I would say we musicians are a hard lot to buy Christmas presents for. Sure, anyone can ask us what we want, and we could probably spout for days the items on our wish list, but let’s say for someone that wants to surprise you with a nice gift. What should or could they buy for you? How the hell are they suppose to know? What if they buy something too nice, but something you actually didn’t want or need? Or worse, they buy you some novelty item that focuses on your interest.. A tie with guitars. Tube socks with guitar print. A nice vest with Les Pauls printed all over it. I could go on and on. You know what I’m talking about.
So, for this post, I thought I would write a few ideas that would be ‘general’ enough for the guitarist/bassist. So, hopefully, Google will help those people find this page, or help share this post to get the word out to your friends and family.
I’m basing my ideas from my own personal experience regarding gifts. I think musicians often like to get some good utility items. The crap they normally have to buy, but aren’t fun, but getting them for Christmas helps free them up for the big ticket items they’re saving up for. Unless you’re 100% sure about the guitar, amp, pedal they want, I probably wouldn’t buy those items for them. If you know they’ve been saving up for a AVRI Fender Jazzmaster and you’ve heard about the one they’re planning to buy for months, including the color/finish – then heck yes, buy it for them. But if you have to guess at any point, I probably wouldn’t pursue it.
So here is my break down of some nice items to buy for the guitarist you know for Christmas:
Gift Certificate – The easiest route is to buy a gift certificate for Musician’s Friend or other music store to let the guitarist just buy what they want to buy. No hassles, and no worries about getting the wrong thing. Gift certificates are nice, but sometimes a gift is the way to go though…
Pedal Labels – A while back I developed some labels for marking settings on pedals. They use low tack adhesive so they peel off cleanly, much better than tape and other labels. They have knob templates so they look very pro and clean on the pedals. People have been loving these and would be a perfect stocking stuffer. If the musician you know has pedals, this is great gift
Lave Cable Kit – If the guitarist has a pedalboard or a series of pedals, the Lava Cable Cable Kit might be a great present. It’ll upgrade their cables, and they can cut it to fit their needs. To me, as a guitarist, cabling is one of the things I have a hard time budgeting for.. since I can ‘make do’ in the meantime. So this is a great upgrade opportunity for them.
Picks – You’ll need to find the guitarist’s pick stash. Lots of guitarists out there use Dunlop Tortext picks. Easily identifiable by their colors. Colors dictate thickness. If it’s not Dunlop, you should still be able to see the thickness. Buy them a few dozen picks… that’ll make someone happy. Fresh picks.. are nice to have, you always need them. Could be a great stocking stuffer! This is important… make sure you get the right gauge and brand!!!! Picks are very personal for a lot of guitarists out there.
D’Addario Bulk Strings – This one will require some research first. If they’re a user of D’Addario strings AND you know the appropriate gauge, this is a great gift. The bulk string box has 20 sets in there, and offer a much greater value than buying individual sets. Again, guitarists needs strings, and this just another thing they don’t have to deal with if you hook them up.. and they’ll thank you for it. BUT, make sure you get the appropriate gauge.
Guitar Tool Kit – This is super handy. For me, I have loose tools in one of my cases, and man, every time something goes wrong with the guitar, I’m always super glad I have an allen wrench and screw driver, etc. Sucks when I can’t find them, so this is a great little kit. Includes string winder, wire cutters, allen wrenches, string organizer pouch, flashlight, etc. Very nice to have.
Dunlop System 65 Guitar Polish – Guitars tend to drip sweat, beer and God knows what else all over their guitars after shows. Some musicians wipe down their instruments, others don’t care. If you’re guitarist is a neat freak, this might be a nice little kit for them. The Dunlop System 65 Maintenance Kit provides different cleaners/polishes for the guitar from the body polish to fingerboard oil.
ToneGear String Cleaner – Honestly, I have to pick this up for myself. A good high school friend of mine showed me this product a while ago. I’ve been skeptical of string cleaners.. not sure why. I like new strings. When my strings go dull, I cut them and put a new set on. But, picking up my buddies guitar and playing it, I mentioned how I like the feel of new strings like this. He said those strings were 3 weeks old. What?? And mentioned he used this after playing and it really preserves the string life… and most importantly the feel and sound of new strings. Basically, it removes any oil and sweat from the string. Just rub this after playing and you’re good to go.
Pedaltrain Pedalboard – If the guitarist you know has their pedals laying on the floor or duct taped to a piece of plywood, a pedaltrain pedalboard might be a great gift. You might have to see how many pedals they have and get the right size. If they’re a touring/traveling musician, I would recommend getting with the ATA flight case, since that will protect the pedals nicely.
TC Electronic Polytune Mini Tuner – This is a pedal, but cool and useful. Doesn’t matter if they already have a tuner, this would be a good upgrade. I would do a visual on their board to ensure they don’t already have this, but if I got one for Christmas (I already own the non-mini version) I would be stoked. You know how many times I get asked if I have an extra tuner? Lots. They definitely come in handy. I always joke that the tuner is the best pedal on my board, and honestly, that’s very true. It’s important. I like to have a backup around my practice space, etc.
I probably would avoid books – you know, the history of guitar, etc. I would avoid instructional books – books about scales and theory, or other instructional books. They’re cool, but.. you know.. they’re books. I would also avoid instructional DVDs. If you have any other suggestions for possible gift ideas, please comment below and I’ll add to this post!