Well, it’s Christmas time again, and if you are reading this post, it’s probably because there is a musician in your life and you have absolutely no clue what to get him/her. Every year I receive calls and texts from significant others of my musician friends asking for gift ideas.
It really shouldn’t be that hard. I mean honestly, we musicians have lists of gear we want, right? We spend hours pouring over magazines, catalogues, and websites while visions of new guitars, effect boxes, and microphones dance in our heads (now I’m really pulling in the Christmas spirit). So here it is, the answer to all of your questions:
Guitar Guy Tim’s 2012 Guide to Buying a Present for a Musician:
Customized picks/drum sticks: Want to get something unique that your musician friend would never dream of purchasing for themselves? Get guitar picks, drums sticks, or a guitar strap with his/her name, band name, nickname, or some other significant phrase on it. Any promotional products vendor can help you do this, and it generally isn’t too expensive.
Two quick thoughts, if you want to do this, get started today. There are generally significant rush fees if you need this done in a week or two, so allow yourself some time. Second, find out which thickness of pick, or size or drumstick your musician prefers. Having a personalized gift is much cooler if it’s something he/she can actually use.
LP’s: I know, I know, no one uses vinyl anymore, we all love our iPods… But most musicians have a special place in their heart for the large 12” x 12” album sleeve and the contained LP. Purchase his/her favorite album, and then pick up an album frame to put it in. Favorite albums make great artwork. As a matter of fact, while typing this I looked over at my collection of framed LP’s on the wall.
LP’s can still be purchased locally in many independent music stores and thrift shops. I have also had luck with Ebay and Amazon.
Record Player: Yes, I’m still stuck on vinyl. We all know that it sounds WAY better than the digitally compressed mediums we now endure, I mean enjoy. Sure, you probably don’t think he/she needs it, but allow a musician the guilty pleasure of playing a favorite classic the way it was meant to be played.
Vintage Gear Ads: Okay, I have somewhat of an obsession with cool ads (which is probably why I’m an advertiser during the day…). There is something so cool about ads from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. They are readily available online, originals and reprints. Find a classic ad featuring your musicians favorite piece of gear and have it framed. I guarantee they will proudly display it on the wall.
Music Stand: I know this might sound like a no brainer that every musician should own, but most musicians I know, particularly guitarists/bassists, don’t own a music stand. I played guitar for 18 years before I finally purchased a music stand. Ever since purchasing it, I’ve wondered why it took me so long. I no longer have to sit on the floor or couch hunched over a piece of music laying in front of me. I can now actually sit or stand in a comfortable playing position and still look at my music.
Live Concert DVD/Bluray: The only thing better than listening to great music, is watching great live music. You may be bored out of your mind, but for your musician, watching their favorite band live is what entertainment was meant to be. I should probably just throw in a shout out to Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day (released the same day I wrote this). It was my inspiration for this post.
Guitar/Mic Cable: There is nothing worse than being short on cables, or having enough cables, but having one with a short out in a time of need. Find out what brand of cables your musician uses, and go out and buy a couple extras. The way musicians misplace things at gigs or practice, you know they’ll be using your cable sooner rather than later.
Nice leather strap: This one goes specifically for guitarists and bassists. We’ll gladly shell out several thousand on a new instrument, but many of us hesitate to spend more than $5 or $6 on anything nicer than a cheap nylon weave strap… Go find a good quality leather strap. Our guitars really deserve the best.
Book on Favorite Band/Instrument: This is the go-to gift for my family. They all know they can’t got wrong with a book that is chalk full of photos of my favorite guitars or stories about my favorite band. Just last year I received Beatles Gear, I, Me, Mine — George Harrison, GuitarPlayer Repair Guide, and All You Need Is Ears — George Martin (are we starting to see a theme here…). Even though I haven’t read all the books, they sure look great on the bookshelf next to my computer, and they give visitors to my home-studio something to thumb through while they’re here.
Concert tickets: Not only do we love playing love, we love watching others play live. If there is a band that your musician loves who is coming through town, buy tickets! If there aren’t any upcoming shows, you can always give an “IOU Concert Ticket Voucher”.
Another options is a music laser show. Most planetariums will run band specific shows on the weekends. Last year for my birthday, my wife took me to Laser Led Zeppelin after dinner. It was one of the most memorable presents I have received in years. It was the perfect evening. Great music, great light show, and of course, my dream girl.
Music theory book: Although many of us don’t like to admit it, many musicians, particularly rock musicians don’t know a whole lot about music theory. A good book on the basics of music theory is something every musician show own. Even if he/she isn’t a big reader, it’s always great to have a reference manual close by.
So there you go. You now have a whole list of ideas that your musician will love! Now, have a rockin’ Christmas!
-”Guitar Guy” Tim
Do you have more gift idea, a question, or a comment? If so, please post them below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tim on Twitter: @GuitarGuyTim