It’s the time of season which gear nerds have been positively salivating over: the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show. Every year, these fine purveyors of musical goods congregate to populate one gigantic Californian warehouse with gear porn of the highest, and latest, calibre. EDGG wasn’t there (we can only dream) but we did look at loads of websites to bring you this (overly) concise guide to the movers and shakers in the guitar world, helpfully separated into guitars, amps and pedals, just like an everyday blog post. Huzzah!
While there wasn’t anything earth-shatteringly innovative in the form of the instrument at NAMM, Peavey did introduce the first guitars to feature Anteres auto-tune technology, as previously discussed on EDGG. Unfortunately, the AT-200, as it is to be known, isn’t the most attractive geetar on the block, with a bizarre excess of body weight, but hopefully its playability, tech supremacy and reasonable price point will win it some supporters.
Fender were also on-hand to deliver some much-needed aesthetic charm, largely thanks to the Johnny Marr signature Jaguar. Watch the video above to find out why Marr loves the guitar, despite its (apparently numerous) eccentricities, and how he’s modded it to better suit his playing style. Also, he plays some Smiths tunes, which is reason enough to watch in itself.
Small was the theme this year, with both Marshall and Fender releasing miniature amps, albeit in very different styles. Marshall unleashed the JTM1, a one-watt combo or head, released to commemorate the firm’s 50th anniversary. Plans were also unveiled to release one-watt versions of all of Marshall’s most famous amps throughout the year, from the JMP, through to JCM, DSL and JVM series.
Fender, however, took a somewhat more leftfield approach with their new Pawn Shop amplifier line. Following in the footsteps of the brand’s previous Lunchbox series of amps, Fender have released what they call “the most unusual Fender tube amp ever” in the Greta, a two-watt combo with a 4″ speaker. Also shown was the Excelsior, a 13-watt combo with 15″ speaker and inputs for guitar, microphone and accordion. You know, just in case you feel the urge.
Time move quickly in the pedal world and both Korg and TC Electronic were battling it out with their latest polyphonic tuner offerings, the Pitchblack Poly and PolyTune Mini respectively. Also looking to cause a stir was Vox’s new DelayLab: a bells-and-whistles delay/looper which the company is no doubt hoping will take on Line 6’s DL4 as the roadworthy delay of choice amongst pro guitarists.
Disappointment came in the form of Electro-Harmonix’s no-show of new products, despite rumours of a game-changer for both the company and the stompbox world in general. Still, Digitech were on hand to promote their latest foray into iPhone/iPad compatible devices, the iStomp. This allows users to purchase new effects using an app, rather than buying physical products. It’s like the MP3 revolution all over again, although it will surely be some time before we see the extinction of the humble stompbox. Hell, I still buy CDs.
So, those are the EDGG picks for NAMM highlights. However, this was an incredibly brief roundup of events and so, so much has been missed out. For a more thorough guide to the NAMM goings-ons, take a look at Music Radar or Premier Guitar, who have both done sterling work in this area, as evidenced by the videos above. Maybe next year EDGG will be the ones providing the videos. Or not. I don’t want to get my hopes up.