- Holidays and Celebrations
A Guitar Player's Birthday Present Wish List - Top 5 Ideas
Say "Happy Birthday" to that special someone by giving an awesome gift that will be appreciated, cherished, and used for many years to come. Five slam dunk birthday present ideas for the novice, intermediate, and even professional level guitarist. A top 5 list of exceedingly popular gifts that can be boxed, wrapped, neatly bowed, name tagged, and delivered with the utmost confidence by the "Giftor" for a birthday celebration, or, just about any other exchange oriented occasion. If they're serious about playing a six stringed instrument, you'll find several seriously fun, entertaining, practical, and useful music related ideas to help you narrow a search to a select few. Shopping online for music gear such as guitars, accessories, maintenance supplies, and post production song mastering software, all of which have a proven historical track record of providing an almost guaranteed elated reaction by the recipient, has never been easier. Simply pick out the cake at your local bakery or delicatessen, get ready to insert and light the candles, and let this information packed page do all the time consuming gift shopping for you.
As a longstanding accomplished musician who has the ability to play several instruments, I've taken the liberty of injecting my personal insight and knowledge by suggesting five distinct gift categories included in this one condensed guide, which I'm highly confident will help you decide upon the most suitable and enjoyable presents. I've been the recipient of all the following guitar enhancing electronic devices, instrument maintenance supplies, and innovative song mixing computer software, and I can assure you form personal experience, each time I had rigorously unwrapped the boxes, opened the cardboard lid or hard case, and for the very first time, gazed upon the contents in the presence of the beloved gift giver, the shear elation, excitement, and utter feeling of joy that engulfed me, lasted for what seemed to be an eternity. I truly wish the same jubilant experience to be forthcoming for you and your special someone once the song is sung, the long breath is drawn, and all lighted candles are exuberantly extinguished with a single exhale. So let's get started and explore some fun, slam dunk, sure fire bets when shopping and choosing a gift for the prolific guitar player. No guessing, just the most popular and frequently requested choices are included.
- Electric Guitar -
If budgetary restraints are not a major consideration when shopping for the guitar professional, enthusiast, or hobbyist, a brand new guitar would of course be the logical choice for someone who has achieved an acceptable, pre-determined, or agreed upon, level of musicianship. Even if this is a second or third guitar purchased, I've personally never encountered nor am I aware of, any first hand documented accounts of a player becoming upset, or displaying overt gestures of emotional disappointment after receiving an additional instrument, especially if it's unique in make or model verses the others already assigned to the collection. Price range and instrument manufacturer, which are critical factors in the selection process to ensure you are getting the best quality instrument for the price, should be of primary consideration and if possible, perfectly match the player's experience and ability. For example, when shopping for the beginner or intermediate level player, a top of the line Gibson Les Paul or Fender Stratocaster is probably not the best overall fit for someone who is more than likely still in the experimental or "Trying it out" stage of the learning process and may even end up leaving the entire music making scene in the rear view mirror once introduced to another more compatible hobby or sports activity.
So unless there are no restrictions on purse or wallet withdrawals, and you're willing to take the high risk gamble by placing a bet with the recipient, essentially predicting this novice player will continue on with in depth guitar studies to ultimately perfect the art, paying cash for, or even financing a $1,000 or substantially higher transaction, might not be the most prudent nor rational decision. I would suggest you rigorously explore and closely examine the low end guitars that are designed specifically for the "Uncommitted" individual, like the Epiphone or Fender Squire Stratocaster series for example. Both are essentially good quality instruments for beginner exercises and practicing, or even participating in a live garage band, but always temper expectations to a reasonable level by de-emphasizing the anticipation of professional sounding results. Lackluster mechanical performance by inexpensive guitars is inevitable and noticeable, especially to the trained ear. Less than vibrant sounding pickups and imprecise tuning keys, which have a tendency to slip more often than professional grade hardware, are two key areas of concern. Additional issues may need to be addressed after purchase however, the above mentioned are typical. Retail price for a new instrument designed for the beginner or intermediate, will cost approximately $200 - $400. A Fender Squire Stratocaster or similarly ranked guitar, of which there are many, would fall into this category. The Epiphone, which is manufactured by a division of Gibson Guitars, is priced at the higher end of the spectrum and is of moderately higher quality and durability.
- Beginner & Intermediate -
- Accomplished -
Fender Squire Stratocaster <> Retail $200 - $400
Gibson Les Paul Custom <> Retail $4,000
Epiphone Les Paul Standard <> Retail $250 - $500
Gibson Les Paul Traditional <> Retail $2,000
Squire Strat & Amp Combo <> Retail $200 - $300
Fender American Standard Stratocaster <> Retail $1,000
- Beginner & Intermediate -
- Fender Mustang Series
- Retail $100 - $150
- Line Spider Series
- Retail $100 - $150
- Professional -
- Marshall Half Stack & Beyond
- Retail $1,500 & up
- Amplifier -
Another very low risk, slam dunk of a present for the electric guitar player and a choice that will surely get a considerable amount of use. Amplifiers are essentially like automobiles in key respects, price mark up or down, to a certain degree, is dictated by engine horse power or lack there of, as the HP goes up, typically the cost follows suit. It's essentially the same with an amplifier except wattage is the amps horse power so to speak. This component coupled with speaker size to a somewhat lesser degree, are the primary cost driving factors. With that said, overall size and decibel generating wattage, should be matched closely with the players experience level, musical ability, and expected future use, and not necessarily the recipients desires. For instance, a beginner would certainly not require a large, potentially over powering monstrosity to practice scales or learn basic chord structure, and the ear massaging 200 watt "Marshall" half stack might be considered a slight mismatch. However, if you're shopping for the professional player and budgetary considerations are at the basement floor of priorities, exploring this option for a regularly performing guitarist is worthy of a close look.
For the novice or intermediate, the Marshall brand is still within the realm of consideration and a wise selection if we scale it back a bit, say, down to a 15 or 20 watt, single speaker model which still packs quite a punch despite its diminutive size and stature. Other relatively inexpensive options to consider would be lower end "Fender" and "Line" models. Each distinct, well respected manufacturer has developed an affordable selection of extremely popular compact and easily portable amplifiers, some of which are even equipped with a considerably diversified array of built in effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus, flanging, and more. The novice friendly Fender and Line options could never be mistaken for a Marshall, nor can they possibly compare in sound and or durability however, for the price, a start up guitar player can expect several years of fundamental talent cultivation and refinement, skills development, and most importantly, enjoyment at a reasonable cost. Lower end "Line" amplifiers run between $100 - $200 for a respectable unit. Upper echelon Marshalls can cost $1,500 and rise considerably from there for a half or full stack.
- Effect Box/Pedal -
Regardless of playing style or music genre, if the gift you're buying is for an "Electric" guitar player, chances are favorable he/she has been and will be, influenced by CD's, car radio, online streaming music and downloads, live performances, and a virtual unlimited number of additional audio sources produced by various musicians, in which the electronically manipulated and enhanced effects these amateurs and professionals use to alter the sound in an effort to conform with individual creative ambitions, seem to be infinite. Very rarely will you find a high profile artist trying to recreate or emulate a pristine, crystal clear, unenhanced natural guitar sound by using a chord direct to amplifier connection, and that's a fact. The applicable effects range from Wah Pedals to Distortion Devices, and from Compression Units to Digital Delay. The combination of several electronic signal manipulators used simultaneously can result in a virtually unlimited number of subtle to pronounced sound variations. So, if you're unfamiliar with the different products, or somewhat intimidated by the shear number on the market, allow me to suggest a few sure bet options. As always, it might be a good idea to check for compatibility with the gift recipient to make sure some, if not all products noted, are not already contained within the arsenal of effects.
The use of a basic distortion unit, either stand alone, which is typically more diverse in capabilities, or, built into the amplifier, is an essential element in producing a gritty, ultra energetic, cutting edge or retro reversal sound which is complimentary to almost all genres of popular music, ranging from electric blues to the realm of heavier rock. Price tags run respectively between $30 & up depending on make, versatility, and options. "Wah Pedals" are also a favorite effect generator for the electric player and even though they seem to migrate in and out of favor quite frequently from year to year, it's still a good investment that should get considerable use especially for the Alternative, Hard Rock, Pop, and Dance style player. A good quality Wa Pedal ( The Dunlop "Cry Baby" is highly recommended - Used by Jimi Hendrix, mentor to the stars guitarist extraordinaire Joe Satriani etc.) will cost approximately $120 and up for a new unit, depending of course upon the venue of purchase. Owning a digital delay unit, which creates varying degrees of echo effect, is almost mandatory for both live and studio recording purposes. This versatile enhancer adds varying degrees of depth, dimension, and vibrant full bodied appeal to an otherwise flat or mono sounding signal. The price range is wide and will gap between a relatively affordable $50, up to several hundred or even thousands for a pro studio set up. A multi effect device, which combines digital delay and several other applications into one convenient, portable, easy to transport unit, is another popular option which is guaranteed to be worthy of slam dunk designation. Shop around to find the best pricing for this "All in One" mini conglomerate of sounds, and keep in mind, if you're interested in a quality unit, it can be the most costliest of effects choices.
- All Skill Levels -
- Retail Price -
Boss DS1/SD1 Distortion Pedal
$40 - $70
Zoom G2 Guitar Effects Pedal
$100 - $130
Zoom G3 Guit. Effects & Amp Sim.
$200 - $250
Dunlop Crybaby Multi Wah
$130 - $150
- Misc Gift Box -
If the player in your life already has a suitable guitar and amplifier, a set up in which he/she is completely satisfied with, think about creating a customized gift box stuffed with miscellaneous useful accessories and necessities. One essential element of overall guitar maintenance is the inevitable need to change strings. A dedicated, prolific performer, or active casual hobbyist can tear through a substantial number of sets in a relatively short period of time, making this addition to the gift box a sure thing that will eventually need to be used sooner or later. One way to convert the task of changing old strings from a time consuming cumbersome job, to an easy and more efficient exercise, is to remove and replace them with the assistance of another worthy gift box inductee, a string winder.The small plastic tool is perfect for swift replacement and virtually eliminates the rather daunting task of manually twisting and turning each individual tuning key to rotate the strings to appropriate tension. It's a very inexpensive gift as well.
If your "Giftee" frequently spends time in a standing position while playing, take a good look at the guitar strap and see if it's significantly worn out in key strategic areas. If you see signs of wear and tear, a replacement would be another great idea. A guitar tuner is unquestionably an invaluable asset to the guitarist. Unless perfect pitch is an inherent quality and tuning perfection can be attained with a mere ear to each lightly plucked open string, an electronic tuner will keep the instrument adjusted to precise tension levels and sounding its best. This is another gift in the affordable retail price range of approximately $5 -$30 for a pocket version, and considerably higher for a more sophisticated unit. On to guitar maintenance. If the instrument used is of superior quality such as a Gibson, Fender, or Gretch, a regular polishing and fret board conditioning routine must be performed to ensure the finish maintains its highest level of protection, shine, and luster. Quarterly treatments also help to preserve the genuine rosewood and maple components which in turn, should minimize the natural propensity for cracking and reduce the appearance of excessive wear marks. Polish & Conditioning Kits are also very reasonably priced at between $20 - $40 (In some cases higher). Gibson's "Luthier's Choice" is a popular option. The standard kit includes hi-gloss polish, all purpose metal cleaner, and lemon oil fret board moisturizer. Read the package thoroughly before applying to ensure compatibility.
- All Skill Levels -
- Retail Price -
Strings - Fender / Gibson
$4 - $10 per set
$5 - $20
$5 - $50
Electronic Tuner - Korg
$15 - $30
Maint. Kit - Luthier's Choice
$20 - $40
- Music Post Production Software -
In this scenario, let's assume the guitar player is already set up with a multi track digital recorder, and or, MIDI capability and move on to post production software designed to augment and improve upon the inevitable imperfections of home studio recording performance. From personal experience, interacting with a diverse demographic and cross section of musicians, there are a few select indulgences almost all guitarists simply cannot resist and here's a brief summary. Practice in a private room or den forever flirting with number 10 volume setting on the amplifier, jam with friends, family members, or band mates, play live gigs, and last but certainly not least, RECORD RECORD RECORD. Within literal days after the beginner learns a few genre defining power chords and lead solo riffs, the next essential item on the agenda is unquestionably to lay down some ground breaking digital tracks on their personal, privately owned, operated, and managed home studio, upload the files to an awaiting computer, and then, with tender loving intent, orchestrate the sound to perfection by combining all elements harmoniously together and in sync via a DAW and virtual production software.
Competition in this exciting, user friendly, cutting edge market, that miraculously brings a professional quality studio directly to your home, is on the increase which is tempering prices into the realm of relative affordability starting at $99, and ascending all the way up into the clouds at several hundred or even thousands. So, depending on how advanced the musician truly is and how sophisticated a final result is required, finding a suitable DAW software option for the specific projects in mind, is a relatively easy task especially when shopping online. Cubase, a top choice for "A List" aficionados and music manipulation maestros, notwithstanding the delicate intricacies and intermittent difficulties of program operation that can be somewhat challenging at times for the novice, is fully loaded with an extraordinary array of applications and signal enhancing effects. Several name brand, professional grade recording studios rely on this product combined with essential complimentary electronic devices, for some, if not all, pre-distribution, post production mixing and mastering. Check with appropriate personnel to ensure computer compatibility. Price range for software - Approximately $200 to $600 depending on manufacturer and edition.
- Popular Choices -
Steinberg Cubase LE Series > Retail $400 - $500
Ableton Live Series > Retail $500 - $600
* Always check specific requirements prior to purchase *
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