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NAMM 2016: Editors' Picks – Day 4

Take a look at the PG editors' top picks from day 3 of NAMM.

PG editors pick their top gear from the first day of NAMM. See everything from day 3 in our photo gallery.

Hagstrom Condor

For those of you driven to frenzy trying to score Kevin Parker's six string in the rear cover of Lonerism, freak out no more. The Impala and its three pickup cousin the Condor (pictured here) are back, resplendent in a gaggle of switches and sporting are-engineered Hagstrom trem. Other cool updates about, most notably the deep carve in the set neck that puts just about every fret within reach. For all the updates it feels and looks authentically vintage. The Condor will be $649 and the Impala $599.

ESP LTD B-1004SE Multi-Scale

Got fanned frets? The new LTD B-1004SE Multi-Scale from ESP Guitars does, and it made its debut here at NAMM The 36.25" to 34"-scale bass features a swamp-ash body with a rosewood top, a 5-piece wenge/bubinga neck topped with a rosewood fretboard, a Hipshot Solo bridge, and Gotoh tuners. For electronics, the B-1004SE is packed with a pair of Nordstrand Big Splits that are run by the ESP-designed ABQ-3MS 3-band EQ.

Bad Cat USA Players Series

Bad Cat Amplifiers brought their new USA Player Series to ‪NAMM‬. The more affordable line is still made in their California factory, but with printed circuit boards. Along with bass, treble, cut, and reverb controls the line allows you switch between an EF86 preamp or a 12AX7 via a footswitch. Oh, and the fat switch adds plenty of beef. Prices will range from $1099 to $1499 depending on the configuration.

EarthQuaker Devices Sound Projector

EarthQuaker Devices has been bringing its own intriguing amp designs to NAMM as pedal-demo vehicles for the last couple of years, but this year they finally announced a model that's available for purchase: The super-simple Sound Projector 25 is a linear, 25-watt class-A head that features volume, treble, and bass controls, and comes stock with KT66 power tubes. Thanks to its external bias-test points, it can also easily be adjusted to run other octal tubes (e.g., EL34, 6L6, 6V6). It's available in black or white covering for $1,850 street, or with a matching Baltic-birch 2x12 cab with Celestion Vintage 30s or custom Warehouse speakers for $2,450.

Duesenberg Grand Royale

Duesenberg Guitars showed up in Anaheim with a bunch of lookers. The Grand Royale hollowbody (approx. $3,150 street) has 60mm sides, internal soundposts for feedback control, and classic-looking new Phonico pickups controlled by a 4-position dial selector (treble bout).

Voodoo Lab PX-8 Plus

Voodoo Lab's PX-8 Plus loop-switcher (top) features eight loops, multiple preset banks, preset and live operating modes, and MIDI capability, all for around $350 street. The company also got into the pedalboard game with three new sizes that offer simplified pedal and power-supply attachment, as well as an included padded case. The medium-sized board even has a clever feature that allows the PX-8 Plus switcher to attach to the front without hogging any board space. Board prices are TBD.


ESP Guitars' handsome new LTD TE-200 ($389 street) offers really impressive build quality *and* tones, thanks to new ESP-Designed humbuckers.

Vox AC30CH

Vox came to NAMM with head versions of its popular AC30 and AC15 Customs—the AC30CH ($899 street) and AC15CH (not shown, $599). Like their combo counterparts, both use EL84s and have normal and top-boost channels, as well as tube-driven tremolo and spring reverb, but they also feature the company's new Reactive attenuator circuit.

Electro-Harmonix Soul POG

Electro-Harmonix is at NAMM with the new and versatile Soul POG. It combines two of EHX's most popular pedals (the Soul Food overdrive and Nano POG) into one potent stomp. The Soul POG is equipped with an effects loop, and the mode switch in the octave section offers up two different octave-up sounds.

Marshall CODE Series

Marshall Amplification's new CODE series amps are Bluetooth and USB enabled, and feature 100 editable presets, 14 preamp models, four power-amp models, 8 speaker-cab models, 24 effects, audio and headphone inputs, and compatibility with the online Marshall Gateway community, where players are encouraged to creatively interact and share sounds.

Vox Guilietta

We're sincerely hoping Vox moves ahead with the compact Guilietta archtop seen here in prototype form at NAMM. Not only is the Guilietta a smart looking and snappy sounding little archtop, the guitar uses the company's Nutube technology, which enables you to plug in direct and still have a huge range of tone shaping control and tube-like preamp dynamics. Here's hoping we can report on a production version before the year is done.

DØVYDAS & John Bohlinger Busk in Downtown Nashville
DØVYDAS & Bohlinger Busk in Downtown Nashville Before We Give Takamine Guitar & Fishman Amp to Local

Then we give a Takamine guitar & Fishman amp to an up-and-coming Nashville musician.

Music City is always swirling with top-notch musicians performing anywhere they can, so Takamine and Fishman challenged PG's John Bohlinger to take his talents downtown to—gig on the street—where he ran into YouTube sensation DØVYDAS and hands over his gear to rising star Tera Lynne Fister.

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George Benson’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnonwas recorded in 1989. The collaboration came about after Quincy Jones told the guitarist that Farnon was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

Photo by Matt Furman

The jazz-guitar master and pop superstar opens up the archive to release 1989’s Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon, and he promises more fresh collab tracks are on the way.

“Like everything in life, there’s always more to be discovered,”George Benson writes in the liner notes to his new archival release, Dreams Do Come True: When George Benson Meets Robert Farnon. He’s talking about meeting Farnon—the arranger, conductor, and composer with credits alongside Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Vera Lynn, among many others, plus a host of soundtracks—after Quincy Jones told the guitarist he was “the greatest arranger in all the world.”

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The new Jimi Hendrix documentary chronicles the conceptualization and construction of the legendary musician’s recording studio in Manhattan that opened less than a month before his untimely death in 1970. Watch the trailer now.

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PG contributor Tom Butwin dives into the Rivolta Sferata, part of the exciting new Forma series. Designed by Dennis Fano and crafted in Korea, the Sferata stands out with its lightweight simaruba wood construction and set-neck design for incredible playability.

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