You might not think anyone could get cranky about receiving a gift, but musicians can be famously difficult to buy music gear for. First, there are levels of experience—beginners, hobbyists, gigging players and professionals. Then, some happily explore multiple instruments, while others are dedicated to mastering just one. And don’t even stress yourself out considering the needs of home-recording musicians. But don’t worry about a thing. We’ve selected some gifts tailored to please musicians of all styles and skill levels, whether they play live, are obsessed with practicing and making music at home or both. You can also toss the decision to your favorite musician by gifting them a Guitar Center gift card.
Table of Contents
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Pack (Gen 4)
Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 Keyboard Controller
Shure MV7 Dynamic Microphone
Teenage Engineering EP-133 K.O. II Sampler Composer
KORG TM-60 Tuner/Metronome
JBL 305P 5" Active Studio Monitor
Carry-On 88-Key Folding Piano and MIDI Controller
Zoom H6 Pro Handheld Recorder
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Closed-Back Headphones
Mitchell MU40C Concert Ukulele
The Gift of (More) Music
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Pack (Gen 4) is the latest version of the iconic recording company’s “ready to make tracks” bundle. All your recording musician needs is a Mac or PC to start sessions as soon as they open the box. Everything else to set up a home studio is included in the Studio Pack—a software suite (filled with recording, mixing and mastering programs), Focusrite CM25 MkIII condenser microphone with pop filter, SH-450 closed-back headphones and XLR cables. The big news are the advancements to the Scarlett 2i2 recording interface from the previous generation. Gen 4 offers a 120dB dynamic range, 69dB of gain, a Clip Safe feature, an Auto Gain function, a higher impedance headphone amp and an improved Easy Start tool. The bottom line is the Scarlett 2i2 Studio Pack is incredibly easy to use (even for those who are new to the recording arts) and crazy powerful (nothing except perhaps writer’s block will keep a musician from making awesome tracks).
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers connect to a computer to control audio and music software, letting musicians access a nearly limitless array of sounds and beats to make the music of their wildest dreams. The super-portable Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 combines a 25-key keyboard, eight velocity-sensitive MPC pads and a four-way joystick for pitch and modulation control, all into one handy package. It’s available in four color combinations and comes with more than 1,500 sounds and a complete production starter kit, for a total of 2GB of audio content.
Pictured: Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 ;
Inspired by the legendary Shure SM7B microphone, the Shure MV7 dynamic mic is optimized for vocals and offers both USB and XLR connectivity, meaning it can connect to a studio interface or directly to the computer. This makes the MV7 a safe gift for any musician or podcaster in your life, since it can fit into setups of all kinds. The included Shure MOTIV app lets them configure the mic for detailed control from their desktop or mobile device. Great for instruments, too, this studio mic is equally at home in a high-end recording studio as it is on the go.
Pictured: Shure MV7 Dynamic Microphone
Score a creative TKO with a fun, portable and versatile music-making tool. The Teenage Engineering EP–133 K.O. II brings to mind a vintage Hewlett-Packard calculator, but it’s actually a compact sampler and sequencer. Powered by four AAA batteries (or USB-C), a musician can make beats and compose epic synth opuses at home, or in a park, treehouse, camper van, tugboat and anywhere inspiration strikes. To get the job done, the EP-133 K.O. II offers pressure-sensitive keys, a built-in microphone and speaker, 64MB of memory, 999 user slots, onboard effects and instrument sounds (drums, bass and keyboards) and MIDI, sync and audio I/O. The EP-133 also lets you bob and weave through your workflow by offering nine projects with 80,000 notes each, up to 12 tracks per pattern for samples and MIDI, automation for all 12 faders, the ability to drag and drop samples and more. Don’t wait to be saved by the bell—go the distance with the Teenage Engineering EP-133 K.O. II.
Two things every musician has to learn—how to play in tune and how to play in time. The KORG TM-60 helps with both. This tuner/metronome combo is an affordable and handy tool for musicians of every skill level. Players can use the two functions simultaneously, and it features a built-in mic, meaning they can tune acoustic instruments as well as electric ones. The Sound Out and Sound Back modes help train the ear, and the tap tempo function lets them set their own tempo.
Pictured: KORG TM-60 Tuner and Metronome
Any recording musician needs a good set of monitors to hear what they’re tracking at the best quality. Studio monitors are extremely sensitive, fine-tuned speakers designed specifically to deliver the most accurate representation of what has been recorded as possible—if you’re recording and mixing without monitors, you don’t really know how it sounds. The 305P MKII monitor from JBL is built for home or project studios. It’s compact, but provides solid bass response through its patented low-frequency port. For even better listening accuracy, throw in some monitor isolation pads.
Pictured: JBL 305P MKII Studio Monitor
Whether you’re looking for an easy-to-store instrument for beginners or a portable rig for songwriting, this innovative Carry-On Folding Piano and MIDI controller fits the bill. It provides 128 sounds, 128 rhythms, 30 backing tracks and has its own built-in stereo speakers. Amazingly, it folds down small enough to stow in a backpack. It also comes at a great price for a portable controller with 88 keys and so much versatility. A 49-key model is also available.
Pictured: Carry-On 88-Key Folding Piano
If you want to document a rehearsal, record a show or capture an interview for a podcast, don’t trust your phone—go totally professional. The Zoom H6 Handy Recorder offers six audio tracks, exceptional preamps, an XY mic capsule (that can be interchanged with optional capsules such as surround, shotgun and mid-side), phantom power, onboard effects, a full-color LCD and battery power for recording on the go (an optional AC adapter is also available). However, if you prefer using your phone as a recording device, make sure you have a high-quality mic. Check out the Zoom iQ7 MS Stereo Microphone for iOS or the Zoom Am7 Android Stereo Microphone.
Pictured: Zoom H6 Pro Handheld Recorder
No studio or DJ setup is complete without a quality set of monitoring headphones. In addition to providing accurate audio representation, they allow engineers to record and mix quietly and DJs to hear exactly what they’re playing without all the extra noise and resonance of the club. These closed around-the-ear HD 280 Pro headphones from audio leaders Sennheiser provide excellent noise isolation and a wide frequency response from 8Hz–25kHz. Plus, the collapsible design makes for easy transport to the gig or studio.
Pictured: Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphones
Nothing sweetens up a song quite like a uke, plus they're just plain fun to play. This Mitchell MU40C with its larger concert-sized body is an easy way to add a little extra holiday joy while summoning the spirit of the islands. The bound fingerboard and natural-finish lindenwood body complement the sweet sound, and the included instruction book will get any beginner off to a solid start.
Pictured: Mitchell MU40C Concert Ukulele
There should be something in this gift guide to make just about any musician smile with gratitude, because we all love gear. But if you’re still not sure what to get, we have another option to assist your search. A friendly Guitar Center Gear Adviser is only a call away at 855-697-0864. You can also live chat with one of our expert Gear Advisers right here on our website. They can provide personal, concierge-style expert advice to ensure you get just the right gift for the musician in your life.