Bass Guitar – Top 10 Gift Ideas

Great bass guitar gift ideas for Christmas, birthday or anniversary presents – or whenever!

Christmas is fast approaching and whether you play bass guitar or know someone who does, Bass Guitar Rocks wants to help you find the perfect gift with these top 10 bass guitar gift ideas. Since most of us are on a budget, I figured the #1 item on the list should not only be something that is essential, but affordable for most any bassist on the planet.  Lastly, I made the assumption that the bassist on the receiving end of these gifts plays gigs regularly – with that in mind here are the BGR top bass guitar gift ideas.

10) Bass Amp or Bass Cabinet Covers – These are leather or vinyl covers that protect your amps and cabs and look sharp. However, most of us don’t want to shell out the cash for them. They are relatively affordable unless you’re looking for a certain name brand (like Marshall for instance).  There are companies out there that make covers to fit the more common sizes, know the dimensions before you order. Here’s some great bass amp covers to choose from.

09) New/Light Weight Bass Guitar cabinet – Aside from the fact that it will run you a couple hundred dollars at the very least – going for a lighter weight cabinet seems to be a common theme among bassists. With Neodymium speaker technology, we can get some great sounding cabs with a much smaller footprint. These bass cabs aren’t likely to be cheap, but the prices are getting better all the time.  If the bassist you know is always complaining about the heavy bass speaker cabinet they’ve been lugging around – this could be the perfect thing!

08) Guitar Stand – Another practical gift that many of us don’t shell out for.  The quality varies from the cheap single instrument variety to the not-so-cheap to multi-instrument types. You might want to go for a premium stand that will hold up to constant use if the bassist you know plays out a lot or owns a custom or vintage bass. I’ve used Ultimate Guitar stands for years; they’re sturdy, kind to the finish of your bass guitar and they fold up to fit in most any gig bag with ease. I’ve used these compact guitar stands for years and highly recommend them.

07) Bass Wireless unit – Okay, these aren’t cheap and many could argue that they’re not practical.  However, gigs where you need to run or monitor the front-of-house sound as well as perform make a wireless bass guitar unit invaluable. The X2 wireless caught my eye; it’s affordable, easy to use and perhaps most importantly – doesn’t hurt your tone. The argument for going wireless has never been stronger. Other brands to consider include Shure and Samson wireless units. Ease of use and battery consumption are other key areas to consider before making your choice.

06) Bass amplifier footswitch – Many times we shell out the cash for a terrific bass amplifier that has all sorts of features and footswitch functionality – but never get around to buying the actual footswitch!  A bass amplifier footswitch can go a long way to improving your live sound, allowing you to make instant EQ changes with the tap of a foot; it’s much cheaper than shelling out cash for a new amp, but could improve your live tone considerably!

05) Bass Effects Pedals – Buying standalone or multi-effects pedals for bass guitar can be a great cure for gear that you’ve gotten bored of.  There are some great effects pedals offering particular flavours of fuzz or chorus, compressors and expanders, DIs and the ever lovable wah pedal to fit any budget.  Inspiration from effects pedals is relatively cheap compared to buying and selling your bass amplifier or bass guitar.

04) Guitar Strap – It’s funny how often guitar straps are overlooked in the rush to purchase a new or used instrument! Without a guitar strap, you’re going to be stuck sitting or kneeling with the bass guitar across your thighs – not cool! Guitar straps come in all shapes, lengths and materials and are one of the easiest ways to personalize your bass guitar. They range in price with the cheapest costing between $10 or $15 and rising steeply when you head into leather country.  Strap length needs to be considered and will depend on how big in stature the player is along with where they like to wear their bass guitar: knee, crotch, waist or chest!

03)Guitar Cable/Instrument Patch Cord – Okay, you have a ¼ inch patch cord to plug your bass guitar into everything from your computer to your amp – but is it any good?  Did you pick it up as an afterthought or inherit (by accident of course) at a jam night gig?  While many may believe that a cord is a cord, you should shell out some extra bucks for an instrument cable specific to the bass guitar; these are designed to handle the low frequencies of bass and often come with excellent warranties.  Monster Bass Cable and Planet Waves instrument cables are just two companies that you can check out offering bass specific cables. Every cord will sound slightly different, and you often get what you pay for! Even if you already own a high quality bass guitar instrument cable, it never hurts to have an extra cable handy – just in case! These are the cables I use and love!

02) Bass Guitar Lessons/DVDs/Books – Want to get better fast? Take some lessons with a great teacher. Lessons generally run from $20 to $25 for 30 minutes, and can be well worth that if you find a teacher that inspires you and can actually teach you a thing or two. Most teachers offer a free introductory lesson so you can test the waters first. If there are no teachers where you live, you can also check out online bass guitar courses, bass guitar dvds and books.  Some of these are free online if you look – getting better will require the resolve on your part to do the exercises.  For those that prefer to be ‘self taught’ remember the famous quote by Hunter S. Thompson – “He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master”.

01) Bass guitar strings – When’s the last time you replaced your bass guitar strings or bothered to experiment with a new brand?  The most affordable path to a tone face lift for your bass guitar is a new set of strings. With so many to choose from there is a brand that will bring out the magic in your bass guitar – you just need to find it. Bass guitar strings do sound different, so don’t just choose the cheapest ones you find.  You need to decide the type of sound, feel and gauge you’re looking for along with the materials – all of these will have an impact on the sound of your bass guitar. It never hurts to have an extra set kicking around in case a string breaks as well.  Some popular string brands are DR handmade strings, Rotosound, GHS Bass Boomers, D’addario, LaBella, Dean Markley and Ernie Ball. Go for round-wound strings if you want a brighter sound, or choose flat-wounds for more thud.

Honourable mentions

Gift certificates for bass guitar related stuff. When you’re not quite sure what to buy, gift certificates can go a long way to solving the problem. You can purchase gift certificates to buy bass guitar music, Dvds or books from any popular chain selling these items.  If the bass player on your list has a favourite local instrument dealer, chances are they’ll offer gift certificates as well.

Regardless of where you get the certificate, you should always find out in advance what the return policy is – can you get the cash back or in store credit only?  Beware of any expiry dates on gift certificates; these are dates where you forfeit your cash if you haven’t redeemed the full value in time.  Expiry dates are not cool, and in many places illegal!

Batteries are an overlooked essential part of a bass player’s gear. We need these babies to power everything from onboard bass guitar preamps, to effects pedals, wireless units and tuners. You can’t go wrong with a box of 9 volt batteries! You may also consider different sorts of batteries to power MP3 players as well, since every musician also enjoys listening to music as well. These are the professional batteries that never let me down on the gig.

Lastly, if the bassist you know always complains about batteries you could invest in an alternate power supply like this 1spot. It can power up to 20 effects pedals and only takes up one spot on a power bar or outlet – pretty handy! Got too many batteries and you’re not sure which ones have enough charge? Check out this battery tester – you don’t even need to take the battery out of your instrument or pedal to test it! Sweet!

There are many other ideas that we can’t explore in this space, but these top 10 bass guitar gift ideas should give you a great start towards planning your next purchase.

  • Craig Phillips says:

    Hey Michael

    These are some great ideas. You made mention of the Line 6 X2 wireless system. I currently use the X2 XDS Plus version, and one thing to note about it is that it uses a 9V battery. Now I mention this because 9V is getting to be old skool, and seriously there are very few places that carry chargers for 9V rechargeables (which is recommended). Plus using alkaline batteries, a bassist will not get much more than 45 minutes on continuous play. Now I have used Lithium 9V’s, but they are not recommended for devices like wireless systems, but I literally got 5 months of use on it, and some of that it sat unused (disconnected of course).

    Other ideas would be a mini recorder for bass guitars. A musician on the road, or just wants to get some grooves recorded, one of these can be an indispensable device (the good ones can transfer to MP3). Strap locks are a very good investment! Nothing is worse than rocking out on stage and your strap comes off n the middle of a breakdown or solo.

  • Hey Craig,
    The mini recorder is definitely a good idea. Not quite the same thing – but the Zoom H1 unit definitely has my attention. The great thing is it’ll record live concerts as well as a decent live off the floor sound of your band or the bass doodles you make during practice. Any bass players get one yet?

  • >