Holiday Shopping 2017: 15 Gifts For Music Lovers
The hardest part of holiday shopping is no longer the endless lines, jostling to get that must-have item before someone else grabs it or even trying to find a parking spot. It's deciding what to get all the people on your list.
Spanning humming wine glasses and essential albums to books, a vinyl ordering service, high-class speakers, instruments, and gadgets galore — we've rounded up 15 gift ideas at all price levels that will make the special music person in your life bristle with holiday delight.
So beat the crowds and get to shopping now!
Guitar players have become known for wanting it all when it comes to attention, stardom and guitar pedals. Zoom's latest and greatest multi-effects unit bridges the gap between fantasy and reality, providing a wide array of compelling and practical effects, an intuitive user interface, and several "nice-to-haves" like a looper, rhythm generator and expression pedal. Sure, it'd be great to cover the stage in vintage analog stomp boxes, but for the money, the space and the versatility, this G3Xn is the next best thing. — Nate Hertweck
Culture and music resonate within, making this book something of a music writer's must-read. While examining the history of pop culture, the book also puts individuals front-and-center, showing personalities and interactions of iconic music artists. Bruce Springsteen said that it "gets as close to the heart and soul of America and American music as the best of rock and roll." — Philip Merrill
Remember the good old days of crafting the perfect mix tape for your crush? It might be a little old school, but you can relive the trend this holiday season with a USB mixtape cassette. The clever design of tape has the USB stick fold inside the cassette, so it looks just like the real thing. You can customize the whole experience, from the carefully selected tunes to writing the liner notes and designing the artwork on the tape itself. This mix of nostalgia and modern tech will surely win over the heart of anyone whose attention you're trying to catch. — Renée Fabian
Thanks largely to the internet, ugly Christmas sweaters have gone from fashion faux-pas to a must-have for the holiday season wardrobe. And what band can better represent the ugly Christmas sweater than Motörhead? Perfect for the office holiday party, a coffee date or that December concert excursion, this unisex sweater is all "Ace Of Spades," plus you'll be keeping the memory of the great Lemmy Kilmister alive. Horns up! — Tim McPhate
Cut the cord and be free to create music anywhere, anytime. The Spire Studio is a new wireless recording studio from iZotope. With multitrack overdubbing capabilities, mono/stereo dual 1/4" / XLR inputs, 48V phantom power, and an onboard suite of iZotope-crafted digital processing plugins, the Spire Studio can be used to record, edit and mix complete songs on the go. Users can also monitor, track and instantly share their recorded music using the free companion Spire app paired with the Spire's own built-in WiFi network. — Brian Haack
This cool new service (endorsed by Henry Rollins, Don Was, Young Guru, and more) curates and recommends album selections for you via text. Simply visit The Sound Of Vinyl website, give a thumbs up or down to a few sample albums, and you'll receive vinyl recommendations via text. Reply "YES" to buy and the goods will show up on your doorstep. The site also lets you browse thousands of albums and consume customized content. Blending today's pocket power buying habits with the vintage vinyl collecting craze, The Sound Of Vinyl is the best way to get something for everyone, even yourself. — N.H.
Designed to be worn anywhere on the body, the Pulse trades a standard metronome's click for vibrations seven times more powerful than smartphone speakers. It is a computerized, smart body metronome designed to help musicians feel the beat more deeply. Like any metronome, the trick is to actually practice with it, but feeling the beat with low wavelengths on your body adds a deeper layer of groove. — P.M.
Class up your holiday, but don't go with just any wine glasses. Make them musical. These specially designed wine glasses will help you pour out the perfect major scale. Simply fill up your glass to the correct note line, wet your finger and circle the rim of the glass until it starts humming. Then get your guests in on the action, and you'll be jamming out holiday tunes in no time. There's even downloadable sheet music to get you started. Pour responsibly and musically. — R.F.
JBL's new 7-series professional reference monitors had us drooling at AES 2017 and what better time to snap up a pair than during the Black Friday sales rush? Available in either a 5-inch or 8-inch size, the JBL 705P and 708P promise to deliver "exceptional output, stunning detail, an expansive soundstage, and impressive accuracy." Providing sublimely crystal-clear audio delivery and fully integrated with JBL's Intonato 24 Monitor Management Tuning System for easy setup and calibration, the JBL 7-series monitors are a must-have for any producer looking to step their studio setup to the next level. Think about it — what's a better way to upgrade a home studio set-up than new reference monitors? — B.H.
Streaming is cool and all, but if there's one soundtrack to keep a physical copy of, it's got to be 1977's Saturday Night Fever. In celebration of its 40th anniversary, a new super deluxe box set offers a chance to relive the phenomenon in all its John Travolta, late '70s glory. This enhanced set includes the original album newly remastered on CD and double LP, featuring all the hit singles by the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, Kool & The Gang, KC & The Sunshine Band, and more. There's also the film on Blu-ray in a recently restored 40th-anniversary cut overseen by director John Badham, packed with extras including director's commentary and deleted scenes. For those on a budget, there's the two-CD deluxe edition. — T.M.
Rock out your music library with this set of Fender Strat body bookends. In case you're worried a world-class guitar has been harmed in the creation of these stylish bookends, don't fear — these are crafted specifically for this purpose out of the same materials used in Fender's guitar-making process, including recycled Alder wood. This means they're authentic and cool as hell. Choose from either classic black or sunburst colors and deck out your bookshelf in six-string style. — R.F.
One of the hottest new studio products on the market this fall is Roland's refresh of a true legend: the iconic TR-808 drum machine. The new TR-08 is packed with the sounds beatmakers immediately associate with the likes of Prince, Marvin Gaye and Kanye West. Best of all, the look and feel of the TR-08 make it portable and playable while the sounds harken back to original, empowering producers to incorporate classic tones into their modern workflow. — N.H.
Easily one of the wildest MIDI controller concepts imaginable, the Touché by Expressive E boasts a touch-sensitive wooden pad aimed at granting producers a more tactile MIDI experience, more akin to playing an acoustic instrument than controlling digital instrument messages. With both USB MIDI and traditional CV outputs, the Touché is equally capable of controlling softsynth/VST plugins and analog hardware. The controller comes packed with companion software to make setup and mapping a cinch, as well as more than 100 presets designed in partnership with UVI and Lié. — B.H.
So many musical instruments are appealing but Martin's Backpacker guitar is designed to go everywhere. Few portable pleasures are designed so well: the big fretboard is perfect for practicing, the nippy twang in the strings is distinctive and sweetened enough for private time, and while the body is not designed for resonance, it feels nice. The anniversary edition's dark wood makes this irresistible (but expensive). — P.M.
Here's a Funko-fied collectible idea. Give the gift of a portable favorite musician in the form of a super-rad Funko toy figure. These stylized collectibles capture the featured artists with personality to spare. Standing at approximately 4 inches tall, they make for the perfect desk accessory at home or the office. Plus, with Amy Winehouse and Justin Bieber to Axl Rose, Kurt Cobain, Metallica, Jimi Hendrix, and Elton John, among others, you're sure to find a figure that's the perfect gift. — T.M.