Yes it’s that time of year already. Can you believe it? It feels like 2020 has flown by. But it also feels like it’s been going on for a decade.
I mean let’s face it: most people are ready for 2020 to be over. It kind of sucked in a lot of ways. When’s the last time you went to a live show? Or played one? But of all the months that people generally look forward to, December is at the top of the list.
Sure, things will (and should) look different this year. But it’s a season of giving, classic movies, bad (but must see) Hallmark Christmas movies, and you might just get a guitar thing or two if you’ve been good.
So let’s wrap up 2020 (did you get the pun?!) with something a little brighter. Our picks for awesome presents for those guitar playing hooligans in your life.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just know someone with a birthday in December, this list will give you ideas for truly awesome gifts that are guaranteed to not suck!
Porter Pickups 9T Tele Pickups
Price: $120 per pickup
Website : www.porterpickups.com
P90 pickups are really cool. They have that single coil humbucker hybrid tone that’s unlike anything else. If you’ve ever wanted to drop a pair in your tele, and realized you don’t own a router/shouldn’t do that anyway Todd, Porter Pickups you covered.
These are legit P90 pickup construction in a tele sized pickup housing. The tone is full without too much twang or muddiness. They sound awesome and they’ll confuse the heck out of your bandmates, which is technically a bonus gift.
Stringjoy Balanced Light Electric Guitar Strings
Website : www.stringjoy.com
This is a no brainer stocking stuffer. I know guitar players are always like “but my brand of guitar strings, blah blah blah”, but listen: Stringjoy is a Nashville-based craft string manufacturer who know a thing or two about guitar strings.
Their strings are durable, feel great under your fingers, and sound great. We’re recommending 10-48s because they’re the most versatile size.
They also have an auto-restock option which is pretty fantastic and gives you zero excuses for not changing your strings as often as you should.
Website : www.thaliacapos.com
Thalia Capos claim to be the best guitar capos, and I’m having a hard time disagreeing. First of all, they’re beautiful. Just try to scroll through the first several without clicking on one to see a larger picture of it. You have a lot of different aesthetic options here and all of them are stunning.
And as far as performance, they’re great. The hinge is smooth and secure, and the biggest selling point is they have different fretboard pads to match different radiuses. That attention to detail is fantastic, and it makes sure your guitar isn’t thrown out of tune.
These are made to order, so make sure you buy yours now!
Music Nomad Precision Setup Gauge Set
Website : www.musicnomadcare.com
Setting up your guitar is a vital action (ha, no pun intended) that every guitar player should know how to do. But it’s also a very daunting. That’s why Music Nomad created their Precision Setup Gauge Set. It’s the only kit I’ve ever seen that give you clear step by step instructions. It really makes it easy to maintain your guitar.
This 6 piece set gives you gauges for every part of your set up. Truss Rod Gauge, String Action Gauge, 2 fretboard radius gauges, a pick capo, and an easy guide so you can dial in that perfect action.
Music Nomad also has a ton of tools for every guitar maintenance need, so be sure to stock up on tools too.
Big EAR Pedals ALBIE
Website : www.bigearpedals.com
Big EAR Pedals is an eccentric pedal company based out of Music City itself, Nashville, TN. The ALBIE is an “ambient modulator” named after a cat (told you, eccentric). It’s simple to operate, yet has eight different and unique modes inspired by the weirdness (and awesomeness) of 80s New Wave music.
Operating it is extremely simple. The Effect knob toggles through the 8 different effects, and you blend your dry signal with the Blend knob. I love pedals with a ton of switches and options, but simplicity in operation gets me playing more and fiddlin’ less.
While the operation is simple, the engineering is not. Make no mistake, this is an intricate pedal with really great tones.
Rock Stock Bright Switch
Website : www.rockstockpedals.com
Seeing your pedals on stage can be tricky at most venues. Between the dark stage, intermittent lights, and pyrotechnics (I’m assuming), those small switches disappear. With the Rock Stock Bright Switch those problems are in the past.
The pedal is the size of the micro pedals like Mooer and Xotic, and the lamp discretely lights only your pedalboard as to not take away from the show. The gooseneck is tall enough to light the largest of pedalboards, and flexible to get in that perfect position.
And did I mention it’ll charge your phone during your set?
Magic Room Brand Eco Friendly Guitar Picks
Website : www.magicroombrand.com
Something that we as guitarists don’t think about is the environmental impact of our gear. Guitars, generally speaking, are sustainable. Most reputable manufacturers and subcontractors buy wood from tree farms planted and used exclusively for guitar manufacturing.
But our picks are typically made of a plastic material isn’t quite recyclable. I mean, about half of the guitar picks out there disappear into some sort of black hole, never to be seen again, presumably ceasing to exist in any known universe. But the other half get tossed into landfills.
Magic Room Brand picks are made of extremely sustainable bamboo. Bamboo is appearing everywhere these days, and with good reason. It’s durable, sustainable, and biodegradable. Tonally, these sound great. Bamboo is a hard (but light!) material and gives you great pick attack. And you can feel good knowing you’re doing something good for the planet.
If you love their products, and you will, they have a subscription service so you can stop playing with picks that have lost their point (and I know we’re all guilty of that).
Price: $39.99 and up
Website : www.earasers.net
Our single greatest asset as musicians is our ears. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, many musicians lose this asset over time with exposure to our own muse. Concerts are loud, rehearsals and practices are loud, music is just plain loud. So musician grade earplugs are the best investment you can make for your craft.
These earplugs aren’t your standard orange squishy foam earplugs. These are designed to cut dB from the especially damaging frequencies, while not killing the mix. They’re the first flat frequency response earplug and utilize a unique attenuation “V filter”.
The tips are replaceable and they come in different sizes for a perfect fit for anyone. So there’s no excuse for “but my ears are a weird shape and ear plugs don’t fit”.
ML Sound Lab Amp Sims
Price: FREE and up
Website : https://ml-sound-lab.com/
Amp sims have come a very long way since the first Line6 Pod. ML Sound Lab have been creating awesome amp sims (and Cab IRs) for years, and have teamed up with such YouTube stars as Fluffy and Stevie T to create some signature amp sims based on these guys’ actual amps.
And guess what? You can get a legitimate FREE amp sim with no strings attached. No trial periods, not annoying buffering issues, just a straight up free amp sim (and cab IR). If you love it, and you will, can you buy the extremely reasonably priced expansion pack that gives you more amps.
Since it’s free there’s no excuse to not give it a shot!
Website : www.groundswellpedalboards.com
GroundSwell Pedalboards are a custom handmade boutique pedalboard manufacturer. These pedalboards are beautifully crafted from furniture and guitar grade woods such as Purple Heart and Cherry.
Since they’re custom made you can configure them in just about any way. Built in power outlets, guitar inputs, different woods and sizes, you name it. They do have some in stock items too if you don’t want to wait. They’re designed to fit in standard cases too, and are proudly made in the US.
If you want to stand out from the generic metal pedalboards then check them out!
Temple Audio Design Modular Pedalboards
Website : www.templeaudio.com
Templeboards are a lightweight modular pedalboard system. With many standard pedalboards, you have little flexibility of where your pedals can go, based on the slots on the pedalboard itself. But with Templeboards you can mount your pedals anywhere.
That’s because they use “perfs” instead of slots. You can fine tune the placement to your hearts content! The boards use a slick quick release mounting systems to fit in those perforations. Which means no more velcro.
You’re also able to use modular end panels for clean ins and out. They come in 3 sizes to fit every player’s needs, and you can customize the end caps. This truly unique pedalboard is sure to make every guitarists life a little easier.
MONO Guitar Case
Price: $199 and up
Website : https://monocreators.com/
MONO started its life as a (suspiciously) low priced seller of guitar accessories, and has quickly become one of the premier (and still low cost) case and accessory makers. Their cases specifically are highly renowned by pros wanting a lightweight and protective option, and amateurs for their protection and affordability.
They have a lot of cases to highlight, but the M80 stands out as our pick. It’s a lightweight guitar case that can take a beating. It has the transportability of a gig bag, but the durability and protection of a hardshell case. You can travel with comfort knowing your guitars are safe and sound.
Oh, and did I mention they make a super low profile dual guitar case?
Tour Gear Designs Flat Patch Cables
Price: $6.97 and up
Website : www.tourgeardesigns.com
There is a lot of wasted space on pedalboards just because of cable jacks. Even many of the 90 degree jacks are still pretty bulky. The Tour Gear Designs Flat Patch Cables take up at least HALF the space as traditional patch cables.
Their super flat design allows your pedals to be about as close as they can be without being wired together. This means a cleaner look and more room for more pedals on your board! These are quality, affordable patch cables designed for the road warrior, yet affordable enough for any guitarist.
Barefoot Buttons For Your Pedals
Price: $7.49 and up
Website : https://barefootbuttons.com/
Sometimes our pedal switches can feel like a moving target. Or maybe we’re the ones moving when we’re rocking out on stage. Combine that with a full pedalboard and it’s easy to miss that boost pedal going into a solo, or that third delay to send your audience into a musical trance.
These Barefoot Buttons are a non-invasive addition to your pedals that make it way easier to switch your pedals on and off. They don’t damage your pedal and give you a bigger target to hit. They look great, come in dozens of options, and are really easy to put on and take off.
Sinasoid Boutique Instrument Cables
Website : www.sinasoid.com
My basic motto these days is that if it’s good enough for Josh Smith, it’s good enough for me. He’s just one of many “tone influence” (my words) artists using Sinasoid cables. They use their own branded cables, and such notable cables from the likes of Canary and Mogami.
These cables come in several configurations with several connectors. From a small cable for your home studio to patch cables for your gigantic pedalboard. All with the highest quality components, made to order.
As guitarists we spend so much time talking about all of the things that give us great tone, yet neglect cables- the very things responsible from getting our tone from our guitars to our listener’s ears. So treat yourself to the often overlooked, but highly important instrument and patch cables!
Pick-A-Palooza Make Your Own Picks
Website : https://pickapalooza.com/
Do you wish you had your own pick factory so you could make your own picks at a moment’s notice? Pick-A-Palooza gives you this capability at home, without the high rent for the facilities.
They send you blank pick materials, in a wide variety of colors and styles, and a stamper that literally stamps picks out like large scale production factories.
You can reorder pick blanks if you ever run out, so you never have to worry about running out of picks!
Kliq Music Gear Guitar Accessories
Website : www.kliqmusicgear.com
There are so many accessories we use as guitar players. Straps, capos, cables, and tuners to name a few. (These conveniently also make fantastic stocking stuffers, by the way). Kliq Music Gear makes all of these and more.
From durable and comfortable straps, to headstock tuners, you’ll find several perfect stocking stuffers. My favorite is the tiny footprint pedal tuner. It’s accurate, takes up very little space on your pedalboard, and is only $30!
Creation Music Company
Price: $169 and up
Website : https://creationmusiccompany.com/
Creation Music Company makes high quality pedalboards and pedalboard accessories. Their pedalboards are really sleek, and a unique slotting pattern that allows you to configure your pedals in an economical way.
You can buy just the pedalboard, and you can expand it with a patch bay and built in power connection unit. They also sell high quality cables, so make sure you grab a few of those on your way out.
If the big pedalboards aren’t your thing, they make low profile pedalboards in their Aero series. These are extremely low profile and still allow you to route your cables under the surface.
We all had a great time putting this list together, thinking about what gifts we’re going to buy for our guitar buddies. Or honestly, for ourselves. I hope you enjoyed reading it and scrolling through all the goodies. Can you do me a solid? Share this list with a fellow guitarist and let them know which gift you want them to get you.
Tis the season!