I've conceded that Santa might not be getting me that Dean Razorback I've been asking for this year. I'll chalk it up to not being worthy enough, but some have hinted that the $1,600 price tag might have played a small role. I guess I should just be happy that my other holiday wish - that Chinese Democracy would finally be released - came to fruition. Oh, wait. That was my wish as a 19-year-old circa 1995. Thankfully there's still plenty out there to keep a beginning, intermediate, or professional guitarist occupied during the holidays, and those gifts don't always have to leave your loved ones penniless, either.
This year the staff at Ultimate-Guitar has compiled a list of possible gift ideas that are geared towards those who don't have Slash's bank account, and we wanted you to join in the fun as well. We recently asked our readers what they'd want for Christmas if money was no object, and the results are in. Some of you were deadly serious about your wish list, and as we anticipated, a good chunk of the responses leaned toward a slightly more twisted point of view. Included at the end of our gift guide are some of the most entertaining responses, many of which have nothing whatsoever to do with playing the guitar. But hey, who are we to stifle your creativity?
Guitars That Won't Break The BankIbanez ART100 Artist SeriesWith a body that looks more like a Paul Reed Smith than your run-of-the-mill Ibanez (think Vai and Satriani), the ART100 is a single-cutaway beauty that is an affordable indulgence. Running about $299, the Ibanez has received shockingly good reviews and some claim it stays in tune better than a Les Paul. Users have recommended upgrading to a higher-quality pickup, but that glitch might just be worth overlooking for the price.
Dean Dave Mustaine V VMNTX SignatureThe too-good-to-be-true price tag ($499 retail, but deals are available for $299) might scare some of you away, but this Dave Mustaine signature is no flimsy recreation of the original.
Featuring a bolt-on neck joint, basswood body and maple top, the V delivers that perfect Megadeth-tinged sound and consistently stays in tune. That's a tall order when you dip below the $500 mark. While you're waiting to take the financial plunge on Mustaine's other models like Gears Of War or Angel of Death, the VMNTX should tie you over nicely.Epiphone Les Paul StandardMany of us grew up worshiping the likes of Slash or Jimmy Page, who always had their trusty Gibson Les Pauls in tow. Most of us, however, will have to pad our bank accounts a bit more before graduating to those beauties. Epiphone is known for inexpensive copies of all the great Gibsons, and depending on which model you select, you might just get a winner. While you can't go wrong with the faade of any of the Epiphone models, the Les Paul Standard has received generally positive reviews from consumers. The consensus seems to be that this is the perfect guitar for the intermediate player who is seeking a reliable, durable guitar. The Les Paul Standard runs a bit more than other Epiphones, but sites like Musician's Friend are currently selling these models for about $549.
Straight From The ProsVOX SatchuratorIt seems like all of our favorite guitar gods have been feverishly working at building the ultimate in gear and accessories over the past few years. One of the more recent additions comes from Joe Satriani, who worked with VOX to create the Satchurator distortion pedal. With high gain levels and the ability to still deliver quieter tones, the Satchurator has been embraced by those who are seeking to emulate Surfing With The Alien.
Zoom G2G George Lynch Signature Mr. Scary PedalWhile the Satchurator will undoubtedly satisfy Satriani devotees, the new signature pedal from 80's icon George Lynch is designed for a much wider audience than just Dokken fans. Lynch has been working to capture a combination of pretty much every sound you can imagine - using a microchip to record an assortment of stomp boxes, tube pre-amps, vintage amps, EQ settings, and much more along the way. Whether you like a delay-heavy style or are striving for that early Metallica vibe, the G2G covers it all. The pedal features 40 original patches from Lynch himself and runs $119.Dean DimeTime PickupThe number of Dimebag Darrell disciples continues to grow, and the good people at Dean are ensuring that his memory and signature style carry on for future generations. The long-awaited DimeTime pickup was given a personal touch, with Dean focusing on the precise tones used on Cowboys From Hell - as well as enlisting the help of Dimebag's guitar tech Grady Champion in the process. The DimeTime pickup is one of Dean's newest additions, but the company also has a motherload of other Dimebag-related paraphernalia that is a must for any Pantera fan.
Marshall Limited Edition Kerry King MG10KK 10W 1x6.5 Combo AmpThis is quite a baby amp in size, but it packs a punch. Users have commented on how loud it gets, particularly considering it's running on only 10 watts.
This practice amp doesn't try to confuse you with a million different knobs, instead putting the focus on only 4: Clean Volume, Overdrive Gain, Overdrive Volume, and Tone. When it comes down to it, the brutal sound is what has sold metal players on the Kerry King Marshall.
Stocking Stuffers For ShreddersThe Gripp Hand TrainerRunning around $5, this is one little item that counts as more of a stocking stuffer. It's unassuming in appearance, but the Gripp Hand Trainer works as a hand/forearm strengthener to help you play for a longer period of time. While you can't take your guitar to school or work, the Gripp Hand Trainer is small enough to use anywhere. Obviously you won't turn into Randy Rhoads with just a squeezable ball, but it's still a useful tool that will aid you in your practice regimen.
Outlet TesterThis looks as far from rock and roll as you can get, but it might just save that beautiful vintage amp that you worship. If you want to protect that old Marshall (or even any new equipment) while gigging on the road, put an outlet tester on your list. Priced around $10 and available at most hardware stores, you'll save your amp from being fried. Most vintage pieces do need a little more TLC, and taking the time to use the outlet tester a few minutes before a gig will save you years of heartache.
DR Handmade Extra Life StringsOh, the colors. Once you get over the aesthetics of DR Handmade Extra Life Strings (Red Devil and Peacock Blue are particularly eye-catching), it becomes quickly evident that these strings are up there with Elixirs in terms of quality. The brand has earned top ratings in both tone and playability, with the main complaint being that a small amount of paint can rub off from time to time. Even with that setback, the guitarists who have tried out the colored DR Handmade Strings usually come back for more. This is one of the pricier stocking stuffers at a retail price of almost $50 (yikes), but on the plus side you won't need to replace them anytime soon.Dunlop Pyrex Glass Flare SlideAnyone who's a fan of Joe Walsh, Jack White, or Billy Gibbons has heard mastery on the slide guitar. You'll get a different sound depending on the type used, but there's a new slide that has gained attention for its twist on an old classic. The Dunlop Pyrex Glass Flare Slide is a shatter-resistant slide that excels in delivering in a warm, middle-harmonics tone. If you've been thinking of delving into a bluesier sound, the Pyrex slide will deliver effective results at a reasonable price of around $7.99.
Express YourselfSteve Clayton Custom PicksWith the popularity of do-it-yourself T-shirt design sites like CafePress, it's refreshing to see that pick guru Steve Clayton is expanding that idea past apparel. If you are looking to give a unique gift to your buddy (or yourself), check out the custom pick shop at http://www.claytoncustom.com. For $24.99-$450 (depending on the quantity and style), you can design everything from the shape and gauge to the text/design and material of your picks. If you steer away from generic gifts, the Steve Clayton custom shop will be a godsend.
Strap GraphicsHave you ever felt that your guitar strap might be improved tenfold if only you had your own face emblazoned on it? If you're not that self-absorbed, then perhaps a buxom blond will do just fine. If you like the idea of the Steve Clayton custom picks but prefer something a little more eye-catching onstage, check out Strap Graphics. At http://www.strapgraphics.com/custom.php you can upload your own design and select such specifics as the strap width, leather color, and stitching. Running $59 and up, the custom-made straps are made of high-quality leather and are currently being shipped free during the holidays.
OdditiesIron Maiden Eddie's Evil BrewThis gift has absolutely nothing to do with playing the guitar and it's only available to those in Europe, but we couldn't resist putting it on the list.
What better way to class up that next party of yours than to bring along a bottle of Iron Maiden Eddie's Evil Brew? Although we have no idea how this merlot tastes, there's something downright charming about seeing Eddie's shining face staring back at you as you dine with grandma and grandpa.Dave Mustaine's Black Gold BlendThere's only one thing stranger than seeing an Iron Maiden image on your merlot bottle, and that would be Dave Mustaine's silhouette donning your coffee container. We were given the tip off on Dave Mustaine's Black Gold Blend from none other than a Megadeth bulletin on MySpace, so this is the real deal. And we're all in luck this time - unlike Eddie's Brew, the Mustaine Blend is available in the US and runs a reasonable $14.99. Check out www.networthcoffeebrokers.com to find out more details on this bizarrely cool holiday gift.
UG Readers' Selections: Santa, Sex, And A Texas Ranger
We went the traditional route with our staff-written holiday gift guide, providing some logical, wallet-friendly ideas for guitarists. But our tiny list doesn't even begin to cover the desires and wants of the UG community, and our recent survey made that crystal clear. Oh sure, the most popular selections were the standard guitar (60 percent) or amplifier (20 percent) answers, but we were surprised to find that not far behind was a wish for talent. Sad, yet intriguing.
Some of you chose to get a little more creative with the wish list, and at times that originality came close to equaling vulgarity. Of course, you certainly got our attention. The following UG readers' selections are unusual and might come in a far second to a Strat or Les Paul, but as one person pointed out, there's really only one gift that keeps on giving: Chuck Norris' fists.
Santa's MomWhile most jokes using Your Mom as a punchline are comic gold, this one takes humor to the next level.
We have to admit that seeing 75 people collectively suggest Santa's Mom as a must-have holiday gift was a tad disturbing. May we suggest Santa's 20-something-year-old daughter instead?A BiggerWell, You KnowIf a guitar does not appear to be in your future this Christmas, asking for a bigger member is worth a shot.
And if by chance you do grow an inch or two, we salute you. A Guns N' Roses Reunion With All The Original MembersAxl, you know that it would be the ultimate step in rebuilding your career. Sure, Chinese Democracy made a fairly solid showing internationally, but a reunion with Slash, Izzy, Duff, and yes, even Steven would likely win back all those fans you alienated over the past 15 or so years. We probably have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, but let us believe in Christmas miracles.
Jessica Alba Looks, Yngwie's Speed And Control, and Chuck Norris' FistsWe're not sure if a boy or girl asked for this gift, but it matters not.
Anybody who mentions Chuck Norris is a badass.Honorable Mentions:
Playing skills so that I can kick ass in the school concert and show those snobbish posers what real guitar playing is
Enough watts in my amp to destroy a house with just one chord
Ultimate-Guitar playing skills
A penguin that can shoot lasers from its eyes
Marta Peterson from Bleeding Through
A guitar with 612 necks
A girlfriend with 12 necks
Sex, drugs, and heavy f**king metal
By Amy Kelly