The allure of the guitar is difficult to describe to someone who has not experienced it. A guitar on a rack has the same mystical quality as a sword in a stone. A sense of destiny hangs about it. Overtones of fate echo louder the closer you get. Finally, once it is in your hands, you find yourself unable to let go, and a dangerous, compelling thought swirls at the forefront of your mind: “This instrument is meant for me.”
Perhaps that description is a tad hyperbolic, but the hypnotic quality of the guitar is undeniable. And though some guitar players eventually hang up their axes for good, many more continue to play, not for fame and fortune, but out of some elusive compulsion always lingering in the peripheries of their minds.
You may have picked up that I am a guitar player. And while I am nowhere near as good as I would like to be, my experience does lend me some authority on matters related to this incredible instrument. In the case of this post, that means identifying some of the best gifts you can ever bestow upon a guitar player.
Guitar players take their craft seriously. And while it is true that you do not need a Strat or high-grade equipment to play a compelling tune, no guitar player would ever say no to some of the items listed here. Read on to find out some of the best gift ideas for guitar players.
Gifts for Beginners
The best gift you can give to beginner guitar players is the gift of encouragement. Learning an instrument is difficult, and guitar-playing is complex and multi-faceted. Encourage the guitar player in your life not to give up during the first couple of months of their guitar journey – it only gets better from there.
Beyond that, however, most new guitar players may not be willing to spend any more money than they need, even on tools and equipment that are crucial to developing their skills. As such, purchasing all the right gear may fall to you.
Fortunately, nothing we have listed here is expensive, meaning that you can ensure that your favorite guitar player gets the right start to their journey without breaking the bank.
A Plectrum (or Pick)
Depending on the brand, some entry-level guitars – both electric and acoustic – come with at least one plectrum to get you started. However, most beginners are more likely to buy a second-hand guitar, which may or may not come with a plectrum.
And what a shame that is. Not only are plectrum (or picks) a universally-recognized symbol of guitar culture, they are also crucial for playing certain styles of music. Hendrix did not become a legend on his fingerpicking ability alone.
Learning how to use a pick is also a challenge that is best conquered early on in one’s guitar-playing career. Get some for them if you know a guitar player who does not yet have a pick. They are cheap and usually come in a pack featuring picks of different levels of thickness.
Playing chords and notes in a sequence doth not a song make. Playing chords and notes in a sequence to a specific rhythm and tempo is something.
Rhythm and tempo are crucial elements of guitar playing, no matter which style or genre you choose to play in. And while most people generally have a good sense of rhythm, some songs can become incredibly complex quickly, and you will inevitably struggle to keep up.
That is, to say unless you have a metronome.
A metronome is another fantastic gift for beginner guitar players because it allows them to hone their sense of rhythm and timing early, avoiding any struggles during later career stages. Metronomes are relatively cheap and can be found at any music store you come across.
As they heave themselves up and over the initial hurdles faced by all beginner guitar players, the guitar player in your life may find themselves bored with strumming the same four chords repeatedly. There are only so many ways the cowboy chords can be arranged and still sound interesting (at least in the beginning).
Fortunately, rather than tackling the daunting task of learning barre chords (which you should nevertheless encourage them to do), a guitar player can instead make use of a capo to change the overall pitch of their guitar. They can play the chords they already know, but the overall sound will differ.
In mechanical terms, a capo “shortens” the strings on a guitar, heightening the pitch. In musical terms, a capo opens up a whole new world of guitar-playing, allowing beginners to play different songs that may have otherwise been too difficult to attempt at this stage of their journey.
Like metronomes, capos are cheap and can be found in just about every music store.
Gifts for Electric Guitar-Players
Most new guitar players will want to pick up an electronic as their preferred instrument. While they may be expensive, their appeal is undeniable, and despite their roots in rock and heavy metal, they are incredibly versatile. Players can use them in a variety of different genres.
Unfortunately, additional equipment and accessories for electric guitars are usually just as expensive as the guitars themselves. We have chosen a handful of potential gifts that should make the guitar player in your life happy, but not at the cost of your life savings.
You will not find many electric guitar players sitting down. Playing the electric guitar is a full-body experience. While the relatively chilled demeanor of George Harrison may have worked for him, the chances are that the guitar player in your life may feel more of a kinship with the likes of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana than the Beatles.
Most electric guitars come with straps, but they usually lack personality and are typically not as high-quality as one would like them to be. A sleek, sturdy guitar strap would make any electric guitar player very happy and give them all the support they need to dance, jump, and thrash their head while they play.
The electric guitar is a loud instrument. After all, as mellow as he was, not even George Harrison could not fill out an arena by gently picking at an acoustic.
Of course, guitar players do not spend their time in stadiums and concert halls alone. Much of the actual playing is done at home, during their free time, where family members and neighbors alike may not appreciate the sick riffs they lay down.
Fortunately, electric guitar players do not have to put their jam sessions on hold at the behest of others. With a decent pair of headphones plugged into their amp, they can hear every note that they play.
One can find headphones almost anywhere. A good pair can be a bit pricey, but if you are one of the family members in question, the payoff may be worth the price tag.
An Effects Pedal
Electric guitars are incredibly versatile by themselves. Virtuosos can capture just about any sound – no matter how abstract and weird – and ideally incorporate it with a track.
Of course, some sounds and effects cannot be replicated by strings and a pick-up alone. Effects pedals come in various types and are essential to accurately playing certain tracks or songs with multiple overdubs and layers.
The looper pedal for a new electric guitar player is perhaps the most practical effects pedal for a new electric guitar player. This allows them to play a chord progression and have it be repeated as they play solos or other parts on top of it.
Effects pedals are by far the most expensive item on this list. However, they can be bought second-hand, and their usefulness is almost infinite.
Gifts for Acoustic Guitar-Players
Although the electric guitar oozes excellent style, the charm of the acoustic guitar is timeless, and despite its associations with country and folk music, it is incredibly versatile. An acoustic guitar is a friend for life.
After playing the acoustic guitar for a while, the guitar player in your life may have become completely enamored with its unique sound and its ability to produce various effects with a few advanced techniques. The acoustic guitar can do it all with Tremolo, harmonics, even percussion.
However, if they intend to replicate that iconic delta blues sound, they will need a slide. A slide is a complex object worn on the finger, pushed down, and moved across the strings while playing. It replicates certain tones in the human singing voice like no other instrument.
Slides come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are relatively cheap, though you may only find them in dedicated guitar stores.
The guitar is a much older instrument than some people believe. With evident roots in the lute and other classic stringed instruments, it comes as no surprise that the guitar is perfect for playing classical tunes and more modern ones.
Classical guitar playing is vastly different from other styles. It requires different techniques, approaches, and even a different sitting position. To perfectly replicate the classical guitar playing of some Spanish artists, the guitarist in your life will need a foot stand. This will allow them to rest their guitar on their knee, elevated, and the top of the neck in line with their chin.
Hopefully, this post has given you insight into what guitar players appreciate and enjoy. Perhaps it has deepened your appreciation of the guitar as well.
Regardless, we hope you have a clearer idea of what to hide under the Christmas tree that will put a smile on your favorite guitar player’s face.