After my post on Gifting 101, I wanted to do some gift guides to help you out this Christmas. My first Gift Guide of the Season comes courtesy of my husband, who is a super talented guitar player. In fact, 999 times out of ten, I am introduced as, “This is Kelli, her husband, Steve, is a great guitar player” (which, by the way, does not offend me in the least – I’m proud of my man). Years ago, when I saw him playing up on that stage at the talent show at school, I did a double take. Huh, I said to my collegiate self, that boy can play the guitar. Hm.
And after the show, when my friend and I were talking to him, I handed him a piece of paper and jokingly asked for his autograph, when the paper came back, it said, “Will you go out with me?” That’s right. That’s how you play it when you’re the Guitar Man.
Speaking of Guitar Man, it’s super entertaining to sing that song to him. He loves that. I know this for a fact.
But I digress. Husband is an awesome player, and you can hear some of his work at this LINK. He owns guitars and he plays guitars and he likes his gear. So here’s his gift guide for the guitar player in your life.
The Guitar Gift Guide
First up, The Guitar Itself: Your little precious child wants to start playing guitar – what to get him?
For those who ask me what guitar they should buy, I always recommend finding something that matches their ability. If you are just starting out, splurging on a $3k Martin isn’t going to make you instantly know how to play. Get a solid body steel string starter by a reputable brand like Yamaha or Fender. They are in the $150-$350 range. A “classical” or nylon string guitar is also a good choice for beginners as they are easier on the fingers. Don’t buy online. Go to a local shop (in our area, that would be Hix Bros. Music), sit down, and try out a bunch. Like a good pair of shoes, look for a good fit: size, feel and comfort. Most good shops will throw in a gig bag, picks, a new set of strings and perhaps give you tips on how to care for it as well.
Clip-on tuners are an inexpensive, accurate, lightweight way to stay in tune in noisy band environments. This one is my favorite: Clip-on tuner LINK to purchase
Guitar Strap: All guys need a good pocket knife. And at least one manly, fine-leather guitar strap. Manly. LINK to manly guitar strap.
Cable: A premium quality cable improves tone and confidence. Don’t skimp. And don’t try to understand. To put it in terms you may understand better, it would be the difference between that pretty Kate Spade handbag and the brown one at Target. Both carry stuff, but one just somehow does it better.
Boutique effect pedal. Ah, a boutique effect pedal is a very personal choice and there are literally hundreds to choose from. He will always be wishing after and trying new ones (i.e. just like you and those new shoes…), seeking that perfect combination–so there’s no way you’ll be able to guess which brand/type he’s secretly wishing he had the $$$ for this week. Don’t risk just “surprising” him with one…it won’t be the one he’s been eyeing.
But just giving permission to buy one of his choice would be enough. Maybe a gift card… or a blank check. That should work.
Uke: Sometimes a new twist on a guitar type can be inspiring. Think banjo, mandolin or one of these: LINK to Ukelele
Guitar Upkeep: Good guitar maintenance is often overlooked. Buying a buff cloth, polish and fretboard oil/conditioner is nowhere near as fun as a new pedal, but can really help shine up an instrument and help keep things clean and sparkly. LINK to cleaner
Humidifier: All guitar players have nightmares of their precious acoustic cracking or splitting. It’s a common occurrence over time in winter climates that are very dry. A guitar case humidifier IS. A. MUST. If he isn’t already using one it’s now your obligation to show him the light. A no-brainer gift that will have immediate results and save inevitable future repair costs and many tears. LINK to humidifier.
It’s a fact that he will spend more money on strings than he ever will on guitars over a life time. They are always needed and he will appreciate them. The brand I recommend is Elixir – the best! LINK to the best strings.
Oh, And a Marshall Amp Mini-Fridge? He absolutely needs this, of course. LINK to mini fridge that is really a necessary part of any studio.
Hope this list helps! If you have any further questions, feel free to ask in the comments!