Dec 062011

Musicians can be a difficult bunch of people to buy gifts for. After all, music itself is a highly subjective thing, so it should come as no surprise that musicians can be very selective about the musical instruments and accessories they use. I’ve tried to curate a list of instruments and accessories that cover a broad range of prices and best "bang-for-your-buck". I hope you find this list useful.

Electronic Musicians / DJs

Korg MONOTRON 16-key Synthesizer

I truly love this little guy. Awesome little analog synth with great mod-ability going for ~$59.99, but there is a $20 off mail-in rebate until December 31st making this a great little gift at only ~$39.99.


Bliptronic 5000

Another sub-$50 gadget that electronics musicians love…

Bliptronic 5000 at

Turntable Watch by FLUD

My wife actually bought me this watch for my last birthday, I had no idea that it even existed in the world and it just blew me away. Your turntablist husband (or wife!) will absolutely love it.

Turntable Watch at

MIDI Controllers

MIDI Controllers are a staple in any studio or bedroom of electronic musicians. There are more controllers than Carter has pills out in the world, here is a nice group of inexpensive controllers that are designed mainly for laptop DJs/Musicians but also work very well in a proper desktop studio.

Akai Pro LPD8 Controller
Akai LPK25 MIDI Keyboard
Korg nanoKEY MIDI Keyboard
Akai APC20 Ableton Controller
Akai APC40 Abelton Controller



Every guitarist needs a good tuner. These two tuners are the top of the line.

TC Electronics PolyTune
Boss TU-3 Tuner

MINI / Practice Amps

Whether you are living in an apartment where you can’t make a lot of noise, or just feel like playing late at night while your significant other sleeps, these MINI/Practice amps are inexpensive and quite cool.

Vox amPlug AC30 Guitar Headphone Amp (~$40)
Orange CR3 MicroCrush (~$70)
Marshall MS2 Micro Amp (~$45)
Fender Mini 57′ Twin (~$45)
Danelectro N10B HoneyTone Mini Amp (~$19)

Circuit Benders / DIY Instruments


One of the coolest items to emerge in the past few years is the Arduino, its basically a tiny computer on a board with "pins" that let you connect all kinds of electronic components to build your own electronic gizmos. Musicians have taken to the Arduino to make all kinds of various bleepy, glitchy unique instruments. Some have built their own MIDI controllers all powered by an Arduino. Use of this board requires programming skill (namely: C/C++), but their is a huge Arduino community out there with plenty of examples and code to get you started. Getting Started with Arduino is a great companion book and will have you up and running in no time.

Arduino Uno Board

Electronic Projects for Musicians

This book is classic, originally released in the mid-70’s and written by the talented Craig Anderton. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at building your own guitar pedal, this is it. Plenty of projects for musicians to construct and mod.

Electronic Projects for Musicians

Handmade Electronic Music

I thumbed through this book at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and was impressed at how the author explained how to get started in Circuit Bending, this is definitely a great beginners book for future Circuit Benders out there. Lots of hands on activities mixed with explanations of what’s what inside your average gizmo.

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking

Make: Electronics

Make Magazine is a staple for anyone in the DIY/Tinkering arena, this electronics book is geared for beginners and is a great start if you’re interested in getting started with electronics. Get a breadboard with this one, you’re going to want to start building right away.

Make: Electronics (Learning by Discovery)

Circuit Bending Book

The title of this book says it all: want a bit of kit that no one else has? Build it yourself!

Circuit Bending – Build Your Own Alien Instruments

To Be Continued…

 Posted by at 7:30 am

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