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posted: 6/7/2014 7:00 AM

Gift Guide: Wood-themed tech gifts for Dad

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  • Dad might like these walnut wood iPhone cases from Portland, Ore.-based Grovemade.

      Dad might like these walnut wood iPhone cases from Portland, Ore.-based Grovemade.
    Associated Press

  • This May 26, 2014 photo shows the Grain Audio Packable Wireless System Bluetooth speaker, in Decatur, Georgia.

      This May 26, 2014 photo shows the Grain Audio Packable Wireless System Bluetooth speaker, in Decatur, Georgia.
    Associated Press

  • This June 3, 2014 photo shows the Fender Wayne Kramer "Royal Tone" Dreadnought CE acoustic guitar, in Decatur, Ga.

      This June 3, 2014 photo shows the Fender Wayne Kramer "Royal Tone" Dreadnought CE acoustic guitar, in Decatur, Ga.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Dads try to stay handsome, and their technology should, too.

Items that have a blend of technology and wood can look more exquisite than plastic or metal when included in the construction correctly. I found three noteworthy products sure to complete dad's stylish ensemble of personal technology:

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Grain Audio Packable Wireless System ($249):

Bluetooth speakers are readily available these days in various shapes and colors. But many of them are shaped oddly and made of plastic. This speaker from Grain Audio bucks the trend and opts for a walnut wood finish on the majority of its exterior.

The grain pattern of the wood is attractive and blends nicely with the gray rubber edging that surrounds the speaker's metal grill. My tablets and phones synced easily after holding down the "G" button on the top for five seconds.

The sound is among the best you'll find in a Bluetooth speaker at this size and price. It easily handled some of my bass-heavy electronic dance playlists.

Grovemade iPhone case ($39-$99):

One way to class up your dad's mobile gear is to encase it in something slim, not bulky. Dads like to ruggedize everything in huge, obtuse rubbery cases. A better-looking alternative are some iPhone cases handcrafted from Oregon black walnut.

If dad is rocking an iPhone 5 or 5s, he may like the full case for $99. The sides and the back of the two-piece slide-on case are made of hand-finished walnut.

If he wants something light for an iPhone 5c, he can opt for the less-expensive walnut bumper, at $39. It offers protection around the edges of the phone.

Both cases allow access to all the buttons, ports and camera lenses on the phones. Consider this a needed upgrade from dad's current Day-Glo "Go 'Niners!" cellphone case.

Sorry, but the company doesn't make these cases for Android phones, which come in an assortment of shapes and sizes.

Fender Wayne Kramer "Royal Tone" CE guitar ($549):

Nothing displays the beauty of wood as exquisitely as a well-built dreadnought guitar.

This Wayne Kramer "Royal Tone" Dreadnought CE from Fender offers dad everything he'll need to rock out those acoustic MC5 proto-punk covers he's been covertly working on. Kramer was the lead guitarist for the 1960s band MC5, and his stamp of approval on this guitar is a nod to discerning rocker dads. The guitar has a spruce top with a vintage sunburst tone and mahogany on the back and sides.

There's some very polished technology involved with this guitar as well. Built into the guitar is a Fishman Isys III System preamp, as well as an onboard tuner. It's really nice to be able to quickly tune all six strings with the onboard electronics, instead of having to tote along separate tuning gear in a gig bag.

The unplugged sound is bright and lively. The guitar comes off as an easy player for intermediate pickers like me. Plug it in to an amp, and it just flat out jams, blending crisp high notes and chunky power chord strums nicely. Dad will have himself a true performance-ready instrument should he choose to hit a local open-mic night.

This guitar is a good deal, at $549, given the advanced electronics, top-shelf woods and attention to design detail.

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