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Guitar Gifts:
5 Tips for Selecting the Right One
by Peter Bussey

It's time to start thinking about guitar gifts (already!). As the holiday season rolls around, I've noticed the impact on the guitar world. Big displays of guitar "starter packs" crowding the floor at the local guitar shop. The seemingly endless infomercials on the shopping networks of Esteban hawking his entry-level guitars. And the festive holly-covered banners splashed all over the landing pages of the big online guitar retailers. Is it just me, but didn't we just carve our Jack-O-Lanterns?

Any way, with the Christmas and holiday season upon us, what about guitar gifts for the aspiring (or actual) guitar players on our lists? With that in mind I've put together some tips and specific recommendations for selecting guitar gifts that will be appreciated.

A Wide Range of Choices

When it comes to guitar gifts, the good news is that there are many good choices at all price points, and many reputable online retailers to buy from. The not so good news is that with all these options, it can be difficult to sort through them and find just the right guitar gift. Consider these categories:

* Gear (acoustic guitars, electric guitars, amps, and guitar effects, etc)
* Beginners’ Guitar Packages- everything a beginner needs to get started
* Accessories such as tuners, straps, stands, etc.
* Online guitar lesson and instructional products
* Books and Videos
* Software

5 Tips for Selecting the Right Guitar Gifts

The main considerations in choosing guitar gifts are experience level, style of music preferred, and what gear and learning material they already own. Try to find as much out about these as possible. Or better yet, get the lucky gift recipient to drop a few subtle (or not-so-subtle) hints on what they want…”I want a standard Fender Strat in Blue Agave please!” If you you really don’t have a good handle on any of this, no worries, here are some tips for different situations:

1. Discover Preferences- Learn as much as you can about the guitar player's stage of development, gear they own, and musical styles they prefer, and tailor the gift accordingly. Consulting a Guitar Gift Guide will help you with this, as will checking with a family member or friend close to the lucky recipient.

2. Go with a Gift Certificate- Don't have a clue on what to get? No problem! When in doubt, give a gift certificate for guitar gear, online lessons, or music. Price range: however generous you feel! 3. Give a Guitar Package- For a beginner who does not have a guitar , packages are available starting at about $100 that include a guitar and all the accessories needed to get going "out of the box" (including an amp if it's an electric guitar.)

4. Consider online lessons or instructional products- Every guitarist wants to learn new skills and move to the next level. These include “Learn to Play” lessons, interactive lessons to learn songs, and in-depth lessons on particular techniques. These are usually in the $20-40 range.

5. Books and videos are a good bet- For a reasonably priced gift, books are a great choice and can easily be tailored to the recipient. Some categories: history of a style of guitar music (rock , blues, jazz); biography of favorite guitar players; instruction books; guitar song (tab) books for a favorite band or style of music. Price range $15-30.

It is possible to select the right guitar gift. The key is to spend a little effort to find out about the recipient’s skill level, gear they have, and musical preferences. If you don’t know much about guitar playing, or otherwise aren’t able to pick a specific gift, a gift certificate for guitar gear, lessons, or other products should do the trick.

Copyright 2005 Peter Bussey

Peter Bussey has been an avid guitar player for over 10 years. In 2004 he became Editor of The Guitar Players Toolbox, a website dedicated to helping advancing guitar players improve with practical tools, tips, and information. Visit for a variety of free, practical resources such as guitar chords, guitar chord charts, song chords, and more.

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