Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Rock Musicians
Christmas season is here
Need to Buy a Gift for a Musician in Your Life? Here's What to Get 'em, and They Will Love You for It!
by Paul Diamond Blow
and you need to buy a Christmas present for a rock musician. What to buy? What sort of Christmas gift will a rock musician enjoy and love? Having been a rock musician most of my adult life I know what I like to receive for Christmas--or birthdays, or whatever-- so here are my ideas on the top ten Christmas presents for rock musicians... read on! (The gifts are numbered in no particular order, since they are all swell gift ideas)
1) Guitar strings and picks:
Guitar players are always in need of new guitar strings and picks. Strings break and need to be changed regularly anyway, so you can't go wrong here. The thing is, most guitar players are very particular on which type and brand of guitar strings they'll put on their prized guitars, so you should know which brand to buy. For instance, I personally only put Ernie Ball Super Slinky guitar strings on my Les Pauls (hint hint) and no other set of strings will do. Guitar picks are always getting lost, or just plain wear out a bit, so a package or handful of picks will also be appreciated by the rock guitarist. Once again, there are many brands and styles of guitar picks so you should find out which brand/style of pick your guitarist prefers. I personally only use Dunlap nylon 60mm picks myself (hint hint). A set of electric guitar strings will run about 4-5 bucks, and picks are generally 25-35 cents a piece.
2) Drum keys and drum sticks:
Drummers are always losing things, especially their drum keys. Drum keys are used for tuning up the drum heads on their set, so an extra drum key would make a fine gift for the rock drummer on your Christmas list. Drummers are also constantly breaking their drum sticks, so a set or two of their preferred stick will also make an excellent Christmas gift. You should know which brand and style of stick they use, though.
3) Hearing protection:
A nice package of ear plugs for the rock musician in your life is a good idea, whether they wear ear plugs or not. Giving the gift of ear plugs is a good way to say, "I care about you and your hearing. I don't want you to go deaf." Many rock musicians do wear ear plugs at practice and even on stage (and yes, I wear them all the time when playing with my band) and this is an excellent gift. A nice bottle of magnesium supplements will also make a nice gift for rock musicians -- magnesium has been shown to protect the ears from loud noises and help prevent hearing loss. Most musicians don't even know this. Give them some magnesium and instruct them to take 500 mg before and after playing or practicing with their loud-as-holy-heck rock'n'roll band to help prevent hearing loss.
4) Guitar polish:
One of my favorite music-related Christmas gifts ever was a can of Gibson guitar polish. I had never used or tried guitar polish before, but I did love the feel and look of a freshly polished guitar. I've since run out of the guitar polish and I'm waiting for someone to buy me a new can one of these days! Guitar polish will run you less than ten bucks.
5) Microphones and mic cables:
many musicians have some sort of home recording studio and are always in need of more microphones and microphone cables. There are many brands of microphones, but the number one pick for rock music is the Shure SM-57 ($109) for recording drums and guitars, and the Shure SM-58 ($119) which is a vocal mic which works great in the practice studio as well as the recording studio. 15-20 foot microphone cables will run about 15-25 bucks a piece and always make a great gift.
6) Blank CDr discs:
Most rock musicians like to burn their own CDs of their music and distribute them to friends and family, so you can't go wrong with giving a package of blank CDr discs as a Christmas gift. CDr discs are cheap these days so this gift also will go easy on your wallet or purse. (Note: buy the regular "data" CDr discs -- the "music" CDr discs are intended for stand-alone CD burners and will not work on all computers)
7) Guitar stands:
Guitar stands are highly useful for home use or in the rehearsal studio. I mean, a guitar or bass player takes off his guitar to take a break and where does he put it? In the worst case scenario he will lean his prized guitar against his guitar amp taking the risk of it falling and breaking a head stock (I've seen this happen). Having a nice guitar stand will give the player of your choice a nice place to put his/her guitar when not in use. Guitar stands run about 10-15 bucks, easy on your wallet.
8) Band stickers:
Here's a novel idea for a Christmas gift -- if the rock musician on your Christmas list has a band with a cool logo, they will definitely appreciate some vinyl band stickers as a Christmas gift. The best place to have vinyl stickers made is at stickerguy.com where 250 2.5" x 2.5" black and white vinyl stickers will cost $25 including shipping. That's the cheapest sticker made there, but there are other sizes and color options available. This gift will take a bit of Photoshop or artistic skill as you have to create the sticker in the correct size and send an image file (tiff, jpeg) to stickerguy. Seriously, this is one cool gift idea if you have the time and gumption, just make sure you put the bands' preferred logo on it.
9) Fingerless leather gloves / rock'n'roll tee-shirts:
Fingerless leather gloves may be hard to find in stores but easy to find online. I bought a couple pair of fingerless leather gloves at a 99-cent store ten years ago and still have them and use them whenever I load gear. Not only are they great for loading gear, they are just plain COOL and I guarantee the rock musician in your life will appreciate a pair. If not the gloves, you can never go wrong with the gift of a rock'n'roll tee-shirt. If your drummer plays Zildjian drums or cymbals, give them a nice black Zildjian tee-shirt. If your guitar player on your Christmas list plays Gibson guitars or uses Marshall amplifiers, give them a Gibson or Marshall tee-shirt. You get the picture... if you don't know what kind of gear they use, give them a shirt of their favorite rock band. Tip: NEVER give a rock musician a tee-shirt that is NOT black, rock musicians prefer black tee-shirts, yes they do.
10) Gift certificate for Guitar Center:
You just can't go wrong with a gift certificate. Rock musicians will use these, even if they complain that they hate Guitar Center. (Most musicians actually love the place since they have the best prices) Guitar Center stores carry most everything I've put on my list here, generally have the best prices, and have stores everywhere, so this is my pick of where to purchase a gift certificate from.
There you have it... ten excellent Christmas gift ideas for the rock musician in your life. Happy shopping!