Stocking fillers for the discerning muso
As we hurtle ever closer to Christmas, so it figures that the non-musicians in our lives may be wondering what to buy us. Thankfully, our chosen past-time is one which is stuffed full of toys, gadgets and accessories with which we can improve and augment our rigs. Here we look at some of the best novelty gifts for musicians – and not an egg-shaker or ukelele in sight!
Musicians are typically among the more creative people you’ll ever find and, for some, that creative inspiration finds its way naturally into the kitchen. The similarities between food and music are abundant. The creation of both requires no little amount of skill, dexterity and experience, not to mention a need for the right tools for the job at hand. That’s where this rather marvellous Fender cutting board comes in. It’s not crafted straight from Fender’s private reserve of rare rosewood, nor is it ever likely to substitute for a Custom Shop but if you’re after an aesthetically pleasing block of wood on which you can dice an onion or butterfly a chicken, this is the thing for you.
As guitarists, we rely on our fingers having both the necessary deftness and strength, an oxymoronic combination if ever we heard one, to navigate our way around a fretboard. Years of playing and muscle memory are undoubtedly the time honoured ways of achieving these attributes, but to help you along your way you might consider this strange looking contraption from Planet Waves. The Varigrip exercises your fingers thanks to an adjustable set of springs under each digit, and there’s also a callus development tool in-built to add to the package. You could probably, if you were so inclined, build up the muscles in your fingers to the point where you could crush a varnished cricket ball with your bare hands. Warface and audible “GRRRs” are purely discretionary.
Precision engineered to within a thousandth of a millimetre, this Gibson Barstool has been designed with players in mind. The footrest midway up allows for the traditional 72-degree angle knee-bend preferred by all the top players, and it will have a clear and measurable effect on your playing within seconds of you perching yourself on it. (Disclaimer – none of this is true, although it does look pretty cool and will add class and style to any room in your house/practice space.)
Not content with being the industry-leading string brand, Ernie Ball’s next stop on its quest for world domination is on the coffee tables of musicians across the world. The first part of the megalomaniacal strategy involves the production of these rather fetching drinks coasters, which come in packs of six and feature the iconic designs of Ernie’s different string gauges. As far as coasters go, they are up there with the best, safely shielding your surfaces from the spills and coffee-cup rings which blight our everyday lives.
As far as guitar gifts go, you can never go wrong with a set of branded plectrums. Jim Dunlop have been making some of the world’s best guitar accessories for years and have become synonymous with guitar music, so it seems only fitting that they have created a selection of plectrums immortalising the album artwork of the great Jimi Hendrix.
The tin contains 12 classic celluloid plectrums, with printed album artwork from Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland, and Band of Gypsys, all presented in a study collectible tin. Secret Santa? We’ve got you covered.
Not so much a novelty item, but a necessity, earplugs will be well received by the musician in your life without you having to smash the piggy bank up. Good quality headphones such as the Fender Touring Series Ear Plugs have been specifically designed for practice and for performances allowing a 12-decibel reduction which will really help reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss.
If you enjoy going to gigs, they also help to reduce the ringing in your ears without affecting the quality of the show! Bonus tip: if you live in a house with a guitarist you could even use them yourself and get some peace and quiet.