‘Tis the season to treat that special shredder in your life! Whether you celebrate the holidays, or keep your winter festivities low-key, it’s hard not to like products that balance practicality with pleasure. We’ve rounded up a bunch of gift-worthy gear accessories—including many from independent and women-owned companies—that are priced to fit any budget!
LeatherMan WingMan Multi-Tool — $39.95
The matriarch of multi-tools, the LeatherMan WingMan puts the “fun” in functional. Whether you’re snipping excess guitar string, using the needle nose pliers, stripping a wire, or slicing an avocado to make guacamole while on tour, it’s got your back. And it’s always handy to have a Phillips-head screwdriver on the go! LeatherMan’s newer models include spring-loaded action, which makes squeezing it a lot easier on your hands, and an engraving option, which might score you some bonus points with your loved ones. Pro-tip: if you’re flying, pack the Wingman in your check-in bag—otherwise it’ll get confiscated at the airport. Get it here.
Alchemy Audio “Dead Bat” Dying 9-Volt Battery Simulator #2 — $29.95
File this Dead Battery Simulator under “cool gadget for the holidays.” Alchemy Audio’s husband-wife team Johnny Balmer and Victoria Thiede hand wire these tiny devices in their boutique workshop in Chicago and make ‘em affordable for your special someone. Plug the Dead Bat between a pedal and its power supply to manipulate the sound with a decaying effect. Many gearheads hoard 9 volts that have been used for different extents to create a spectrum of variant tones from their effect pedals for this very purpose—this process creates what is considered the euphoric, sonic equivalent of an aurora borealis. Just adjust the voltage knob, and lose power instantly. Get it here.
Steve Clayton Custom Picks — $24.99 and up
How cute and awesome is it to give your bestie or bandmate a baggie of cool custom picks? The Steve Clayton “Custom Guitar Picks” interactive design tool allows you to “pick” (pun intended) from 17 materials including glow-in-the-dark plastic, Dunlop-like delrin, metallic foil, or plain ol’ acetate. Then select a bass or guitar plectrum shape, and the quantity. Upload the image or the text you want printed on the surface, like a drawing, logo, or inside joke, and order away! Get them here.
SLDR Guitar Strap from Souldier — $24.99
Souldier Straps have become absolutely iconic stage wear for bands worldwide. They are easily identified by their retro patterns and seat-belt backing. Founded by Jennifer Tabor, the straps come in artistic designs with bright colors and they can even be customized per order. Along with guitar and bass straps, Souldier also offers fancy straps for ukuleles, banjos, cameras, belts, and headbands. Recently, Tabor introduced a new wallet-friendly model to her product line, the SLDR, which is handmade in Chicago. Leave it to a femme-owned business to develop a perfect strap with non-slip rubber ends and eye-candy quality accentuation for any guitar or bass. The vibrant style of the SLDR is bold and strong (just like you!). Get it here.
Lava Mini Coil Patch Cable — $21.95
What do you get the effects-obsessed electronics aficionado who already has everything under the sun plugged into their pedalboard? How about gorgeous, coiled patch cables that guarantee a smooth transmission of sound from one stompbox to another? I can attest to the excellence of Lava Cables, but if you want to learn more why they are so damn reliable, the Oklahoma-based company explains the science behind them on their site. Lava’s Mini Coils are available in nine bright colors. They stretch and bend due to their curly structure, and they come with a lifetime guarantee. It’s worth connecting all of your pedals with high-quality cabling so when you’re on stage, you have utmost confidence that your set up sonicly dominates. Get it here.
Tornado Extended U-Hook — $14.99
Ok, can you keep a secret? Promise? The Tornado hooks by Racor are the best solution for “hanging anything anywhere” with minimalist style, and “anything” includes music gear. These heavy-duty wall hooks are common for industrial tools, but they are also perfect for supporting your guitars in your home or practice space. I started buying them years ago for their super mod orange and steel color combo, versus the boring wood and grey guitar hangers available at most big box stores. It’s the Apartment Therapy approach to displaying your favorite axes, and the price is right so you can buy a few for ultimate impact. Get them here.
Dunlop String Winder — $1.95
According to manufacturer’s studies, a string winder allows you to unwind a string 70% faster than the manual approach. Imagine having all of that extra time, and multiply it by six strings (or four, for you bassists out there)! You can buy the Dunlop string winder super cheap online, or at the counter of your local music shop. Charm it up in a jewelry box, or get crafty and incorporate it into the gift wrap of a larger present. The point is, this winder is very affordable and shows the strings-player in your life that you care about their time, and their fingers. Get it here.
Fender Strap Blocks — $3.99
Ok, so you can either buy four bottles of Grolsch for $13, or gift a 4-pack of strap locks from Fender for $3.99 here. The point is, the rubber rings that famously line the beer caps of certain booze brands have been replicated to slip over the peg of your axe and secure the strap in place. You know when you see someone’s guitar strap slip off during a show? Give your friend the gift of being about to focus on rocking instead of adjusting their strap. Your other options are duct tape (nope) or strap locks that require hardware swapping or drills, so these are a nice, easy solution. Get them here.
DR Neon Multi-Color Acoustic Strings — 2 packs for $8.49
Strings are the musician’s equivalent of giving socks for the holidays—they’re necessary, sensible, and you’re always happy to have new ones. Well, maybe you would like to spice up your life with these neato, fluorescent-color coated acoustic strings! The novelty is that they are color-coded for each note, and they glow under black light. While serious players have their preferences for GHS, Ernie Ball and Pyramids in to maintain tone and resonance, these rainbow strings are fun to rock onstage, or in a music video or photo shoot. Get them here.
Love and gratitude are their own ultimate rewards, but these accessories are must-haves for string-queens who have been both naughty and nice this holiday season.
For more budget friendly gifts for guitar and music enthusiasts, check out She Shreds’ online store.