of 2020: I Think We Are Done Here.
Look, this is ultimately satire. I can’t help but giggle a little bit when I see these products. Like I said in the beginning, they prey on your impulses and you may even buy them out of curiosity. It is easy to poke fun at them. You find them everywhere on Amazon and Wish.
And believe me, there is no irony lost on my part. I am coming from years of practice and playing. I am not a beginner nor am I struggling to play guitar. But I remember those first days fondly, when I was at the very beginning. Every day I got a tiny bit better, and I was proud of it.
But there is a valuable lesson that is written in between the lines of all of this satire: There is no replacement for actual practice and good habits that come with patience and time. There are no shortcuts to proficiency. Anyone trying to sell you the “easy way” is probably just trying to make a quick buck.
That can apply to all aspects of life. Experience comes at a cost and in the end you are only cheating yourself, by trying to cheat. Learning is fun and rewarding! Never deprive yourself of the experience or sell yourself short.
Now if you excuse me, I have some finger hats to put on. I’m trying to record an album here.