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10 essential stocking fillers for guitarists
Guitarists can be a contrary bunch. Not only is the average guitarist's wishlist likely to include vintage guitars and amps worth thousands, but there's also something very personal and idiosyncratic about a player's relationship with his or her instrument.
However, if you want to buy something special for that significant guitarist in your life this Christmas, help is at hand.
Here at MusicRadar, we've compiled the following list of 10 affordable stocking fillers that range from the practical, to the fun, to the downright frivolous.
Vox amPlug £35
There was a time when practicing with a headphone amp was about as comfortable as a sock full of thistles. Happily, these days you can get a pocket-sized tone monster that even allows you to play along with your MP3 player. So, if you're after a gift that says 'please practice quietly' in the nicest possible way, the amPlug is it. It even comes in five sonic flavours.
Perfect for that pre-performance livener or winter warmer, channel the spirit(s) of Keef and co with this pair of shot glasses emblazoned with the band's iconic tongue logo. If you really want to have fun, throw on a Stones LP and knock back a shot every time Mick Jagger yelps the word 'yeah'. Of course, here at MusicRadar we'd always encourage you to drink responsibly…
Every guitarist needs a capo, and we have to admit that the classic Shubb design is pretty hard to beat, with tuning problems virtually nonexistent. And just when you thought that the trend for artificial ageing in the guitar industry had gone as far as it could, the classic Shubb capo now comes in an antique finish. We're not sure if there's any extra mojo, but it certainly looks pretty cool.
For most people, the festive season is a mixture of excess and relaxation. And this cushion is perfect for both. When the party's rocking, you can use it as a prop while jumping around the room and windmilling along with your favourite tunes. Then when the drinks run out, it's a soft, comfortable object on which to rest your weary head. Just try not to drool on it.
Dunlop says that these take you back to pre-depression Mississippi where blues masters used medicine bottles to form the roots of modern blues. No doubt doubling as a handy container for their stash. As far as we're concerned though, in terms of balance, tone and feel, these seamless Pyrex bottles are the nicest slides we've encountered in a long while. Useful for storing tablets to stave off those seasonal hangovers, too…
Most guitarists have a drab electric somewhere in desperate need of a visual overhaul. Rather than paying for an expensive, irreversible refinish, thanks to Status Quo's Rick Parfitt, there's a new way to give a guitar a makeover. Whether it's flames, leopard skin or something even more out there, there's a Facelift vinyl guitar overlay to fit the bill. Low tack adhesive means it can be re-used repeatedly and there are designs to fit Yamaha Pacificas along with Strats and Teles.
Another great silent practice solution is the newest, and smallest member of the POD family from Line 6. Following on from the popular Pocket POD, the Express version combines five great guitar sounds from clean to full-on metal with six effects and is a doddle to use. Again, there's an auxiliary input so your nearest and dearest can jam along with their heroes, and with four AAA batteries, they can take it anywhere and rock.
You don't have to be a virtuoso to be a Guitar Rock Star. Mildly ridiculous, watching others gurning and throwing shapes with this air guitar toy is just as much, if not more fun than actually playing with it. Pre-loaded with eight rock classics, the infrared control system is quite challenging to master. That said, in freestyle mode, someone in the office can play Pyramid Song by Radiohead. Too much time on their hands?
The Planet Waves Pro-Winder tool has been a fixture in our guitar case for a while now. Invaluable for string changes, it winds, cuts, stretches and has a built-in bridge pin puller. Imagine if it was a guitar tuner too? Well now there's one onboard. Probably the second best thing to having a roadie, and this tool is far less likely to stink of sweat and be appallingly sexist.
Barking mad, and brilliant, who wouldn't want a guitar amplifier fitted inside a vintage American toaster? Throw in the excellent custom finish and we're sold. Whoever you buy this for can be assured that their tone will be smokin' hot and evenly frazzled on both sides in a matter of minutes. We're not even sure what that means. Click here to see and hear it in action.