Rocking the Stockings
Finding holiday stocking stuffers for musicians should be easy. Generally speaking, they are. However, there’s an arena-sized difference between a tired set of guitar strings—the musician’s equivalent of a tie for dad on Father’s Day—and something sleek, nuanced and cool… like a pair of sunglasses with built-in Bluetooth speakers (yes, they exist). After a marathon Zoom session with the North Pole, Music Connection once again delivers the goods. Last year we asserted that our list was worth its weight in gold records. This year we’ve raised the stakes and declare that it’s now worth its weight in platinum records… because, you know, intellectual capital supply chain issues. After reading this list, all you’ll need will be a stocking.
Bespoke 3D-printed amp badge $25
An Etsy entrepreneur offers customized amp badges that can include a band or player’s name. Buyers can get creative and/or mischievous with badges such as “Amplifier,” “Too loud!” or “Goes2Eleven.” Have some fun and make people second-guess themselves with an intentional misspelling such as “Martial,” “Marshull” or “Partial.” Amp badges are available in various sizes, styles and colors. Buyers aren’t restricted to the Marshall-style font… but then when has the Marshall font ever been a restriction? etsy.com/listing/907297388/custom-3d-printed-guitar-amp-badges
In a similar vein, there are also mini amp-style pick boxes at $26. Order early, though, since they ship from the U.K. It’s believed by some (presumably) that slow shipping times were a contributing factor to America’s call for independence back in the day.
Yosh’s Drum Warehouse Volume 2 $79.99 (intro price)
Created by GRAMMY-winning engineer and producer John “Yosh” Jaszcz alongside drummer Kevin Kelley, Yosh’s Drum Warehouse Volume 2 is a drum bundle with more than 2,000 new multi-sampled, multi-velocity drum hits recorded with three different kits, a trio of toms and kicks and more than a dozen snares. It offers 24-bit, 48 kHz WAV files that get along famously with any DAW or sampler. It’s like having a dual battalion of drummers at your back ready to wage percussive war. Except these soldiers run on cheap and virtually weightless electricity rather than equally shocking MREs.
Fully-customized band or artist poster $18
Get inventive with a unique personalized poster for the musician in your life. Make one for a real upcoming gig, a past one or even a fantasy bill… such as headlining Woodstock with support acts Jimi Hendrix and The Who. You can upload your own image. The only limits are your imagination and graph-hack skills.
Bose sunglasses with open-ear Bluetooth headphones $129
(Relax. There’s also a cheaper $60 option.) Sunglasses with built-in speakers? Hepcats have likely ached for them since the day sunglasses hit store shelves. Consider what these would look like if produced in 1975. The entire assembly would likely weigh north of 50 pounds, cost thousands and only carry enough juice to play a 45 at 33 RPMs. You’d be the coolest uncool kid in your ‘hood.
Something else that’s rad about these: while you can hear your selected audio with shades deployed, bystanders, essentially, cannot. tinyurl.com/2hm5et46, tinyurl.com/2hm5et46
Razer Anzu offers its version for a comparatively cheap $70.
Personalized guitar pick holder $15
IIf guitarists can sometimes forget their name, they can also forget what instrument they play. This personalized guitar pick holder solves both problems: it reminds them both of their name and the instrument they play, since it’s in the shape of a guitar. If they forget where they’ve left their pick holder… well, the magic of our stocking stuffer ideas has its limits. etsy.com/listing/1202875190/personalized-guitar-pick-holder-guitar
Ironkoi steel tongue drum eight notes, six inches $19.99
Musician or not, there’s a little drummer in each of us that screams to be let out… until the neighbors scream for it to be let back in. But for that brief time that it’s at large, help indulge the passion with a tiny steel drum. The good news is that it’s so small that when the neighbors do complain––this is how you’ll discover which are cool and which aren't—it’s easily hidden and the prosecutor will have to drop all charges. Or at least the drum-related ones. If the neighbors are cool, let them in on the secret. If they’re not, then perhaps they deserve to have their sleep disturbed.
INSPIRE THE MUSIC: 50 YEARS OF ROLAND HISTORY $75
A 400-page hardback tome on gear-maker Roland’s 50-year history, Inspire The Music is far more than a bland retelling. The book contains 70 interviews with artists and designers: the people who witnessed the birth and evolution of Roland’s audio armory firsthand. tinyurl.com/2p94av4f
Custom plastic amplifier AirPods case/keychain $25.95
This AirPods case is patterned after a Marshall amp head, but it will likely hold picks, spare change or even a tiny key. But then why would you have a case for a key… that’s five times the size of the key? These are issues that you should explore with your locksmith or therapist—whichever charges the least. There’s a 12-character maximum on the name, but that’s long enough for the essentials such as “Martial,” “Marshull” or “Goes2Eleven,” which observant readers will recall from earlier. Less observant readers will recall them… from somewhere. tinyurl.com/yvm7hu6n