gifts for guitarist

[Updated for 2016-2017. This list is focused on traditional steel-string guitar players. Visit my gear page for nylon string recommendations.]

A guitar store can be intimidating  – especially if you don’t exactly what you’re looking for. To you find a couple of extra items for the guitarist in your life, here are my 6 Not-So-Obvious Stocking Stuffers for Acoustic Guitarists:

#1 Snark Clip-On Guitar Tuner – $11

This is the best tuner I’ve ever used for two reasons: First, the clip-on feature allows you to leave it on your guitar indefinitely, so you’ll you’ll never have to hunt for your tuner again. Secondly, and most important, the Snark senses the string’s vibration rather than the tone. This allows you to tune in any environment, as noise is no longer a factor when you’re tuning.

#2 Dunlop Yellow 73mm Guitar Picks – $6

The Dunlop Yellow 73mm is probably the most widely used guitar pick, and it’s also the best.  The Yellow 73mm is not too firm, nor too thin.  It’s material allows you to express your tone, rather than the pick’s. There is no glossy finish on the pick so it stays comfortably in your fingertips, almost conforming to them after a couple of uses.  I have found this no-nonsense pick to be perfect for every conceivable style of guitar playing: electric, acoustic, steel string, or nylon. This is a GREAT gift for guitar players, as they’re always, always, always losing picks.

#3 Planet Waves Pro Winder String Winder & Cutter  – $7

Holy Moses, sweet lord, creator of all that is good.  This is the greatest, and most obvious, invention for guitarists. For 20 some years I have rummaged around for string cutters and string winders.

The Planet Waves Winder/Cutter alleviates much of  tediousness of string changing.  You wouldn’t think that having your winder and cutter as an all-in-one device would change much of the process, but it does.  I can get my strings done in a few minutes, versus the 20-30 minutes it used to take.  Just remember to keep the device in your guitar case!

I teach over 40 people per week, so I’m changing strings for my students A LOT. This tool is also great for the serious guitarist, who has several guitars, and is routinely changing strings for the best feel and tone.

#4 Martin Lifespan SP Custom Light guitar strings $9

Ok, so we’ve established that the best string is the one you never have to change.  For that reason, I prefer (for my steel string acoustics) Martin Lifespan SP Custom Light.

Strings break down literally, by the age of the guitarist, and the PH level of his or her hands. The younger the guitarist (i.e. puberty), the higher the acidity.  Therefore, younger guitarists tend to break down strings WAY faster than adults.  Like days or weeks, compared to months (or even years) for adults. Either way, Martin solved the break-down issue by treating the strings.

I prefer custom-light gauge acoustic steel strings because they’re easier to press down and bend (especially if you’re playing solos) while still retaining a bright and warm tone.

#5 Martin Guitar Leather Strap Button – $12

The Martin leather strap button is stylish and essential, if you’re going to attach a guitar strap to the headstock of your guitar.  This beats using a shoestring!

#6 G7th Nashville Capo – $15 

Capo’s are essential for any guitar player. The G7th Performance is the best one.  Traditional capo’s have tight, spring-loaded clamping mechanisms that require you to re-tune the guitar after applying them. The G7th’s mechanism is far more gentle. The result is perfect pressure across all six strings, and no re-tuning.

Secondly, the G7th capo has a really handsome, stainless steel design, that pairs perfectly with a fine instrument. If you appreciate fine things, you love the G7th Capo.


Good luck and happy hunting!



Written by:

Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, film composer - Broken Noons, creator of modern content for guitar.