Best Gifts for Musicians 2021 – Musicians are famously picky about their gear. Legends like Eddie Van Halen and Chuck Berry were apparently fans of .009 (read: light) strings, so why should the music folks in your life be any different? But if your guitarist already has a go-to gauge, or your resident rhythm-keeper swears by a classic 5A, shopping for them can be as challenging as defining their “it’s kinda post-punk-meets-acid jazz” musical style.
That’s why we’ve rounded up the best gifts for musicians of all types and skill levels. Whether their instrument of choice is their voice or a 12-string, or they’re seeking a new pandemic pastime, check out our top picks for your most musical loved ones. Of course, if all else fails, you can always fall back on a gift card.
1. Akai Professional MPK Mini
If you’re shopping for any younger musician, chances are their craft is digital. This Akai MPK Mini MIDI controller will help them do what they love, hooking up to a music software of their choice for easy beat-making. It’s essentially what the pros use — complete with MPC Beats, AIR Hybrid, Mini Grand and assorted MPC expansion packs — only parred down to fit in any studio. This Akai starter kit from Guitar Center also includes more than 1500 sounds to help get things going.
2. P Pluginz Marshall Jack Rack Amp Key Holder
Music-themed gifts are a great idea for any musician who’s ultra-picky about their setup (so, most musicians). This key holder, designed to look like a guitar amp, is a great choice if you’re not sure what your musician’s setup needs. Made using real amp inputs and real plugs as keychains, the wall-mounted piece makes a fun (and useful) addition to any entryway or studio.
3. Drum Rug With Non-Slip Bottom
Drummer’s rugs — purpose-built pieces of fabric that keep kit components in place and prevent floor damage — are almost always a good gift for percussionists. Even if your gift recipient already has a drum rug, they’ll surely appreciate a fresh one. We like this rug from Amazon, which features a rubberized back and grippy corners for security, as well as thick, mid-pile carpeting to protect the floor underneath.
4. Focusrite Scarlett Solo Bundle
This Focusrite Scarlett Solo bundle gives musicians everything they need to start recording and sharing their craft. The kit includes a USB audio interface, a condenser mic, closed-back headphones and a 3-meter XLR microphone cable. Plus, it also comes with two digital audio workstations — Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First Focusrite Creative Pack — for working on recordings afterward. It’s great for beginners, but even seasoned musicians will find enough features to let their creativity run free.
5. Fender Artisan Crafted Leather Strap
Splurge-worthy accessories usually aren’t the first (or second) thing a musician picks up — which is why they make such good gifts. This luxurious guitar strap from Fender falls into that category, boasting premium leather and saddle-grade stitching. It comes in either black or brown and features a 2.5-inch width (you can also get the two-inch version here).
6. Girl in a Band
In this best-selling memoir, author Kim Gordon tells her recounts her life as an artist. In both personal and professional anecdotes, Godron wanders from her childhood in California to falling in (and out) of love to co-founding the legendary band Sonic Youth. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone (musical or not) thanks to Gordon’s hypnotic prose, but the novel can really make a difference in the hands of a musician looking to get inspired.
7. Pocket DJ Mixer
If you’re shopping for a DJ, let them start a party anywhere with this Pocket DJ Mixer. It’s about the size of a smartphone, only slightly thicker, and doesn’t require a power . Using three auxiliary audio ports, the travel-ready device lets you mix two songs and listen to the audio (or amplify it) while you work.
8. Korg OLED Clip-On Tuner
Sure, smartphone apps can tune instruments, but they’re still not as accurate as real tuning devices. Plus, some musicians find it more convenient to have a dedicated tuner — no worrying about smartphone batteries, for example. If your giftee is in need of a great tuner, pick up this one from Korg. The clip-on device offers precision tuning with ±0.1 cent accuracy, ensuring near-perfect calibration before shows or recordings. You also get extra features like chord and tempo finders, a memory backup and an auto-off function to save juice (it uses one AAA battery).
9. MasterClass Subscription
MasterClass’s ever-expanding catalog of A-list celebrity teachers makes it a great re for beginners looking to get the basics as well as veterans looking to get inspired. The online learning platform has classes for songwriting, music production, singing, guitar, violin, drumming, and more with the crème de la crème of the industry: think Alicia Keys, St. Vincent, Hans Zimmer, Deadmau5, Tom Morello and many, many others. MasterClass subscribers get access to as many courses as they want, and, perhaps even better, the gifter doesn’t need to deal with any shopping, shipping or gift wrapping — just enter the recipient’s e-mail and pay the bill.
10. Zildjian Ringo Starr Artist Series Drumsticks
If you’ve heard your favorite drummer sing the praises of their heroes behind the kit, chances are they’ll be fans of their icon’s signature drumsticks. Zildjian’s Artist Series bears the names of Ringo Starr, Travis Barker, Dave Grohl, and more; other options available.
11. Hercules Five-Instrument Guitar Rack
Why choose between a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Strat when you can play ’em all? If that’s the case with your beloved string plucker, get them this five-instrument rack.
12. Piano Key Cufflinks
Ivory ticklers can literally wear their profession (or past time) on their sleeves with these cool piano key cufflinks. They’re hand-carved in Rhode Island from holly and ebony, and will surely hit the right note with your favorite pianist.
13. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
Crystal-clear audio is a must for audio engineers and audiophiles alike, and these MDR7506 pro cans by Sony will be music to the ears of whoever unwraps them. The MDR7506s have been a staple in professional recording studios for nearly 30 years, beating out any new releases to remain some of our favorite studio monitor headphones. Weighing in at just half a pound, the headphones are very lightweight, and their completely neutral sound ensures total clarity throughout the recording and production processes.
14. Populate Smart Ukelele
Half the battle of picking up a new instrument is knowing how to start. Aspiring uke players can get the best of both the analog and digital worlds with PopuMusic’s Bluetooth-enabled ukelele, which has a light-up fretboard that makes it easy to pick up and play in minutes. The Populele’s accompanying iOS and Android app uses video game-like lessons to teach new players, and it’s also loaded with a tuner, chord finder, and a library of nearly 100 songs.
15. Soundbrenner Pulse Metronome
Whether your giftee is a drummer or a shredder, they won’t miss a beat with this wearable metronome by Soundbrenner Pulse. The watch-like device connects to the company’s iOS or Android app, which allows wearers to create custom rhythms that can be organized into setlists, and select vibrations and LED colors for their creations.
The Bluetooth-enabled unit plays well with digital audio workstations (think Mac’s GarageBand and Ableton Live, to name a few) and can receive input via MIDI. Other features include the ability to customize time signatures, up to devices simultaneously, and listen through speakers or headphones.
16. The Fret Wire DIY Electric Guitar Kit
If you’ve got a DIY-loving guitarist on your hands, why not let them build their own six-string? The Fret Wire offers a range of buildable electric and acoustic guitar kits, ranging from hollow bodies and double necks to lefty options. Most of them come in unfinished woods, so your hands-on recipient can create a truly custom instrument. See all options; bass kits also available.