Guitarist Gift Guide 2020: The Best Gifts They'll Actually Use

Best Gifts for Guitarists
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Updated January 2020

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With gifting season quickly approaching, it's that time of year where we all stress out trying to find thoughtful gifts for the people we care about... preferably without breaking the bank. There are ample things you could gift a guitar player, but finding a great gift is tricky! That’s because whether they are beginners or advanced, guitarists are a particular bunch.

In this guide, we'll take away the stress of gift giving for that special guitarist in your life and make sure to recommend gifts that are unique, thoughtful, and most of all useful!

What to Consider When Buying the Best Gifts for Guitarists

When buying a gift for that special guitarist friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, colleague, etc. it's helpful to not go in totally blind. Here are some things you should try to find out to make your gift more personalized:

1) What is their skill level?

Is the guitar player just starting out, or have they been playing for a while? A gift card for some guitar lessons might be much more appropriate for a novice, for instance.

2) Do they play acoustic guitar, electric guitar, or both?

Acoustic and electric guitar are very different animals, and the gear needed to play each of them differs quite a bit. Knowing this will be very helpful in narrowing down your choice of gift.

3) Are they a "gear head"?

A gear head is someone who loves and collects gear related to the hobby. In a guitarist's case, there is lots of gear to collect, so if you know they happen to be a gear head you're able to take more of a chance and get them something to add to their arsenal, and chances are they'll be thrilled with the gift.

On the other end of the spectrum you have the minimalist, who focuses less on the gear and more on just playing, which can be a little more tricky to shop for (hint: get them a book.

4) Do they play at home or gig?

Gigging guitarists have some specific needs that bedroom musicians don't need to necessarily worry about, so if that special guitarist in your life plays live shows, that'll give you some different options.

The Best Gifts for Guitar Players

Guitar String Variety Pack

Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Electric Tone Pack - 10-46 Gauge

You can bet the guitarist you're shopping for already did some research to find the best guitar strings, and bought a pack or three.

You know what else you can bet on? That they haven't experimented with enough string materials or gauges.

For this reason, I cannot imagine any guitarist not wanting to receive a guitar string variety pack, which will allow them not only to experiment, but also think of you when they find their new favorite strings!

Ernie Ball is arguably the most popular brand of strings, and the Ernie Ball Electric Slinky Variety Pack will help the beginner guitarist choose what gauge (i.e. string thickness) they prefer.

For the more experienced guitarist who already has a preferred gauge, chances are they haven't experimented enough with string material. For them, get the Ernie Ball Tone Pack which will let them try out Original Slinky, Slinky Cobalt, and Slinky M-Steel strings (all in the same gauge).

Let's not forget about the acoustic guitarist, and Ernie Ball makes a Tone Pack for them as well which will let them try out 80/20 Bronze, Phosphor Bronze, and Aluminum Bronze.

Guitar Pick Variety Pack

Dunlop 12 Pick Variety Pack

The same logic that applies to strings applies to picks, so why not get them a variety pack of picks to let them dial in their preference when it comes to thickness and material?

This gift has a bonus of being VERY INEXPENSIVE which makes it the perfect stocking stuffer or add-on to some other gift.

This Dunlop Variety Pack for electric guitarists offers a mix of sizes and textures, and comes in Light/Medium and Medium/Heavy thicknesses.

If possible, find out what thickness picks they are currently using, or buy both packs to cover your bases.

For the acoustic guitar player, gift them this Dunlop variety pack.

For something a little more colorful, this 24-pack by Fender includes thin, medium & heavy gauge picks.

And finally there's D'Addario, another iconic brand which offers a 25-pack of Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks with light, medium, and heavy thicknesses.

Clip-On Tuner

TC Electronic PolyTune Clip

Unless they can tune perfectly by ear (slim chance), most guitarists already have a tuner. In recent years clip-on tuners have gained popularity. You clip these small devices onto your guitar's headstock, and the tuner picks up the vibrations generated by your guitar strings and tells you if you're in tune or not.

Many players - especially electric guitarists - rely on a pedal tuner to tune up, but a clip-on tuner is extremely quick and convenient, and you don't need any cables or power supplies.

Our favorite one, and the tuner we recommend to most people is the TC Electronic PolyTune Clip. It's sleek, reliable, and most of all very accurate. Unfortunately it's right around $50 which isn't the cheapest gift.

For a much cheaper but still good option, we recommend the SNARK clip-on tuner. It's not as precise as the TC Electronic one, but it does the job.

For the beginner guitarist, go for the SNARK. If the guitar player you're shopping for has more experience, they'll appreciate the increased accuracy and better display of the PolyTune Clip.

Coffee Table Book

Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World

Gifting a guitarist any piece of gear has the potential to backfire. You run the risk of getting them something they already have, or something that doesn't match up with their playing style.

To avoid that, you can always go for something like a coffee table book. Guitar is a cool hobby, and most players are proud to display that they are into it. A book they can throw on their living room table or bookshelf is always appreciated.

Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World is a beautiful book and an Equipboard staff favorite.

Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 is one of the best guitar books around and a must for the Fender aficionado.

Something a little less guitar-specific but dripping with coolness is Rolling Stone Images of Rock & Roll, featuring 179 iconic photographs that have been featured in Rolling Stone.

Guitar Amp Key Hanger

We try and steer clear of silly gimmicky stuff in this list, but hear us out on this one - every guitarist we've talked to (and we've talked to many) LOVES thing thing. Including us.

Photo of Marshall Jack Rack guitar amp key hanger
The guitarist in your life is gonna be amped when you gift them one of these...

These guitar amp key hangers are officially licensed by Marshall and Fender, two of the most famous names in the music gear world. They feature 4 "jacks" where you can plug in guitar plug keychains.

Regardless of what the person you're shopping for plays, this is one thoughtful and awesome gift. If they play through a Fender amp in real life, go for the Fender Jack Rack, otherwise go for the Marshall Jack Rack.

Guitar Lessons Gift Card

Guitar Tricks
There's no better way to tell the guitarist you love, "You suck!" like buying them lessons! :)

We're just joking around. Guitar is a lifetime pursuit, and no matter the person's skill level there's always something new to be learned. Every guitarist we polled told us they would be thrilled to receive a gift card for some lessons.

These days, the most comprehensive guitar lessons are found online. There are websites more geared towards beginners, and others with a wealth of courses covering more advanced concepts.

If you want to do your own research, we cover our favorite online guitar lesson websites in detail. However, if you want to cut to the chase, here's what to do:

If you're buying a gift for a beginner, Guitar Tricks has the absolute best beginner courses. You can buy a gift card from Guitar Tricks here in either $59, $99, or $179 amounts - whatever you're comfortable spending.

Fender PLAY is also pretty good for beginners. It's not quite as good as Guitar Tricks but it's cheaper. Get them 3 months for $19.95, 6 months for $49.95, or 12 months for $89.99. As an added bonus, with a Fender PLAY membership they’ll get 10% off Fender products, which could save them money if they plan on purchasing Fender gear.

For more advanced players, a gift certificate to TrueFire is perfect. TrueFire has 40,000+ lessons and even has lessons taught by touring pro guitarists. It's less of a set course, and more of a library of lessons that you can buy à la carte. For this reason, you can buy a gift certificate to TrueFire for as little as $25, $50, $75, all the way to $300.

Strap Locks

Schaller S-Locks Strap Locks

Here's one for the gigging guitarist. Strap locks help ensure that the guitar strap doesn't come unhooked from the guitar's strap buttons, causing a guitarist's precious guitar to go crashing to the floor, potentially ruining an instrument and a performance.

It's amazing to us how many gigging guitarists we talk to leave things to chance and don't use strap locks - especially because of how easy they are to install! It's like buying your favorite guitarist insurance for their several hundred (or thousand!) dollar guitar.

Gif of guitar player throwing guitar across the room
The case for strap locks.

The strap locks we recommend are the Schaller S-LOCKS. They come in chrome, gold, nickel, and black chrome. We love them, and we guarantee whoever you're gifting them to will love the also.

An Effect Pedal

Boss DS-1 Distortion

If you're shopping for a gift for an electric guitar player and want to go out on a limb and buy them something awesome, you might consider getting them an effect pedal... but tread carefully.

Effects pedals are little electronic or digital devices which alter the sound of the electric guitar. They are usually purpose built to do one thing - some distort the sound of the guitar, some repeat or echo the sound, some make it sound like you're playing in a giant cathedral... the list goes on and on. Most guitarists collect these, and chain them together to form what they call their pedal board.

We've written multiple gear guides to help people choose the best effects pedals, but if you're simply buying a gift for someone you're taking a huge chance.

Guitarists are pretty specific about what pedals they want. Most of us have limited room and have planned out (or already have) the pedals we want/need. Cost is also a big consideration; cheaper pedals start around $30, a “tried and true” mainstream pedal runs between $70-150, but some boutique pedals can get as pricey as $250 or more!

If you decide to buy that special guitarist in your life a pedal, do some homework. Try to find out what they already have, and see if there is any pedal type they don’t have yet. With that information you can peruse our guides and use your budget and best judgement to make a purchase:

Here’s the silver lining - even if you chose completely incorrectly, and whoever you gifted the pedal to doesn’t want to make you feel bad, they can easily sell the pedal. The market for used pedals is HUGE and it would take them very little time and effort to list the pedal for sale on eBay or Reverb.

Gift Card to a Music Gear Retailer

Guitar Center Gift Card

Gift cards might feel a little impersonal, but trust us when we say the guitar player in your life will appreciate it. You’re giving them a shopping day for new gear, which is exciting. Personally a gift card to Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend makes us feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

We're gonna go shoppping gif
A Guitar Center gift card makes guitar players feel like...

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About the authors
Michael Pierce

Michael bought his first guitar, a Fender California Series Stratocaster in Candy Apple Red, in 1998. He likes rock of all types, from classic to punk to metal. Michael co-founded Equipboard to satisfy his curiosity around what gear his guitar heroes use. Read more

Giulio Chiarenza

Giulio co-founded Equipboard with his friend Michael. He plays the piano, guitar, drums, and had a brief stint signed to a label as an electronic music producer. Read more

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