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Summer NAMM 2015: Editors' Picks – Day 1

An inside look at the gear that caught our ears during day 1 of Summer NAMM.

Analog Outfitters Scanner

This glorious spinning, twirling plexiglass mechanical monster is the Scanner from Analog Outfitters, who build beautiful amps from recycled Hammond Organs. This time around they're repurposing Hammond vibrato units and mating them to a spring reverb. The unit is expression pedal controllable (stupidly fun!!!) but also has line and XLR outs so you can use it as outboard gear in a studio. At $1,599 it's not cheap but MAN it sounds fantastic.

Spaceman Effects Voyager I and Orion

Zak at Spaceman Effects has always very deftly fused practicality and classic sounds with a touch of wooly and weird. This year he unveiled the $349 Voyager I tremolo (with triangle and square wave settings and an envelope. He also brought the Orion, an amazing 6.25 x 4.75 " spring reverb that sounds massive at even the most extreme dwell settings. Both are an absolute blast! Well done Zak.

Taylor 326e-6 Baritone

Early days here at Summer NAMM 2015, but the rich honey lows of the Taylor 326e-6 baritone will stay with us for a long, long time. The combo of the Honduras mahogany top and sapele back and sides is a perfect combo for the long scale tones.

Jackson Ampworks Continuum

The crew over at Jackson Ampworks brought the Continuum controller to NAMM. They had a prototype last year but this finished model has tap tempo bias trem, rhythmic subdivisions, and modulated reverb. The spacious and cinematic 'verb is astounding and the stuttering trem effects are jarringly authentic. It will be available in August for $499.

Recording King RD-216

Recording King entered the torrefaction game with its usual dazzling combination of fair prices and sweet tones. The RD-216 has a lovely solid Adirondack top (torrefied of course) and layered mahogany back and sides. Just 499 bucks on the street.

Bootleg Guitars GS Custom

Bootleg Guitars had their new SG-style GS Custom in tow.. It has a mahogany body, mahogany neck topped with a rosewood 'board, and is packed with a trio of Filter'Tron-style "Harvey-trons."

Wampler Pedals Low Blow

Wampler Pedals brought some love for bassists to NAMM with their first offering for low enders. The Low Blow features two clipping modes: Smooth brings more of an overdrive while jagged is akin to distortion. A 3-band EQ delivers plenty of tone control and the notch-filter switch helps to clean up cabinet woof without having to turn things down.

DOD MeatBox and Gonkulator

DigiTech/DOD resurrected two gloriously grody pedals from the '90s that had gained a cult following among noise connoisseurs since their discontinuation. The MeatBox sub generator and the Gonkulator ring modulator sound as nasty as you hope, feature a sturdier build and more reliable true-bypass switches, and go for 99 bucks.

DynaMount

DynaMount beat their Kickstarter goal by 50 percent in order to debut their new "robotic" mic mounts at NAMM. Their app-controlled motors let you adjust grille proximity, lateral positioning, and mic angle from the convenience of a studio control room, etc. Shipping in October, Dynamount models range from approx. $200 to $600.

Wifo RemoFinger

Wifo from Seoul, South Korea, brought the slick new RemoFinger to NAMM. Consisting of a foot-controller and a separate console, RemoFinger uses the company's own proprietary Touch Pointer technology (top) and the latest ZIGBEE wireless technology—which reportedly uses less power than Bluetooth while switching faster—to enable you to switch settings on any apps (e.g., GarageBand) on Apple and Android devices. The Touch Pointer technology conducts current equal to the human finger in order to yield more traditional hands-free operation. RemoFinger will ship in November for $159, but for a limited time you can get it for an Early Bird price of $79 on Kickstarter.com.

Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers Patch Box

We're pretty stoked about first-time Summer NAMM exhibitors Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers, who brought the super-tweakable, super-rad Patch Box, a $349 (street) switching shell that can power up to six Eurorack-format effect modules (not included) for an insane variety of sounds. Pittsburgh's own modules—which range from LFOs to filters, analog phasers and delays, digital reverbs, and more—range from $99 to $399.

Full Slash Interview on New Blues Album, S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival, Guitar Gear, Pedal Steel & More

The guitar icon shares what went into making his chart-topping blues album and what gear fans can expect to see at the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (guitarpoint.de)

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

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Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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The Gibson ES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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