It’s either the last chance to rush delivery on gifts, or the first chance to start thinking about picking up some music tech projects for yourself to keep up with musical New Years’ Resolutions. Either way, it’s time to give a shout out to some of the great gift guides that have been going up around the Interwebs.

And nicely enough, there’s a strong emphasis on cheap and DIY projects, meaning these can be ideal even in tough economic times.


SX-150 button mod from Collin Cunningham on Vimeo.

MAKE: Blog > Music Makers’s Gift Guide

Assembled by our friend (and Handmade Music regular) Collin Cunningham, these are the geekiest DIY treasures you can find. I got hands-on with a couple of these recently. The plastic Theremin kit is fun, although you won’t get fantastic results out of it. My favorites: the awesome SX-150 synth kit (above), previously seen only in Japan, and the Thingamakit (which also got mentioned in our holiday guide). They’re both affordable and make some lovely sounds the moment you start using them, with hacks possible later.

For fans of the Arduino electronics/microcontroller platform, see Collin’s separate guide.

The monome didn’t make the guide this year, though it topped our list, but given that you have to basically preorder the moment a run is announced, that’s not exactly a slight.

wire to the ear > Five inexpensive Chistmas gifts for musicians

This small but neat selection is just perfect, I think, from the Moog schematic on a t-shirt (above) to flash memory earrings to Live sound packs from Puremagnetik.

Digital LoFi > The 2nd Annual Digital LoFi Holiday Gift Guide for the Disenfranchised

Digital LoFi has some fantastic selections: buy one, get-one-free offerings from Soniccouture (makers of fantastic Kontakt scripts, by the way), a pay-what-you-will EQ, and wonderful donationware plug-ins. The site also calls out CDM’s own Winter Guide print-on-demand – thanks!

Pt. I
Pt. II
Pt. III
Pt. IV

Honorable mention: The wacky scientists in residence at New York’s Eyebeam research center have introduced Hack Me Elmo. (Thanks, Chris Hahn!) That’s right: it’s a blockbuster holiday toy from years past, hacked into something very odd. Check out our own Mike Una’s how-to on circuit bending if you want to transform a toy into something musical and wonderful, also in our Winter ‘08 guide.

And yes, the rest is here:

Previous post

Gig Rigs: Girl Talk – PC, Plastic Wrap, and AudioMulch

Next post

Chiptune Rockstars: Videos from Blip 08, And What You Can Learn From the 8-Bit Scene