Since some of you have asked, here is the gear I use, I’ve found everything on here to work well for me and would recommend all of it. After a lot of trial and error and money wasted on gear that I didn’t use, I’ve settled on the following selection of music equipment.
Almost any bass player would agree that James Jamerson, who played on countless gold albums, was the greatest bass player ever. He was the house bassist at Motown records. So of course, he pretty much defined soul bass.
And this book not only includes an incredible look into Motown Records and James Jamerson (and the “claw”), but transcriptions of his best bass lines and lots of useful insight into how to improve as a bassist.
Most of these gifts are biased towards guitar players, but there’s plenty of affordable gifts for all types of musicians.
So whether you’re shopping for a birthday gift for a musician, a Christmas present, Hanukkah, or just a thank you, check out these presents. They’re arranged by budget. Under $20, under $100, and $100+. But there’s something for all budgets.
While some of them may not seem “sexy,” a lot of these gifts are the sort of thing gift a musician would never buy for themselves. They’re high quality and I’ve personally used most of them or have friends that would swear by them. So the musician in your life will really thank you for your thoughtfulness!
Best Gifts for Musicians Under $20!
There’s actually a lot of great music gear under $20. It’s not at all sexy, but these are the things that really do make a difference!
An essential tool for electric and acoustic guitar players and bassists, these keep your guitar from falling off while you play. The great thing about these rubber ones is that they work incredibly well, but don’t require any installation!
A direct injection box is useful for gigging musicians and recording musicians. Whether they play guitar, keyboard, or bass, a DI box allows you to eliminate hum from your signal, boost a guitar to be compatible with a mixer-level signal, and convert 1/4″ cables to XLR, for better fidelity over long range.
I know so many musicians that have skimped on a good tuning pedal. It’s a terrible idea. Every guitar player and bassist should own one. Not only do they help you stay in tune, they also act as a “mute” button so that the audience doesn’t get annoyed while you tune up. Pro-tip: be sure to get one that is bright enough to be seen when playing outdoors, though (for example, the Boss pedal is more popular, but trust – it’s not bright enough to see outside)!
Best Gifts for Musicians over $100
At this price range, things start to get much more subjective. For example, some people prefer a Fender Guitar, others a Gibson. I’m not here to tell you which is right.
So the best gift for one musician may not be the best gift for another. I’m not going to recommend many instruments, but here are a few utilitarian gifts that I have really enjoyed.
Guitar players and bassists will love a pedal board. It’s the perfect place to store all of their pedals. It’s portable for easy jamming. And with a pedal board, there won’t be a mess. Something a parents and significant others will greatly appreciate.
I’m not going to bury the lede in my Eastwood Classic 4 bass review: it’s a very good, unique bass for its price ($549), but probably won’t be your main bass. In short, there are so many things to like about Eastwood Guitar’s Classic IV bass, from its great semi-hollow body look to its round, thumping tone. But there are also some issues with build quality and, for me personally, playability.
First a little background on me: I’ve played bass for about 20 years, and owned an Epiphone, a Gibson, and a couple of Fenders. My current main bass for gigging is an American-made Fender Hot-Rodded P-Bass with EMG Active electronics. It’s a discontinued model, but I absolutely love it.
However, I was looking to add something a little different to my collection, so I started exploring semi-hollow body basses. I’ve owned my Classic 4 at least a year, so I feel comfortable giving a detailed Eastwood Classic 4 bass review. Before buying it, I also tried out the Epiphone “Jack Casady” Signature Semi-Hollowbody Bass and the Fender Modern Player Coronado semi-hollow body. In my opinion, not only are they both more expensive, they both left something to be desired in terms of tone. And both were more expensive.
In you’re interested in hearing the bass in action, here is some audio of me demoing and reviewing the Classic IV. The bass was recorded clean, directly into my DAW without amp emulation or any special pre-amps or processing.
Ok, let’s dive in.
Eastwood Classic 4 Bass Review – Tone
The first thing to notice about the East Classic 4 is that its a hollow body bass guitar with a shorter scale. It retails for $549, direct from Eastwood. If you enjoy the look and feel of semi-hollow bodies, than you should definitely consider this one.
The Classic 4 features 2 EW retro pickups and they sound great. Its tone is low, warm, and growly, with a little punch. I would describe it as very “round.” And it’s the type of sound that excels in classic rock, country or soul.
However, it has very little “bite” or “cut,” and would not get through a mix in a harder rock or punk setting.
The Eastwood Classic 4 also features a three way pickup selector switch, with independent volume knobs for each pick up, and a tone knob. I don’t find the tone knob to be that effective at shaping the tone, but the pick up selection definitely makes a big impact.
Eastwood Classic IV Bass Review – Build Quality
My Eastman Classic IV bass review has to note that the build quality is generally good. With especially good work on the bindings and the neck. However, one of the screws in my front pickup is stripped, causing it to pop loose sometimes. This effects both the playability and the tone, because sometimes it will actually hit the strings.
Eastwood Classic IV Bass Review – Playability
As for playability, it plays very well, objectively. The fret board is fast and even, and the strings are light and responsive. You can bend notes for days. And the string spacing is very comfortable. Due to the Eastwood Classic IV’s easy playability, I think it would probably make a perfect bass for a guitar player who was looking to grab a bass, or for someone with smaller hands.
However, it is not the type of play style that I prefer. I like a bass that is sturdy and pushes back. I find it really hard to play ghost notes and more muted, funk type phrases on the Eastwood Classic 4. It’s simply too forgiving and easy for me to play.
It’s kind of like the difference between a sports car and a sedan. The sports car is harder to drive, but you can feel the road and tear up the highway way more.
And just as a note to this Eastwood Classic 4 bass review: it really does not work well with slap and popping techniques. But to be fair, I don’t think it was in anyway designed for that.
The bass feels very well balanced when sitting down. However, standing up with a strap, it gets a little wobbly.
Concluding thoughts for the Eastwood Classic 4 Bass Review
This is a great bass for the price, and I plan on keeping it. I do genuinely enjoy playing it, and have used it on recordings that have been used by some big name clients. I don’t think I’d use it for gigging, though. It just feels more fragile than a solid body bass (and there are some clumsy mother suckers in my band). BTW, it does not come with a case. And it doesn’t fit into a standard bass case.
I also just want to give a shout out to Eastwood Guitars for making a left-handed version.