We all have one specific person in our lives that is IMPOSSIBLE to shop for. Either they already own a lot of what they "need" or the kind of gift they want is not in your area of expertise. After this article, you should be able to shop with confidence for any guitarist at any level of playing. In order to shop with success you need to understand two things about the guitarist--what they WANT, what they NEED. This is part I, and it will deal primarily with the kinds of things that guitarists want.
What a guitar player WANTS typically is the broadest category and most difficult to define. Simple questions to the player such as, "What is your dream (guitar/amp/pedal)?" will often give you very specific answers with regards to brands and models that the player wants. Most guitarists will either have a succinct response or litany of answers to these questions. If specific brands and models are mentioned repeatedly, take note--this is likely a candidate for a GREAT gift.
However, not all players have the expertise to name what they are looking for directly. Sometimes it is difficult to play styles of music correctly without the correct gear. In these instances, beginner players may need help figuring out which amps and guitars would benefit them most. As a further guide, here are some examples of guitars and amps based on genre:
This is by no means an exhaustive list or a rubric for specific genres. Instead, it is a jumping off point for gift ideas for the guitarists in your life. Stay tuned for part II, where we will discuss what guitarists NEED...