By the last day of the four-day Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California, you see a lot of exhibitors, journalists, and gearheads walking around with rather glazed looks in their eyes. Believe it or not, this is a good thing. See, Winter NAMM 2012 was busy ... hoppin' ... cookin' ... happening. And that means business is good -- so good, in fact, that it's just plain hard to take it all in.
But blasted and dazed as we are when we emerge from the buzzing confines of the Anaheim Convention Center, there's a lot you don't easily forget. So here are some of the guitars, amps, pedals, and basses that blew us away, in full color for you to see for yourself.
One of the great things about NAMM is that it's a beautifully democratic bazaar. Garage-based pedal builders hawk their wares just a stone's throw from the biggest players in the business. And just when you think the newest 6-string from Fender, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, or PRS is the thing you'll remember as you fall off to sleep that night, some upstart fuzz builder pulls you over and blows your mind -- cranking their latest contraption through a ratty, blackface Princeton from a booth the size of your closet.
The whole cross-section is represented here, some of our favorites, anyway. But there's plenty more to see, including in-depth video coverage, at premierguitar.com. Check it out. Then holler and let us know what you think. You'll be seeing a lot of these products reviewed in the months to come, but we'd love to know what you're all hot about, too. Frankly, we're still a little blown away by everything we heard and saw.
1. Reverend Eastsider
Reverend’s Eastsider is the company’s second
Pete Anderson Signature model. It has
a Broadcaster-style bridge pickup, korina
body, and a compound radius fretboard.
2. Moog Lap Steel
The Moog Lap Steel was one of the most
intriguing instruments at NAMM. It’s built
around the electronics from the Moog Guitar,
which means the Lap Steel is capable of
practically infi nite sustain, a cool controlled
sustain mode that simultaneously mutes unplayed
strings and sustains played strings,
and a piezo pickup so you can blend natural
lap steel sounds and Moogifi ed tones.
3. Jens Ritter Monroe
Jens Ritter’s Monroe, dressed up in deep
and luxurious royal blue from head to toe,
was a contender the running for the Rolls
Royce of NAMM. Ritter conceived the
model after a rockabilly listening binge and
features custom humbuckers and a Bigsby
B7 modifi ed by Ritter himself.
4. Hagstrom Viking baritone
The new 28"-scale Viking Baritone features
a maple semi-hollow body with fl amed top
veneer, a vintage-voice humbucker and
P-90, dual volume and tone controls, and 22
frets. Besides being beautiful and sounding
great, it’s remarkable in two big ways: It’s
possibly the only semi-hollow production
baritone on the market, and it streets for
5. LSL Instruments BadBone 2
This vintage-themed beauty comes in a
choice of swamp ash, pine, or alder bodies,
features either a 7.25"- or a 9.5"-radius
fretboard, and has a trimmed-down T-style
bridge that accommodates its handwound
PAF-voiced LSL humbuckers.
6. Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar
Fender’s Johnny Marr signature Jaguar
includes several signifi cant and useful evolutionary
features. Pickups can be wired in
series or in parallel and there’s a reconfi
gured bright switch. Marr also requested
Bare Knuckle pickups and the guitar has
a chunkier-than-usual neck based on a
favorite ’65 Jag in Marr’s quiver.
1. Blueridge BG-2500 Super Jumbo
Blueridge’s BG-2500 Super Jumbo has
a gorgeous flame maple back and sides,
spruce top, sweet, hefty neck, art deco
bridge and barks like a 200-pound hound.
2. Lowden F-35
Lowden’s F-35 fanned-fret prototype looks
bound for production and the combination
of reclaimed redwood top and Honduran
mahogany back and sides sounds distinctly
Lowden—warm, detailed, and really
3. Santa Cruz Baritone
Santa Cruz Guitars brought some show
stoppers this year as part of their program
to support local guitar shops, including
this spectacular dread-bodied baritone
with sycamore back and sides and Italian
4. L.R. Baggs M80
Lloyd Baggs’ new soundhole pickup
features a stacked humbucking design in
which the second coil is suspended in a
proprietary material that allows the pickup
to act as a 3-D body sensor. It also has
active/passive modes and a multi-segment
battery indicator for more convenient