Guitar gift ideas
Gift Ideas (Guitar related)
Most of my hubs are about guitar techniques, learning songs, and guitar playing info in general. This one, by contrast, is blatantly commercial!
Accessories for a guitar player can be really useful, and you can find cool things at all price ranges, many of which can be thoughtful and personal gifts.
Some things are essential and would include:
- A Capo
- A Slide (bottleneck)
- Plectrums (Picks)
- Guitar magazines (Guitar Player, Guitar Techniques, Acoustic Guitar) - they are usually available as digital magazines for download, which is both convenient and a bit cheaper.
- A subscription to Guitar Player is available at zinio.com. It works perfectly, and you can keep all your back issues on the computer instead of all over the house. Probably, it's a more ecologically sound way to go.
- Padded gig bag
- Electronic tuner
- Guitar strap
- I-phone app: Real Book (access to hundreds of jazz standards, chords only - but this can also be used to create your own chord charts in any style and you can download backing tracks to practice along with the music)
- This is now the iRealb. About £5.50 in the UK.
- Guitar Instructional DVD (recommendations in my Guitar DVD hub)
- Guitar styles books - Hal Leonard titles are usually good
- (Try Amazon)
- A metronome or drum machine
- Fast fret (guitar string lubricant)
- A travel guitar -such as the Baby Taylor
- A Ukelele - slightly more dangerous choice, but could be great!
- Guitar Songbooks (Beatles or another favourite artist or band)
- Spare string sets - D'Addario are hard to beat - 10 - 46 gauge for most electrics is a safe bet. Usually, best prices are on Amazon.
Many of these items would make ideal stocking fillers. If you really want to buy something extravagant, have a look at G and L guitars on the buffalobrothers website. Now they would really make someone's day!
Guitar DVDs are a good bet - look at the CDs they play a lot, or an i-tunes playlist, then look for the title on Amazon. Generally, a nice and thoughtful present will result. Although buying a guitar online might seem risky, the shops I have used have worked out fine - do some internet research first though. Most guitar accessories are very much cheaper on the net as music shops have a high mark-up on these items - things such as cables, strings and capos.
Guitars and Ukeleles for beginners - a difficult area, because usually if you spend a bit more it will be a better long-term investment. However, I think Yamaha F-310 acoustics are very good value, and it's hard to go wrong with them. Do enlist the help of any guitarists you know for an initial tune-up though. Ukes can be great for kids, cost next to nothing and are generally fun.
The Beatles straps by Planet waves feature eight different album designs, including Abbey Road, which is my favourite. These tiny pictures don't give any impression of how cool they are - they look great, are extremely colourful, and the only thing stopping me is the price tag here in the UK. US prices are much more reasonable. Would make a great present for any guitarist you know.
Extra special gifts
Alesis iO dock: A recently released and very useful interface between the iPad and guitars, mics and keyboards. It enables you to turn an iPad into a recording studio, and can also have many uses in live performance. See my other hub entitled IPad - using piano and keyboards.
For the songwriter a great idea would be a small camcorder for recording ideas and jotting down info on chord shapes,etc. I use a Flip Ultra - a tiny but brilliant device - for taking notes of songs in progress. You can download the footage eventually, and burn a DVD of the stuff you want to keep. The Flip Camcorder I'm using is old-skool - but it stills holds 60 min material and is also great for holidays etc. Internet bargains - this is high on the list, with many discount deals.
Most guitarists are not well organised, full stop. I'd plead guilty myself. This is something that could really help in developing your playing and songs, and even e-mailing your playing to friends and family.
i-Pad and i-Phone
The i-phone now has an app for The Real Book - actually it's two books, with chord charts for many jazz standards, about 700 in all I think. In the UK it's about £5 - another great gift idea. This app works even better on an i-Pad, with a nice visible screen and instant access to hundreds of songs.
Another really useful thing is a recorder - handy for songwriting, demos, live band recordings, lessons. After some research I bought a Roland CD2-e which is a great piece of kit. It has built-in stereo mics and speakers and a CD burner. Very easy to use, you record to SD card and then transfer recordings to the CD burner with no cables or computers. The quality is excellent. It will run on batteries too for field recordings, though you need mains power to burn CDs.
The one is use is the Intellitouch PT-2 - but they all work well, as they pick up vibrations from the headstock - you just clip them on, and the visual display (which is backlit) does the rest. They run on camera batteries, which seem to last quite a while between changes. They will work on other instruments too, even double bass, though you might want to check first. As with the music stand lights below, I have road-tested these and I'm very confident about the build quality and general reliability.
Music stand lights - obviously there are other applications for these. The Mighty Bright one is good, very bright LED (?) and runs on 3 AAA batteries, which are cheap and easy to find.
Great magazine, gear reviews
- Guitar Player : The Complete Electric Guitar Package
Guitar Player magazine is the complete acoustic and electric guitar package. Featuring free online acoustic and electric guitar lessons, tutorials and videos for both beginner and professional.
This is a more subjective area. Personally I like Dean Markley electric strings, Martin SP for acoustic, although Elixir are also very good and last for ages, D'Addario Chromes or Sadowsky strings for Archtop guitars.
A 0.10 or 0.11 first string is good for tone and tuning stability - the 10-46 gauge is good for most electrics like Stratocasters and Telecasters.
Strings make a great and inexpensive stocking-filler.
Must-have gift for Beatles fans
The Beatles anthology is a 5 disc DVD set. Personally, I think it is essential viewing for all guitarists, whether they know it or not! Although it's mainly a history of the band, all the extra interviews and out-takes make it very entertaining as well as informative.
If you're short of cash, think about a second hand guitar from the local classified ads. In the UK, you can find a Fender Squier, which is a cheap but usually decent electric guitar for about £65 or so - one of the great bargains. With an amp, expect to pay about £95. These guitars are often really good - and in the USA should be even cheaper. For acoustic guitars, it's hard to go wrong with a Yamaha F-310.
Mel Bay website (Mel Bay.com) is a good place to find guitar instruction books, including e-books.
Below I have links to some Guitar DVDs by Robben Ford, an excellent player who explains jazz and blues chords and soloing very well.
Most guitar players would find a travel guitar very useful. The Taylor Baby Taylor or the Taylor GS Mini are both really good options, and you can often find them secondhand or discounted in the shops, especially online. They are good sounding guitars despite the smaller dimensions involved.
Travel guitars are great for holidays, weekends away, camping, introducing kids to music, taking to school or college. They are also very useful as a second guitar which can be dedicated to an open tuning, such as Open G or DADGAD. You will find full details of these alternative tunings on my other hubs.