bf 2014

Popular catalog and online retailer Musician’s Friend is known to start the holiday sales season early by offering Black Friday prices well before Thanksgiving, and this year is no exception. Visit their Black Friday Closeout section now to save up to 80% on gear for your favorite music maker.

Musician’s Friend has been an invaluable source for my own personal gifts for years now. The ordering process is simple, and in-stock items ship very quickly, even during the busy holiday months. I cannot recommend them enough!

Can’t decide what to buy? Here are three of our top picks to get you started:

1. Entertainer’s Secret Throat Spray now 17% off

Entertainer's Secret Throat Spray

Great stocking stuffer for vocalists, actors, or anyone who makes a living by doing lots of speaking! Provides extra lubrication to the vocal chords to reduce strain and hoarseness from performing.

2. Road Runner Pedalboard All-in-One Gig Bag now 50% off

Pedalboard All-In-1 Gig Bag

Perfect for the travelling guitar player! This pedalboard features a non-slip bottom to prevent sliding pedals, outer pockets for extra storage, and a full repair/replacement guarantee.

3. MXL V250 Condenser Microphone now 83% off

V250 Condenser Microphone

Well-reviewed entry-level microphone that makes recording vocals a breeze! Item includes a microphone clip, cleaning cloth, and manual. Also recommended for recording acoustic guitars and pianos. A great gift for the home recording artist at an even better price!

upcoming box set releases

With the popularity of digital downloads, giving a physical album as a gift has lost most of its cache. In order to combat this, record companies have started compiling impressive box sets filled with unreleased tracks, alternate takes, and additional media such as exclusive photos and videos. While box sets can be expensive, they are sure to please the serious collector and unrelenting completist on your list.

Pink Floyd, The Endless River ($30.99), available 11/10/2014

The new and final album from Pink Floyd comes jam-packed with bonus features, including a Blu-Ray of archival footage, a deluxe hardback booklet, and three collectible postcards. Also includes a CD of the album, which includes18 brand new tracks from the legendary experimental rock band.

The Kinks, The Anthology 1964 – 1971 ($57.98), available 12/9/2014

The Kinks’ monster release, The Anthology 1964-1971, is a wealth of material. This five-disc box set features over one hundred songs spanning the London rockers’ career, including 25 previously unreleased tracks. The set also includes rare interviews, session outtakes, and detailed liner notes.

King Crimson, Starless ($225.98), available 11/4/2014

This mammoth box set is a must-have for fans of prog rock pioneers, King Crimson. Starless is limited to a single-run pressing and includes 19 CDS of live recordings, two DVDs and two Blu-Ray discs full of both studio and live performances, 3 CDs of bootleg material, an album-sized booklet, poster, and lots of photos and more. By far the most extensive King Crimson release to date!

Various Artists, The Art of McCartney ($199.99), available 11/17/2014

This highly-awaited tribute album to Sir Paul McCartney features 42 classic McCartney songs covered by a wide range of artists, such as singer/songwriter Billy Joel and indie rockers Airborne Toxic Event. The set itself is limited to 1000 copies and includes 4 12″ color LPs, double CD album, DVD documentary, and a USB loaded with FLAC files of the songs. Perfect for the Beatles or Wings fan in your life!

kids 5 to 9

Do you have a child who always seems to march to the tune of their own drummer? Studies have shown that fostering a child’s interest in music has numerous benefits, including increased brain development and creative thinking. Below are a few ideas to bring out the song in your child’s heart.
Wowwee Paper Jamz Pro Mic Series ($10.95)

A well-performing, inexpensive microphone for the budding vocalist. The Paper Jamz Pro has two built-in songs and your own music can be added via the Paper Jamz Pro app. This microphone also includes impressive vocal effects for a toy, including pitch correction, chorus multiply, auto harmony, and auto vibrato.
First Act Electronic Digital Drum Pad ($39.99)

This little drum pad has a benefit that a real drumset doesn’t — you can remove the batteries when you need some peace and quiet! The no-frills design of the First Act Drum Pad is a great gateway to the world of percussion. Includes volume, rhythm, and tempo controls and comes pre-loaded with a variety of drum styles.
HSC SLW988 Super Gigantic Keyboard Playmat($69.95)

Who hasn’t dreamed of playing “Chopsticks” on a giant keyboard a’la Big? The Super Gigantic Keyboard Playmat lives up to its name, measuring a whopping 100″ x 29″. Has volume control, record and playback capabilities, and eight instrument modes. Great keyboard for kids and kids-at-heart!

gadgets for the gig bag

Gig bags not only carry instruments and equipment, but a whole host of items to help a show go as smoothly as possible. The items below are a sampler of the not-so-obvious gadgets that can make playing gigs easier, whether embarking on a cross-country tour or simply playing a bar across town.

Jackery® Giant+ Premium Portable Charger ($39.95)

This high-capacity charger adds 500-600% battery life to your Apple or Android devices. Use it to power up smartphones to stay in touch with loved ones on the road, and to access crucial turn-by-turn directions in unfamiliar cities.
Behringer Cable Tester CT100 ($29.99)

Use the Behringer Cable Tester to avoid dead or malfunctioning audio cables at shows or in the recording studio. This device thoroughly checks for continuity, intermittency, phantom power presence and grounded shields. It’s also as well-reputed as it is economical, with a solid 4.5 star rating on Amazon.

Leatherman 831426 Wingman Multi-Tool ($26.99)

This classic gadget is perfect for making small but crucial repairs to gear while on the road, as well as tackling minor projects around the house. This multi-tool is twelve items in one and can easily fit in one’s back pocket. Features include knife, regular pliers, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, small screwdriver, medium screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, scissors, wood/metal file, bottle opener, and can opener.

Top Gifts for Drummers (Under $10)

Need a gift for the star of the rhythm section? (Ed. Note: Just kidding, bass players! We love you, too!) These three items are as useful as they are economical.

1. Drumsticks ($6.79-8.99)

Experienced drummers tend to find a favorite and stick with it (pun intended), so for these recipients, you should check with a bandmate or good friend to determine what drumstick he or she prefers. For beginners or drummers who are still searching for their brand, you can try one of these three highly rated models:


  • Vic Firth American Classic 5A Drum Sticks are Amazon’s #1 Bestselling drumstick for a reason. Lightweight but durable, these sticks are made from solid hickory by highly-rated manufacturer Vic Firth.

  • Zildjian 5A Nylon Black Dip Drumsticks feature unique, full oval tips, stylish black and white design, and a special coating to provide a comfortable, but firm grip. A popular choice for drummers of all levels

  • Zildjian Dave Grohl Artist Series Drum Sticks are for the heavy hitters. Thick, 100% hickory construction make these the perfect sticks for hard rock, or any style of music that demands powerful, aggressive drumming,

2. On Stage DSB6700 Drum Stick Bag ($9.99)

So maybe your drummer has plenty of sticks, but does he have a place to put them? This drum stick bag by On Stage eliminates the awkward and possibly gig-ending nightmare of searching for a replacement stick mid-song. The bag attaches to the floor tom, where a spare stick can be grabbed without missing a beat, and can also hold other playing accessories such as mallets or brushes.

3. DW DWSM800 Drumkey Key Chain ($9.99)

This heavy duty drumkey doubles as a keychain, meaning it’s less likely to get lost at a gig or left in the studio. Quick release feature allows it to separate from the keyring as needed.

bios part1

Ever wonder what being a famous musician is really like? Dive into these three upcoming biographies for a glimpse at the glamorous and not-so-glamorous lives of famous hitmakers.

1. Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page

This long-awaited biography by the notoriously elusive Led Zeppelin rocker is sure to thrill rock fans and guitar players alike. Clocking in at a meaty 512 pages, Jimmy Page contains hundreds of photos and detailed captions to make the moments come alive.

2. Cold Sweat: My Father James Brown and Me by Yamma Brown

An eye-opening look at the price of fame by Yamma Brown, daughter of R&B legend James Brown. Brown shares an honest look at the complications of life with a famous father in gripping detail.

3. Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story by Ricky Bragg

Controversial figure Jerry Lee Lewis has lived the sort of lifestyle that could be described in any way but dull. Between starting riots with his rollicking performances, heading to the altar seven times with six different women, and wasting decades to addiction, there’s a lot of living in the book’s 500+ page count. Perfect for anyone looking for an action-packed story of musical excess.

Top Three Gifts for Music Lovers

For some of us, music isn’t just entertainment — it’s a way of life. Show the music lover in your life that you care with some of these great gifts:

Hoodie Buddie Zip Jacket Sweatshirt Earbuds Black
($26.99) It’s easy to listen to music on the go with this comfy hoodie from Hoodie Buddie. This sweatshirt features drawstrings that double as headphones, and a 3.5mm stereo jack that works with most MP3 players and smartphones. Doused with beer at the show last night? No problem! Just toss it in the washing machine and you’re good to go.

TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder
($98.99) This portable digital recorder from TASCAM is a good entry-level personal recorder. Whether you want to record band practice or bootleg a hot concert (don’t worry, we won’t tell!), this little gadget has you covered. Records in WAV and MP3 file formats and comes with a 2 GB microSD card.

Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo System with Record Player, CD, MP3, AM/FM, Vinyl-to-MP3 – EANOS700
($199.99) Never before has so many music formats existed at one time. Why use separate players when one machine can play them all? Not only does this little stereo play records, CDs, MP3s, and radio, but it also converts vinyl to MP3 for those moments when a turntable just isn’t convenient. Handcrafted walnut finish gives this stereo a stylish retro look that matches any decor.

Five Gifts for Guitarists Under Five Dollars

Do you want to get the guitarist in your life something special without breaking the bank? Here are five gift ideas that cost less than a value meal.

Clayton Picks Grease Cloth for Stringed Instruments

($3.98) This cloth acts like a magnet, trapping dust and lint from within guitar strings without the use of cleaning solution. Perfect for someone who enjoys caring for his/her instrument.

Jim Dunlop 114SI Dun Roadpro Gtr Strg Winder

($4.59) This string winder makes restringing a guitar a breeze! The rugged steel axle means this little gadget will last for years to come. A must-have for any gig bag.

Planet Waves Beatles Signature Guitar Pick Tins, Logo, 15 picks

($4.84) Perfect for any Beatles fan! This set of 15 guitar picks contains album art spanning the entire Fab Four discography and is housed in a logo-embossed collectible tin.

Perri’s Leather Guitar Pick Key Chain

($3.49) Great for impromptu jam sessions or just letting the world at large know that a guitarist is in their midst. Sturdy leather construction prevents pick from warping while on the go.

Fretfunk Guitar Strap Pick Holder – Classic Edition

 ($4.99) Nothing is worse than dropping a pick during the middle of a gig. This pick holder snaps onto an existing guitar strap and ensures that there’s always a pick close at hand.