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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 picking up an instrument for the first time, 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.
The Best Gifts for Musicians
1. Sennheiser HD 599 Open Back Headphones
While we typically opt for the convenience of wireless headphones, most musicians still prefer wired cans for working on their craft. These Sennheiser HD 599s are some of the best for music production or mixing with crisp, full sound quality and ample padding for long studio sessions.
2. Personalized Amp Doormat
This amp doormat adds some music-inspired flair to an entryway, but it’s also customizable. You can add your recipient’s name to the doormat, upping the thoughtful even more.
Buy Personalized Amp Doormat $35
3. 1 by One High Fidelity Belt Drive Turntable
Vinyl turntables are back, but if your music-obsessed giftee doesn’t have one (or needs an upgrade), pick up this record player from 1 by One. Thanks to built-in speakers, anyone can plug it in and start enjoying vinyl, and the turntable’s magnet-type cartridge and adjustable counterweight provide enough quality to appease serious vinyl-heads.
4. Vnyl Vinyl Record Subscription
If they already have the record player, get your loved one a subscription to Vnyl. After setting up a profile around their music tastes, your giftee will start receiving new records every month — and they get to keep every one. The record selection is curated by record shop owners, who personally check out your giftee’s profile and choose music accordingly.
5. Alesis Melody Keyboard Piano
For beginner musicians, this affordable keyboard from Alesis is a fantastic gift. It’s very approachable for newbies with preloaded education features like digital piano lessons, and the package here includes everything they need to get started.
6. Dekiru Acoustic Panels (12-Pack)
All musicians need a quiet space to practice and record, but the other members of the household also need some insulation from said musician’s jam sessions. Here’s where soundproof acoustic panels come in. Good ones, like these from Dekiru, can be stuck to the wall to keep sound out of your musician’s space — and keep their noise contained within the room.
7. Rolling Stone Subscription
Chances are, the musicians in your life appreciate our magazine, making a yearly subscription to Rolling Stone an easy, thoughtful gift that lasts long after the holiday season. Plus, print subscriptions include a Rolling Stone tote for your giftee to carry around their music gear.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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).
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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).
15. 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, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Christina Aguilera, Tom Timbaland, and 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.
16. 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.
17. The String Sling
The String Sling is an incredibly thoughtful gift for guitar players that’ll help keep their guitar’s strings in perfect condition, and provides a place for their most-used accessories.
We’ve used the String Sling, and were very impressed by the quality of the materials used, especially the microfiber cushioning that faces the strings. We couldn’t imagine gigging without the String Sling, and guarantee the guitar player in your life will wonder how they went without it.