Many will have learned this the hard way – buying gifts for guitar players is not as easy as it sounds. Some guitarists might be hoping for a simple effects pedal - which seems fine enough until you realise how many there are to choose from - while the more cheeky musicians out there might drop hints for a ’59 Les Paul or ’54 Strat. This might sound like a perfectly reasonable request until you see the asking prices.
Thankfully, come birthdays or Christmas, there’s no shortage of genuinely useful gear to get the guitarist in your life – most of which can be picked up without breaking the bank. From capos, effects pedals, mini amps and wireless systems to headphones, bar stools and great beginner guitars, here’s our round-up of the best gifts for guitar players right now.
These are the best gifts for guitar players
1. Boss Katana Mini Amplifier
A practice amp that’s as portable as it is musical…
The mini amplifier from the Boss Katana family is a lot louder than it looks, offering three channels and built-in delay. It’s a great amp for beginners and street performers, but it’s also the kind of thing you’ll find in the dressing rooms of top-level touring musicians – its compact size and options for both electric and battery power making it perfect for those pre-show warm-ups.
2. KLIQ AirCell guitar strap
The ideal stocking filler gift for guitar players
Cool looks, supreme comfort and reasonable price; what's not to love about the KLIQ AirCell guitar strap? Air-filled cells on the inside of the 3-inch strap improve comfort during long jam sessions and distribute the weight of your guitar evenly. Because of these cells there's less strap in contact with your shoulders too, helping relieve you from excessive heat and moisture.
3. Fender Bar Stool
Because we all need to sit down at some point…
Whether it’s in the kitchen, games room or recording studio, this Fender Bar Stool is guaranteed to brighten up the place. Though the less in-your-face Custom shop logo version may appeal to the more higher-end guitarist, there’s something quite special about the fiesta red of the classic Fender design.
4. Art & Lutherie Guitars Roadhouse
One of the best acoustics you can buy for under $500
Our buddies on MusicRadar called this one of the top budget acoustic guitars when it first came out, and it still holds that crown! This low-cost acoustic offers great definition with understated warmth, as well as great playing dynamics. Build quality is excellent too, making it ideal for beginner to intermediate players.
5. G7th Performance 3 Art Capo
Quite possibly the best capo on the market…
The latest flagship from G7th - producer of arguably the most popular and user-friendly capos around - comes with their Adaptive Radius Technology which allows the capo to adapt to the curve of the fretboard, and more importantly, the strings going across it. Their claim of maximum tuning stability with minimum tension in every position on any guitar neck is certainly a bold one – but also very much true.
6. Mogami Gold Series Guitar Cable
Treat them to one of the best cables around
If you're going to treat someone to a new guitar cable for Christmas or their next birthday, then you might as well make it the gold standard. The Mogami Gold Series guitar cable has an ultra-high density (UHD) spiral shield and conductive polymer sub-shield to help prevent excessive noise and preserve that signal. The Mogami comes in a variety of lengths and boasts a 'no excuses' lifetime guarantee, too.
7. TC Electronic Ditto Loop Pedal
The ultimate tool for writing and one-man bands…
Offering five minutes of looping time along with the essential play, stop, undo/redo and erase functions, this innocuous little box with only one dial is one of the top-sellers of its kind. And with good reason – it offers true bypass, Analog-Dry-Through and uncompressed high quality looping at virtually a steal.
8. Pedaltrain Metro 16
A compact and portable 'board for your FX
If you have around five to eight effects pedals then the compact Metro 16 is the ideal size. Pedals attach to the board with Pedaltrain's “professional-grade, hook-and-loop pedal fasteners” and the package comes with plenty of cable ties too. Need power? You want to check out our best pedalboard power supplies buyer's guide.
9. Xvive U2 Guitar Wireless System
A cheap and easy way of getting rid of cables…
While it couldn’t possibly claim to rival the pro wireless systems made by companies like Sennheiser, the Xvive U2 removes all danger of tripping over your cable while remaining surprisingly clean and transparent, with no detectable latency. Ranging an impressive 70 feet with a rechargeable battery life of five hours, plus the added bonus of everything being neatly built into the tiny transmitter/receiver jacks, this wireless may have no connection to U2 but it certainly has the edge.
10. Pickmaster Plectrum Punch
A great last-minute stocking filler…
Why buy plectrums when you can make your own at home? This plectrum punch can turn most pieces of thin plastic – credit cards, lids and so forth – into new picks. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also be reusing waste material in an environmentally friendly way.
11. Squier Vintage Modified '72 Telecaster Thinline
A stylish, tone-packed electric guitar bargain
Squier's take on the Fender's classic 1972 Telecaster Thinline guitar brings iconic looks and sound to the table at an unbelievably low price point – this would make an ideal first electric guitar. With a white pearloid scratchplate, finely carved f-hole and Fender-embossed humbuckers, Squier's version of the guitar certainly looks the part. Sound-wise, there's plenty of versatility here, delivering bags of punch and a nice open mid-range.
12. Electro-Harmonix Op-Amp Big Muff Reissue
Smashing Pumpkins fan? This is the fuzz pedal for you
Billy Corgan used a Big Muff on the Smashing Pumpkins' classic Siamese Dream album, and after that everyone wanted one on their pedalboard. Until recently your only option to recreate that tone was a boutique clone, an extremely rare original model, or building your own pedal. Luckily for you, EHX recently reissued it, so you can harness all the fuzz you could ever need.
13. Marshall Major III Headphones
Classic looks and sound from a classic brand…
Since launching their first headphone range in 2010, the Marshall logo has been seen almost everywhere and on everyone – from guitar nerds and rock fans to just about anyone that wants to enjoy music on the move. Half the price of its Bluetooth-enabled bigger brother, the Major III offers great value for money and crystal clarity.
14. Zoom MS-70CDR
A little box of wonders…
Zoom have long been at the forefront of the multi-effects market and the MS-70CDR is no exception, offering 86 different guitar and bass effects - six of which can be used simultaneously - as well as 50 memory locations for user-patches in addition to its 40 in-built preset patches. It’s incredible functionality at such a low price makes it an ideal first pedal for any guitarist, or a swiss-army style, all-in-one package for the musician that likes to travel light.
15. Peaceland Ring Slide
Where jewellery and musicality collide…
Made out of glass and metal, this ring slide will allow any guitarist to switch from regular playing to slide in the blink of an eye. It might not cover as much ground as a full-size guitar slide, though in fairness that’s almost half the fun…
16. Earthquaker Devices Avalanche Run V2 Delay/Reverb
More wetness than you’ll ever need…
When it comes to ambience, Avalanche Run V2 has you covered on all fronts. As well as running in its normal mode, there’s also additional options for more experimental reverse and swell sounds, which can make your amp sound like its an entire galaxy away. Like all of Earthquaker’s devices it’s hand-assembled, wired and tested in Ohio.