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Thursday, November 22, 2007

20 non-boring Christmas gifts for musicians which cost less than £100

See also: 11 crazy expensive Christmas gifts for musicians, and my 2005 Gift Guide, which still stands up OK.

1. TapeOp Magazine The coolest magazine about recording and excessively expensive music gear is now available free in the US, UK and Europe. Free

2. Akai E2 Headrush The awesome looper/delay pedal used by KT Tunstall in this ace clip (and by countless people in other YouTube clips) £95 UK|$199 US

3. Lap Steel My wife bought me a lap steel for my birthday this year, and it's awesome. They're cheap, easy to play and cool-sounding. Make sure it comes with a tone bar, or they won't be able to play it on Xmas day. £50-90 from eBay UK|$100+ from eBay US.

4. Spooky glass hand that plays Chopin. $16.95

5. Pocket Pod Powerful little headphone amp and effects box with sounds 'borrowed' from vintage gear. £65 UK|$130 US.

6. Oliver Sachs: Musicophilia Amazing book about how people become obsessed by music, which I wrote about here. Amazon UK|Amazon US

7. Something from BugBrand Tom Bugs (who I wrote about here) makes beautiful little noise boxes in his Bristol lab. He doesn't have much in stock at the moment, but it's worth checking back. £7 - £130

8. A print by James Joyce You can't buy any of his excellent music gear paintings but there's much to love in his shop. £75 and up.

9. Vox Amplug Tiny headphone amp which plugs directly into your guitar and looks like a teeny vintage amp. I'd buy the AC30 flavour. $40 US|£30 UK

10. Something from Liam Devowski Liam does awesome illustrations and graffiti of synths. Perhaps if you ask him nicely, he'll sell you something! $POA. Similarly Dan McPharlin makes incredible tiny cardboard synths, and takes commissions.

11. Artec Big Dots Most guitar tuners are incredibly boring, but this one, which looks like the floor of a '70s nightclub, will make any guitarist happy. £40 UK|$70 US

12. Hello Kitty guitar A custom Squier strat in black or in pink, it's not quite as cool as the Japanese original by Fernandes, but still fine. $150 US|£134 UK

13. Moog-inspired music Any of the CDs on this list would make any geek happy. Particularly 'Switched on Nashville'... Amazon US|UK

14. Vintage microphones Vintage microphones are surprisingly cheap (plenty go for well under £50) if a bit unhygenic. They're easy to buy: if they look cool, they are cool. Even if they don't sound so great, they're nice to have around. Avoid modern 'retro' Elvis microphones.Vintage mics from eBay UK|eBay US

15. Something from Etsy There are plenty of great homemade/one-off crafty gifts for music geeks at Etsy. Try some of these keywords: synth, Moog, boom box, cassette, and 83 pages of guitars.

16. Audio Damage Effects If the person you're buying for makes music on a computer, one of these will surprise and delight them. I'd recommend Dr Device, Replicant or Phase Two, but buy the one which you like the look of. $29-$49

17. Casio DG20 MIDI guitar Classic '80s techno kitsch revived by this Flight of the Conchords clip. Because the world is crazy, these actually go for up to £300... eBay UK|eBay US Oh, yes, there's also the Flight of the Conchords DVD: UK|US

18. Korg Mini Kaoss Pad Touch pad DJ effects box for glitchy electronic fun $199 US|£95 UK

19. Nanoloop 2.2 Is a cult homemade cartridge which turns the Nintendo Gameboy Advance (or DS) into an 8 channel synth and sequencer. GBAs now cost next to nothing on eBay. €65

20. Build your own guitar kit Not so much a present as a sentence to a January of tinkering and painting. £54 from Thomann. Alternatively, a generous Warmoth gift certificate would satisfy a more serious fiddler.

Dear reader, what do you want for Christmas. Leave an anonymous note in the comments, and maybe a loved one will be inspired...

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