Christmas is just around the corner, so I thought i’d create the ultimate list of gift ideas for musicians to help you find the perfect present for your musical boyfriends / girlfriends, friends or family, just in case you were struggling to come up with ideas.
DVDs about musicians
As a musician, nothing fuels my motivation to kick ass more than watching an awesome live DVD by my favourite band, or a film about the lives of musicians. I wrote a post several years ago outlining some of the best films about musicians (which are all still classics to this day), but if you don’t want to go down the film route, I recommend getting a live DVD or a virtuoso musician DVD (DVDs of famous drummers / guitarists showing off) – i’ve included a few suggested in the gifts for drummers and gifts for guitarists sections of this post.
Books about Music promotion
If you’re gift shopping for a musician who’s playing in a band and is desperate to get their music known, then you might want to consider buying them a book about music marketing. Their are many great titles available – I listed my six favourite books here, all of which I can confirm are amazing books for musicians of any level.
Actual music promotion
If they’re not a reader, you could buy them some actual music promotion. There are sites like Jango, Soundout and Nimbit that allow you to purchase radio airtime or reviews by major industry names, all of which help to promote music. I believe most of these sites offer a gift service – you can see a full list of my recommended music promotion services here.
Not sure what to get for a drummer as a gift? How about a new drum stick bag that they can carry their loose sticks around in? Or why not a pair of fancy new sticks (us drummers never say no to a nice pair of new sticks… shiny!) no? Alternatively, you could help by investing in their drumming skills by getting them some learning books or DVDs, or even a silent drumming pad to tap out rudiments on when not near a drum kit.
A new drum stick bag
If the drummer you’re buying a present for doesn’t already have a drum stick bag, this is an awesome present. There’s nothing more annoying than having to take five pairs of loose sticks to a gig all rattling around the boot of a car or insane your precious drum case. There are lots of really cool drum stick bag designs to choose from and it’s a great investment for keeping your sticks safe and tidy.
A pair of good drums sticks
Nothing beats a good pair of drum sticks as a stocking filler. If your drummer friend is anything like me then they’ll get through a pair every 4 or 5 months, and so a new pair is always welcome. Vic Firth and Pro Mark are my personal recommendations for drum sticks, but Zildjian also make some pretty cool coloured drum sticks, which are a nice change (although the colour does sometimes rub off on the cymbals).
For the drummer who maybe lacks inspiration on the odd occasion (or just has bare walls), a poster of their favourite drummer or drum set might be an ideal gift. I used to have a poster of Mike Portnoy’s monster drum kit in my bedroom and I used to wake up every morning, stare at it (drool a little), and then be desperate to get behind the kit. In a weird way it’s a great way of reminding them that hard work pays off!
Drum practice pad
Okay, I know that some people can’t stand us drummers tapping on the kitchen worktops or and the dinner table, fortunately for those people the wonderful drumming manufacturers came up with a solution – rubber drum practice pads! These pads are pretty awesome for practicing when a full kit or snare drum isn’t available. I used to use one of these pads to warm up for twenty minutes before every gig as it’s a great way to loosen the wrists and build up muscle strength. A great gift for any drummer who doesn’t already own one.
When you’re out and about, it’s great to have a little something that tells the world you’re a drummer – maybe some cufflinks, a necklace, or even a ring that tells other drummers that you’re one of them, and helps with others as a bit of a conversation starter.
Drum stick holder
Another great present for a drummer is a stick holder. They’re a handy addition to any drum set and there are plenty of cool design stick holders that can add a nice touch to a kit.
If you’re looking to buy a present for a guitarist, you can play it safe and buy them some new breakables – plectrums, guitar cables, guitar string, or guitar cleaning products. If you’re feeling a bit more creative you might want to get them some guitar shaped car scent, or a guitar-shaped clock. If you’re buying for a budding guitarist you may want to help accelerate their progress with some educational guitar books or DVDs.
Guitar scales poster or chord cards
If you want to help the guitarist sharpen up on their scales or chord patterns, then a scale chart or a set of chord cards might be a nice stocking filler. These card packs contain a variety of different chords, helping guitarists to learn the more obscure patterns, and then test themselves.
Guitar car scent
Another great Christmas stocking filler or small birthday gift – a guitar-shaped car scent! Why have a boring tree shaped car scent when you can have an awesome guitar one?! This is a nice little gift that any guitarist who drives will appreciate.
Guitar Pick Pouch
Most guitarists have one of two problems with their plectrums; either they have far too many and thus create an absolute mess by leaving them in places and having them spill out all around them, or they have no plectrums left because they’ve lost them all. Both problems can easily be eradicated with the addition of a pick pouch.
Guitar learning DVDs
If you want to help your guitarist friend brush up on their shredding skills then you might want to get them a DVD about playing guitar, there are plenty of great resources on Amazon or in music shops, categorised by genre and skill level. Another option would be to get a tutorial DVD by their favourite guitarist (if their favourite guitarist has released one, of course).
Want to get them something that reminds them of their passion every time they need to know the time? Guitar clocks are an old classic but still a brilliant gift idea. Simple and sweet!
Nothing makes a guitarist feel more of a rockstar than having their own customised plectrums – it sounds silly but they’re a great souvenir to give to fans and it’s a special way of being a little bit extra unique.