Shopping for guitar-related gifts can be tricky – you never know exactly what a friend or family member might really want, like, or use, so you're always taking your best guess. Take ours instead! We've got some low-cost suggestions for practical and inherently useful gifts that also help kick-start creativity – and none of them cost more than 25 US dollars.
Picks made of Delrin, like these Ernie Ball Everlasts, are popular thanks to their greppable texture and – you guessed it – longevity.
Picks come in different styles and thicknesses, so find out your recipient's favorite type, and get some spares – they go missing all the time! Better still, give them a sample pack of different styles – trying a half-dozen wildly different shape or thickness can lead to enlightening and enjoyable experiments. – Margaret Jones
Hosco Guitar Nut Cube
It doesn't look like much, but the Guitar Nut Cube is one of the handiest tools I've ever used. It's designed to help you secure the hidden nuts that lurk beneath your volume and tone controls, as well as tuners and toggle switches. The toothed collars that surround a Gibson or Epiphone pickup selector switch can come loose, and if they wiggle all the way out, it's disastrous. After a few turns with this little doohickey, you'll eliminate the risk altogether. – Dan Amrich
Pure nickel for vintage tone, steel or cobalt for more power, coated for longer life – give your favorite player the chance to sample of something new!
As the brand of choice for greats like Paul McCartney, Slash, and Metallica, our partners at Ernie Ball offer a dizzying variety of strings to meet any practical need or desire. Guitarists tend to be budget-conscious creatures of habit, so giving a friend a different gauge, coating, or alloy than their usual set is the kind of exotic treat they won't necessarily buy for themselves. – Leila Abdul-Rauf
There's no worse feeling than having the strap slip off the post while you're playing, sending your guitar plummeting toward the floor. Strap locks are a great solution to this problem, and anyone can install them in about 10 minutes with a simple screwdriver. Most strap lock systems – including the very secure Ernie Ball Super Locks and Schaller S-Locks – involve affixing a spring-loaded lock onto a guitar strap and upgrading the strap buttons on the guitar itself, designed so the two parts connect securely. The good news: Those new buttons also still let you use a standard, non-locking guitar strap whenever you prefer. – Margaret Jones
If you want to adjust the action on guitars like Ibanez or Kramer, these hex drivers make the process a treat.
While I still may be learning how to adjust the height of the strings on my guitars, I'm an expert at losing the tiny hex keys needed for the job. Frustrated, I tried a few of these Dynamite hex drivers and, wow, what a difference! They feature a solid, comfortable grip with a short handle for easy storage in my toolkit, and thanks to the bright red finish, I (almost) never lose them! I got one 1.5mm driver for working on import guitars with metric parts, and one .050" for working on US-made guitars on the imperial system. If someone on your gift list is learning to adjust their guitar's setup, one of each is worth the investment. – Dan Amrich
Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo
In 2000, I had hit a plateau as a musician. I wasn't wondering how to play guitar so much as why. I felt unfocused, and I wasn't sure how to keep making progress. I took a risk on Zen Guitar and, well, it kinda changed my life. The author, Philip Toshio Sudo, applies traditional Zen principles to the musical journey we're all on as individuals; his bite-sized, logical advice is neither cryptic nor preachy. The book is peppered with quotes from famous players that illustrate the concepts, so it's very easy to relate to and apply to your own experience. I re-read it whenever I feel discouraged or creatively blocked, and its simple wisdom has helped me keep playing – without telling me how to play. – Dan Amrich
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