The Best Gifts For Musicians $25 and Under
by Justin Boden
The holidays are once again upon on us and you may be beginning to think about what to buy that special someone, friend or co-worker that is a musician. It’s likely that you already know just how fickle music can be, making it tough to shop for simply because playing an instrument is such a personal experience full of tiny nuances. From guitar picks to instrument strings, players often have an un-bending preference that can be tough to work around.
That’s why Arizona Music Pro’s staff put their expert knowledge to work and compiled a list of the 10 best gifts for the musician in your life. Gear isn’t just expensive though, it can be downright bank breaking. With that very much in mind, we’ve kept this list at $25 and under so get those stocking stuffers and smaller items checked off your list with this guide!
It doesn’t matter how great a player’s technique is if they’re out of tune they’re going to sound poor. Small pocket tuners have come a long way in the last several years and the Snark leads the way as the most popular choice. From 1st day players to seasoned vets, the Snark Clip-On offers something for everyone, with easy use, a tap tempo metronome, pitch adjustment and best of all it works on virtually any stringed instrument so there’s no guesswork. Not sure if they already have a tuner? The Snark serves as a fantastic backup or travel tuner!
Any musician will tell you just how great new strings sound and feel. They’re lively and bright, create great tone and conveniently fit into just about every stocking. While professionals may change their strings after every single performance, most hobbyists, weekend warriors and bedroom players will change their strings once a month or less, often going months on end before swapping new ones out! Keep your musician sounding as great as possible all year-round and snag a few packs of strings. Our staff at Arizona Music Pro can assist you in finding the best ones for your musician, with popular choices including Ernie Ball Slinky’s and D’Addario’s XL strings that are a great price from excellent brands. At Arizona Music Pro we carry over 40 different selections and when you buy two sets of strings, we give you third set entirely free!
What the heck is a capo, how does it work and what makes it such a great gift? A capo is a device that safely clamps down across the instrument’s fingerboard. By moving it towards the body of the instrument the capo shortens the string length creating a higher pitch while allowing the player to use open chords. This can be essential for matching a singer’s vocal range or playing in particular keys. Capos are a can’t miss gift and the Dunlop Trigger Capo is a classic. Coming in three different colors (Silver, Black or Gold) and made of tough aircraft grade aluminum, this tough as nails capo will keep fret buzzing away and give your player even more versatility.
Have you ever been to a concert that had your ears ringing for what seemed like days afterward? Musician’s deal with this constantly during rehearsal, in the garage and during live performances and it can cause irreversible hearing damage that lasts a lifetime. Loud might be fun, but hearing isn’t just a music thing, it’s a quality of life thing. Musicians often despise standard ear plugs because while they save the ear, they can muffle the sound immensely, making it difficult to play with. That’s why Hearos launched the High Fidelity Musician’s Plugs that keep all the high and low frequencies clear and sounding good while supplying the protection needed to keep enjoying music for decades to come.
Dunlop makes the list again with yet another fantastic tool, the Dunlop Harris Brass Slide. While you may not realize it, slides have been used on some of the most famous songs including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks”. Even more recent pieces including the Breaking Bad Theme Song prominently feature slide guitar. The Harris Brass Slide is a favorite among guitarists because of its flared sides which offer better control, more dampening and above all, better comfort while wearing it. It does come in three different sizes (ring sizes 7.5 (S), 9 (M), & 11 (L)) so try to have a rough idea which may work best, otherwise this is a fantastic addition to any player’s repertoire, and can become not only a learning tool but a handy mix up from their standard playing.
Lessons may seem like a given to the new player, but to musicians that have been playing for a few years, even decades, lessons can actually be crucial to attaining the next level of playing. Sure it’s easy to think one doesn’t need them, everything is on the internet anyway, right? This may be true, but lessons give you the chance to get actual feedback in real-time, while also improving self-discipline within your practice sessions and receiving detailed explanations to the mathematical and theory side of things when questions come up. Arizona Music Pro offers the BEST instructors in Flagstaff, fantastic private practice spaces and constant encouragement that simply cannot be matched. Lessons last a lifetime in retained knowledge, and there aren’t many gifts that carry as much residual importance as private lessons.
Have you ever noticed just how much musicians talk about the looks, luster, and shine of their instruments? Obsessive might not even begin to describe the relationship that many players have with their equipment. We already know that gear isn’t cheap, so keeping it in pristine condition will not only keep them inspired, it will prolong the life of their instrument and keep it in top shape keeping them sounding great from gig to gig. Music Nomad offers a great 3-piece package perfect for keeping that luster and maintaining the instrument. The care kit comes with their F-One Mineral Oil meant for protecting the unfinished fingerboard, a polish that’s safe for all gloss finishes, including Nitro-Cellulose. The kit is rounded out with a premium suede microfiber cloth to apply to the instrument and will keep those instruments shining.
Stringed instruments are beautiful works of art, often painstakingly hand-crafted with some of the most beautiful wood types available. So why keep it locked up in a case, in a closet, or under a bed when it can instantly become a piece of art on your wall that becomes an instant talking piece? The String Swing provides an excellent wall storage point with a rotating yoke that can cradle nearly any instrument with a headstock. Arizona Music Pro offers many varieties of the String Swing including the Wide, for large-bodied instruments like acoustics, and the Narrow, which will house slimmer electrics. Bonus - every String Swing is produced right here in the USA from start to finish!
Did you know that wood shrinks, grows and changes based on the amount of moisture it contains? Not enough or too much moisture in the instrument’s wood can wreak havoc on a guitar and even damage it irreversibly. Cracks and warping, especially in Arizona’s dry desert, are all too common so consider this the best insurance you can buy for your instrument. Music Nomad’s Soundhole Humidifier offers a simple yet perfect solution, includes a reusable sponge that can carry ten times its weight in water ensuring the life of the instrument isn’t limited. Make sure to snag a hygrometer while you’re at it too! Guitars should be kept between 45% - 55% humidity so the musician in your life will want a tool to keep tabs on the humidity levels.
Arizona Music Pro Gift Card - $25.00
A gift card to a big box store might be considered to be a less than exceptional choice for gifts, sure. But within music, tastes and preferences vary so much that a gift card from Arizona Music Pro can actually be one of the most personal gifts one can choose. Why? Instruments are such a personal connection that even the smallest most minute details can make or break whether a player will use it or not. There are hundreds of different types of pedals, for example, and each one has different subtleties and nuances. Same goes with things as simple as strings, picks, and straps as there are a plethora of color, tone and material options that can keep a well-intended gift unused simply because it’s not what the player likes. Skip all the guesswork, stress and risk and make sure your musician gets exactly what they want. The one time they may actually be more excited for a gift card than a shot in the dark. **In-store only purchase**