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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 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.
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.
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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
From Rolling Stone US