With Christmas right around the corner, we figured it was the perfect time to publish the First Annual FrugalGuitarist.com Holiday Gift Guide: 20 Great Gift Ideas Under $100! Enough chit chat already!
String Winder - If your guitarist doesn't have one, go get one right now. This indispensable tool makes changing strings a breeze. Once they've used one, they'll wonder how they survived without one for so long. These should be available at the checkout counter of any guitar shop and should run less then $5.
Capo - Capos allow guitarists to shift the key of the guitar opening up possabilities to explore chords which would otherwise be impossible. The Kyser Quick-Change Capo (~$20 USd) or Dunlop Trigger Capo (~$15 USD) are two great and affordable options.
Magazine Subscription - Give a gift that keeps on giving (for 12 months anyway!). For the young beginner, consider Play. Those into Heavy Metal will appreciate Guitar World. The non-disc version can be had for ~$5 here. Older and more experienced players will appreciate the wide breadth of coverage offered by Guitar Player or Premier Guitar and vintage afficiados will love Vintage Guitar.
Strings - D'Addario XL Nickel Wound strings are my favorite featuring environmentally friendly packaging and bulk sets to save money, but Ernie Ball Slinky and Dean Markley Blue Steel are also popular among Frugal Guitarists. Pass on the no name strings in the bargain bin at your local shops. Hint: invade your guitar player’s stash (or trash) and find a pack of strings. Bring the pack to your local music store and match the package to ensure you get their preferred brand.
The Guitar Player Repair Guide by Dan Erlewine - This book covers everything the budding DIY guitarist will ever need to know regarding maintenance and repair of their guitar. Well, maybe not everything...but it's a darn good reference which is highly recommended for every Frugal Guitarist.
Tuner - Korg offers several models in this price range such as the GA-30 Guitar/Bass Tuner and CA-40 Chromatic Tuner . For a pedal style tuner, check out the Behringer TU300.
Danelectro FAB Pedals - Danelectro offers up an assortment of pedals covering basic overdrive to delay and everything in-between. At $15 each, these make the perfect stocking stuffer for your little strummer.
Straps - Straps come in every possible style to match any personality. For the traditional jazz and/or blues player, you can't go wrong with a simple leather strap such as those offered by Levys. For the more aggressive player, consider the Planet Lock straps from Planet Waves which offer built in strap locks to ensure their guitar stays on as the hop around the stage.
GLS Audio ES57 - This Shure SM57 clone is the perfect gift for the aspiring recording artist. At ~$30 USD, it's destined to become a legend among budget recordists.
$30+ to $65
Sheets of Sound - For the self taught guitar player looking to beef up their chops or more experienced players looking to learn jazz, this is an absolutely fantasic book. The book presents scalular patterns in every key/mode and includes stylistic examples from some of the greatest names in jazz such as John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, and Wes Montgomery.
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive - This pedal is a favorite among players looking for a more affordable option to the Ibanez TS9 tube screamer. Like the TS9, it features a boosted mid range response but has a little more gain on tap and a slightly more robust bottom end. Perfect for bluesy soloing or pushing the front end of a moderately overdriven amp into hard rock territory
Amp Stand - If your guitarist uses a small combo amp for gigs, an amp stand is a great gift idea. Tilting the amp back results is better dispersion of sound for easier monitoring. Consider the On-Stage Stands RS7000 Tiltback Amp Stand at ~$40 USD which raises the amp off the ground.
Gift Certificates - Nothing says I love you like cash...well these are like cash with some actual thought thrown in. Guitar Center is a great option with tons of accessories available and typically caries a wide inventory. However, this year select Best Buys will also be carrying musical instruments and accessories. If your guitarist is a tweak-a-holic, consider a Guitar Fetish.com gift certificate as they carry a wide variety of afforable replacement parts including the much loved GFS pickup line.
$65+ To $100
Dunlop CGB95 Original Cry Baby Wah Wah - Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby; and it doesn't get any more real than this.
Peavey Vypyr 15 Guitar Combo Amp - I was fairly impressed with the high gain tones available on tap from the vypyr 30 which we reviewed in October. While it's little brother offers a smaller speaker and only 15 watts of power, it should be perfect as a bedroom practice amp.
Roland Cube 15X Guitar Amp - This is a great little bedroom and practice amp featuring an surprisingly nice sounding analog distortion circuit.
Ibanez TS9 - Stevie Ray Vaughn single handedly made the Ibanez TS808 legendary. The TS9 is a reissue (kinda) of that pedal offering up much of the same mojo as the original. It's midrange boost and hot output make it the perfect complement to a low wattage tube amp.
Line 6 Pocket POD Express Multi Effects Processor - This palm sized device is the latest addition to the POD family just in time for Christmas offering a selection of Line 6 proprietary amp models and a stripped down interface perfect for the guitarist on the go.
Shure SM57 Mic - This microphone has earned classic status by being a main stay for micing guitar amps in studios big and small since its inception.
SX SST57 or SST62 - I continue to be impressed with the SX SST57 Stop Tail I reviewed back in June. Don't let the low price fool you, this is a great Strat tribute with and alder body and a beefy vintage feeling neck that plays beautifully well. The SST57 features a maple fretboard and the SST62 a rosewood. As such, it earns the 2008 FrugalGuitarist.com Ultimate Gift Under $100 Award.