If you count any axe slingers amongst your friends and family, you can rest easy: guitar players are notorious for horrible G.A.S. (“Gear Acquirement Syndrome”), meaning that there’s plenty of stuff to buy them to sate their musical lust. And don’t worry — you don’t necessarily have to fork over piles of money for an actual guitar or amp, either, as guitarists appreciate nothing more than spare strings to last a couple of months. So without further ado, here are some of the best gifts for the guitar players in your life.
1. DR Strings Pure Blues Strings
They don’t make ’em like they used to — or do they? These pure nickel strings are hand-wound in the USA with a nickel wrap wire around a round core for that old-time, bluesey sound and feel.
2. Ernie Ball Medium Glass Slide
Feelin’ the blues lately? Or just really like The Allman Bros? A basic glass slide should be just the thing. One of these affordable Pyrex models from Ernie Ball will help you go full-Duane.
3. Dunlop Jazz III Guitar Picks
Pick selection is an incredibly personal choice and can even change depending on the style of music one is playing. But, if like Ricky Bobby, you _wanna go fast_, then a speed-focused Jazz III from Dunlop may be the pick for you.
4. String Winder/Cutter
Trying to work on your guitar and finding you don’t have the correct tools is a major PITA. Luckily this handy-dandy tool features a peg winder, string cutter and bridge pin puller all in one.
Secure your straps to your favorite guitars with an easy and worry-free system. One end of the Straploks goes on your strap and the other on your guitar, and the two ends simply snap together for a secure fit.
Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription
Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.
6. Best of Steely Dan: An Inside Look at the Guitar Styles of Steely Dan
If you consider yourself a serious guitarist and you haven’t studied Larry Carlton, Elliot Randall or Skunk Baxter’s work with Steely Dan, you have some homework to do. Grab this book and your axe and get to work.
7. D’Addario Humidipak
Take the guesswork out of humidifying your acoustic guitars (yes, you have to do this) with this simple system from D’Addario. The humidity packs automatically regulate the humidity inside the guitar, adding or subtracting moisture from the air.
8. Kyser 6-String Capo
This American-made, lightweight aluminum capo works with electric or acoustic guitars and is guaranteed for life. Available in a ton of colors, the Kyser is an easy, one-handed solution for quickly changing keys.
9. The Real Book Book Volume 1: Kindle Edition
The Real Book is still the one-stop-shop for all your jazz standard needs, but now, you can drop the entire thing on your e-reader rather than trying to stuff it in your gig bag. 462 pages of classic jazz at your fingertips.
10. Dunlop System 6500 Guitar Cleaning Kit
It’s amazing how showing your guitar a little love makes the playing experience more enjoyable. This handy kit has everything you could possibly need to keep your axe sparkling, including different cleaners for the neck, body and strings.
11. Korg TM60BK Tuner/Metronome
If you’re not practicing with a metronome and you don’t have an accurate tuner, you’re off to a pretty poor start. This handy combination model from Korg features tuner and metronome functions that can be used simultaneously.
12. KLIQ Padded Guitar Strap
Any gigging (or frequently practicing) guitarist knows that standing for a long time with your instrument can bring on shoulder pain. This smartly designed strap features air cells and a 3″ width to better distribute your axe’s weight.
13. Hercules Guitar Stand
Quite simply one of the best, most ergonomic designs around, the Hercules GS415B A/G guitar stand features the Auto Grab System yoke — as soon as you place a guitar into the cradle, it closes around the neck and grips it firmly in place.
14. Mogami Gold 10-ft. Guitar Cable
Musicians love to debate the little things, but there’s no denying that a well-made cable is key to achieving a clean tone. Mogami Gold is the gold standard, and their 10-ft. Model should be more than long enough for most gigs.
15. TC Electronic Clip-On Tuner
Clip-on tuners have made practicing (and even giggings) world easier in the past few years. Clip this little gadget with its ultra-bright screen onto your guitar’s headstock and tune with +/- 0.02 cent accuracy.
16. Xotic SP Compressor Pedal
You don’t need loads of pedals to achieve a great tone but boy, does a well-made compressor help. The ultra-compact Xotic SP can be used to even out your volume or as a dedicated effect for that ultra-funky “click,” and a blend knob lets you mix the wet/dry sound.
17. Orange Crush 20RT
Rail against solid state amps all you want — this compact little wonder from Orange is the perfect practice companion. Featuring 20W, two channels, a built-in tuner, a headphone output and an aux-in jack, use it to play along with your favorite tunes without pissing off the neighbors.
18. Mono M80 Vertigo Gig Bag
Is $250 a lot to spend on a gig bag? Yes. Is this possibly the best gig bag ever made? Uh, probably. With ABS head and body impact panels and a headlock neck suspension system, the M80 will protect your axe while it sits comfortably on your back.
19. J. Rockett Archer Ikon Overdrive/Boost Pedal
Quite simply one of the best boost/overdrives available to the modern guitarist, the Archer Ikon from J. Rockett Designs is easy to use, sounds incredible, and is built like a tank. Run this baby through a great tube amp and stand back.
20. Fender 65 Princeton Reverb 15-Watt
Sometimes 15W is enough, especially when it’s coming from a classic. This all-tube interpretation of a historically significant amplifier features built-in vibrato and reverb pumped through a 10″ Jensen speaker.
Audioengine D1 24-Bit DAC
Perfect for providing high quality audio to speakers or headphones, the D1 is a premium 24-bit DAC and headphone amplifier and a wonderful portable solution for monitoring audio from your Digital Audio Workstation.