It’s the season, y’all, to look for gifts for your favorite musician. And if you’re that musician, send your loved ones a link to this post so you don’t get another sequined Christmas sweater. I don’t have any advertising connection with any of these products – I just think they’re cool. The Music Stamp
String players, the last time you had to draw one of those fret grids you thought “Damn it, I’m a musician, not a sketch artist.” Now you don’t have to be. These cool little self-inking stamps will save you a lot of time, they look great and they’re affordable. I own two – one for guitar and one for mandolin/ukulele and use them all the time. Find them here.
T-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers
From t-shirts that proclaim “Music is my religion” to bumper stickers featuring piano keys, they have lots of affordable and fun items for musicians. I’ve shopped at Northern Sun for years and can attest to their quality and fast delivery. On their home page search “music.”
If you’re buying for a beginner, lessons are always a good idea. Many teachers offer gift certificates. I do. I can give them lessons on guitar, ukulele or mandolin via Skype or in my home studio if they live in Ottawa, Ontario. Contact me here.
Strings strings strings
Every string player needs these and for many instruments, you can get a package of six strings for less than $20. Be sure you know what your musician prefers – oh-so-casually look at the last string package they opened and get them the same kind. If you’re buying for a beginning guitar player, you’re probably safest with light gauge strings. Make sure they’re for acoustic or electric. I like to frequent indie music stores, like Steve’s Music in Ottawa, Ontario, Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan, and High Strung Violins and Guitar in Durham, North Carolina. They have great service because they’re run by musicians. If you’re not lucky enough to have one of these in your town, mail order’s not a bad way to go. I’ve used Musicians Friend in the past. You can also order online from Elderly.
For string players, picks, capos and tuners are always appreciated. Wind instrument players may need reeds or cleaning cloths. Music stands are good, as are lights for those stands. For beginners, you can rely on a clerk’s recommendations in a reputable store.
Beautiful hand-carved guitar strap
Your musician can wear gorgeous art from Jamie Price. Leather is always a great choice for a strap because it’s really durable and offers a little grip so the instrument doesn’t move around. Plus, Jamie’s a freakin’ genius and your musician will want to wear her art, right? Update: I don’t know if she makes these anymore but she’s still doing great art.
Guitar tie or ukulele kit
A new bio
Professional musicians need to look good on their websites and on paper. As a CD reviewer, I’ve seen some bios that just lay there and stink up the place. I can write your musician a fresh-smelling new bio. I’ve written a truckload of them. More here. Contact me here.
We wreck our bodies with hours of practice and for touring musicians, lots of driving. A certificate for a massage is better than gold.
My guitarist friend Kurt got one of these as a gift and loves it. They’re made from recycled leather and contain space for guitar picks. Now, how cool is that? Find them here.
Give them a coupon for babysitting so they can do that gig without worrying about Junior. Maybe you’re pretty handy with a camera and they could use new promo photos? Or you could cook a nice meal for a touring musician who’s in the studio?
Every music store has these. Touring musicians really appreciate cards for restaurants and gas. For the former, be sure to choose chain restaurants that are found in many locations.
Guitar shaped wooden spoons
What musician doesn’t need a pair of these? Find them here.
Scrapbook or shadowbox
How about putting together a book of photos and concert flyers? It’s a great way to document a musician’s work. Shadowboxes are great, too. You could do one featuring one of their albums or a poster from a great gig.
This is risky and can cost a bit of change. However, it’s a great gift for a beginner or someone’s who’s expressed interest in playing an instrument. Ukuleles are less than $100 and are fairly easy to play. Harmonicas are fun and inexpensive. You can get a beginner acoustic guitar for less than $200. DO NOT go to a pawn shop or discount store like Walmart – usually those instruments are difficult to play and tune. However, a student of mine recently got a guitar at Costco, of all places, and it’s pretty good. Used instruments can be a good idea, too, but make sure you take someone who plays. Also, do a Google search on the make and brand to guarantee you’re getting a good deal. Here‘s an earlier post about buying a guitar. Want more ideas? Check out last year’s post.
Thanks to my Facebook friends for all the great suggestions!