10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Guitar Enthusiast! (Under $30)

Hello holiday shoppers,

The season of giving has officially arrived, and while many of us have not even begun to prepare for the madness that ensues, I know that their are always a few early-birds ready to grab the worm; congrats, your wisdom knows no bounds! For many shoppers, the guitar enthusiast can be a difficult person to shop for. The proverbial avalanche of goods available make choosing an appropriate gift a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the subject. If your goal is to bring a smile to the face of your extra special guitar friend, then consider these Top 10 Holiday Gifts for the Guitar Enthusiast, ready set go!

All Gifts Under $30 and Useful Regardless of Taste or Preference for Worry-Free Shopping!

1) Pick Punch – $22.95 “Never be stuck without a pick again!

The one and only Pick Punch is a fantastic gift idea for any guitarist! Put outdated IDs, expired credit and gift cards to use and never be stuck without a pick again!



2) Dunlop Guitar Accessory Pack – $19.79 “What a guitarist always needs, but can never find!

This guitar accessory pack is especially useful for a guitarist; it features many of the things a player needs on a regular basis, but may have trouble finding (musicians are often very disorganized). Best of all, this package features my capo of choice, and a handful of other useful, high-quality products!





3) Musicians Gear – Tubular Guitar Stand “You can’t miss with this one!”

A quality guitar stand is something that every guitarist can use, and they never seem to mind having a few extras just in case. This stand can accommodate any guitar size, electric and acoustic. You really can’t miss with this one!



4) Finger-Ease $3.75- “The Ultimate String Lubricant/Fingertip Conditioner”

A legend in a bottle, there is no substitute for this magic elixir! Finger-Ease is a quality string lubricant that helps to maintain the longevity of your strings, and also reduces finger tenderness. The ultimate string lubricant/fingertip conditioner makes for a fantastic stocking stuffer. This product is an add on item, so be sure to prioritize it with your next order on Amazon.


5) Gearlux Deluxe Music Stand – $29.99 “A welcomed gift for hobbyist and professional alike”

This heavy duty deluxe music stand is a welcomed gift for hobbyist and professional musicians alike. A musician can always use a few extra music stands, especially if they are playing in a band setting, or recording in the studio.





6) Schaller Guitar Strap Locks (Pair) – $13.04 “The gift of security will not go unappreciated”

The one product that almost all guitarist wish they had, especially after they’ve dropped their priceless instrument! These quality strap locks provide the gift of security that will not go unappreciated. These locks work with virtually every electric guitar on the market, another no-brainer for under fifteen bucks!


7)  10ft CBI Gold Rush Guitar Cable – $19.95 “Always on the musicians wish list”

This is one gift choice that is sure to please! Nothing, is perhaps, more useful to an electric or acoustic-electric guitarist than a quality cable, and there is no such thing as a surplus!





8) Fender Premium Picks Sampler – 48 Pack Includes Thin, Medium & Heavy Gauges – $12.99 “Something for everyone in this pack, regardless of preference”

This pick pack from Fender Guitar Company has something for everyone, regardless of preference. Guitar picks seem to vanish constantly, and so this is an essential gift for any guitar enthusiast!




9) Snark SN-13 Clip on Tuner – $14.18  “My tuner of choice, perfect for musicians of all calibers”

This chromatic clip on tuner by Snark has become the industry standard for players who want to quick tune their guitar during practice, or make room on their pedal boards for convenient tuning while on stage. The Snark SN-13 is my tuner of choice, perfect for musicians of all calibers!




10)  GIGmate Guitar Tool Kit & String Organizer – $28.95 “The tools to keep their instrument running”

This is an extra thoughtful gift that keeps on giving. This super-handy guitar tool kit will provide your friend with everything they need to maintain their instrument, saving them plenty of money in the long-run!


How to Play The Beatles “In My Life” – Beginner Friendly Acoustic Guitar Lesson

My latest instructional guitar video is here! In this lesson I break down a Beatles classic off their 1965 album Rubber Soul entitled “In My Life” (available on vinyl at: http://amzn.to/1zBcXAS). This tutorial is dedicated to my good friends and students Peter and Julie, keep working toward your goals, you’re both doing great!

Chords, tabs and lyrics to The Beatles “In My Life” are included in this lesson, which also features a simplified version for beginner guitar players. I wish you all a tremendous day of practice and progress. Let’s get started!

Beginner Guitar Class in Philadelphia – Intro Course Starts January 4th, 2015

Winter is officially here, and with it the season of gift giving and resolutions! Swift Guitar Lessons has you covered on both fronts with our next Intro to guitar course in Philadelphia!

This comprehensive beginner guitar class features a private intro lesson, 4hr long group classes, 24/7 guidance from your instructor, players handbook and HD practice videos to guarantee your success or your money back!

Visit http://phillyguitarclass.com for more info. Gift certificates are available on request. Register now and use our friendly “earlybird’ coupon code to save $ on your enrollment!

Beginner Guitar Class in Philly

How to Play “Belly Full” by Dave Matthews – Acoustic Guitar Tutorial

I am truly grateful for my amazing students here in Philadelphia. They give me the opportunity to study and teach what I love, while filling my days with great inspiration. This acoustic guitar lesson is dedicated to one such person, Jo Anne Rosansky. Here is a full breakdown of “Belly Full” by Dave Matthews Band, a beautiful acoustic ditty off their 2012 album “Away From the World” (Click to find Vinyl).

This tune is a great example of how experimental Dave can be, even when the ingredients used are common place in musical composition; This typical 1.4.5 is made new again with cascading lead-lines, a swinging country rhythm and changes that fall unpredictably to the ear. Chords, and lyrics for Dave Matthews “Belly Full” are included in this HD acoustic guitar tutorial. Let’s get started!

How to Buy Your First Guitar – Advice from Philadelphia Guitar Instructor Rob Swift

Buying Your First Guitar – What to Look For When Shopping Around + Recommended Instruments Under $200

Buying your first guitar is a huge step in the process of becoming a full fledged guitarist. By purchasing your own instrument you are making a statement to yourself that you are committed to learning and practicing! Before you begin the exciting process of shopping around, I suggest you consider in the following advice:

Splitting like this is common amongst
instruments subjected to extreme temperatures

I. Assess your price range -With guitars you get what you pay for, however it is very common to see a lack-luster instrument selling for $125, while a model of far better quality is selling for $175! That small price jump can make the difference between a piece of junk and an instrument that you can enjoy playing for many years to come! Be sure to investigate all available options: Local mom and pop shops, big-name instrument retailers, Craigslist, Ebay & Amazon to compare instruments, reviews and their prices.


These strings are much to far from the fret-board, making them difficult to press down.

II. Take a "test drive", seek expert advice - The ability to make an educated decision based on the feel, sound quality and playability is invaluable. For this reason I suggest renting a guitar for the first couple weeks while receiving quality instruction. A good teacher should also serve as an added resource and guide throughout the buying process.



This "warped" body has caused the bridge
piece to separate from the soundboard.Guitars with this issue may also have a dip between the soundhole and the neck!

III. Condition is everything! Over my last 15 years of teaching I have seen to many aspiring players get cheated into buying damaged goods! The images provided break down what to check for when examining a guitars condition. The main points include: “action” or the distance between the strings and the fret board, “warping”, abnormal sinking and bubbling of the body, “splitting” which defines visible cracking of the finish or in more extreme cases, the wood itself and lastly“construction”, the overall quality of the instrument
including the wood its made from and how its assembled.

To get you started, here are a few Amazon links to quality guitars that won't break the bank. These are instruments that have tremendous reviews and are recommended by many instructors. These same models are commonly found on craigslist, and are also sold by most retailers:

1) Fender CD-140S Acoustic Guitar (All Mahogany)  $199 w/ FREE Shipping

Five stars across the board. I have recommended this exact model to dozens of students over the years, all of whom were very satisfied with its playability and also its aesthetic. This guitar is ideal for beginners, and intermediates. Even after upgrading to a higher level instrument, your Fender CD-140 will always serve as a tremendous backup!


2) Epiphone PR-150 Acoustic Guitar Vintage Sunburst  $139 w/ FREE Shipping

A quality instrument with a classic aesthetic makes this an awesome value. This exact model was brought in to one of my guitar classes in Philadelphia, and I was pleasantly surprised by its overall quality, especially when you consider its below $150 price tag! This is definitely a great buy for any beginner guitarist, especially if you are on a budget!

3) Yamaha FG700S Acoustic Guitar $199 w/ Prime Shipping (Option of Warranty)

Possibly one of the best values I have seen on the market. Yamaha offers quality instruments at this price range, providing a guitar that is ideal for beginners. Its important to mention that this model can easily take a guitarist into the intermediate level, and will always serve as a great guitar while on vacations, even as you ascend to the more advanced level!

How to Play Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” – Acoustic Guitar Lesson

Happy birthday to the man, the myth, the legend Neil Young, who turns 68 today! In honor of this musical pioneer, I am revisiting my guitar lesson on “Heart of Gold”, which first appeared on his 1972 masterpiece “Harvest” (click for vinyl). A huge inspiration to so many musicians, Neil’s compositions combine seamless poetry, perfectly balanced structures, and an approach to the guitar that is often imitated, but rarely duplicated.

In this lesson we review many of Neil’s signature guitar tricks as we breakdown his take on a traditional 1,6,4,5 folk progression, that he updates with pentatonic rock riffs and an emphasis on minor chord shapes. Chord diagrams, tabs and lyrics to Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” are included in this easy to follow tutorial. Let’s get started!

How to Tune a Guitar by Ear – Three Easy Methods for Beginner Guitar Players

This week I’m getting back to the fundamentals, reviewing topics like basic playing technique and how to tune a guitar by ear. It doesn’t matter if you have chops like Eddie Van Halen, John Jorgenson, or my good friend Dre Dimura… If your guitar is out of tune, you will sound like a total beginner!

In this lesson we cover the art of properly tuning your guitar, as we breakdown three easy methods every guitarist should know. I also discuss what it means for your instrument to have an “intonation problem”, which many times is cause by a poor action set up, or the instrument being dropped, jolted or subjected to wide shifts in temperature or humidity. One sure fire way to keep your guitar safe and jam-ready is to keep it on a stable guitar stand such as the Nordic Adjustable Guitar Stand. Let’s get started!

Free Beginner Guitar Lesson – The Beatles “Eight Days a Week” – Philadelphia Guitar Instructor Rob Swift

For beginners, learning a handful of easy tunes is a great way to build your confidence! In this new video lesson, I break down a Beatles classic in “Eight Days a Week”. Adding this tune to your repertoire will help expand your knowledge of chords, but also challenge you rhythmically with a few different variations repeating throughout the song. Let’s get started!

Learn Real Guitar Fast in our Upcoming Beginners Guitar Class in Philadelphia!

Free Guitar Licks Tutorial – Four Rock Licks for Intermediate Players

My latest tutorial has arrived. In this video I break down four bluesy licks that utilize the pentatonic scale, and its upper/lower extensions! These phrases are very common in rock music, and are perfect for aspiring lead guitarist looking to expand their lick vocabulary. Let’s get started!

Country Guitar Licks Lesson – Three Melodic, Pedal Steel Style Licks with Country Bending!

A full breakdown on three beautiful country licks over a basic 1.4 progression in Emaj. Playing country or pedal steel style licks requires strong pitch, as you bend strings to match open strings, harmonies or reach chord tones within the tunes progression. Here are a few tips that may help you to develop a better sense of pitch, and a lot of finger strength in the process:

1) First get your bends down, practice lining up your fingers so that you can lift the string with ease, a little opposing pressure provided by the thumb atop the neck goes a long way.

2) Practice half-step bends and then full-step bends. Picking the open E string, and then bending the 4th fret B string up a half-step should result in an exact match, but it will take pr
actice. Make sure the E string is still sounding as you attempt to match the two pitches.

3) Use a clip on or pedal tuner to gauge your accuracy. Play any note on the fretboard and work to successfully bend the string up to an exact whole step or half step tone. Over time you will absolutely develop not just a good ear, but also the muscle memory that tells your hand “this is what a half step (or fullstep) bend FEELS like.

I wish you all great progress today! Be on the look out for some more valuable lessons within the week. Best. -Rob