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For the budding musicians, we have a slightly different take on the gift guide, because if you know someone who wants to strum a guitar and cheer on a crowd, here are some top ideas.

Wanna be startin’ something

Starting out in music or just keen to have a play? There are a few options you can look at as far as gifts go.

Guitar Hero Live (iPad, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

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Price: $150-200

Know someone who wants to start a band, but you don’t think they’ll take it seriously, maybe a kid or even the husband about to go through a mid-life crisis?

Forget the real instrument and give them the chance to join a digital band, one that feels like they’re a part of the action now instead of working their way up to the top.

Guitar Hero Live provides that with a guitar-like controller that feels like you’re strumming chords, and a video setup that when you stand in front of the TV makes it seem like you’re playing in front of a crowd. Do well and the band will cheer, but perform poorly and they’ll boo, simulating what it might be like if you were, you know, a decent or terrible music act.

Read our review…

IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic

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For the budding musicians, we have a slightly different take on the gift guide, because if you know someone who wants to strum a guitar and cheer on a crowd, here are some top ideas.
$89

Designed for an acoustic guitar or bass, which if we’re honest shouldn’t cost too much to pick up, the iRig Acoustic is a little clip on microphone to let you grab the sound direct from the source on the guitar.

Keen to show off those chord strumming skills like a champion and own a phone, tablet, or computer? This will let you do that, and for not too much cash.

Read more about this…

Tribute acoustic ukulele with electric pickup

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Price: $120

Perhaps a guitar isn’t up their alley, but you’re still keen on getting them something guitar-like.

Why not try a uke? These things are small, fashionable, and still able to send out an amplified signal if they’re electric, taking a more higher pitched approach to guitar playing with a shorter neck, shorter scale, and a style of music that is really in season.

Alternatively, the acoustic only models (that should be compatible with the iRig Acoustic) are super cheap, so if you feel like giving the gift of music, you’ll find these on sale across Australia from $20 to $80.

Korg NanoKey 2

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Price: $100

And if guitars and ukes don’t cut it, how about just an ordinary piano that can be plugged into a computer and paired with some music software.

Korg’s NanoKey is a rather creative concept taking a computer style keyboard and replacing the keys with piano keys, resulting in a small and slim USB-powered MIDI keyboard with 25 keys to let someone compose music provided they have a Mac or Windows machine nearby.

We’ve been using one for ages (actually, the original NanoKey) simply because it’s so much easier to carry around and then store than a fully-fledged piano or keyboard.

Apple iPad Mini 2 with Garageband

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Price: $369 with $7.99 for the Garageband app

Apple’s iPad Mini is the other way to get into music creation if you’re new to the whole thing, and there’s a reason we say the Mini over the bigger one, and that’s price.

Simply put, with a cost of $369, the iPad Mini is one of the best small-size tablets you can find around, and given that Apple’s Garageband app lets you make music on the iPad quickly and easily, it’s not-quite-$10 price means the whole package doesn’t have to be expensive after all.

In case you’ve never seen it, Garageband simulates owning and playing instruments, and is a fairly capable app designed to basically be a cut-down but graphically friendly equivalent of Apple’s own industry audio recording standard that is Logic Pro. That means to someone who wants to make music, they may even get a few tracks out, and they won’t have to have a real instrument nearby to help them.

Plantronics BackBeat Sense headphones

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Price: $249

Starting out in music should have some headphones, and one of the better ways to join the modern audio world is to cut the cables and go wireless.

The Plantronics BackBeat Sense is one of the better priced ways of doing so, offering a small size, comfortable padding, and great sound with or without the cable.

Read our review…

Beats Solo 2 Wireless headphones

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Price: $399

Or if you want that special someone to have something seen a little more stylish, there’s always something made by Beats.

While it might be the king of the “celebrity headphones” craze, the Beats headphones we’ve seen this year feel like they’ve actually started to come into their own, offering a more balanced sound than the overly bassy signature style they have had in the past.

Now, they sound a little closer to how pop is designed, and while we wouldn’t use these for engineering audio professionally, if you think music is only a passing interest for someone, these will go a lot further, providing solid sound and smiles all around beyond the world of playing and singing.

Read our review…

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