9to5Toys Gift Guide: Justin’s favorite gear for musicians

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musicians gift guide

Buying gifts for loved ones and co-workers can be about as rewarding as it is frustrating. And there’s no one more picky or hard to buy for than musicians and home music producers. This year’s musicians gift guide will provide you with some great ideas across all price ranges and for just about any kind of producer or instrumentalist. From guitar tools to build-it-yourself synthesizer kits and everything in between, head below for 2019’s best gifts for musicians.

Musicians Gift Guide 2019

Arturia MicroLab Controller

While USB MIDI keyboard controllers may seem like they are only for beat makers, dance music producers, and things of that nature, guitar players and those into more organic music need one too. Whether it’s for demoing on-the-go, adding flourishes to otherwise acoustic music, and more, Arturia MicroLab is an affordable and versatile option. Starting at $89 shipped and available in three colorways, it provides musicians with a portable means of getting down to business with just enough bells and whistles to keep them excited. It’s also a great option for smaller home studios and the like too. Featured in our 2019 edition of the best MIDI keyboard controllers for Mac, it sports 25-keys, a “cable-tidy” recessed USB port, and protective rubberized case. Alongside a pair of touch strips for additional control, you’ll find 4 multi-function buttons for one-note chord triggers, sustain functions, and much more.

ROLI Seaboard Block

No musician’s gift guide in 2019 would be complete without at the very least mentioning the ROLI Seaboard Block. This inventive and unique MIDI controller would be a welcomed addition to just any musician’s setup. In fact, its a great gift even if they already have one because you can link them together to make a mega Seaboard. While it might be a little bit more pricey than your average musician gift, whoever you give this $300 gift too will love you forever. Better yet, if you’re quick you can score one at the Black Friday price of $245 shipped.

Teenage Engineering PO Modular System

For the synth-head and musical tinkerers on your list, look no further than the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Modular System. While we went hands-on with the top of the line system 400 earlier this year, our musician’s gift guide is focusing on the more affordable build-it-yourself modular synth kits. Including everything you need to both build and play (other than batteries) these innovative modular synth systems start at $199 for the system 16 while the slightly more involved system 170 goes for $399.

You can think of these kits like an IKEA or LEGO set, except you’re left with a fully functioning modular synthesizer in the end. Also keep in mind that whichever model you go for, these systems will integrate with one another as well as other modular gear (including Eurorack). For example, the most affordable system 170 can one day become a sequencer controller for the pricey 400 model down the line.

Miniature PO Synths

For a more affordable entry in to the magical world of Teenage Engineering’s music gear, check out the miniature Pocket Operator synths. You might remember seeing the Rick and Morty and special edition models that have hit in 2019, but there are loads of options on the miniature all-in-one synthesizer/sequencers. They start from $49 with most models going for $59.

Fender Hardcover Coffee Table Book

The hardcover Fender coffee table photography book features beautiful full-res images of all your favorites from the world’s most iconic guitar brand. From the greatest and most rare Strats, Teles and the infamous Marauder, it carries over 280 pages of photography and details any guitar player would love to have in the studio or on the coffee table. Working closely with the world’s most renown collector’s and Fender brand itself, it features “hundreds of never-before-seen images from recently unearthed archives and specially commissioned shoots around the world.” The Fender hardcover photo book goes for $21.90 Prime shipped.

Ernie Ball Musician’s Tool Kit

Another great gift for the musician/guitar player that already has all the instruments and obvious companion accessories you can think of is a tool kit. The Ernie Ball Musician’s Tool Kit is great option at $26.95 shipped and a 4+ star rating. All packaged inside a nice carrying case, this all-in-one instrument care system comes with everything string players need. You can change strings, set intonation, adjust the overall action, and more using the included microfiber polish cloth, wonder wipes, heavy duty string cutter, peg winder, 6-in-1 screwdriver, ruler, and durable hex wrench set.

More notable Musician Tool Kits:

  • Fender Custom Shop Guitar Tools $75
  • D’Addario Accessories Guitar Tools $72

Fender Play Guitar Lessons Subscription

While this one is only going to be suitable new players or those just getting in to the world of guitar, lessons can go a long way. The online Fender Play learning platform features with loads of video and instructional content to help players get through he early phases  of learning and then some, It also features a growing library of songs and genres to help make the process a little bit more fun. You can get someone started with the 3 month subscription at $19.99, while the 6 and 12 month options go for $49.99 and $89.99 respectively. 

You’ll also want to browse through our smart home gear guide right here. It features loads of the best options from Philips, Abode, Amplifi, and much more.

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