Staff picks from Summer NAMM
The gear you see at your local store often begins with a manufacturer showing it off to dealers and other industry movers and shakers at a NAMM show. Like other US industries, the musical instruments industry is looking forward to seeing the economy pick back up. In the meantime, a big question mark loomed over the Summer NAMM show in Nashville. In particular, we were wondering—is this a good time to release cool, new gear?
Attendance was down by a quarter from last year. Exhibitor numbers were down as well, with many high-profile vendors choosing to not host a booth, including Fender, Vox, Marshall, PRS and Peavey. The most conspicuous absence was Gibson, a company headquartered in Nashville. But, as NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond pointed out in his address to the industry, hard economic times can also present opportunities, and many retailers and exhibitors, both new and old, took occasion to look ahead and find opportunities where they could. Most reported having a better show than they expected, and some said it was better than they’d hoped for.
Despite a palpable sense of uncertainty in the months ahead of the show, we did discover plenty of enthusiasm and an overall mood of genuine optimism. Skeptics that we are, we hunted for signs that the general excitement was being exaggerated to gloss over deeper worries, but we saw plenty of business taking place, and of course plenty of cool gear to check out. While there weren’t tons of new products, we found many interesting new things from some of our old friends, and we discovered quite a few new companies willing to make a go of it in a tough market.
|G&L Guitars Rampage Jerry Cantrell Signature Model–U.S. version |
While the G&L Jerry Cantrell Signature USA Model won’t be officially released until Winter NAMM 2010, they already had all three Fullerton, CA, hand-built guitars on display at their booth. Built to the specs of the Rampage played by Jerry for years, the guitar will feature a soft maple body, maple neck and an ebony fingerboard on a flat neck with a 25.5” scale. Also, it comes loaded with a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker in the bridge position and a recessed Pro Series Kahler tremolo with a Floyd Rose locking nut. The guitar finishes include Whiskey, Black and Ivory–the finish most associated with Mr. Cantrell. In addition to the USA Signature models, G&L will be producing some competitively priced import Rampage Jerry Cantrell Tribute Series models.
Watch our booth interview
photo by Bob Capazzo
|Jason Z. Schroeder Guitars |
Based in Redding, CA, Schroeder offers several different models and familiar body styles, but the two that caught our eyes and ears were the double-cut Stormy Monday and the single-cut Tweed Top. The Stormy Monday features a 5A quilted maple top, Honduran mahogany body and neck, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and quilted maple headstock side treatment and backplate. Built upon a Radio Lane prototype, The Tweed Top comes with a tweed top that sits on flamed Eastern maple top complete with a nitrocellulose finish. Also, it comes loaded with Seymour Duncan Antiquities. While Schroeder’s guitars embrace traditional roots, he adds some new flair with breathtaking and heavilycontoured tops, custom-made Schroeder stoptail bridges, stainless steel frets and coil splitting to provide a full range of tones.
MSRP–Stormy Monday $4700
MSRP–Tweed Top $4250
Watch our booth interview & demo
|LSL Instruments 52.5 Aged T-Bones|
We’re always on the lookout for some spankin’ new/old T-style instruments. At this show, it was LSL Instruments that popped up on our twang radar with their 52.5 Aged T-Bone guitars. Built with either a traditional swamp ash or pine—a super lightweight tonewood—these T-style guitars took us right back to ‘52. Other features on these guitars include a 7.25” radiusmaple fingerboard on a “C” profile maple neck complete with a walnut skunk strip, an old-school Fender or Joe Barden bridge with three brass saddles and LSL custom, handwound vintage-style pickups. To fully produce the vintage look and feel, LSL manually ages all the metal parts and fingerboards, and the guitar edges are hand rounded for a silky-smooth feel and well played appearance.
Watch our booth interview & demo
AboveGroundFX, a small startup company based out of Chicago, IL, sprang into the effects market in 2008. Now they offer five pedals: the Rebote Delay, Compressor, Venue Reverb, El Grit—n (distortion) and Tone Control. The pedals designed by Francisco Peña all feature similar sleek designs with top loaded input/output jacks to maximize pedalboard room. Sonically, the pedals are designed to enhance your tone, but not muddy it up with noise. The Venue Reverb’s special attention to the dry signal provides a transparent and clean operation. The Rebote Delay uses a digital chip to simulate tape decay and offers echo patterns ranging from slap back to 560ms of delay.
|Fryette Amplification Memphis Thirty Combo |
The ink on Fryette’s prototype Memphis Thirty control panel was still drying when the show launched. The Memphis Thirty 1x12 combo builds upon Fryette’s popular SIG:X clean channel, but that’s where the similarities stop. The new Class-A 30W combo has dual channels (Clean and Drive), Power Shift switching (30W/18W), series/ parallel effects loop, a tube-driven Accutronics spring reverb, and uses a 12AX7, 12AT7, three 12AX7AC, and four EL84 tubes. Other features include a 12” Eminence speaker, specially designed by Fryette, enclosed in a Baltic birch cabinet. The coolest feature of this amp is the ability to change or re-order preamp tubes easily from the front panel—no need for gloves or a cool-down period, because the tubes are housed above a vent that pushes air by means of speaker movement.
Watch our booth interview & demo
|TV Jones P-90 in Soapbar Mount |
Known for their hot, rockabilly twangin’ pickups, TV Jones introduces their take on the classic soapbar P-90. These pickups crank out a sound that represents the traditional P-90, but with a classic TV Jones bite. They designed specific pickups for the neck and bridge positions. The bridge pup has thicker highs and more defined lows than what is commonly heard from other P-90s.
The neck offers clarity with fullness and is considerably less boomy than regular P-90s. Standard-sized alnico IV bar magnets are used in the neck position, contributing to its clarity and warmth. Larger pole screws are used on both neck and bridge models to help increase inductance. Both versions are available in Black and Cream.
MSRP $95 (one pickup)
Watch our booth interview & demo
|Hanson Guitars |
Chicago’s Hanson Musical Instruments, which made a name producing modern and vintage-style pickups, is unveiling a new full line of guitars intended to bring quality and cool, retro-inspired designs to working musicians at prices they can afford. The first two models, available in August, recall the Italian electric solidbody aesthetic of the late fifties and early sixties: the Cigno, a set-neck triple P-90 design, and the Firenze, a triple mini-humbucker with bolton neck. The other members of the line, the Gatto with its mahogany body, set-neck and dual Hanson classic humbuckers, and the semi-hollowbody, mini-humbuckerequipped Chicagoan will be available in October. All models are available with either Bigsby vibrato or stop tail piece.
|Bob Kilgore’s Harmonic Capo|
Invented by fingerstyle guitarist Bob Kilgore, the Harmonic Capo is unlike conventional capos. Rather than pressing down on the strings, it barely touches them. It sits on the guitar’s neck with a strap and a pair of adjustable supports, and six adjustable soft rubber pads rest gently on the strings. Place it over a harmonic point and it turns open strings into harmonic tones, opening entirely new possibilities of note combinations and progressions in your playing. What’s more, it won’t prevent you from playing normally above or below it.
|Electro-Harmonix 22 Caliber Power Amp |
How’d you like to fit an ass-kicking amplifier into your front pocket? That’s what you can do with the Electro-Harmonix 22 Caliber power amp—it’s the size of a small pedal, no kidding. Okay, technically the power supply (18V 1.66A) is built into a power cord, much like that of a laptop computer, but still—we were knocked out by what the 22 Calliber puts out, poundper- pound. This little beast is 22 watts and very loud. It handles 4, 8, and 16 ohm speaker loads automatically. The 22 Caliber covers a lot ground with just a bright switch and a volume knob. The diminutive amp is expected to cost about $100.
Watch our booth interview & demo
|Olympus LS-11 |
It’s almost to the point where it’s hard to imagine being a musician and not having a digital recorder. The quality and features keep getting better and the prices keep going down. Olympus rolled out their new LS-11, which is an update to their LS-10. Improvements include 8GB of memory (up from 2GB), the ability to transfer files between the hard drive and an SD card, 23 hours of battery life (up from 14 hours) and a mono feature, handy for recording small size files when you know you’re going to be emailing them.
Watch our booth interview
Hagstrom has been making guitars again for several years now since taking a 20-year hiatus. Their Ultra Swede has a basswood body with a flamed maple top. The 24.75” scale guitar comes with custom-wound humbuckers and the company’s ultra-thin UltraLux neck. An Ultra Swede with a spalted maple top was shown at NAMM. Also catching our eye was their semi-hollow Viking and a silver sparkle Deluxe F-Tremar with the company’s new Tremar rocker vibrato bridge.
Ultra Swede - Street $484
Watch our booth interview
|Yamaha NCX and NTX Series |
Yamaha’s newest nylons are Rodrigo y Gabriella-endorsed and tricked out more like cutaway steel strings. They feature cutaways, A.R.T. transducer-style preamps, and gorgeous appointments. The NCX models are classical-style with a deeper body and a 12 th fret neck joint. The NCX2000FM (pictured) has a Hokkaido Spruce top and flamed maple back and sides. The NTX line has a thinner body and a 14th fret neck joint.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.