Suggestions for 2019 Gift Guide

Edited: November 20, 2019, 9:23 PM · Greetings all! It's time of the year, and I'm taking suggestions to include in the 2019 Gift Guide. What wonderful new violin-related accessory, book, recording, sheet music or other product have you discovered this year, that you would recommend giving (or receiving!) as a gift? And if you have created something that you'd like us to consider, I give you permission to toot your own horn (pluck your own string?) in this thread! Be sure to include a link for where to purchase it, if you have that.

Thanks for your suggestions, I plan to post it on Black Friday!

Replies (25)

November 20, 2019, 10:29 PM · A year's subscription to "The STRAD" or "STRINGS" magazine is likely to be appreciated by any string player who does not already subscribe.
November 20, 2019, 11:00 PM · A Lotus Light stand light for the generous gift giver (they're expensive but so worth it).

November 21, 2019, 1:16 AM · A fifth of B&B for those days when practicing, lesson, rehearsal, or performance goes poorly.

Tickets to see the Sirius Quartet. They're amazing. And their albums are great too.

November 21, 2019, 5:05 AM · Yes-- Lotus rules. Actually, the Aria lights are maybe even a hair better. But they are harder to lug around.
November 21, 2019, 7:26 AM · I prefer the Aria lights for my music room, but the Lotus wins hands down for portability. I am short so the Aria's light shield obstructs line of sight even when a standard Manhasset is at its minimum height, which annoys chamber music partners. But in some circumstances the Lotus lack of a shield can bother others unless the light is very carefully and non-optimally positioned.
November 21, 2019, 8:43 AM · I've been gifted lovely CD boxed sets (Naxos, DG), LP's (Heifetz, Ostraikh, etc.), a wire pencil holder (the spring style one that attaches to the stand), Blackwing pencils (I prefer a different brand), and microfiber cleaning cloths.

I'd love a gift certificate to, or to Shar (or another place to buy my strings), or even for a luthier visit or lesson.

This reminds me, Lydia: Muji makes great desk storage bins that fit sheet music in them! Last time I saw, they were on sale for $3/3 pack. They're white plastic, collapsible, and about 4-5" wide and plenty deep and long enough for Barenreiter sized music.

November 21, 2019, 9:23 AM · I was just going to mention Blackwings! :-)

Yes, Blackwings with the pencil sharpener, and a magnetic pencil-holder. I hate having a pencil on the stand-desk, where it interferes with page-turns in orchestra, or is never where you want it to be. I put a Blackwing into a magnetic pencil holder, and just stick it to the leg of the stand, where it's in easy reach of my stand partner and I, but not in the way.

I actually have similar storage bins for my music hardcovers (i.e. books about music, rather than sheet music)! I think they cost me a lot more than $1 per bin, though.

Edited: November 21, 2019, 12:02 PM · Where do you get the Blackwings and magnetic holder? Just Amazon? Are these the right ones? My stand partner at my last gig had that set-up and it was really nice.

I was actually thinking of the Aria light, but maybe I'll mention both that and Lotus!

November 21, 2019, 12:26 PM · I have to put my vote in for any of the 3-D printed mutes from Wiessmeyer & Son I have tried almost all of them and really like the sound they produce.

I also really like my Manhasset Fourscore Folder Stand Accessory because it allows me to place up to 4 sheets of music side by side, is portable, and works with pretty much any stand.

Edited: November 21, 2019, 2:14 PM · Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics and Naxos have new Beethoven Edition boxed-sets out in celebration of Beethoven 2020.

This year there were numerous great violin releases including CD's with Isabelle Faust (Bach, Debussy), Alina Ibragimova (Franck, Brahms), Giuliano Carmignola (Bach), Gidon Kremer (Weinberg), Tessa Lark (Torke), Nicola Benedetti (Marsalis) to name a few.

And if physical media thing isn't your thing, buy someone a subscription to Primephonic or Idagio, two classical music streaming services (that aren't Spotify).

Edited: November 21, 2019, 2:48 PM · Micro Tuner by D'Addario, Korg KDM-3 Digital Metronome, Boveda humidity control packs, and don’t forget Rosins, can’t have too many of those!
November 21, 2019, 3:53 PM · Blackwings from Shar, complete with all accessories: LINK

Oh yes, the 3D mutes! Definitely! Available from Amazon if you don't need customization.

I bought one of those Manhasset Fourscore Folders from Amazon once upon a time, and could never figure out how it was supposed to work.

November 21, 2019, 4:31 PM · I know this is obvious and boring but I probably would have the most use out of a new set of strings over anything else lol.
November 21, 2019, 5:10 PM · I think the Micro Tuner is a great idea. I find I can use them in ensemble to tune while playing of others is going on and experience no acoustic interference. These tuners respond vibrations through contact not through the air.

And they are cheap.

Edited: November 21, 2019, 7:17 PM · If you give someone a mute they might think "What, are you trying to tell me somethin?" (Just kidding, that would be a nice gift.)

Musicians earplugs might be a nice gift. My personal favorites are D'Addario "Pacato" earplugs for their reasonable price, flexibility in their application, and they don't stick out to make you look like a space alien like some others I've tried.

November 21, 2019, 7:27 PM · It's hard to buy strings for someone because they're so personal to the player.

Honestly, it's hard to beat an Amazon gift certificate if you're uncertain what to get someone. :-)

A mini Bluetooth speaker, small enough to be tucked into a case, is hugely useful as well.

Edited: November 21, 2019, 11:01 PM · I asked my mother in law for a luxitune fine tuner for Christmas. They are gorgeous!
November 21, 2019, 9:32 PM · The WMutes make for a nice "not likely to buy for yourself" luxury mute.
November 22, 2019, 8:08 AM · Soundbrenner Core keeps showing up on Instagram feed.looks cool, but they seem to have trouble shipping product.......
Edited: November 22, 2019, 10:18 AM · A couple of book ideas:

For all things intonation covered in one book:
adapted from Hans Jørgen Jensen's CelloMind

Some cello videos.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein.

A couple of reviews, which tend to cover mostly the first chapter:

All those parenting implications are interesting, and I'm only at Ch. 3, but Ch. 2 blew my mind, the discoveries over the 20th C that abstract thinking has increased with each subsequent generation, and the type of education taught, and that prior to such education, minds are capable of being totally concrete, experiencing the world and thoughts about that concrete world in totally concrete terms. Explains a lot about the liberal/conservative divide and prejudice. The implications for an ever segmented world, driven by search engine bias and personalized content in social media, are discouraging. Ch. 3 is a delight to read, largely about the figlie del coro, "daughters of the choir," a revolutionary group of orphaned girls and women, taken in by the ospedali as abandoned infants, who against all odds, in spite of their indigent status and the acute sexism of their times became brilliant musicians in great numbers and on multiple instruments and voice, for whom Vivaldi wrote hundreds of concertos, whom the glitterati of 18/19th C Europe flocked to hear (and see, though they were often hidden away from their audiences behind a veil--I won't spoil the reason why,) who may very well have shaped European music from the 18th C and into the 19th, and ends with why the Tiger Mom was fundamentally wrong in her approach. Highly recommended based on just 3 chapters!

November 22, 2019, 2:00 PM · Fiddlershop Premium Rosin. Surprisingly, I like it. It produces a focused tone on my violin. It's a dark rosin that produces very low dust.

November 25, 2019, 7:07 PM · Andrea Rosin, high fidelity earplugs, practice mute, Lotus stand light and may I selfishly suggest:

Practizma Practice Journal: 16 Weeks of Efficiency, Empowerment & Joy for Musicians yours truly. It's a guided journal for practicing: practice tracking, reflection and action challenges to be used by those taking lessons or those who are flying solo. Available at:

Edited: November 25, 2019, 8:25 PM · Books, you say? Then I recommend Duke Ellington's memoir, "Music is My Mistress." Artur Rubinstein's memoir is good too, but it's huge. So what if they weren't violinists.

CD's? How about the Sirius Quartet.

November 26, 2019, 12:32 PM · These are very helpful, thank you everyone!
November 29, 2019, 9:28 PM · Those practizma books look pretty cool. Any sense for how teachers respond to them?

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