Need gift ideas for your musician friends? 11 musical presents

It's the holiday season, and this little elf is here to help. I love giving gifts and thinking about gifts for my favorite folks. I've noticed over time that it's not everyone's favorite thing to do and can sometimes be paralyzing. I got your back. Would you like some stocking stuffer ideas for your favorite musician? I've got a list of 10 items from small to large to help you with your holiday shopping. 

1) For your guitar pedal enthusiast: The Option Knob

This little plastic device replaces a knob on an effects pedal allowing the player to adjust the knob with their foot. This is really nice because it lets you tweak things on stage without losing connection with your audience. Confession: I don't have one, but I really really would like one.

2) Essential hydration and intoxication device: Mic Stand drink holder

Holds a water bottle or other beverage on your mic stand within arms reach. This has been really helpful to me in preventing spilt water and beer on my pedal board and cables. It's a little tricky to get on to the stand - but that just makes it all the more difficult to knock it off by mistake. I recommend it - it's much cheaper than having to buy a new pedal.

3) Keeping your headphones untangled:  

I use this holder for my laptop headphones for work. It will absolutely work for studio headphones. The best part is it clears my working surface and ensures that my phones get hung up the same way every time - essential for avoiding that tangled headphone cable mess that can result if they just get laid down haphazardly. Great for a musician with a home studio. 

4) Support independent musicians with Bandcamp gift cards

Hopefully your musician already uses Bandcamp - if so they know it's the best place to discover new music, to support independent musicians, and to release and sell their own merchandise. A Bandcamp gift card lets them dig into their latest music obsession and supports Bandcamp's great mission. 

P.S. Would you consider supporting my music while you are there? :D 

5) Improving technique by learning how to practice :The Practice of Practice: 

This book was a nice find a couple of years ago. It delves into some tips and techniques for improving practice. It's filled with interviews and observations and is a good read for any musician who wants to get just a bit more from their time with their instrument.


6) The beat of a different drum - Meinl Percussion for your Feet 

There's actually a whole series of different instruments like this for the acoustic guitar performer -- if that's your thing -- or your favorite drummer can add these wearable percussion pieces to their body and thicken the beat with new and interesting multi-limb rhythms. 


7) The dark side - getting better at banjo 

Has your favorite musician taken a turn to the dark side? I mean, bought a banjo? These 5 string terrors don't come with instruction manuals - and while many a banjo player will have purchased the Earl Scruggs banjo book - every starting banjo player should buy this book in addition, written by my banjo teacher and Austin bluegrass fixture, Eddie Collins. Eddie has rock solid pedagogy and this iBook is the next best thing to getting weekly lessons from the man himself. 

8) Space age plectrums from outer space - do pick at it. 

Blue Chip makes a fantastic pick, it has a long life, has very low pick noise, helps you play better and produces a great tone. They are made out of a special self-lubricating plastic material that is a pleasure to use on your guitar, or other picked instrument. I use them on my mandolin and banjo. They are a pretty penny - which is why they make an excellent gift - it's an indulgence your favorite musician will love but might not buy themselves. 

9) Sam Jam Guitar Snare 

I am not a percussive acoustic player, but I really admire it when i hear it and see it. Full disclosure: this is the second item on the list I haven't used personally, but I hope to soon. This little device adds a snarish rattle that Schlagwerk brings over from their Cahone work.  The demos show that it is easy to remove and place on your your guitar. Neat! 

10) Never get your wires crossed - George Ls cabling set. 

This is pretty serious stuff, again for any pedal-using player out there. You can custom-cut these cables to size with high quality connectors. People much more sensitive to the quality of their cables than I, swear by them - I don't know if I can hear a difference, but I am really happy with their longevity, exact fit on my pedal board, their construction quality, and the fun I had putting my pedalboard together with them. Again, kind of a pretty penny but worth their weight in George Ls cables, I mean gold. 

11) Bonus Totally not a stocking stuffer: Back in Back - save a spine with the Rock n Roller Cart 

Seriously one of the best purchases of my musical life. As a multi-instrumentalist I was carrying a banjo, mandolin, guitar, gig bag and amps around from stupidly far away parking spaces, and it was very very taxing. Buying this cart has saved my back and let me carry as much as I need in one trip from the car to the gig.  As a drummer you can get you whole set on the expanding cart; as a guitarist - bring your back up axe next time. You'll never have to show up to a gig in a huff - arms blown out from carrying your Fender Twin from your car.  Not cheap, but it will keep that favorite musician in your life a little bit safer from injury and have them hanging up their roadie suspenders for good.

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