Musicians are notoriously difficult to shop for. We’re a very picky bunch, and non-musicians don’t usually know what’s gonna be a hit and what’s gonna flop with us. So I’ve decided to make it easy for you to shop for us this holiday season – by creating the Gear Gods Holiday Gift Guide for Musicians!
I’ve made a list of guaranteed home runs that will make the musician on your list glad you’re their mom/dad/aunt/uncle/friend/colleague/Secret Santa – with links to where you can buy all of these things right away and have them shipped just in time for the holidays.
Headphones are something that every musician needs – but not all headphones are the same. The kind that are made for general music listening, like Beats by Dre, Skullcandy, Air Pods etc. are not very true to the source sound – they have overhyped bass and high end, which is good for listening enjoyment, but not for studio monitoring. Musicians need their headphones to tell the truth.
Enter the Austrian Audio Hi-X55 and X-50 cans. These are pro studio headphones for proper true-to-sound monitoring, but aren’t as expensive as other headphones of similar quality. They’re also super comfy thanks to thick memory-foam earpads and band, and they look like a million bucks.
For me, the Hi-X55 and X-50 do the best job of striking the perfect balance of ultra-high quality features and sound quality vs. price. These make a perfect gift for any musician – singers, instrumentalists, DJs, producers, engineers, professional or hobbyist alike – anyone will be excited to receive these as a gift.
If there’s one thing I know about guitar players, it’s that they looooooove pedals. Any and every kind of pedal. Drive, delay, phaser, flanger – they’re little boxes of fun to us. One particularly fun kind is reverb – recreating the feeling of being in an acoustic space, feeling it – it’s like being transported to a different realm.
The Blackhole stereo reverb pedal from Eventide is the pedal that did this for me the most this year. It’s as close to sounding like what the name says to anything I can imagine. A black hole is something so incredibly dense that even light can’t escape its gravitational pull, and the laws of physics are broken beyond repair. The Blackhole pedal does similar things to the idea of reverb. Like the T.A.R.D.I.S., this little box is a LOT bigger on the inside.
Any guitarist will be extremely happy to receive an effects pedal as a gift. What they don’t know is how happy this pedal will make them – it’s an absolute playground and a total joy to play, whether you’re playing for a crowd or just spacing out alone in your room – give the gift of infinite reverb with the Blackhole.
The Eventide Blackhole reverb pedal makes any guitarist a space cadet for $279.
We live in wild times. Some problems that have existed from time immemorial can now be 3-D printed away.
Some guitars, great as they are, have a potential problem – the pickup selector switch is in a place where it is prone to getting knocked out of position with a little unruly playing (the only kind worth doing, if you ask me). But it’s 2020, and we don’t have to take it anymore!
The Switchlock is the first device of its kind to come along since the electric guitar – it gives you the power to correct this annoying, potentially take-ruining inconvenience once and for all. It’s essentially an on/off switch for your pickup selector. It locks the switch in place to whatever spot you need it, and keeps it there until you decide you want to change it, or return it to normal function.
The Switchlock comes in 3 different colors, and fits on strat or tele-type switches for $10.99-13.99 each as well as discounted bundles, and you can pretty much be guaranteed that the recipient of this gift won’t already have one!
This year has been, in many ways, extremely rough for the concept of live performance. But it has also created a boom of live-streamed performances, which has some technical challenges that I myself have had to become savvy to.
One is the real-time switching of presets and effects in recording software or standalone effects processors. A foot controller is needed that can be programmed easily to interface with multiple different kinds of software and hardware, as well as being plug-and-play and easily integrated into any setup.
Enter the Live Logic from Blackstar. A USB MIDI footswitch for the modern age, it does all of the above and more. It has the easiest and most intuitive programming (via the free PC editor) I’ve ever used for a similar device, it’s just downright friendly as it is powerful.
Anyone who plugs their guitar into a computer (so, pretty much everyone) should have the Blackstar Live Logic, and for $179.99 you can make sure that your favorite guitarist has one in their rig this holiday.
A guitar case is more than just a carrier for your guitars – it’s a home for your most precious possessions. It should be a hospitable environment for the tools of your artmaking, your prized instruments, potentially your livelihood. And is there any reason it can’t look slick as hell?
Quantum Industries can’t think of any reason why not. Their new GTX01 Pro Touring Edition 3-guitar case is all of the above and looks good doing it. It looks like it was beamed down from a space ship to save your guitars from getting beat up on the road or just keep them where you can reach them in your living room. Either way, it’s got the goods.
It features dual handles, 4 TSA locks on 6 total clasps holding the lid on, pouches for a dehumidifier and cables/accessories, wheels, spare foam to customize and protect the inside space, and is extremely light and sturdy.
If you know a guitarist, then you know someone who needs someplace to keep their guitars safe – help them store and tour their guitars in style with the GTX01 case from Quantum Industries for $599.95.
Learning scales and mode shapes on the guitar is the best way to break down the barriers to creativity on your instrument. Learning the pathways to all the different types of sounds and tonalities on the guitar will allow you to freely express yourself. My RelationShapes scales video course is an hour-long course that is by far the EASIEST way to learn all these shapes without rote memorization or having to know any music theory. Grab it today for yourself or the guitarist in your life for $50 (which is 50% off the usual price) here!
Learning songs by ear (and by eye) these days mostly involves using YouTube videos as a guide. But constantly pressing play and stop and rewinding the video doesn’t leave your hands free to play your instrument, and slows your progress.
The Vidami pedal puts advanced YouTube transport controls at your feet. You can play, stop, rewind, fast forward, slow down, and loop YouTube videos, all with the push of a footswitch, while never taking your hands off your instrument.
Give the gift of making learning faster and more fun with the Vidami pedal for just $135 with this special 10% off coupon link (discount taken at checkout).
As I mentioned above, every guitar player loves pedals, and any pedal will find itself in the hands of a happy owner. But if you want to give the gift of great tone, you must give a great pedal – like the Revv G2 overdrive pedal.
Revv Amps make the greatest amps on earth, and as the proud owner of several, I can honestly say I’ve never played a better-sounding rig. Their amps are top-notch, but also very pricy. Luckily they have put the same attention to detail and tone into their line of pedals, and the G2 can get you very close to the sound of the Green channel of their amp line, for a lot less.
In the video I demonstrate the Gold version of the pedal, which isn’t any different tone-wise from the green one, but, it’s, y’ know, gold! And even though the audience can’t hear it, pedal aficionados will assure you that the look of a pedal matters.
No matter what, the Revv Gold G2 pedal will make any rig sound better, and will make a great gift for any guitarist for $194.68 until Dec 8th.
Recording and making music these days is incredibly easy, thanks to the home recording revolution. Computer recording on even an off-the-shelf basic machine is many times more powerful and flexible than any analog recording medium of the past, and so simple that anyone can write and record songs – and have a blast doing it!
But in order to get the sound into and out of your computer, you need an audio interface. There are many to choose from, but my favorite by far is the Apollo Solo from Universal Audio. It’s the best quality compact interface for small home recording setups that I’ve found, and because it’s USB-C or Thunderbolt powered, you don’t need a separate power adapter for it which makes it extremely portable.
The Apollo Solo has a direct recording input on the front to plug your guitar or bass straight in to record – no amp needed! It features 2 XLR/1/4″ combo jack inputs so you can record microphones or line level signals like a keyboard 2 at a time, and outputs for headphones and monitor speakers.
It also comes with free integrated Luna recording software that is intuitive and easy to use, making this a great gift for anyone starting out with home recording.
Pick up the Apollo Solo for $499 for the musician you love, and start them on the path to recording music for life.
Who wouldn’t love to have an orchestra in their pocket? A full symphony of skilled players at your beck and call, playing the parts you write at will. Recording a real orchestra is expensive to a level that would bug your eyes out of your head if you saw what it cost for even just one day of recording.
But having those sounds at your fingertips is no longer just a dream. Modern sample library plugins put lush, gorgeous orchestral sounds into your songs with minimal effort – you don’t even need to be able to play the keyboard to program these sounds in.
The best all-in-one plugin for this that I found this year is Spitfire Audio’s Abbey Road ONE. This is by far the best sound I have gotten with the least amount of tweaking from any similar library out there. It features a pre-mixed full orchestra patch for instant huge beautiful sounds, or smaller ensembles of strings, horns, woodwinds, and percussion so you can compose each part on its own. Plus, it was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studios. Yeah, like the Beatles one.
Adding a symphonic layer to your music has never been easier or more affordable, and you can give the musician on your list the gift of a pocket orchestra with the Spitfire Audio Abbey Road ONE library for $349 until Dec 1st (then the price jumps to $449).
One thing EVERY song needs is great drums. As a songwriter, I need instant access to amazing sounding drum tracks at all times, so I rely on the EZDrummer 2 plugin from Toontrack to provide those for me – and it always delivers the goods.
Much like the Abbey Road plugin above, EZDrummer 2 provides something that would otherwise be the expensive and laborious process of going to a studio and paying to track real drums (probably hiring a drummer to play them as well). For an album recording, this would be worth it, but for writing songs and making demo tracks? It’s just overkill.
EZDrummer 2 and the many expansion packs for it (like the Modern Metal one that just came out this month) allows you to create instant top-notch drum parts for your songs, whether you are programming them from scratch or using some of the included MIDI drum grooves, and it doesn’t get any easier to get amazing drums.
Grab EZDrummer 2 for the songwriter on your list for $149 today only!
These gift ideas are bulletproof – buy any of these with confidence for the musician on your list and watch them light up like a decorated tree this holiday season. Let us know if you pick any of these up for a present and how they liked it in the comments below!
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