I remember getting my first guitar during the holidays when I was a teenager. What a glorious day. I remember playing well into the night, exploring its ins and outs. That particular school vacation was very memorable and definitely set the tone for a big part of my life afterwards. What more can you ask from a gift?
You can have the same effect on one or more of your loved ones with a new guitar or keyboard. Both instruments are extremely popular, and having one around the house can definitely liven up the atmosphere.
If you are interested in a keyboard or piano, there are different types to consider. First of all, you can look at the great all-around beginner models that the big manufacturers offer. Amongst these, the Casio CT-S300 is a really affordable, all-inclusive portable keyboard. With 400 sounds, lots of rhythm tracks, and touch sensitivity, it will keep a first timer well occupied for a few years. If you are shopping for a younger beginner, they will surely appreciate the Dance Music Mode. It’s a great and amusing feature to start experimenting with arrangements and getting acquainted with the inner workings of music. You can check out my full review here.
Next, there are console-style units. They are essentially models that get as close as possible to an acoustic piano in a portable and convenient housing. Amongst these, the Roland FP-10 is an excellent choice. It has a very realistic feel, thanks to weighted keys that have an ivory-like texture. The sounds are very detailed, being drawn from Roland’s Super Natural sound engine. Short of having a real acoustic piano, this is as close as it gets at an affordable price. You can even get a matching furniture-style stand, the KSCFP10. To read more about this model and hear it in action, check out my review here.
There are also arranger-style keyboards. These are relatively more complex units that offer the possibility of creating complete arrangements and accompaniments. Thanks to a series of command buttons, different parts can be activated while the accompanying instruments can also be selected. They will follow the harmony that the pianist is playing, conforming to his or her left hand. If the person you are shopping for has some experience and might benefit from a portable keyboard that offers very powerful performance options, this might be the perfect gift. The Korg EK-50 that I’ve reviewed here is one of these options, and it has excellent value.
An acoustic guitar is an awesome place to start. It doesn’t require any sort of amplification or effects to be audible. It will also lay the groundwork for great technique if ever the new guitarist decides to jump to electric. Dreadnought shaped models are very versatile and offer great all-around tones. They are also easy to pick up, no matter what style of playing you prefer: strumming or fingerstyle.
Yamaha has excellent, affordable choices. The FG Series has different wood options and even designs equipped with electronics. This is a good way of future-proofing your investment, as the guitarist will be able to plug into an amplifier or PA system for performances.
Another model to consider is the FT-100 by Epiphone. They have choice tone woods, usually found on more expensive guitars. This adds a lot of value to an already affordable package. There are no electronics, but those can be added later. I’ve had a few of them in my possession; you can hear and read about them in my review.
If you are more interested in going down the electric route for your shopping, there are awesome models to choose from, depending on the recipient’s interests and favourite styles. The Stratocaster-style guitar is definitely an excellent all-around choice. Fender has obviously a vast selection. But if you are shopping for someone that’s just starting out, the Squier strats have a lot to offer. I myself started on one of these models, and, thanks to its great design, I still use it to this day!
Another popular Fender model is the Telecaster. These are great for Country, Rock ’n Roll, and RnB. They have a tremendous amount of mojo, and I definitely love mine. Squier have awesome options in this body shape, and are definitely worth a look.
Finally, there is another legendary style of electric guitar that you should consider as a gift: the Les Paul. This is a dream guitar for many current and aspiring players. Thanks to beloved guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Slash, and Ace Frehley, this model has inspired countless people in picking up the six strings. Being notoriously expensive, it’s good to know that Gibson’s subsidiary company, Epiphone, has many high-quality affordable alternatives. The Les Paul Special II, for example, features good craftsmanship with some extra aesthetic additions that mimic the original’s luxurious appearance. You can read about the guitar here.
Let’s not forget about the low-end lovers. Some people just prefer sitting back and supplying the foundation and groove to music. We sure appreciate them for that. While there are many models available on the market today, none of them are as widespread as the precision and jazz bass from Fender.
While similar in appearance, they have differences that lend themselves to particular playing styles. The P style delivers a thunderous low end and defined sparkle—for beautiful bass lines and perfect for accompaniment. The Jazz bass has another pickup system. It offers a mid-range snarl that’s great for stepping into the spotlight and being heard. Again, Squier has several models offering tremendous value for the money.
The gift of music is a long-lasting one, which keeps on giving. Nurturing musical education, or supporting it, is an awesome way of investing in a person’s skill set and well-being. Seeing your loved one progress is sort of like the unexpected return on investment. I’ve always seen it as a very meaningful present that won’t go unnoticed.
To get ready for the Holiday Season with awesome gifts, check out all the Musical Instruments on Best Buy’s website.