MIXDOWN'S ULTIMATE GIFT GUIDE FOR MUSICIANS

Part One - Gifts Under $100

It's that time of year again! Every Christmas Mixdown brings you our ultimate gift guide for musicians. This year we're packed to the brim with gift ideas to suit any musician. In this installment we look at gifts under $100. Handy presents that would find their way into the arsenal of any musician worth their salt. Take a look, we're sure you'll find something you love.

TONE GEAR STRING CLEANER

RRP: $16.95

PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR ACCESSORY

DISTRIBUTOR: EGM DISTRIBUTION  

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Perfect for the regular player who enlists maximum wear and tear on their guitar strings.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Revitalises and refreshes used and old strings, preserving their tone, while also preventing the muddy and dull effect of worn strings.  

USABILITY: Fits guitars of all shapes and sizes. Its straightforward operation makes it an easy task undertaken at the end of each playing session. While the cleanable micro and low maintenance. bre pads make the string cleaner reusable 

CONSTRUCTION: The open and shut functionality enables 360 degrees of string cleaning. Its small and compact frame means it will fit into any guitar case or gig bag.

OVERALL: With regular playing, changing strings again and again can become a tiresome task. It also can take its toll on the hip pocket. For those two reasons, and the knowledge that guitar tone will never be compromised by faulty strings make this product a welcome addition to the avid musician’s kit. 

 

 

TONE GEAR OKNOB CLASSIC

RRP: $13.50

PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR ACCESSORY

DISTRIBUTOR: EGM DISTRIBUTION

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: The effect-laden musician looking for an easy way to alter their sound effects while playing.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The OKnob increases your range of sound by controlling a speci c parameter on an effects pedal. This could simply mean increasing the volume, gain, modulation or rate of a pedal.

USABILITY: It’s as simple as selecting the parameter you want to have more control over, replacing the factory knob with the Oknob, and then using your toes to swing the knob left and right.

CONSTRUCTION: Made out of highly durable materials, the classic model has a shaft diameter range of 5.58-5.96mm tting all pedals produced by major companies. The friction grip design guarantees a tight grip on the pedal, while its slight frame means it doesn’t get in the way.  

OVERALL: This is a no fuss accessory which provides a greater level of sound control. It could be an edge for musicians who make use of a large pedal setup. It’s also available in a glow-in-the-dark variant for those who like to play in the shadows. 

 

 

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF ROCK CLASSICS

RRP: $23.99

PRODUCT TYPE: LYRIC AND CHORD BOOK

DISTRIBUTOR: MUSIC SALES

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Any guitarist who wants to have the chords for 70 of the greatest rock tracks in the palm of their hands. This is the easiest way to learn and jam out on classic rock ‘n’ roll numbers.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Everything from Pink Floyd, to The Beatles and Arctic Monkeys are covered in chord songbook format. Capturing the sound and tone is up to you.

USABILITY: Each song is presented in chord songbook format with guitar chord boxes and complete lyrics, making it straightforward and easy to read. A playing guide explains how to read chord boxes and relative tuning if you don’t have access to a tuning device.

CONSTRUCTION: The pocket-sized collection packs a huge range of songs into a book small enough to carry in one hand.

OVERALL: A fun and easy way to learn the chords progressions for a plethora of classic rock tracks. It’ll extend the range of any guitarist.

 

 

D’ANDREA SPIDER CAPO

RRP: $61.95

PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR ACCESSORY

DISTRIBUTOR: EGM DISTRIBUTION

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: The SpiderCapo will suit the experienced guitarist already regularly shifting between tunings, and looking to utilise different keys and advance their creativity.  Alternate tunings are the perfect way to expand your playing and enter new sonic territory.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The ability to make hundreds of open string tunings, and to ne tune each capoed string opens up a world of possibilities with your sound going forward.  

USABILITY: The SpiderCapo can be implemented in a live setting to alter tunings between songs and even whilst playing. It clings to the ngerboard like any other capo with added versatility of controlling each string independently. It also allows for ngering above and below the capo.

CONSTRUCTION: When mounted, soft leather protects the guitar’s neck, while the end pieces can be tightened securely without damaging the edges of the ngerboard.  

OVERALL: With 945 possibilities in the 1st 15 frets, the SpiderCapo can drastically change the way the guitar is played, increasing versatility and songwriting capabilities. It’s useful for all playing styles and will extend the range of any guitarist.  

 

 

ZOOM G1ON MULTI-EFFECTS PROCESSOR

RRP: $89.95 (SPECIAL CHRISTMAS PRICE)

PRODUCT TYPE: EFFECT PEDAL

DISTRIBUTOR: DYNAMIC MUSIC

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Retailed at $129.95, the Zoom G1on is perfect for anyone in the market for a multi-effects processor, but don’t want to withdraw from their savings.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: With over 75 guitar effects, including a variety of distortion, compression, modulation, delay and reverb, the G1on is a perfect entry-level effects pedal. Its most versatile function is it’s on-board Looper, which allows you to layer sounds up to 30 seconds, making your creativity limitless.

USABILITY: If you are sick of complicated effects pedals, than this is the pedal for you. Easier to use than most multi-effect processors, the Zoom G1on features a simple design allowing you to switch between presets, add or remove effects in a chain and even change the chain effects.

CONSTRUCTION: Lightweight and no bigger than an iPad, this multi-effects pedal is the perfect travel companion. However, it isn’t packed in the strongest of cases, so don’t go too hard on the pedal.

OVERALL: Adding a ton of possibilities to your guitar rig, the Zoom G1on should be on everyone’s Christmas list this year. 

 

 

KLOTZ ’59ER VINTAGE CABLE KLOTZ ’59ER VINTAGE CABLE

RRP: $34.95 (3m), $43.95 (4.5m)

PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR ACCESSORY  

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: The occasional-gigging bedroom guitarist looking for a higher quality lead with less noise.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The 59ers are clear and clean, and don’t lose any punch in the low end, or when the guitar’s volume pot is rolled back.

USABILITY: Available in 3 or 4.5 metre varieties, these leads will have something for most bedroom players, allowing all the required length to rock out in style.

CONSTRUCTION: Each is shrink wrapped, and the lead is housed in a textile outer jacket, which prevents tangling. It has a low capacitance of 115 pF/m and a bare copper spiral shield.

OVERALL: A high quality product for a player aiming for the next level with their gear. 

 

 

ZILDJIAN ACCESSORIES

PRODUCT TYPE: ACCESSORIES

DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES

RRP: VARIOUS

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Everyone! So many of us don’t actually realise that Zildjian don’t just make cymbals. These accessories are worth checking out – particularly if you fancy showing which cymbal maker is your favourite!

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: Sometimes the gigging drummer doesn’t realise that the drums/cymbals they use often cater for the lifestyle factors that come into play when being a musician. Of serious note are the universal t earplugs that feature two sets of 11db and 14db attenuation lters. There’s also a Zildjian stick for every player and the bags are well designed for just about any thinkable situation a drummers likely to nd themselves in.

USEABILITY: Most drummers may have seen these types of earplugs before. They’re comfortable and versatile for multiple gigs environments. They even come with a carry case. The T-shirt is a universal sizing scale and the bottles and bags are just cool.

CONSTRUCTION: Here we have multiple options! HD Earplugs by Earpeace®, Weekender and Laptop bags, a massive variety of drumsticks, a Dickie Navy T-shirt as well as a 750ml BPA-Free Plastic Water Bottle and a 355ml Klean Kanteen® Vacuum Insulated Bottle for those coffee hits.

OVERALL: Whether you’re just after a t-shirt or a serious ear protection solution that’s more sophisticated than foam plugs, but still on budget or maybe just want some everyday products that showcase your favourite brand, check out the accessories and extras on the Zildjian website. You’ll be surprised what you find! 

 

 

REMO SILENT STROKE DRUM HEADS   

RRP: $23.95-$59

PRODUCT TYPE: DRUM ACCESSORY 

DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Drummers who live in apartments and who are constantly concerned about the neighbours telling them to stop playing the drums; drummers after the perfect quiet practice solution.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: As you can imagine by the name, there’s not a lot of sound when you strike these heads. However, the resonant head still rings ever so slightly on the drum creating a very subtle note. As it’s still a head, you can tune up and down as normal making them very versatile.

USABILITY: At lower tuning, the silent strokes can feel closer to normal drumheads but can rebound heavily at higher tunings, particularly on the bass drum. This means in reality, they can have a bit of an electric kit ‘mesh head’ feel, but on bigger drums they’re really good.

CONSTRUCTION: The silent strokes are a single ply mesh material in place of the standard lm on regular drumheads, and crafted with the usual excellent Remo head making techniques.

OVERALL: Fantastic. Really, this is the best solution for silent practice ever. They feel good to play, you can tune, you can still hear tone and you can lay into them just as you normally would but without the neighbours busting your chops. Great stuff. 

 

 

ERNIE BALL COBALT STRINGS

RRP: $25.95

PRODUCT TYPE: ELECTRIC GUITAR STRINGS

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA 

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone looking for a longer-lived string but who doesn’t want to go down the ‘coated string’ route. Also anyone looking for a hair of extra power from their pickups.

SOUND AND TONE: Cobalt strings provide an extended dynamic range, incredible harmonic response, increased low end, and crisp, clear highs. They sound a little more muscular than regular strings, thanks to a stronger magnetic relationship between pickup and string.

USABILITY: There is a certain smoothness to the feel of these strings which makes bends feel easier to execute, especially on the wound strings.

CONSTRUCTION: Made with a cobalt-iron blend, and they’re also soft and silky to the touch: take one out of the packet and run it through your ngers and it glides along thanks to smoother wraps than any non- coated string you’re likely to encounter.

OVERALL: Cobalt’s do everything Ernie Ball promises: they play smoothly, they sound great, and they work with your pickups to enhance everything you love about them. It’s like an instant upgrade for your axe. 

 

 

ERNIE BALL SLINKY FLATWOUND STRINGS    

RRP: $89.95

PRODUCT TYPE: BASS GUITAR ACCESSORIES

DISTRIBUTOR: CMC MUSIC AUSTRALIA

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Bass players who want that soul and R&B sound with a modern twist to feel and sound.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: These strings really make you re-think your perception of flatwounds. With added snappiness and sustain, they’re redesigned right across the EQ spectrum to add some gusto, reworking the traditional idea of flats.

USABILITY: The tension feels tight but not super tough, so strict roundwound players might be more comfy giving these cobalt numbers a crack. The feel is de nitely flatwound but the response and tone is more in the round camp meaning you can get that snap when you dig in.

CONSTRUCTION: Smooth under your ngers, they have that general feel of quick and slick, but aren’t too slippery.

OVERALL: These new ats combine the smooth feel of traditional ats with the ‘modern power of cobalt’. It’s this balance of cobalt under wrap and a super bright cobalt ribbon on top that works to achieve both the feel and tone.

 

 

VIC FIRTH PRACTICE PAD

RRP: $49.95- $89.00

PRODUCT TYPE: DRUM ACCESSORY

DISTRIBUTOR: AUSTRALASIAN MUSIC SUPPLIES 

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: Drummers of all levels and players looking for a no-nonsense practice pad that’s a little larger in size for ease of use.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: As you’d expect, it sounds like a practice pad would, but the strokes are perhaps a little softer than some of the standard rubber pads. As mentioned, the larger size makes this pad easier to use with regular use.

USABILITY: The slightly softer rubber playing surface still offers the usual rebound you get from a practice pad – don’t be expecting a dead surface or much give. This pad has a familiar feel and playability that all drummers would be used to.

CONSTRUCTION: A single board features a soft, rubber playing surface for quieter practice and good feel. There’s a non-slip base on the underside to stop it moving. The 12” diameter is perfect for mounting on a snare stand.

OVERALL: It’s a great practice pad. It’s large, comfortable to use overall and not likely to slip away on you. The price might be a fraction too high for some players but if you’re after a fuss free pad, this one works. 

 

 

ROCK SCHOOL: GUITAR GRADE 2

RRP: $24.99

PRODUCT TYPE: GUITAR SYLLABUS AND EXAM BOOK

DISTRIBUTOR: MUSIC SALES

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: This book is perfect for the beginner-intermediate guitar player. It will suit those who have played for one year to 18 months, are across the basic skills and have solid basic techniques. There are other books for other levels of proficiency.  

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The book offers notation and tabs for a number of original tracks spanning across a range of genres, including everything from classic rock to ska. With each song comes a diagram outlining the appropriate amp settings.

USABILITY: Each lesson is preceded by a Fact File containing a summary of the song, its style, tempo, key and technical features. Following each two-page notation is a Walkthrough which highlights common technical issues relating to the song.

CONSTRUCTION: The slim 44-page booklet will t easily into any guitar book or case, while the accompanying CD sits inside the booklet. Enlarged and considerably spaced notations and tabs make it easy to read.

OVERALL: The Guitar Grade 2 lesson book covers all of the bases when it comes to building upon the basic skills and understandings of guitar playing.

 

 

ROCK SCHOOL: PIANO GRADE 2

RRP: $24.99

PRODUCT TYPE: PIANO SYLLABUS AND EXAM BOOK  

DISTRIBUTOR: MUSIC SALES

 

 

RECOMMENDED FOR: This lesson book will suit those who have been learning piano for one year to 18 months. It requires the mastering of the key basic skills and asks for greater use of technique, rhythms, co-ordination and musical understanding. There are other books for other levels of proficiency. 

SOUND AND VERSATILITY:Learn to play a number of different genres and styles, including tracks from renowned musicians in Beyoncé and Coldplay. Play along to backing tracks in order to better understand where the sound of the piano sits within particular compositions.

USABILITY:Each piece of music is preceded by a Fact File, detailing information about the original recording. Each test and examination is clearly explained and relates directly to the book’s content.

CONSTRUCTION:A slim 47-page booklet makes Piano Grade 2 easy to bring to any lesson or rehearsal. 

OVERALL: An all-round approach that covers material notated for piano, technical exercises, and supporting tests ensures players will feel grounded in all areas of the piano. Directed learning and clear outcomes make this book easy to follow and thoroughly engaging.

 

 

AUDIOFLY AF56 EARBUDS

RRP: $99.95-109.99

PRODUCT TYPE: HEADPHONES

DISTRIBUTOR: AUDIOFLY

RECOMMENDED FOR: These are perfect for a real music enthusiast. Someone who’s after a quality consumer-line headphone that’ll produce a top shelf sound, but at a reasonable price.

SOUND AND VERSATILITY: The AF56’s are fitted with Audiofly’s largest in ear driver. They issue a crisp sound at any frequency, but their strength really lies in the lower frequencies.

USABILITY: The team at Audiofly has put these together with the idea that they’ll be your number one headphones for daily recreational use. They come with an awesome little storage tin, and a mic that’s compatible with Apple and Android devices is available as optional. So if someone calls and interrupts your music listening on the way to work, you don’t even have to break stride.

CONSTRUCTION: Durability has become a cornerstone of the Audiofly philosophy, and it’s as relevant with the AF56 as it is with any other product. The 13mm driver is powerful and bold, but it’s housed sturdily within the casing, and tough cabling is encased in a fabric sheath to prevent cable damage through every day wear and tear. Like all Audiofly products, they also look a treat.

OVERALL: Any music lover would love these as a gift. Sturdy enough to endure the rigours of constant and prolonged use.

 

 

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