Today, I’m going to talk about something, that I feel needs to be talked about. 10 practical gifts for guitarists. I’m hoping this posts gets spread to the masses, because people should know what to buy for the guitarists in their lives. But, I would like to say this is my opinion, obviously other opinions differ.
It sort of drives me nuts seeing “stocking stuffer” and “holiday gifts” for guitarists… because, as a guitarists, these gifts are generally in the same vain as getting socks. You smile.. and say thanks for the tie that has guitars on it, but really, is that a great gift for that guitarist? Clip on tuner for $5? That’ll come in handy. Basically, it might, but it will most likely get stored in the junk box. I understand the challenge to buy for a guitarist. Items cost hundreds to thousands (for the good stuff), not to mention, you have no idea what that person really wants, etc. To me, the best gifts for guitarists are gifts that they need, but hate to buy. What I’m talking about is utility and supplies and tools. If I got a box of picks in my stocking, I would be stoked (trust me…. way more stoked the guitar tie or clip-on tuner). So I’m compiling a little list of *practical* gifts for the guitarist you know. Some of these items do require a little research to find out what they use, but I’m sure you can think of something clever to get the details.
I would also like to mention, that these are not ordered in anyway. #1 is not the best, just the first one that came to mind.
#1 TC Electronic Polytune Tuner. First make sure this person does not have this tuner. It’s under $100 and is a great tuner. Many guitarists are switching to this tuner in masses. Basically, you can strum all 6 (or 4) strings and see what strings are out of tune (flat or sharp).
#2 Strings. Man, I would love to get strings. I go through them. They’re a necessity and would be a nice gift. Two points required to know before purchasing. Get the correct brand. Guitarists like their brand. Get the correct gauge. Again, guitarist like their gauge. If you have access to practice space, you usually can see the box and wrapper laying around. I would recommend 10 packs. D’Addario sell 10packs, but you might need to buy individual packs or sets of 3. If you can’t determine brand and gauge with 100% certainty, move on. Don’t guess.
#3 Picks. Again, picks are great. I would get a dozen, or a few dozen. This is similar to strings. Brand and gauge is very important. Many guitarists use Dunlop Tortex picks, and you can tell the gauge by the color. If they guitarist is using green, yellow, purple picks, etc… it’s a good chance it’s a Tortex. The labeling on the pick itself usually gets warn off pretty quickly. If you can’t determine brand and gauge with 100% certainty, move on. Don’t guess.
#4 Lava Cable Kit. If the guitarist uses pedals, they might be using a bunch of patch cables to connect them. If the pedals are on a board (pedal board or some type of containment for the pedals), a lava cable kit is a great gift. Basically, the guitarist can custom cut their lava cables to size and really *tighten* up the board with some low capacitance cables. If the guitarist has the pedals on the floor (loose), then I would probably pass on this and/or move to #10
#5 Quality instrument cables. This is another thing people don’t *want* to spend money on and often skimp. When someone skimps, this could be a great opportunity to upgrade. I would look at a 20′ instrument cable… and get one that is good. Spend a little more and that person will thank you for it. What if the musician already is set with good instrument cables? Cables are always a good thing to have spares of. I always pack two extra footers, just in case. Someone is going to forget theirs or you have a failure with yours. Always a good thing to have. ($50-$100 range or $25-$50 range)
#6 Quality Patch Cables. Similar to above. I mentioned Lava Cable Kit, but a few quality patch cables is again a good thing to have as backup. These would be ready-to-go cables. No set up and already sized and ready to go.
#7 Visual Sound One Spot Combo Pack. You might want to do research here as well. If it’s possible to find out how they’re powering their pedals. If they’re powering their pedals solely on batteries, this might be a great pick-up. Again, something like this is great to have around as well. I’ve been jamming with others and their batteries died, and it’s a good feeling to be able to grab a backup power supply for that dead pedal, and we’re back to the jam.
#8 Custom Tools! Guitarist Tool Kit. I’ve pieced my own together over the years, but this kit is awesome. I was in one band and they would make fun of me that I always had a screwdriver, wire cutters, wrenches, etc…. until when they needed it at a gig. The jokes stopped. This compact kit basically has everything a guitarist would need to repair/tighten on site. Only thing missing.. soldering iron. Toggle Switch Wrench. This is sorta goofy, but if you own a Les Paul you wish you had it. Basically, this tool allows you to tighten the nut on the toggle switch. Jack Tightener is a tool that allows you to tighten the jack on the guitar.
#9 String Cleaner. A friend of mine actually owns this particular one, and I was thoroughly amazed on how his strings felt. He would apply this after every session, and it really did help them keep their life. Basically, all the gunk/sweat gets on the strings coats them. This tool allows you to easily remove that film. This is great for practices. I would still change strings for recording, live, etc., but jamming by yourself, this is absolutely great!
#10 Pedaltrain. If the guitarist you know has a few loose pedals on the floor, this could be a great gift for them. This allows them to mount their pedals to a platform and makes it quick and easy to transport. Pedaltrain design is fantastic. You’ll need some research here. Make sure they don’t already have one. If that’s not a problem, the next step is to determine what kind to get. You want something that will easily allow for all of their pedals, but have room for a few more down the road. The Pedaltrain PT-2 is a good mid size board. You’ll also need to determine gig bag or ATA hardshell case. If the guitarist tours with the band or travels with gear.. then hardshell is a must.
A few items I excluded. Guitar straps is an example. Straps are often seen on lists, but as for me, straps are very personal. Straps are like buying shoes for someone – style, comfort, etc all come into play. Getting a god awful strap for someone… is awkward.
Help spread the word about this post. This information is a must for wives, girlfriends, in-laws or anyone that is looking for a gift for the guitarist in their lives. We have to do what we can do to stop guitar tie purchases. Stop the madness now!