Great Gifts for Guitar Players
Guitars need accessories and gadgets or else they just won't be happy and therefore specific gifts for guitar players are always well received.
They needs things little things like picks, and strap blocks; slightly bigger things like tuners, slides, stands, capos, strings; and larger things like foot stalls, cases, guitar stand etc.
The thing about these things is that most of them do not last forever and need to be replaced quite often.
So, this is about the gifts for guitar players that I recommend and about other things related to this beautiful instrument.
If you're looking for advice about how to teach your child to play, or children's guitars, I've had great success with my son so I can help you with that : Click on this link.
Thanks for visiting.
PS I have included some videos of famous guitarists playing too.
I've never looked back - playing the guitar fills me with joy!
It's never too late to start learning
Ask my friends what really makes me tick and they'll say - her guitar. I absolutely love mine. I can honestly say that I would risk life and limb to save it if my house ever caught fire!
One of the things that fills me with a sense of real pride is that I can play it and I love playing it.
I started learning in earnest when I hit my late 20s and, although it wasn't easy, I persevered and improved. People rightly say that it's better to start learning an instrument when you're a child, but that doesn't mean that it's ever too late - you just have to realistic goals.
My fanatical love for music started when I was very young and I owe my dad a great deal for that.
Being Italian, he loved the opera and I remember we had a reel to reel tape recorder with people like Caruso singing great works like, Il Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Tosca.
But my dad also loved the blues, jazz, classical music and particularly classical guitar. He was a great singer too.
One day he came home with a cheap acoustic guitar and a couple of teach yourself to play books. He sat and picked his way through them and learned a few simple tunes. We had so much fun singing them together. "Home on the Range" is one I particularly remember - not sure why!!
But life got in the way and so he gave it to me. I enrolled in lessons at school, but my parents were both busy working so I had no help with practice.
I found that I couldn't do it alone, I was too young, it was too hard, and I needed all the encouragement I could get. So I failed to learn much the first time round.
When I started working as a teacher I found that I needed to focus on something other than my work duing my spare time - so that's when I decided to try the guitar again. I found an excellent teacher who taught me for half an hour each week. And I practiced at home for about an hour each day. The progress I made was incredible. It became one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.
So, if like me, you are someone who tried a while ago - do try again - believe me it's worth it. Now I can't imagine life without it. This is a photo of me trying to play a piece in the early days!
Tip About Tuning and Strings:
All new nylon string guitars have to be stretched and re-tuned until they can stay in tune. The simplest way to tune your guitar is with a tuner. There are free online free tuners like the one on this link.
However, guitars go out of tune when you take them outside, especially in the cold, so tuners are very useful.
There are many different styles to choose and they will always be received gratefully by guitarists. If you are buying for an electric guitar player, then have a look at tuner pedals.
Guitar strings are great stocking fillers! You'll need nylon for classical and metal for acoustic and specialist strings for electric guitars.
You may not know that it is very important for guitarists to change their strings once they get old. They stretch too much as they get tuned and lose their resonance.
These are the most commonly used types of guitar strings: bronze, phosphor bronze, and silk and steel.
- The most commonly used strings are bronze strings ( 80/20 bronze). Used for all styles of playing.
- Phosphor bronze (bronze with phosphor). These are used for all styles of playing but they have a warmer longer lasting sound than just bronze.
- Then there are silk and steel strings. These make a lovely mellow sound. They are special strings for vintage guitars.
If the person you are buying for plays a lot on stage, choose with 80/20 bronze because they have a bright sound.
You don't have to buy very expensive strings - the £5 to £15 price range is fine.
Tip on Buying Guitars
You may want to buy someone a new guitar, if so then I would recommend an acoustic electric one with nylon strings. Unless of course they play rock style - then you'll need a completley different instrument!
Choosing a guitar is quite a daunting task, I know this because I had to buy one for myself, and recently my son needed to upgrade his. So I have done some research and I picked out a Lag for my son, but Taylors make excellent ones, as do Godin. Washburn have great sounding guitars that are very reasonably priced.
My advice is that if you are going to buy a guitar for someone who is not a complete beginner, then look at ones that are in the mid-range price because that is where most guitarists find their sweet spot.
Look for solid top guitars and you'll see that they sound as good as many of those that cost thousands of dollars. Those that cost a fortune are very difficult to look after because they are just like delicate works of art.
Find a guitar with a good pick-up and you can't go wrong. Look for, Martin, L.Baggs or Fishmann pick-ups. These will cost £300 upwards. It's best to choose a guitar with the person you're buying for -and visiting a shop to try them out is the best scenario.
The rule, as with most things, is the more you spend the better, however there are some amazing guitars in the mid price range that will do any guitarist proud.
Cheaper guitars are perfectly OK for complete beginners as long as they are real guitars! They need to be able to be tuned and to stay in tune. Also, if you're buying for a child, make sure it's the right size and that it's not a toy, because toys will not stay in tune.
The Guitar I Bought my Son
This is the guitar we decided to buy my son when he needed more richness, volume and sound quality.
We chose it because his guitar teacher highly recommended it. He was blown away by the quality of sound it produced for a guitar in this price range.
It sounds like a much, much more expensive guitar than it actually is so it's perfect for an intermediate player.
Great value for money.
It has a wonderful tone, and is comfortable to play because it is very responsive. It is just right for a young player who needs more from a guitar in terms of tonal quality. At intermediate level the player needs to take a step forward and start to interpret the music, this is where cheaper guitars let themselves down.
This Lag guitar is made in China and although it hasn't got a solid top, it sounds very, very good and my son loves it.
My son loves playing it and he thinks it's beautiful, which is also very important because it makes him proud to own it.
Below is a better picture of it.
Some of Our Guitars at Home - We have 8 in total (at the moment, they breed like rabbits!)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hey Hey Baby Hey! Eric Clapton Unplugged - Full Concert
A new strap will please everyone apart from a classical guitarist because they don't need them as they play sitting down. So a strap is for acoustic or electric only.
This is an example of a good sturdy strap that is very well made and comfortable. Levy make good straps that stay put!
The problem with straps is that they become loose and slip off the knob at the base of the guitar. This is one of the most annoying things that can happen. My son has tried everything he can think of to try to salvage some of the straps he has had over the years. He has tried sewing them and sticking them with strong tape - but sadly once the the holes in the strap get stretched with the weight of the guitar, they get too big and just slip off.
You can buy strap locks and I am in the process of testing some at the moment. I'll let you know how my son gets on with them I'm hoping they'll make a difference to him.
However, back to gifts for guitarists and really lovely strap will always be very well received.
Tip on How to set up a Guitar
You may know someone with a guitar that's been tucked away somewhere and who hasn't played it for for a while.
If so you could treat them by taking it to a music shop and asking them to set it up for them. It won't be very expensive and it will save them the hassle and time.
Ask for new strings; light gauge nylon strings - 12 gauge or lighter, and ask them to tune it up for you.
You'd be surprised how many people are in this situation - you never know you may rekindle their long lost hobby!
I love anything to do with guitars so I think it's fascinating to see how things are done behind the scenes and that's why I've included this video.
I would never attempt to do this myself because it is not an easy thing to get right, but it's interesting to watch an expert at work.
Posture and Foot Rests
Good posture is so important for a classical player and therefore a good foot rest is essential.
The wonderful design of the guitar means that it falls naturally into your lap. A good posture to adopt when you are starting out is the classical posture. That means resting it between your legs, you will need a foot rest to hold your right leg up a little so that the neck is at the right angle for your left hand to hold the notes.
It's about being comfortable, you should sit forward and keep your back straight too.
I taught myself for about a year and didn't take posture into account at all! So, I learned everything sitting cross legged on the floor - this seemed far more comfy!
When I eventually went to a teacher and I sat on the floor in the classroom to play him what I had learned, he was stunned!
Books by Noal
There are of course many books out there that tell you all about the instrument, and others that teach how to play it.
I have picked out this one by Noad because it is one of the books that helped me the most when I was a complete beginner.
In my view, if you buy only one book it should be by Noad.
So if you know a beginner then their journey stars here. I highly recommend this. 34 out of 34 people gave this book a 4 or 5 star review on Amazon.
There are other books by Noad for more accomplished players. If you click on this one you'll find them on Amazon.
Electric at last! - Yippeeeeeee!
I counted my son's guitars yesterday and couldn't believe it - he's got 9 of them!! He also has a cello and a keyboard, which is quite astonishing - I really don't know how we manage in such a small house!
My son's dream to own an electric guitar has come true at last! Christmas day was never so anticipated than this year. He had trouble falling asleep for nights before because he was so excited.
I got such a surprise! He had played his friend's one a couple of times but I had no idea how well he could play it. It's been an amazing experience listening to him with his loop pedal - his songs have been transformed.
He can play easily along with bands like Green Day and he obviously loves Hendrix! He played for 8 hours a day during the holidays!! Now he has joined a rock school. I wonder what will become of him!!
Learning the Notes
You may be looking for something for yourself, and if you are learning to play, then here's my gift to you.
Hopefully Andy Mclaughlan, the teacher in this video will help you master the neck of your guitar. It's something I've been struggling with for a long time, and it's something I have to help my son with.
I was impressed with the way Andy divided the task into 4 techniques, that get progressively harder. I'll be reporting back on how we get on. Wish us luck, and if you try it, please leave us comments on how you're doing.
Thank you Andy for your great teaching. Here's his email address if you have any questions for him: