Holiday gifts for musicians can be tough. A lot of what they want is expensive, but there’s are fun, inexpensive gifts you can get that will make any musician happy. Whether it's a pocket-size synthesizer or a bowl made out of a favorite record, these five gifts are sure to please.
1. Korg Monotron, $50: Korg’s Monotron is a simple, battery-operated synthesizer that is amazingly powerful for its inexpensive price tag. For $50, you get a 100 percent analog monophonic synthesizer that can create spaced-out laser sounds, deep, powerful bass and everything in between. It fits in your pocket, contains a built-in speaker and has both a headphone jack and a auxiliary audio input jack, meaning you can run any sound into it and through its powerful filter, the same filter used on Korg’s legendary MS-20 synthesizer. There are three different Monotrons available: the origina; the Duo, which has two oscillators; and the delay, which incorporates a rich analog delay. Check out all three below:
2. Korg littleBits Synth Kit, $150: For a little more moola, you can pick up a powerful but fun and educational modular system from Korg. The littleBits system consists of 12 modular instruments that snap together with magnets to give you hours of almost infinite aural possibilities. It’s the perfect kit for a young, or very young, musician looking to explore the beauties of synthesis. Check them out with this demonstration by musician and comedian Reggie Watts:
3. Anything from the Bob Moog Foundation, $5 to $50: Bob Moog is the namesake of the most famous synthesizer company in the world: Moog Music. The BMF holds classes and workshops to help both young musicians and experienced adult ones explore music and synthesis. Part of its funding comes from its shop, where its sells T-shirts, posters explaining synthesis and music. It even has a collection of holiday gifts for budding musicians, with gifts ranging from $5.00 to $50.00. You help the BMF further its mission when you buy, making any gift twice as sweet.
4. An Ocarina, $25: Made famous by the Nintendo 64 game, "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time," the ancient wind instrument would be loved by anyone that likes music, video games or both. St. Louis Ocarina has a huge selection of ocarinas, including more than two dozen with Legend of Zelda themes. Elf ears not included:
5. A vinyl record bowl, $1 to $30: A vinyl record bowl is simple: It’s a vinyl record that’s heated up and bent into the shape of a bowl. You can buy one, but you can also make one yourself for a friend or family member. That lets you personalize the record bowl. If your cousin is a big Beatles fan, make him a bowl of "Abbey Road." Or if he’s a fan of David Bowie, why not make him a bowl out of "Aladdin Sane"? Here’s how to do it. All you need is a record, an oven and a bowl: