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9to5Toys Gift Guide: Justin’s favorite gear for musicians and producers

It’s now time for our 2020 roundup of the best gifts for musicians. After detailing our favorite options in the smart home category earlier this week, we turn our attention to some great gift ideas for musicians. Whether it seems like they already have everything out there or you’re having a hard time finding something affordable, we collected some particularly notable ideas just about any musician and home producer would appreciate under the tree this year. Hit the fold for a closer look at our picks for the best gifts for musicians this year. 

This year’s best gifts for musicians

Novation Launchpads

Novation’s Launchpads are tactile hands-on controllers for musicians and producers. While once dedicated to Ableton Live users, a massive 2020 update to Apple’s flagship Logic Pro production software has brought along with it full support for most of Novation’s lineup of multi-colored, LED-lit pad/grid controllers. This, combined with the fact that musicians and producers of just about any discipline will appreciate them, makes the Launchpads an easy choice for the best gifts for musicians this year. 

The Novation Launchpad lineup ranges from the Mini MK3 through to the Launchpad X and the flagship Pro MK3 that is also now compatible with Apple’s Logic Pro. Any one of these models would be a fantastic gift to just about any musician, especially those with a penchant for electronic-based genres, but just about any music producer or player will appreciate the unique new musical input method. They feature RGB pads, transport buttons for controlling your music software, various modes, and support for Apple’s new Live Loops environment

You’ll find sale pricing on all of the best models right now as well:

Musician Multi-Tools

Next up, we are changing gears and focusing on guitar players, home recording engineers/producers, and musical tinkerers with the Ibanez Quick Access Multi Tool. Just about any guitar player, whether they are out gigging or not, as well as recording engineers, should have some kind of multi-tool on their person or in the studio. Whether it’s changing a string, making a repair, or jury rigging some kind of strange microphone setup, these things are infinitely handy. 

The Ibanez Quick Access Multi Tool is a particularly notable option for guitar players that falls in the pocket-sized category. Coming in at just under $22.50 Prime shipped on Amazon and available in both black and red colorways, it is outfitted with 11 essential guitar tools, including hex wrenches, screwdrivers, a tube spanner, and a ruler. I, for one, would be delighted to open up one of these on Christmas morning, largely agreeing with the hundreds of Amazon customers that have left it with a 4+ star rating. 

But there are a few other notable music tool kits that should be included in this year’s list of the best gifts for musicians as well:

Laptop Stand 

While at first glance a laptop stand looks like it might only be useful to DJs, that couldn’t be further from the truth. A solid laptop stand can go a long way in a home studio or while out and about gigging, on-site recording, and more. It not only can lift a laptop off the tabletop to offer more space underneath but also provide a similar service for a piece of outboard gear like synthesizers, the Launchpad controller mentioned above, and well, just about anything that will fit on it. 

One of our top picks in this category is the Hercules Laptop Stand for $79 shipped. Carrying solid ratings, this thing is built to last and includes a nice bag for storage or transportation. Speaking of which, this height and angle adjustable stand also folds down about as flat as you could hope for, again making for a particularly versatile solution. Hercules is among my favorite and one of the most trusted brands in the music gear accessory space, making its DG400BB an easy recommendation for any home musician, gigging DJ, or producer. 

However, there are a few other models that will also do the trick that are worth taking a look at as well:

  • Hercules DG400BB Laptop Stand $79
  • Numark Laptop Stand Pro $100+
  • Odyssey DJ Gear Stand $110+
  • Nulaxy Laptop Stand $30

Moleskine Art Music Notebook

As we mentioned above, finding gifts for musicians isn’t easy — they are either way too expensive or you just can’t tell if it’s something that will be useful to them. Well, much like the laptop stands above, every musician can do with a nice notebook. Either it’s something dedicated to their craft or just something to jot down ideas, lyrics, and other things, this is one gift that will certainly go to good use at some point or other for just about any musician. 

It’s hard to pick exactly which one should land on our list of the best gifts for musicians, but you really can’t go wrong with the hardcover Moleskine Art Music Notebook at under $20 Prime shipped on Amazon. Carrying stellar ratings from hundreds, Moleskine makes great notebooks you’ll actually care about, and this one has some special features for artists and musicians. Along with an included music ruler, the right page carries 11 staffs for plotting out melodies and chord progressions, while the left side is blank for notes, doodles, and more. Other features include an elastic closure band, a leather-like classic Moleskine cover, and “thick, ivory paper pages.” And you’ll also find a few other options below as well:

  • Moleskine Art Music Notebook $20
  • Songwriter Sketch Journal $15
  • AmazonBasics Classic Lined Notebook $9.50

And even more of the best gifts for musicians:

We’ll also drop a list of other ideas and stocking stuffers that come to mind. Just about any musician, producer, or audio fanatic will love to find any of these options under the tree this year:

  • LOCK-IT Leather Guitar Strap $54
  • Teenage Engineering Pocket Synths $59
  • LEGO Art The Beatles Mosaic $120
  • The Beatles Anthology Hardcover Book $23
  • Arturia MicroLab MIDI Keyboard $89

For more recommendations on MIDI keyboard controllers, be sure to dive into our 2020 edition of the best models out there. And once you’re done with your music gift shopping, head over to our roundup of the best smart home gear gifts as well — most home producers would love to put some Nanloeaf lighting up

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