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10 Guitar Gift Ideas that aren’t a waste of money

Thank you to Bobby Kittleberger of Guitar Chalk for this guest post, I hope you find the gift ideas useful this Christmas.

Gifts are their own type of product, what constitutes a “gift” is often not useful, practical or even worth keeping after the dust settles… The mystique wears off. A lot of what passes as a great guitar gift idea, adheres more to the “gift-industry” than it does to the needs of actual guitar players. It’s a shame because there are so many inexpensive and practical gifts that you can give someone who plays guitar. I’m going to show you some gifts for guitar players that won’t be a waste of money and won’t end up in this spring’s yard sales.

Guitar Gift Buying Rule #1: Limit gift prospects to things that directly apply to playing the guitar. In other words, avoid things like a guitar-shaped spatula. Those are guitar-themed gifts, but not guitar applicable. It’s a gift for the sake of being a gift.

Guitar Gift Buying Rule #2: Focus on the practical needs and activity of a guitarist.

To make things easier, we’ll break our gift guide into a couple of different low pricing categories:

Under $10
Under $15

Let’s get started.

Gifts for Guitar Players Under $10

1. Ernie Ball Guitar Polish and Cloth
A lot of guitarists find themselves needing this sort of thing but never being able to find it around the house. Perhaps many of us don’t want to put the time into ordering it when we can just wipe our guitar down with a paper towel.

However, this is a more effective cleaning method and would be well-received by any guitar player that doesn’t absolutely love the finger-smudge look.

ernie ball guitar polish and cloth

2. Clayton Picks DWS3 Guitar Pick
Picks are usually a safe gifting bet, simply because guitar players always lose them. It’s a pain to constantly have to search for a pick, so getting a few as a gift is always welcomed. The DWS3 is made of organic material that gives the pick a soft edge and warm tone.

Most Amazon reviewers are enthusiastic supporters of this one.

Clayton DWS3 Guitar Pick

3. Dunlop Deluxe String Winder
Also called a “peg winder” this is a tool that allows you to restring guitars much faster.

Again, it’s one of those items that a lot of guitar players want but never take the time to obtain or keep track of. It’s an easy stocking stuffer and a practical option for less than $5.

Dunlop Deluxe String Winder

4. iRig Audio Interface
There are a lot of different audio interfaces you can get to plug your guitar into an iPhone, iPad or Android device but, I’ve found the iRig to be one of the better ones for the price. The latest version iRig 2 is $40 but the original version is still available for just under $10!

iRig Audio Interface

5. Assorted Pick Pack from Dunlop
The Dunlop pick lines are among some of the most popular, and the same reasoning that we gave for the DWS3 applies to them.

In fact it’s even better if you can gift picks in bulk, since this allows the giftee to lose a few and still have plenty to choose from. This particular package has an assortment of 12.

Assorted Dunlop pick pack

Gifts for Guitar Players Under $15

6. Tetra-Teknica Hardwood Home and Studio Guitar Hangers
These are solid hardwood guitar hangers that can make a nice addition to a studio or even just a bedroom where you don’t want to keep guitars in a case all the time.

It’s not a flashy gift, but this pack comes with two hangers, gets almost unanimously positive feedback and is perfect for those who need to come up with a better guitar storage system.

Tetra-Teknica Hardwood Home and Studio Guitar Hangers

7. Dunlop Moonshine Slide
The Moonshine from Dunlop is a slick-looking guitar accessory and one of my personal favorite slides. It is made out of ceramic instead of glass, so it’ll be a bit more durable and shatter-resistant.

In terms of playing style, it’s a safe bet that if a guitar player doesn’t have a slide, they’ll be happy to field one as a gift, even if it’s just something they play on occasion. Every guitarist should own one.

Dunlop Moonshine Slide

8. Effects Pedal Couplers
If you can verify that the guitar player you’re buying for runs a lot of effects, pedal couplers like these are a great complimentary gift. These ones even come in a nice box for easy wrapping.

These eliminate the need for running cables between your pedals or just allow you to add more stompboxes to your pedalboard.

Effects Pedal Couplers

9. Ernie Ball Powered String Winder
If you want to take it one step further than the peg winder, this powered string winder from Ernie Ball is similar to what professional guitar techs use to restring instruments. It saves guitar owners an incredible amount of time, making it one of my preferred stocking stuffers.

Ernie Ball Powered String Winder

10. Korg PITCHCLIP Low-Profile Clip-on Tuner
Clip on tuners are incredibly useful, they discretely hide behind your headstock and allow you to tune in an instant whether in dark or light conditions by analysing the vibration from the guitar. This model has fast pitch detection and accuracy within ±1 cent plus a detection range from A0 to C8.

Korg PITCHCLIP Low-Profile Clip-on Tuner

Higher Price Ranges

After the $15 mark your options will expand quite a bit, depending on what you want to spend. There are a lot of cheap guitar pedals that you can pick up in the $50 to $60 range, especially with such an active used and refurbished market.

About the author
Bobby Kittleberger is the founder and editor of Guitar Chalk and a staff writer for Guitar Tricks. You can get in touch with him via email or Twitter.

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Ibanez Prestige Uppercut Series With Bare Knuckle Pickups

ibanez prestige uppercut
Well now, what do we have here? A few years back Ibanez introduced the Iron Label series firmly aimed at Metal guitarists who wanted a solid, simple instrument without breaking the bank. This year that Iron Label series was embellished with some new fancy finishes and will continue to do so into 2016 with a fan fret model, baritone 6 string and some nice figured tops rather than just black that was available at launch.

For 2016 Ibanez are taking this concept and launching a new top end Prestige series called the Ibanez Prestige Uppercut which, in a similar fashion to how the Iron Label series launched, features just 3 sweet looking Black guitars loaded with Bare Knuckle pickups.

The 3 models available are:

The 7 string RGD7UC featuring a 26.5″ scale, extra deep cutaways for upper fret access, a Wizard-7 5pc Maple/Wenge neck with KTS™ TITANIUM rods and a set of Bare Knuckle Aftermath 7 humbuckers.

The ARZ6UC 24 fret single cutaway with a 3pc Maple/Mahogany set-in neck, Maple top and Mahogany body and a pair of Bare Knuckle Nailbomb humbuckers.

Finally the FR6UC, with a Wizard HP 5pc Maple/Walnut neck, Tight-End bridge, Jumbo frets w/Prestige fret edge treatment, Mahogany body and a pair of Bare Knuckle Aftermath humbuckers.

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MONO Announce The M80 Dual Acoustic + Electric Case

M80-2A-1
Back in 2012 I reviewed a new gig bag by newcomer to the market MONO called the M80. Up until this point I had only experienced the Suhr gig bag which is good but not as visually attractive (I know, I know but hey us guitarists are a vain bunch so this matters!) and the M80 was certainly more compact without making me worry about the safety of my beloved instruments. Since 2012 MONO have released a number of successful cases included the MONO M80 Dual which I first heard about via Vernon Reid on Twitter and now they are expanding this bag so that you are able to carry both an acoustic guitar AND an electric guitar in a single sturdy, padded gig bag.

M80-2A-4

The patented Headlock™ design provides a protection of both instruments during transport. Both headstocks are suspended inside the case, saving your guitars from both side and rear impacts that could otherwise snap the necks. Hi-density foam bumpers divert vertical impact out and around the case away from the strap pins and the reinforced outer shell of the M80 hybrid case absorbs and deflects hard impact away from the vulnerable areas of the guitar.

For more info head over to the MONO website – http://monocreators.com/dual-acoustic-electric/.

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Cilia Guitars Custom Halo Build Diary – Part 1

As my new Cilia Guitars is nearing completion it is time for me to start a build diary so that I can share the build process with you. As you probably know I already own a custom Cilia Guitars CGA 7 and posted the progress shots in a series of posts back in February 2013. Last year I decided I needed another of Charles Cilia’s exceptional guitars in my collection so I went over to his workshop to sit down and plan my 2nd Custom Cilia. First of all I knew I wanted a 6 string guitar and because I already own a 7 string superstrat style guitar with a floyd rose, a Suhr S4 which is a sort of modern Strat style guitar, a Patrick Eggle which is PRS-like I wanted something a bit different. Over the years I have played many Cilia guitars and have always loved Charles’ Cilia Halo which is a singlecut design with his own custom pickups that sounds and feels amazing. The Halo has a 25″ scale length giving the strings a little more tension than a Les Paul and a touch less than a Fender Strat and it has a single volume and tone control to accompany the 3 way toggle switch.

This guitar is going to look stunning, I have already decided on a transparent black finish with gold hardware. When I was at the Cilia Workshop Charles showed me all of his current available supplies of Maple tops, he knows me well so he had a couple of pieces that he had in mind for me and when I saw the burl Maple slab pictured below I knew it was the one. It is quite similar to the piece I chose for my CGA 7 but even more irregularities which are going to look amazing once there is some stain on the wood. As you can see below Charles also picked out the other tone woods, Mahogany for the body and neck and Rosewood for the fingerboard. I wanted to stray away from the traditional singlecut feel so I am actually getting the CGA 6 neck carve (because I love my CGA7 so much) and Stainless Steel frets. The neck is already finished and with the split block inlays that I chose it looks really cool and feels fantastic.

Cilia-Halo-selected-tonewoods

More updates to follow soon once Charles gets some time to send over more photos. In the meantime I would encourage you to check out his Facebook page to see more of his stunning guitars – https://www.facebook.com/ciliaguitarsaustralia/.

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Kirk Hammett Signature Overdrive Pedal – KHDK Ghoul Screamer

KHDK ghoul screamer
The Ghoul Screamer is the new signature Overdrive pedal for Metallica’s Kirk Hammett who, up until now has only ever had a signature Wah pedal from Dunlop (some of you may think that is more fitting!). I’m not sure what has suddenly sparked Kirk’s interest in pedals but if the company name and KHDK website is anything to go by it would appear that he is a partner in the business. So far KHDK have announced three pedals, the “No. 1 Overdrive”: tube sound in a pedal, “No. 2 Clean Boost”: warm, tube-like boost and the “Ghoul Screamer”: a true utility knife of overdrives.

The Ghoul Screamer has 3 knobs, Drive, Tone & Volume like most Overdrive pedals but Kirk Hammett wanted this pedal to do more than your basic Tube Screamer so KHDK added five switches to control the essential components of your sound: EQ, dynamics and pick sensitivity. Plus the pedal features artwork by San Francisco tattoo artist Tim Lehi.

For more info: https://khdkelectronics.com/ghoul-screamer/

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Two New PRS Baritone SE Guitars for 2016, SE 277 & SE 277 Semi Hollow Soapbar

prs_se_baritones
PRS have announced a couple of Baritone guitars to add to the SE range for 2016 which will no doubt be on display at Winter NAMM 2016 this January, the SE 277 and SE 277 Semi Hollow Soapbar.

So why are they called SE 277? That is thanks to the whopping 27.7” scale length of the neck, to put that into perspective my baritone 7 string is 27″, almost 28″ for a 6 string is an incredibly long neck and would probably allow you to drop lower than the B tuning without losing any tension. The semi hollow body version looks pretty cool, especially with the soapbar pickups. This is what PRS have to say about it:

“The SE 277 Semi Hollow Soapbar takes the traditional mahogany back, maple top platform to new territories with its chambered back, f-hole, and dual soapbar pickup configuration. The semi-hollow body provides increased acoustic resonance and clarity while the soapbars deliver a balance of transparent, uncompressed clean tones and thick growl.”

Baritone guitars are an interesting instrument useful for Metal, Rock or even Blues (check out The Ballad Of John Henry by Joe Bonamassa). As Rich Hannon, PRS Artist Relations puts it: “They are comfortable to play with a shred-worthy feel and handle alternate tunings like a beast.”

Additional specifications for both the SE 277 Semi Hollow Soapbar and SE 277 include a beveled maple top with flame Maple veneer, Mahogany back, 22-fret Maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard with bird inlays, PRS-designed plate-style bridge, PRS-designed tuners, volume and tone with a 3-way toggle pickup switch.

Available Finishes:
SE277 Semi Hollow Soapbar: Gray Black and Vintage Sunburst
SE277: Black Cherry and Tobacco Sunburst

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Tosin Abasi Demonstrates His New Ibanez TAM Prototype

ibanez tam protoype
Well, well, what do we have here? It appears that 8 string guitar virtuoso, Animals As Leaders founder, Tosin Abasi is working with Ibanez on a new signature TAM model and these sneak peek videos are just a couple of months before Winter NAMM 2016.

The original Ibanez TAM (Tosin Abasi Model) was basically an 8 string version of an RG model with a few custom appointments, what the TAM mark II appears to be is a complete redesign based on guitars that Tosin has played over the years including the Strandberg Boden 8 and maybe the Rick Toone “Sketch” 7 string and possibly the Jesse Hall 8 string guitar featured in this video.

Here’s a little demo Tosin posted up to YouTube:

And here’s another little snippet from Tosin’s Instagram account:

A video posted by Tosin Abasi (@tosinabasi) on

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Emerald Guitars Tibetan 9 String Composite Guitar

Emerald Guitars Tibetan 9 string
I have featured a few Emerald Guitars creations on Guitar Noize over the years and they often have an interesting story behind them, this Tibetan painted composite acoustic guitar is no exception, in fact this guitar’s story is exceptional. Alistair Hay, founder of Emerald Guitars, travelled to the Tibetan region of China to have one of his custom guitars decorated with Eastern philosophy art for a customer in Chicago. How is that for service!

Alistair first met Canadian artist Kristel Tenzin Dolma Ouwehand in Donegal over two decades ago while she was travelling the world funding herself through her art. In 1992 Kristel had left Alistair’s St Johnston home leaving him with a painting which had a profound effect on him. Alistair felt that Kristel was the only person who would do this unique project justice and so, accompanied by cameraman, Alan McLaughlin, he set out for China.

Emerald-Guitars-1

The Amdo Art Project, located in the monastery town of Labrang, hosts eight full-time students, young Tibetans of nomadic decent, who join the academy for a five-year term honing their skills as artists under the tutelage of Kristel. The artist took the brief outlined by Alistair’s customer and completed a beautiful mural on the guitar, taking inspiration from various sources.

Alistair said: “Brendan had a vision for a guitar with Asian artwork depicting his favourite philosophers. We chose a Shan Shui-style with a river running through it as the central theme. The inspiration for the river design came from a 300-year-old mural inside the Labrang monastery, giving it a strong local connection.

“The artwork, philosophers and styles span various different cultures reflecting the global nature of this guitar spanning three continents in its creation.

“Water, being the central theme, became very significant as this guitar led to us being able to help install water facilities for the academy.”

Emerald-Guitars-1b

Alistair said: “I have always said we are not just a company that makes guitars, we’re a company that makes stories. We always work with our customers to make a memorable experience and create something special for them.”

Now back home, Alistair will complete the unique guitar before its new owner visits Donegal in person to pick up his masterpiece in the coming months.

Click the link for more information on Emerald Guitars.

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Benefit Concert For Tony MacAlpine featuring Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde & John 5

Tony MacAlpine has unfortunately recently been diagnosed with Cancer, this is obviously terrible news but made even worse by the fact that his wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in June. Aside from the physical and mental stresses just dealing with the treatment for their conditions it must be an incredible stress living in the US where medical bills are astronomical. Thankfully some of Tony’s close friends have organised a benefit concert to help relieve some of that burden.

This special event will take place at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on December 12, 2015, at 7:00pm, featuring performances from John 5 & The Creatures, Zakk Wylde with Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan and Derek Sherinian; Steve Vai and band, and culminating in an all-star jam with house band Portnoy, Sheehan, Sherinian, and featuring special guests. Eddie Trunk will serve as master of ceremonies for the night.

tony macalpine benefit concert

In addition to this extraordinary musical event, Steve Vai, John 5, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Stevens, Paul Gilbert, Steve Lukather and Joe Satriani have all graciously donated personal guitars to be auctioned during the event. Simon Philips has dontated a signature snare. Tony’s gear manufacturers Ibanez, Hughes & Kettner, EMG Pickups, Ernie Ball, Source Audio and Voodoo Lab have also generously donated equipment to be raffled.

Tickets are on sale Saturday November 7, at 10am PT through LiveNation.com, with all proceeds going to help Tony and his family. A GoFundMe campaign will be set up for fans who can’t make the show, but still want to contribute. More details about that as soon as I have them.

To purchase tickets – http://concerts.livenation.com/event/09004F64D7A62B14

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The new Blackstar Artist Series Combo Amps


Blackstar Amps have just announced 2 new all tube combo amps called the Artist 15 and Artist 30. Both amps feature a 2 channel design with 6L6 output tubes and a single Celestion V type speaker in the Artist 15 and two Celestion V type speakers in the Artist 30. The combos feature Blackstar’s ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) control which works in conjunction with the Tone control to allow you to choose between a more American sound with a tight bottom end and more aggressive middle, and fully CW is a British characteristic which is more ‘woody’ and less aggressive.

blackstar artist 30

The clean channel is beautifully simplistic with a single volume and tone control while Channel 2 includes a gain control, 3 band EQ and the ISF control. It also appears that the digital reverb (which has 2 reverb types available from the back panel) and master volume are for channel 2 only. Finally, the amps include an effects loop, speaker emulated output and footswitch.

Blackstar are touting the Artist Series amps as perfect platforms for pedalboards but thanks to the clever design of their effects loop you can switch to either +4dBV or -10dBV, which enables you to use it with either pro rack equipment as well as pedals.

With all the modelling and busking amps Blackstar have been releasing in recent years it is great to see them get back to what made the company famous in the first place which is building great tube amps.

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