Gift Ideas

Does your favourite guitarist have a guitar and case, with packs of strings to spare? Don’t buy a guitar strap, because it’s a bit like buying clothes  (choosing a guitar strap is a very personal matter). What could be the gift to get? Here are some ideas:

 

Guitar Lessons
Why not give them prepaid guitar lessons? Contact me to learn more.
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Pick (about 12 for $6)
For beginners, I recommend the 1 mm Dunlop Max-Grip. Why? Because it’s the Goldilocks choice. It’s not too thick and not too thin. And the grip will keep the pick from flying across the room while strumming like a maniac.
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Foot Stand ($12 – $15)
Some guitarists find a foot stand greatly reduces pressure on the lower back. It often reminds one to keep the spine straight. I often use one during intensive periods of practice.
Foot stand

 

Capo ($22 – $25)
With a capo, strings go up semi-tones. Capo at fret 1 = all strings are 1 semitone higher. It comes in handy when a guitarist would like to use the same chord fingerings, but higher up the fretboard. Get a sturdy capo (ex. Dunlop), it will last decades.

Capo

 

Humidifier ($17 – $30)
An open secret is that heating is brutal on a guitar. Luckily, here’s this gizmo to keep the guitar humidified, thereby protecting it from Hydro-Quebec and woodstoves. Snug in its case with a humidifier, it’ll feel like a day at the spa. I recommend a basic model (no sensor) that can easily be placed in the soundhole. Read the instructions.
humidifier

 

Chromatic Tuner
A good tuner is worth the money. A basic model can tune to 1-2 notes or the six strings in standard tuning. A chromatic tuner can tune in standard tuner or any tuning, which opens a door to a whole new guitar world. Here are the three models I recommend, but if you find another brand with the same specs (ex. Korg), it’s OK. Don’t forget to buy batteries.

 

Boss Tu-80 ($27)
It picks up sound well, it has an input and an output, with a metronome integrated into it. My son has one. Not expensive, good choice. Win-Win.
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Boss Tu-12EK ($90)
This is a more solid and better-quality model than the Boss Tu-80. I’ve had one for 15 years, despite the fact I’ve dropped it on the floor a hundred times.
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Boss Tu-3 Pedal Tuner ($135)
My new pet toy. It’s perfect for tuning a guitar hooked up to an amp. Gone are the days of having to disconnect and reconnect the amp cable every time you have to tune. Just press the pedal and tune! On top of that, the amp sound is off while tuning, which people in the venue will deeply appreciate. Don’t forget to also get two cables if the guitarist in question has none.

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Metronome ($15 – $80)
You can find these all over the web (including here), or on smartphones, etc. But when guitarists receive a metronome as a gift, they feel the urge to practice like crazy. Several of my students suddenly get really serious about developing their chomps, for a metronome is a tool that requires discipline. Try to find one that has a light signal and a volume knob with a range from very quiet to very loud. The Korg KDM-2 model below costs about $80, but it’ll last a long time.
KDM-2 metronome

 

Music Stand ($25 – $50)
This is another handy idea. Even if the guitarist doesn’t read music, a stand helps prevent injuries due to twisting the neck, shoulders and back while trying to follow tabs or lyrics on a page. In the music world, ergonomics is the key to success. The price increases the easier it is to adjust the stand (try adjusting it in the store). Unless the guitarist has a lot of gigs, I usually suggest getting a heavy and sturdy model. For those who’ll need to transport it often, a lighter and more flexible stand is the way to go.

music standgig stand

 

Guitar Stand ($20 – $400 +)
Unless you have humidity control and there aren’t too many drafts in your home, when not in use, a guitar should always be in its case. This protects the guitar from the elements and from being knocked over. Never hang a guitar on a wall like they do in stores. In the long term, this applies pressure on the head and neck, and the guitar will therefore require more maintenance.

A guitar stand is very handy during practice sessions or for gigs. There are so many guitar stands possible… As a guideline, get one that is very sturdy and made for the kind of guitar in question (do not buy an electric guitar stand for an acoustic guitar). Also, get it from a reputable guitar store that sells the kind of guitars you need the stand for (do not buy a stand for an electric guitar from a store that sells 99% acoustic guitars). Ease of set up is not a priority since once a stand is in place, it tends to remain where it is. Take the time to properly set it up right away.

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