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Gifts for musicians: affordable present ideas for music-makers (which they'll actually use)

Gifts for musicians: affordable present ideas for music-makers (which they'll actually use)
(Image credit: Getty/CatLane)

Buying gifts for musicians can seem like an artform in itself. We musos are a paradoxical bunch: both indulging in the fantasy that we’re escaping the corporate world, while simultaneously getting very excited about shiny new things.

Similarly, the best musicians are masters of communication, however, ask us what we want for our next birthday or Christmas present and the responding jargon can sound like an alien language, especially once you get past the first instrument stage of the process. And even if you can handle the tech talk, the gear is often prohibitively expensive.

Essentially, we get it: we’re awkward. Let us extend an olive branch then, as we offer up some gift ideas that should have real appeal to the music-maker in your life. 

In this guide to the best gifts for musicians we've covered everything from guitar gifts, ideas for DJs, gifts for drummers and loads more.

The best gifts for musicians: ideas for every budget

Gifts for musicians: Audient iD4

(Image credit: Press Material)

1. Audient iD4

Got a laptop? Got an instrument? This is what you need to get recording

High quality metal chassis
Represents excellent value
Simple, easy-to-use controls

Widely agreed to be one of the best entry-level audio interfaces (for non-musos: the thing that connects your instrument/microphone to your computer to record), the iD4 benefits from Audient’s excellent mic preamp and offers remarkable value for money. There are two inputs, meaning that it’s easy to simultaneously record vocals and guitar. This is a great way to get started in the recording world.

Check out the best audio interfaces for all budgets

Gifts for musicians: Boss Katana Mini

(Image credit: Boss)

2. Boss Katana Mini

The mini amp that punches above its weight

Sounds way bigger than it looks
Loads of tone shaping controls

The mini amp market has grown incredibly competitive in recent years, but Boss’ Katana Mini still holds its own and would make the ideal gift for the guitarist in your life. It’s battery-powered, offers three channels (clean, brown and crunch) and a three-band EQ. Most importantly, it’s portable, affordable and sounds way better than any amp should at this price.

These are the best budget guitar amps under £/$500

Gifts for musicians: Audio Technica AT2020USB+

(Image credit: Audio Technica)

3. Audio Technica AT2020USB+

The go-to entry-level recording microphone

Solid build
Excellent value
A great all-rounder for home recording

Since it’s launch in 2006, the Audio Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Microphone has become a firm fixture in home studios all over the world. At a time when home recording has been booming, few others have been able to rival its balance of sound, rock-solid construction and low price point. The latest model - AT2020USB+ - is a great option for quick and easy digital recording.

Read more: our pick of the best microphones

Gifts for musicians: SE Electronics Metal Pro Pop Shield

(Image credit: SE Electronics)

4. SE Electronics Metal Pro Pop Shield

The indispensable tool for any vocalist

Gooseneck arm makes adjustments easy
Metal mesh won’t tear

A pop shield? Yeah, it’s not the most glamorous piece of equipment, but when it comes to gifts for musician's, this is utterly essential if you want to produce decent vocal recordings (spoken or sung). It's lightweight, flexible and built to last. What’s more, even the most tooled-up musician will rarely begrudge having a spare to hand.

Gifts for musicians: Akai MPK Mini MKII

(Image credit: Akai)

5. Akai MPK Mini MKII 25 Key Mini Keyboard

A bells and whistles controller keyboard

Assignable knobs and pads
Bundled software

The Akai MPK Mini MKII packs a wealth of control options into a portable package, ideal for desktop producers on-the-go. There are 25 velocity-sensitive keys, eight backlit pads and eight assignable knobs, plus it comes with SONiVOX Wobble and Hybrid 3  synths – making it a great companion if you need to quickly whip-up a backing track.

Something else in mind? These are the best MIDI keyboards you can buy

Gifts for musicians: SONY MDR-7506 headphones

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony MDR-7506 headphones

The best kept secret in studio recording

Great sound quality
Rugged build
Recording pros love them

Headphones are big business now. It seems we’ll happily drop hundreds on the big, branded and Bluetooth, yet the chances are that those making the music you listen to on them did so wearing Sony’s MDR-7506s. They sound superb, are built to take a beating and they have a cool curly cable…

Explore more options in our guide to the best studio headphones for music making

Gifts for musicians: Alesis SamplePad 4

(Image credit: Alesis)

7. Alesis SamplePad 4

An affordable way to add samples to your playing

Loads samples or use built-in library
Faithful sample sound
Tune sounds and add reverb

The SamplePad 4 is a great gift for drummers looking to expand their setup, or any performer that wants any easy way to add percussive sounds, trigger samples or use backing tracks in their performances. There are 25 useful sounds preloaded, but an SD card slot allows you to load your own, massively expanding its utility.

E-drums more their bag? These are the best electronic drum sets around

Gifts for musicians: Hercules Stands GSP38WB PLUS AGS Guitar Wall Hanger

(Image credit: Hercules)

8. Hercules Stands GSP38WB Guitar Wall Hanger

Keeps guitars safe and rooms tidy

AGS (Auto Grip System) secures instruments
Foam rubber prevents scratches

This handy wall mount will help the guitarist or bassist in your life to stow their instrument safely and securely, without sacrificing floor space. The clever AGS system closes over as you place the guitar on the hanger, meaning it can't fall forward, even if knocked. And when you're ready to play, just grab it and away you go.

Great guitar accessories and gear essentials for beginners

Gifts for musicians: Apple iPad Air

(Image credit: Apple )

9. Apple iPad Air

One of the best gifts for musicians out there

Good screen and processor
Very light
Cheaper than the iPad Pro

This lightweight Apple tablet hits a real sweet spot, offering a great balance between price and performance. Plus, it doesn't matter what kind of musician you are, the iPad is a great tool for everything from writing setlists and noting down lyric ideas, to recording guitar, laying down beats and editing your next vlog. In terms of spec, the 10.5-inch Retina display features Apple’s True Tone technology and an antireflective coating, while the dramatically named A12 Bionic processor should give you plenty of grunt, whatever you're using it for.

Buy the Apple iPad Air from Amazon
The best iPads for musicians and producers

Gifts for musicians: Ibanez Tube Screamer TS Mini

(Image credit: Ibanez)

10. Ibanez Tube Screamer TS Mini

A micro classic guitar effects pedal

Almost every guitarist can find use for a Tube Screamer
Easy to fit on any pedalboard
True bypass switching

The Tube Screamer is one of the most iconic and enduring guitar effects pedals ever produced. The TS Mini packs that tone into a tiny package at a friendly price point. Most players using an amp will happily find a home for a Tube Screamer.

Gifts for musicians: Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele

(Image credit: Fender)

11. Fender Venice Soprano Ukulele

The thing everyone owns but pretends not to

Tele-style headstock
Easy to play

We’ll level with you, owning a ukulele in 2019 is unlikely to land you a gig. However, they remain a highly satisfying and inspiring little addition to the 'cupboard of cables and random noise-makers’ that every self-respecting musician keeps. The tiny frets can also aid technique development, as a guitar neck feels positively luxurious in comparison.

Explore more of the best ukuleles

Gifts for musicians: Ernie Ball Braided Instrument Cable

(Image credit: Ernie Ball)

12. Ernie Ball Braided Instrument Cable

Eye-catching cable that won’t get lost at gigs

Neon design
Lifetime warranty
Durable build

How excited does anyone get about cables, you ask? Well, ‘surprisingly so’, is the answer when you’re talking about musicians. We love these 1/4” instrument cables from Ernie Ball. They won’t tangle, are really sturdily constructed and they come in both straight or angled options. They look great, too, with 12 eye-catching colour options.

Want more options? Check out more of the best guitar cables

Gifts for musicians: Washburn Rover Travel Guitar

(Image credit: Washburn)

13. Washburn Rover Travel Guitar

Know a guitarist who travels a lot? Here’s a guitar that can go with them

Full size neck and scale-length
Solid wood build
Includes gig bag

Yeah, this guitar’s build has - quite literally - gone pear-shaped. However, the Washburn Rover is a fantastic option for the traveling guitar player who wants a quieter instrument, but doesn’t want to risk cramping-up on a smaller neck. Getting a mahogany back and sides and a spruce top on a guitar at this price is a real boon, too.