9to5Toys Gift Guide: Justin’s picks – gear musicians and creators will actually want

best gifts for musicians

Welcome to the 2022 edition the best gifts for musicians. Purchasing gifts for guitar players, beat-makers, and bedroom producers is never an easy task – it is, in many ways, an inherently expensive product category, and it can be difficult to know what’s actually good if you’re not a music maker yourself. That’s why I’m here to help the cause with notable options that a broad range of musically-inclined folks can appreciate without completely breaking the bank. So head below for our 2022 edition the best gifts for musicians, beat-makers, guitar players, and audio lovers. 

Best gifts for musicians – 2022 edition

A quick browse through the interwebs for gifts of this nature will inevitably garner gimmicky housewares with pictures of guitars on them, cheap wall art, and the usual smattering of accessories. While not all of that is a bad idea, in many cases they are really just the kind of gear that remains relatively affordable and only seems as though musicians might actually want it.

For our 2022 edition the best gifts for musicians we are starting with are a few pieces of gear we have actually used, loved, and would recommend for just about any home producer that are, in our opinion, worth every dime. After that, you’ll find some additional highlights we have had a chance to favorably review to provide some more options followed by some of the more interesting stocking stuffers and accessories. 

Spark MINI – so much more than a practice amp

There are plenty of miniature practice amps out there for guitar players, but the Positive Grid Spark MINI is a real standout for me. It doubles down on the feature set, delivering both a traditional guitar amp setup alongside a typical Bluetooth speaker you can stream tunes to, and it actually sounds pretty fantastic to my ears – it rocks much harder than a HomePod mini, for example, and provides more bass than most of the brand name, dedicated Bluetooth speakers I have around the office. 

But it takes it up another level from there again with a deep smart feature set, connecting to a companion amp where players can customize and make use of hundreds of combinations of amp and pedal-style FX units. You can create your own signal chains or make use of a plethora of presets for what comes very close to an infinite number of sonic possibilities. 

I still use my Spark MINI as a Bluetooth speakers and practice amp on a regular basis – the retro-style aesthetic and soft pushy-lined handle look fantastic in my office or up on the shelf as well – and would recommend it to any guitar player looking for a small practice amp. It sounds much better and louder than it looks. 

Get a complete breakdown of the features and user experience in our hands-on review from earlier this year. 

  • Positive Grid Spark MINI $230

Moog Mavis – best in the business for less

Moog is one of those brands every musician loves, but it’s mostly too pricey for your average gift giving situation – anyone looking to invest in its wonderful analog synth gear, for example, will likely have already done so or will be saving up for something very specific to make it happen. However, this year Moog launched its new semi-modular, build-it-yourself Mavis synth – one of its most affordable ever, takes not 30 minutes to build, and makes for a fantastic way to buy someone an epic Moog gift without spending over $1,000. It’s not exactly cheap, but if you’re looking to splurge a little bit, the $349 it will run you is quite competitive and affordable for a beloved a premium handmade American brand like this – it comes in at well below some of its counterparts like the Mother-32, DFAM, Subharmonicon, Grandmother, and Matriarch instruments.  

I had a chance to give this one a run for its money shortly after launch and it’s an absolute blast. The small and yet powerful little machine is an inspiring one you actually build yourself – there’s no soldering here, but the few pieces and screws required does make for a satisfying experience. 

You can get a complete breakdown of the experience in our hands-on review and launch coverage

AKAI’s 2022 model MIDI keyboard controller

At their most basic, most MIDI keyboards will all deliver the same features to music makers – some simple input to play just about any software instrument on any DAW loaded on any computer, tablet, or smartphone – but not all controllers are made equal. AKAI launched a pair of new models this year in its popular MPK lineup, both of which are wonderful additions to any home studio. They are also compact enough to take on the go for folks that might already have a larger model integrated in to their setup. 

The AKAI Professional MPK Mini Plus updates one of the most popular controllers out there and is loaded with extra control methods – MPC-style drum pads, the usual pitch and mod wheels, and AKAI’s unique X/Y joystick controller. That’s on top of a built-in 64-step sequencer, CV/Gate connectivity for Eurorack-style modular gear, and more. 

It, much like the comparable AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play MK3 that also launched this year, makes for a great MIDI controller for just about anyone whether it’s a guitar player, beat maker, or otherwise. The Mini Play model drops the price and key count down, but also provides more of an all-in-one setup with over 100 internal drum and instrument sounds on top of providing the previously-described control for your recording software. 

Dive into our launch coverage of the  Mini Play MK3 and MPK Mini Plus for a detailed breakdown of the features. 

  • AKAI Pro MPK Mini Play MK3 $149
  • AKAI Pro MPK Mini Plus $169

Themed apparel and collectibles they will actually like

Clearly not all folks are going to want to drop the kind of money required to secure our first three picks, and understandably so. But one way to avoid the gimmicks and still score something that’s actually useful, suitable for most musicians, and relatively affordable is some high quality apparel and collectibles from top brands in the space. The three that really come to mind here to cover a range of folks is Fender, Moog, and Teenage Engineering… for guitar players, vintage music aficionados, and synth geeks – I’ll take one tee from each, a Moog Minimug, and these Moog vinyl slip mats, if you’re wondering. 

  • Official Fender gear from $13
    • Tees, hoodies, and hats
  • Official Moog Merch from $10
    • Collectibles, stickers, mugs, posters, vinyl slip mats, and more
  • Official Teenage Engineering gear from $9
    • Clothing, keychains, tools, field patches, more

And more of the best gifts for musicians…

And lastly, we have provided a list of some particularly useful resources that might very well give you some additional ideas. All of the products mentioned below represent gear we loved after getting some time to go hands-on for review and should all be considered among the best gifts for musicians and sound makers out there. 

Just about anything in the Teenage Engineering holiday sale also falls into this category, not mention our feature piece on the best podcasting gear and one thing you might not be considering is storage – almost all home producers require external hard drive space and our feature piece on the best portable SSDs is loaded with fantastic options across a broad range of prices. 

More 9to5Toys gift guides:

FTC: 9to5Toys is reader supported, we may earn income on affiliate links

Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

Load more...
Show More Comments