Get her or him something cool. My Facebook friends offered advice ranging from the practical “strings” to “my own motivational gospel choir to follow me around day to day singing my praises.” I’m not sure about that last item, but I can help you with other choices. If you want something a little out of the ordinary, read on. (Check out my earlier post about the usual strings, picks and music.) Click on the name of the item to get to their website. Hit the back button to return to this post.
These are so cool. You can punch picks out of any thin plastic – from old credit cards to laminated photos. Or, you can buy a kit and use the colorful plastic they supply. Punches start at $25.
I use these a lot with teaching and students often want to know where to get them. It’s no wonder. They’re a great tool. You can get a self-inking stamp that gives you a guitar grid for notating chords. They also have stamps for other stringed instruments, for tab and for standard notation. The least expensive ones run around $15.
I recently did a gig with a musician who had one of these. It clips right on to a mike stand. Perfect for us middle-aged farts who can’t remember the words or chords. They cost about $20.
Many teachers will sell you a gift certificate. If you don’t have a lot of money, get one lesson – $15 to $25 in most places. Or you can buy a month’s worth of lessons. This is especially good for a beginner. If you live in Ottawa, contact me. I teach guitar, ukulele, and mandolin.
This may sound like a non-music gift, but for the musician who needs a little time from Junior, it’s perfect. Offer to watch the kids while the musician records, practices or writes.
Great for recording quick demos and it’s fairly easy to use. Coming from someone as tech-challenged as me, that’s a high compliment. I love mine. You can get one new from a local music store or from an on-line store like Musicians Friend, for around $200. I bought mine used on eBay and paid a lot less.
If you want to spend a little more money, but not a fortune, this little amp is awesome. It’s got two inputs, an XLR and phone plug, so you can plug in an instrument and a mike. The sound is clean and it’s easy to carry. You can use it for practice at home, for a solo player’s coffeehouse gigs or to supplement a band’s sound. Whenever I use mine, I get compliments. I bought it at a great local music store (Spaceman Music in Ottawa) for a little less than $300. If there’s no cool locally-owned music store for you to check out, Musician’s Friend is a good on-line place to go. They have one for $250.
Maybe your favorite musician wants to lay down a quick demo, but doesn’t have the technical chops to do it alone. There are lots of small local studios that would love the work. Ask about a gift certificate. It helps if you can get a recommendation. Prices range greatly. In my area, I can get studio time for $30 an hour on up. It’s best to get at least 2 hours and more is always great.
If your musician is doing a larger project, get a gift certificate for the studio where they’re already working. Or maybe they’re still raising funds for an album and have a Kickstarter page – contribute and wish them Happy Holidays or Happy Birthday too.
Really want to go crazy? Send your musician to Ireland on this awesome tour. They’ll see beautiful countryside, stay in charming inns and hear or play a lot of music. Hosts range from great musicians like Chuck Brodsky to my friend Anne Feeney. Prices start at $2250 – a gonga deal for all they offer.
A big fat career
One of my Facebook friends suggested this one. Wish I could help you there. The best you can do is to support your musician. Go to her gigs. Tell your friends about his music. Sympathetically nod your head when they tell you their latest gig-from-hell story. Offer to carry an amp or two. It’s all good and it’s not something you only do when it’s a holiday.
Thanks to my Facebook friends for their suggestions.
I don’t get endorsement money from any of these companies. I recommended them simply because I use their products or know and trust them. I’ve never been on the Ireland trip, but if anyone wants to send me, I’d be happy to go.