We’ll take this moment to be completely honest.
We love Austin as much as the next guy wearing a tie-dye “Keep Austin Weird” tee, but Summer NAMM in Nashville is the shit. Since there’s pretty much an incredible picker around every corner – and on many of the corners themselves – you couldn’t turn around without hearing someone playing twangy, bent double-stops better than you.
Whether it was the demo guy in the booth or the entertainment at industry parties large and small, Nashville felt like a celebration thrown for guitarists by guitarists, and we just happened to get the invite.
Interestingly, some of the major industry players like Seymour Duncan and Paul Reed Smith opted to eschew the booth to instead scope out the show from the floor, and even Gibson – whose coinciding Summer Jam was a massive draw – scaled back the booth in their hometown. But after a show that exceeded every metric, from excitement to traffic, NAMM could be back in Nashville to stay – and SD, PRS and Big G might be bringing a lot more next year.
Of course, there were still tons of new products to check out on the show floor, and they weren’t all the Moog Guitar. Here’s a sampling of some of the gear that got our mouths watering in Nashville. When you’re done with these pages, head online topremierguitarto see exclusive videos from the show, including some great performances by pickers like Brent Mason and Vince Gill, and our exclusive interview with George Gruhn. Here’s to Music City USA.
The Moog Guitar
Hands down, the debut of the Moog Guitar was the biggest buzz at the show. Featuring revolutionary technology that works its magic on the strings themselves (instead of working through an effected signal), the Moog Guitar can indefinitely sustain a string or remove energy from the strings in Mute mode, yielding a number of cool, banjo-esque sounds. Also included is a Moog ladder filter and a completely blendable piezo pickup for an extreme range of sounds. Combine all of that with a 5A maple top, a swamp ash body and ebony fingerboard (which look much better in person, we’ll note) and you have, without a doubt, the innovation of the year.
Even though it was the company’s first NAMM appearance, they had seven fully featured pedals to show off. Included was the company’s Chorus, based on the Roland CE1 but much more guitar friendly (smaller and 9V compatible), and their Phaser, which is based off an old MXR Script 90 pedal and features Level and Depth controls. Every pedal sounded impressively deep and expansive. Thanks, Canada.
starting at $175
Peavey 2084V6 Head
Peavey is poised to get into the custom amplifier business within the next couple of months. One example of these handmade, point-to-point amplifiers is the 2084V6 head, which features both EL84s and 6V6s in a diminutive frame; players will be able to select between the two via the rear panel. Featuring 20 watts, a selectable tube or solid-state rectifier and custom colored tolex, these amps look to be worth the wait.
Hahn Guitars Model 228
If you’ve been searching for a time machine back to the Golden Era, luthier Chihoe Hahn has an unbelievable deal for you. Made from a solid piece of swamp ash and packed with Lollar pickups, the Model 228 is truly a handmade instrument; even the hardware is fabricated in Hahn’s Garnerville, New York shop. The 228 also features a wafer-thin nitro finish and a Bakelite pickguard. This has to be heard to be believed.
starting at $2800