Score one for the indomitable power of
music! Had you done little in 2012
apart from fret over the bells tolling doom
for the economy, you might have expected
the halls of Winter NAMM 2013 in
Anaheim, California, to be strewn with
dust and tumbleweeds. But as the Premier
Guitar staff ’s harried schedule and oft-out-of-breath greetings to company reps
proved, the truth—at least in the realm of
guitar gear—was something rather different.
Winter NAMM was, in fact, teeming with
new gear and happy hawkers of guitars,
basses, pedals, amplifiers, and accessories.
And there were plenty of companies doing
anything but playing it safe, too.
Pedal offerings from Z.Vex, Electro-Harmonix, Eventide, and garage-builders
like Electro Faustus showcased inventive,
bold wares that speak volumes about the
musical boundlessness of the guitar. High-gain
amps were plentiful, too, suggesting
that players are still itching to tear it up
loud and proud outside the confines of the
bedroom. Old-school looks and sounds
were strongly represented, too: One had
to look no further than Magnatone’s triumphant
return, or to guitars like Gibson’s
gorgeous and numerous Custom Shop
offerings, to appreciate the enduring sonic
and stylistic power of the classics.
There was a lot to take in at NAMM, so
we were pretty gassed by show’s end. But each
of us came away invigorated by the ample evidence
that the creative spirit that drives musicians
and instrument builders is very much
alive and inexhaustible—and that the goods
they’ll make available in the year to come will
doubtlessly stoke your own creative fires.