Pick Holiday Gifts That Strike the Right Chord
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and Making Music magazine have pooled their expertise to predict which musical instruments and technology will be topping gift lists this holiday season.—Guided by industry trends, retailer feedback and consumer sentiment,
Many of this year’s best-selling items are likely to be fretted instruments, including acoustic guitars, which saw sales rise 15 percent last year, according to data from Music Trades. The ukulele renaissance continues (thank you, Bruno Mars) with a wider variety of sizes and styles, which helped push last year’s sales up 54 percent. As the uke trend enters its second phase, the demand for portable, fun-for-all instruments is carrying over to similar categories. Stores are stocking a new class of compact guitars for easy travel at beginner-friendly pricing, and banjos, which are gaining popularity in step with string-heavy bands such as Mumford and Sons.
In addition, keyboards, especially digital models, offer compact convenience and concert sound at affordable prices. New technology has given both professional and aspiring musicians unprecedented abilities to make and manipulate music, spurring sales for items such as digital DJ controllers (up 54 percent) that incorporate the processing power of iPods and iPads to achieve pro effects within any aspiring DJ’s reach.
“It’s never too early or too late to learn how to play music and instruments are perfect gifts for anyone on your holiday list, no matter what age or level of experience,” said Antoinette Follet, editor-in-chief, Making Music magazine. “They’re the type of gifts that keep on giving because they’re also an investment in the lifelong appreciation of music.”
“Sales of acoustic guitars, ukuleles and even DJ machines are gaining ground because they answer a need for personal enjoyment,” said Pete Gamber, educational representative for Music & Arts, a national chain of musical instrument stores. “Most people who buy a ukulele or a DJ machine don’t buy it because they’re starting a rock band; it’s something they’re doing at home or for family parties.”
NAMM and Making Music magazine’s holiday gift guide promises unique and memorable gifts for everyone, from the amateur to aficionado.
Highlights from the lists include:
- Unique ukes: Ohana offers solid mahogany models with beautiful abalone inlays, tortoise shell binding and the finish of a fine musical instrument. www.ohana-music.com
- Super amps: The AmpDock, a multi-effects guitar processor for the iPad encloses the device in a rugged and portable dock, offering guitarists an easier way to control tone and effects. www.alesis.com/ampdock
- Strings on-the-go: Compact design defines these guitars. They are extra portable for traveling, easy for kids to play, or just a comfortable option for cradling on the couch at home, but with full sound. http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/acoustic/category/travelsmall-body
- Radical DJ gear: iDJ Live is a compact software controller for iPad, iPhone and iPod that lets all kinds of music lovers be a DJ, using their own music library. www.numark.com/product/idjlive
- Neat beats: Percussion manufacturer Meinl makes an especially exotic cajón, the Ergo-Shape String Cajon, featuring a curved bubinga-wood front plate that’s more comfortable on the drummer’s hands. www.meinlpercussion.com
- Banjo resurgence: The Deering Banjo Company’s new Rare Bird Alert Goodtime banjo is inspired by Steve Martin’s Grammy-nominated CD, “Rare Bird Alert,” and features bird-adorned peg heads. http://www.deeringbanjos.com/deering-goodtime-rare-bird-alert-banjo-package
- Cool Keys: Yamaha P-95 Digital Piano has dynamic, high-quality sound via its Advanced Wave Memory sampling system, creating the realism of an acoustic instrument. The Graded Hammer Standard keyboard provides natural piano touch response. http://usa.yamaha.com
To view the complete guide, visit http://makingmusicmag.com/holidaygifts2012
*All sales data based on figures published in Music Trades magazine.
About Making Music magazine
Making Music encourages adult recreational musicians to pursue their fulfilling hobby and become part of a music making community. By advocating the physical, social, and psychological benefits of music making, we intend to build demand for musical instruments and accessories.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9,000 Member companies located in more than 87 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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