Anaheim, CA (January 14, 2009) -- The first day of NAMM is in the books. Here''s our staff picks on the coolest things we''ve seen so far: Godin Richmond Dorchester

Anaheim, CA (January 14, 2009) -- The first day of NAMM is in the books. Here's our staff picks on the coolest things we've seen so far:

Godin Richmond Dorchester with a Bigsby and expanded colors

Godin has added some additional retro flair to their Dorchester model with the addition of a Bigsby and more finish options. We appreciate the company taking an already hip guitar and adding some pizzazz.
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Godin Session and Progression Lines
Also from Godin, the Session and Progression lines were a great addition to their line of electrics that started with the Passion line. With their quality Canadian-made guitars at a wider range of prices, the series of electrics feels complete.
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Mesa/Boogie TransAtlantic TA-15
Mesa/Boogie's foray into "lunchbox" amps was one of the highlights of the first day of the show. Mesa admits in their own literature that they "may be the last to show at the lunchbox amp party," but their entrant didn't disappoint.
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PRS Narrowfield Pickups
We first heard the Narrowfield pickups at Experience PRS. Second time around, they blew us away again. The pickups are hum-canceling pickups that react like a single-coil, blending the best of single coils, humbuckers and soapbars. The pickups are on a few of the new PRS models, but we thought they sounded stellar on the 25th Anniversary Swamp Ash Special Narrowfield.

ZVex Effects Inventobox
Zachary Vex is well-known in the pedal circuit for his innovative and ingeneous circuits. His latest pedal is all about something we've never seen before in a production pedal: user modification. This is what Zach has to say about the pedal: "The Z.Vex Effects Inventobox is a unique new product which allows you to quickly design, build and/or modify your own pedals without soldering! The Inventobox comes with two different channels so you can build either one or two different devices into the same box. All of the necessary components are included to make it easy for you... there's a variety of potentiometer values and switches all ready inside the box, quickly accessible through tiny sockets which accept standard experimenter socket wires or included cables. The unit is easily opened by hand to make fast modifications to the circuitry." We love the direction this comes from and are eager to spend some time with it.

Dunlop Reverend Willies Strings/Picks
There's no doubting Billy Gibbons is the man, so when the man comes out with new strings and picks, we pay attention. Thanks, Rev.

Dunlop Jerry Cantrell Signature Wah
The wah features a side-mounted frequency control and is voiced to replicate Jerry's dark, moody vibe. There are a lot of signature wahs out there these days, but with the Alice in Chains revival in full force, we're on top of this one.

Eminence Flux Density Modulation Speaker
Eminence revealed a new speaker with a dial on the back that attenuates your sound. It's as simple as that, and it sounds great -- though a Tomo Fujita demo of the product certainly didn't hurt to convince us.
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Marshall JMD:1 Series
A Marshall amp that delivers the tones of all other Marshall amps that came before it with a mixture of high-tech digital technology and an EL34 power amp section? Intriguing at the least. Luckily, it sounded good too.
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Multiple modulation modes and malleable voices cement a venerable pedal’s classic status.

Huge range of mellow to immersive modulation sounds. Easy to use. Stereo output. Useful input gain control.

Can sound thin compared to many analog chorus and flange classics.


TC Electronic SCF Gold


When you consider stompboxes that have achieved ubiquity and longevity, images of Tube Screamers, Big Muffs, or Boss’ DD series delays probably flash before your eyes. It’s less likely that TC Electronic’s Stereo Chorus Flanger comes to mind. But when you consider that its fundamental architecture has remained essentially unchanged since 1976 and that it has consistently satisfied persnickety tone hounds like Eric Johnson, it’s hard to not be dazzled by its staying power—or wonder what makes it such an indispensable staple for so many players.

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While Monolord has no shortage of the dark and heavy, guitarist and vocalist Thomas V Jäger comes at it from a perspective more common to pop songsmiths.

Photo by Chad Kelco

Melodies, hooks, clean tones, and no guitar solos. Are we sure this Elliott Smith fan fronts a doom-metal band? (We’re sure!)

Legend has it the name Monolord refers to a friend of the band with the same moniker who lost hearing in his left ear, and later said it didn’t matter if the band recorded anything in stereo, because he could not hear it anyway. It’s a funny, though slightly tragic, bit of backstory, but that handle is befitting in yet another, perhaps even more profound, way. Doom and stoner metal are arguably the torch-bearing subgenres for hard rock guitar players, and if any band seems to hold the keys to the castle at this moment, it’s Monolord.

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