Find the best gear for music students in our Back to School blog

No matter if you’re just starting out studying music or you’re revising for your final year of exams, this blog rounds up a selection of our favourite bits of equipment for the academic muso.

This list also contains some great ideas on gifts for music students - so if you’re looking to get the student in your life kitted-out with the best back-to-school gear, then look no further.

Read on for our favourite range of guitars, amps, drums, and keys for music students!

Best Gear for Music Students

Guitar Amps

BOSS Katana 50 MK II

BOSS Katana 50 MK II

The BOSS Katana 50 MK II is a stage-ready amplifier that has quickly cemented its place as the go-to modelling solution for beginners and professionals alike.

Boasting a range of classic BOSS effects and Tube Logic design, the Katana 50 features a power control switch for playing at bedroom levels (0.5w), rehearsing (25w), and gigging (50w).

Users can edit, store, and share new sounds with the revolutionary BOSS Tone Studio, allowing you to recall tones and download new patches with ease - and with the direct recording capabilities of the Katana, you can be certain that everything will still sound excellent even if you can’t mic up the speaker.

This amp is the perfect choice for those studying music due to the huge amount of features on offer, so no matter what sort of genre you’re called upon to play, you can be certain that you can dial in a suitable tone.

Better still, this amp only weighs 11.6 kg (or 25 lbs) - so you’ll have no problem getting it to and from school, college, rehearsals, or anywhere else you might need to take it!

Acoustic Guitars

Ferndale Guitars

Ferndale GA2-CE N

The best acoustic guitars for beginner students come from Ferndale. This GA2-CE model in Natural is perfectly-suited for those just starting out because it combines effortless playability with a classic sound that is suitable for a wide range of styles.


Ferndale Guitars prioritise performance over gimmicks and unnecessary extras - so you get the highest quality features on a budget. This makes learning and practicing more enjoyable for players of all levels!

Epiphone Starling Player Pack

Epiphone Starling Player Pack

The Epiphone name is synonymous with some of the finest instruments in the world, and with the Starling Player Pack you’re guaranteed a high-quality instrument alongside everything else you need to get started with playing acoustic guitar.

Pictured here in Ebony, the pack also comes with an electronic tuner, a shoulder strap, some plectrums, and a gig bag.

With an exceptionally comfortable C-shaped neck, each aspect of this guitar has been designed with playability in mind - so no matter if you’re a complete beginner or just looking for a new guitar to start off the school year with, you can be assured that it will feel just as good as it looks and sounds.

The Starling Player Pack is also available in:

Tanglewood TWCR O Crossroad Series Whisky Barrel Burst

Tanglewood TWCR O Crossroad Series

Paying tribute to the instruments that soundtracked 1930s America and pioneered the Blues, the Tanglewood TWCR O Crossroad Series in Whisky Barrel Burst is a no-frills option for those who want a classic sound on a budget.

Crafted with mahogany and featuring a beautiful rosewood fretboard, this guitar is hard-wearing and functional but still possesses a wonderfully rich tone. Its Orchestra body shape and awesome Whisky Barrel finish ensure it looks the part, too.

For those chasing a guitar that embodies the spirit of the Delta bluesman, it’s hard to go wrong with the Crossroads Series from Tanglewood!

Classical Guitars

Jose Ferrer Estudiante

Jose Ferrer Estudiante

Available in a selection of sizes to suit players of any age or ability, the Jose Ferrer Estudiante range is the ultimate entry-point for aspiring nylon-string guitarists.

Designed by teachers to make learning guitar as easy as possible, these instruments show off a traditional design that will never go out of fashion.

Whether you want to learn how to play in Flamenco-style or you’re more interested in Classical performance, music students will appreciate the traditional rosewood fretboard and durable construction.

These guitars are available in the following sizes:

Guitar Strings

Need to stock up on strings before you get back to lessons? We deliver strings to your door from just 99p for a cheaper, quicker, and easier solution to keeping your guitar in tip-top shape.

Shop a full range of electric, acoustic, and nylon strings here:

To see all of the other guitar accessories we currently stock, click here:

Bass Guitars

Squier Mini Precision Bass

Squier Mini Precision Bass

Crafted specifically for smaller hands, the Squier Mini Precision Bass is our favourite bass guitar for those who struggle to play on a full-sized instrument.

With a shorter 28.6” scale length, this bass offers lower string tension and therefore reduced fatigue when fretting notes. The smaller body is also made from lightweight poplar wood, ensuring that almost anybody will be able to try it out and begin to learn how to make music.

This guitar has everything you would expect from a P-bass, both in terms of aesthetics and in the tone it delivers - with its awesome split single-coil, the sound is instantly recognisable and ideal for developing your musical ear.

Ibanez GSR180

Ibanez GSR180

If classic Fender-style silhouettes aren’t for you, then check out our range of Ibanez Bass Guitars.

This Ibanez GSR180 has a sleek, modern design and offers the same experience you’d get from a far more expensive instrument.

With lightning-fast frets and an aggressive tone that is well-suited to a range of genres, music students that are looking to brush up on their low-end theory will love this instrument.

Bass Amplifiers

Ashdown Studio-10 Combo

Anyone who has ever had to transport a full bass setup between music lessons, rehearsals, and home will attest to the fact that it can be an extremely difficult task.

That’s why our favourite bass amplifier is this Ashdown Studio-10 Combo.

Weighing in at just 9.7kg, this is the lightest 50w combo ever created by Ashdown.

Not only is it easy to move around though, it also has a uniquely brilliant sound that boasts a valve-emulated drive circuit and a headphone output for practicing at home.

This amp is also available in a couple of different sizes, so check them out if you plan on some extra-curricular gigging or playing at larger venues!

To shop for strings and a range of other bass accessories, click here and get them delivered straight to your door!


Mapex Tornado Series

Mapex Tornado Series

The Mapex Tornado series is our choice for music students who need a complete drum kit for lessons, rehearsals, and gigging.

Pictured here in Burgundy, the 22” Rock Fusion kit comes complete with a set of hi-hats, a crash/ride, a kick pedal, and a drum throne in addition to all of the necessary stands to get started. The shells are high-quality and include:

  • 22” x 16” Bass Drum
  • 10” x 7” Rack Tom
  • 12” x 8” Rack Tom
  • 16” x 14” Floor Tom
  • 14” x 5” Matching Snare

With pro-level hardware and space to grow your set-up as your skillset improves, the Tornado series is incredible value for money. Shop more of the range here.

Alesis Nitro Mesh

Alesis Nitro Mesh

If you need a quieter solution for practicing drums away from your usual study space then an electronic kit might be your best bet.

We’ve picked out this Alesis Nitro Mesh Kit as our top-choice for music students thanks to its all-mesh design, flexible rack, and range of built-in sounds.

The mesh heads are ultra-responsive, and with the CD/MP3 AUX input you can play along to your favourite songs or practice along to backing tracks.

With 385 different drum and cymbal sounds and 60 built-in tracks to play along with, this kit is the ultimate tool for learning and practicing - it even includes a metronome for ensuring you’re keeping everything tight.


Alesis Concert 88

Alesis Concert 88

If you’re looking to get started with Keys this school year, then we recommend the Alesis Concert 88.

With 10 premium voices, this unit also features full-sized semi-weighted keys and digital effects for a truly immersive experience.

Delivering its beautiful tones via a premium 20-watt speaker, you can also connect the Concert 88 to a mixer or external amplifier - as well as using it to control MIDI instruments!

This instrument also has a built-in metronome for practicing your time-keeping and making sure everything sounds groovy - ideal for rehearsing before performance exams or gigs.

Yamaha P45

Yamaha P45

The Yamaha P45 is another excellent option for budding piano players.

Our favourite feature on this instrument is the ‘Split’ feature, which allows you to play alongside a teacher in order to copy chord shapes, bass lines, and melodies on the same machine.

The keys have a realistic feel, featuring a Graded Hammer Standard Keybed which replicates the heavier action on bass notes compared to the higher notes.

The sound is exquisite too - by making use of Advanced Wave Memory technology, this keyboard samples stereo recordings of real acoustic instruments for a selection of rich and inspiring tones.

Check out this Starter Pack bundle for everything else you'll need to get going with piano!

MIDI Controllers

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

If you’re more interested in studying the production aspect of music, then a great way to get started is with a controller.

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 is a completely portable solution for seamless control of your DAW.

Its extensive feature list includes an on-board arpeggiator, fixed chord mode, and MIDI-out for use with hardware instruments, too.

There are 16 backlit pads, 8 rotary encoders, and Pitch/Modulation Touch Strips for complete control, and included in the box is a software bundle so you can get started using it right away.

Powered simply by USB, this unit is a great addition to any home recording set-up.

Want to learn more about the best gear for music students? Have more questions about the things you need for studying music? Call us on 0151 448 2089 or check out your local store to speak to one of our Experts about your needs.

Working in education? Want to get the whole department kitted out? Our team has been supplying musical instrument solutions to schools, colleges and universities for over 25 years. Let us help you today - just click on the link below for more information!