The Best Gifts for Musicians, from Backup Drumsticks to DIY Electric Guitar Kits

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best-gifts-for-musicians - Credit: Amazon
best-gifts-for-musicians - Credit: Amazon

Musicians are famously picky about their gear. Legends like Eddie Van Halen and Chuck Berry were apparently fans of .009 (read: light) strings, so why should the music folks in your life be any different? But if your guitarist already has a go-to gauge, or your resident rhythm-keeper swears by a classic 5A, shopping for them can be as challenging as defining their “it’s kinda post-punk-meets-acid jazz” musical style.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best gifts for musicians of all types and skill levels. Whether their instrument of choice is their voice or a 12-string, or they’re seeking a new pandemic pastime, check out our top picks for your most musical loved ones. Of course, if all else fails, you can always fall back on a gift card.

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1. Akai Professional MPK Mini

If you’re shopping for any younger musician, chances are their craft is digital. This Akai MPK Mini MIDI controller will help them do what they love, hooking up to a music software of their choice for easy beat-making. It’s essentially what the pros use — complete with MPC Beats, AIR Hybrid, Mini Grand and assorted MPC expansion packs — only parred down to fit in any studio. This Akai starter kit from Guitar Center also includes more than 1500 sounds to help get things going.

Credit: Courtesy Guitar Center
Credit: Courtesy Guitar Center

Courtesy Guitar Center

Buy: Akai MPK Mini Controller $119.00

2. P Pluginz Marshall Jack Rack Amp Key Holder

Music-themed gifts are a great idea for any musician who’s ultra-picky about their setup (so, most musicians). This key holder, designed to look like a guitar amp, is a great choice if you’re not sure what your musician’s setup needs. Made using real amp inputs and real plugs as keychains, the wall-mounted piece makes a fun (and useful) addition to any entryway or studio.

Credit: Courtesy Amazon
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Courtesy Amazon

Buy: P Pluginz Marshall Amp Key Holder $32.25

3. Drum Rug With Non-Slip Bottom

Drummer’s rugs — purpose-built pieces of fabric that keep kit components in place and prevent floor damage — are almost always a good gift for percussionists. Even if your gift recipient already has a drum rug, they’ll surely appreciate a fresh one. We like this rug from Amazon, which features a rubberized back and grippy corners for security, as well as thick, mid-pile carpeting to protect the floor underneath.

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Amazon

Buy: Aucuda Drum Rug $64.99

4. Focusrite Scarlett Solo Bundle

This Focusrite Scarlett Solo bundle gives musicians everything they need to start recording and sharing their craft. The kit includes a USB audio interface, a condenser mic, ​​closed-back headphones and a 3-meter XLR microphone cable. Plus, it also comes with two digital audio workstations — Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack — for working on recordings afterward. It’s great for beginners, but even seasoned musicians will find enough features to let their creativity run free.

Credit: Courtesy Guitar Center
Credit: Courtesy Guitar Center

Courtesy Guitar Center

Buy: Focusrite Scarlett Bundle $229.99

5. Fender Artisan Crafted Leather Strap

Splurge-worthy accessories usually aren’t the first (or second) thing a musician picks up — which is why they make such good gifts. This luxurious guitar strap from Fender falls into that category, boasting premium leather and saddle-grade stitching. It comes in either black or brown and features a 2.5-inch width (you can also get the two-inch version here).

Credit: Courtesy Fender
Credit: Courtesy Fender

Courtesy Fender


Buy:
Fender Artisan Crafted Leather Strap
at
$89.99

6. Girl in a Band

In this best-selling memoir, author Kim Gordon tells her recounts her life as an artist. In both personal and professional anecdotes, Godron wanders from her childhood in California to falling in (and out) of love to co-founding the legendary band Sonic Youth. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone (musical or not) thanks to Gordon’s hypnotic prose, but the novel can really make a difference in the hands of a musician looking to get inspired.

Credit: Courtesy Amazon
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Courtesy Amazon

Buy: Girl in a Band (Paperback) $14.99

7. Pocket DJ Mixer

If you’re shopping for a DJ, let them start a party anywhere with this Pocket DJ Mixer. It’s about the size of a smartphone, only slightly thicker, and doesn’t require a power source. Using three auxiliary audio ports, the travel-ready device lets you mix two songs and listen to the audio (or amplify it) while you work.

Credit: Courtesy Uncommon Goods
Credit: Courtesy Uncommon Goods

Courtesy Uncommon Goods


Buy:
Pocket DJ Mixer
at
$100

8. Korg OLED Clip-On Tuner

Sure, smartphone apps can tune instruments, but they’re still not as accurate as real tuning devices. Plus, some musicians find it more convenient to have a dedicated tuner — no worrying about smartphone batteries, for example. If your giftee is in need of a great tuner, pick up this one from Korg. The clip-on device offers precision tuning with ±0.1 cent accuracy, ensuring near-perfect calibration before shows or recordings. You also get extra features like chord and tempo finders, a memory backup and an auto-off function to save juice (it uses one AAA battery).

Credit: Guitar Center
Credit: Guitar Center

Guitar Center


Buy:
Korg OLED Clip-On Tuner
at
$49.99

9. MasterClass Subscription

MasterClass’s ever-expanding catalog of A-list celebrity teachers makes it a great resource for beginners looking to get the basics as well as veterans looking to get inspired. The online learning platform has classes for songwriting, music production, singing, guitar, violin, drumming, and more with the crème de la crème of the industry: think Alicia Keys, St. Vincent, Hans Zimmer, Deadmau5, Tom Morello and many, many others. MasterClass subscribers get access to as many courses as they want, and, perhaps even better, the gifter doesn’t need to deal with any shopping, shipping or gift wrapping — just enter the recipient’s e-mail and pay the bill.

Credit: Masterclass
Credit: Masterclass

Masterclass


Buy:
MasterClass All-Access Pass
at
$180 per year

10. Zildjian Ringo Starr Artist Series Drumsticks

If you’ve heard your favorite drummer sing the praises of their heroes behind the kit, chances are they’ll be fans of their icon’s signature drumsticks. Zildjian’s Artist Series bears the names of Ringo Starr, Travis Barker, Dave Grohl, and more; other options available.

Credit: Guitar Center
Credit: Guitar Center

Guitar Center

Buy: Zildjian Ringo Starr Artist Drumsticks $12.99

11. Hercules Five-Instrument Guitar Rack

Why choose between a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Strat when you can play ’em all? If that’s the case with your beloved string plucker, get them this five-instrument rack.

Credit: Musician's Friend
Credit: Musician's Friend

Musician's Friend


Buy:
Hercules Five-Instrument Guitar Rack
at
$74.79

12. Piano Key Cufflinks

Ivory ticklers can literally wear their profession (or past time) on their sleeves with these cool piano key cufflinks. They’re hand-carved in Rhode Island from holly and ebony, and will surely hit the right note with your favorite pianist.

Credit: Uncommon Goods
Credit: Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods


Buy:
Piano Key Cufflinks
at
$72

13. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Crystal-clear audio is a must for audio engineers and audiophiles alike, and these MDR7506 pro cans by Sony will be music to the ears of whoever unwraps them. The MDR7506s have been a staple in professional recording studios for nearly 30 years, beating out any new releases to remain some of our favorite studio monitor headphones. Weighing in at just half a pound, the headphones are very lightweight, and their completely neutral sound ensures total clarity throughout the recording and production processes.

Credit: Courtesy Amazon
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Courtesy Amazon

Buy: Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphones $98.78

14. Populele Smart Ukelele

Half the battle of picking up a new instrument is knowing how to start. Aspiring uke players can get the best of both the analog and digital worlds with PopuMusic’s Bluetooth-enabled ukelele, which has a light-up fretboard that makes it easy to pick up and play in minutes. The Populele’s accompanying iOS and Android app uses video game-like lessons to teach new players, and it’s also loaded with a tuner, chord finder, and a library of nearly 100 songs.

Credit: Uncommon Goods
Credit: Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods


Buy:
Populele Smart Ukelele
at
$150

15. Soundbrenner Pulse Metronome

Whether your giftee is a drummer or a shredder, they won’t miss a beat with this wearable metronome by Soundbrenner Pulse. The watch-like device connects to the company’s iOS or Android app, which allows wearers to create custom rhythms that can be organized into setlists, and select vibrations and LED colors for their creations.

The Bluetooth-enabled unit plays well with digital audio workstations (think Mac’s GarageBand and Ableton Live, to name a few) and can receive input via MIDI. Other features include the ability to customize time signatures, link up to devices simultaneously, and listen through speakers or headphones.

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Amazon

Buy: Soundbrenner Pulse Metronome $229.00

16. The Fret Wire DIY Electric Guitar Kit

If you’ve got a DIY-loving guitarist on your hands, why not let them build their own six-string? The Fret Wire offers a range of buildable electric and acoustic guitar kits, ranging from hollow bodies and double necks to lefty options. Most of them come in unfinished woods, so your hands-on recipient can create a truly custom instrument. See all options; bass kits also available.

Credit: The Fretwire
Credit: The Fretwire

The Fretwire


Buy:
The Fret Wire DIY Electric Guitar Kit
at
$145

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