Photo by Stephen Niemeier
It’s really not that hard to find gifts for a musician. There’s always a new something on the market, whether it’s a pedal, a microphone, a loop station…anything goes!
However, if you’re not a musician, it can be confusing. My boyfriend is a bass player and it was his birthday a couple of days ago, so I spent quite some time looking for the perfect gift. Here are my suggestions for the best gifts you can get for bass players, for any price range!
1) Vox AmPlug 2 Bass
I actually already bought this as a Christmas gift this year. The Vox AmPlug 2 Bass is a neat little tool by VoxAmps which allows you to practice by simply plugging in your headphones into the output. It’s simple but effective, and one of the best practice tools around. As well as the three controls – tone, volume and gain – it also comes with an aux input where you can plug in your phone or other sources of music and just jam.
It’s great because it’s a must have for bassists on the go, as it’s one of the smallest and most portable headphone amps currently available. Furthermore, it’s also extremely easy to use and can deliver great tone. It’s currently priced around €40, depending where buy it.
2) Concert tickets
This one requires some planning ahead because awesome concerts tend to sell out months before. This is what I opted for this time, as Roger Waters is in Milan for a couple of tour dates and we’ve both been dying to see him since pretty much forever. Obviously this was an expensive gift, but I’m sure it will be worth it. We have great seats and, I mean, Roger Waters. Enough said.
3) Effect Pedals or Loop Stations
There are so many effect pedals around and so many great brands to choose from that there’s definitely one which your bassist wants! Problem is, you really don’t want to guess here. Does your bass player need a delay? An echo? A chorus, a reverb, or something else entirely?
You need to know which one you need to buy, and different brands sound different as well. It’s best to do your research or at least keep the receipt so the pedal can be exchanged for something else!
Loop stations are another great gift but they can be quite expensive. However, a great starting option is the Boss Rc 1 (€98), which allows musicians to try out the concept of loop stations and then see if it’s worth the upgrade.
Loop stations and pedals can range from affordable to very expensive, so be sure to do your research on individual pedals!
Image by Egonkling
4) Decals and stickers
This one was a surprise. I’m a planning nerd so I have plenty of stickers just lying around. Some of these look like vintage tin tags, vintage store signs and some have a transparent background. My boyfriend is always hounding me because I leave them lying around…but the other day I caught him choosing the ones he liked best. He ended up choosing five for his bass, one for his MacBook and one for his midi keyboard.
You can also get decals and stickers designed specifically for instruments; they’re a great way to personalise an instrument without actually making permanent changes to it. A while back, I got some moon and star shaped decals for my acoustic guitar which realistically look like mother of pearl inlay. They’re beautiful and definitely a cheap option! Mine have held up really well and are still in perfect shape after around a couple of years. However, the only ones I actually like ship from Japan and took more than three weeks to arrive to Europe; that might be something to consider if you’re short on time. There are definitely plenty of other stores which I haven’t found though!
5) A Great Cable or Nice Strings
Ok so technically that’s two things, but I’m grouping them into the same category. They are the “essentials”; they don’t exactly make for a surprising gift but they are useful and will always be needed. A good cable, such as Evidence cables, can be quite expensive. Strings can also be tricky, as there are many types and brands, so it’s best to know preferences.
Other bonus gifts can be all those accessories which bass players are always losing, such as clip on tuners (Korg makes my favourite cheap tuner, retailing at about €10), plectrums, bass straps and the likes.
I chose concert tickets this time, but I’m pretty sure I’ll need to refer to this list not too far into the future. Any other great gift ideas for bass players? Let me know!