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Summer NAMM 2011: Southern Gear Fry

Industry insiders often foretell doom for the Summer NAMM show, which isn’t nearly as hectic and harried as the Winter show in Anaheim, but "PG" descended on Nashville en masse and found a treasure trove of hot new gear.




Nashville in July is typically steamy, scorching, and movin’ a

little bit slow. That more relaxed atmosphere is reflected to

some extent in the pace of Summer NAMM, held July 21–23

at the Nashville Convention Center in the heart of Music City’s

storied Lower Broadway district. Less frantic and enormous than

Winter NAMM or Europe’s Musikmesse, Nashville NAMM invites

conversation and interaction with new and old friends in the industry.

And, most important to the gang here at Premier Guitar , it

gives us even more time for investigation of gear goodies from bigtime

manufacturers and off-the-beaten-path upstarts alike.



In many ways, the little guys were the stars of Summer

NAMM. South Carolina’s B.A. Ferguson guitars showed us how

inspired, unique, great-playing guitars can be built from sustainable

and repurposed materials. A brand-new California company

called HeliArc Guitars showed off their resonator-inspired

aluminum electrics. And the fast ascendant mad scientists from

EarthQuaker Devices added another bunch of intriguing pedals

to a line that’s become the talk of stompbox nuts everywhere.

Regional stars shined bright in Nashville, too. Tennessee’s Mario

Martin showed off several beautiful Fender-inspired solidbodies

crafted from lightweight, resonant paulownia wood, while

Mississippi’s Juliet Collective brought some of the most creative

stompboxes at the show.



More experienced hands did their thing at Nashville, too. A stroll

through the Martin and Korg USA booths demonstrated how restless

those very established companies remain. Electro Harmonix’s

Ravish Sitar pedal deliciously reaffirmed that there’s almost nothing

the New York-based stompbox pioneers won’t try. And there were a

few milestones to celebrate, too, as Santa Cruz Guitars did with its

head-turning 35th Anniversary Cowgirl.



We found a lot of other cool stuff down in Nashville, too. You

can check out just about all of it via the dozens of videos we’ve

made available at premierguitar.com (they’re marked here with

play-button icons). We’re guessing you’ll be hard pressed to find

something that doesn’t stoke your gear lust, because regardless of

what anyone might say about Summer NAMM being a smaller,

more relaxed show, it’s brimming with wares that we’ll check out

in even greater detail in the review pages of Premier Guitar and

premierguitar.com in the days to come. In the meantime, enjoy

these snapshots of our sweet times in the sweltering south.




1. BA Ferguson Shirley McLean

BA Ferguson Guitars made its

first NAMM show appearance this

year with a collection of acoustics

and electrics built from recycled

materials and repurposed wood.

The Shirley McLean model pictured

here features a chambered

cherry body with a maple top, a

maple neck with a persimmon

fretboard, Heavy Air single-coils,

and momentary mid-boost and

kill switches made from ’80s

Nintendo Entertainment System

controller buttons.

bafergusonguitars.com



2. Mario Martin Serpentine 2

This Tennessee-based

company’s short-scale, Mustangesque

Serpentine 2 uses TV

Jones pickups and a super-lightweight

paulownia body to create

crazy-lively and overtone-rich

sounds. At 5 pounds 7 ounces,

it’s like slinging a feather!

guitarmill.com/custom



3. HeliArc Guitars Arc Light

Based in Santa Ana, California,

this new outfit debuted its

line of aluminum-bodied guitars

that combine quasi resonator-style

construction and Lace

Alumitone pickups for tones

ranging from fat, Tele-like bark to

super-mellow jazz vibes.

heliarcguitars.com



4. Larrivée Bakersfield

The boutique veterans from

Vancouver, Canada, unleashed their

beautiful Bakersfield T-style solidbodies,

which feature contoured bodies,

chunky D-profile necks, an optional

neck humbucker , and jumbo frets—

they’re sweet players, too.

larrivee.com



5. J.D. Vokes Art Guitars

J.D. Vokes’ Art Guitars made

its NAMM show debut this summer

with an eye-grabbing collection of

customized production guitars from

other manufacturers. The “Slashin’

Assassin” Epiphone Goth Explorer

(left) features an inlaid chainsaw

blade and rusted-steel pickguard,

while the “Home on the Range”

Kona KE35 has hair-in cowhide

and a leather-covered pickguard.

jdvokes.com



6. Burly Guitars

Burly Guitars builds ornately

carved semi-hollowbodies that

incorporate a patented Internal

Resonance System to get a wide

spectrum of growling tones. The

company says the resonance

system uses “tuning forks” carved

into each guitar’s core to “recirculate

vibrations back into the

strings” for added sustain.

burlyguitars.com



7. Burns Dream Noiseless

US distributor Saga Musical

Instruments debuted the Burns

Dream Noiseless, which marries

vintage Burns appointments such

as the Rez-o-Tube tremolo and

Gear-o-Matik truss-rod adjuster with

new Burns Rez-o-Matik Noiseless

pickups and locking tuners.

burnsguitars.com




1. BA Ferguson Shirley McLean

BA Ferguson Guitars made its

first NAMM show appearance this

year with a collection of acoustics

and electrics built from recycled

materials and repurposed wood.

The Shirley McLean model pictured

here features a chambered

cherry body with a maple top, a

maple neck with a persimmon

fretboard, Heavy Air single-coils,

and momentary mid-boost and

kill switches made from ’80s

Nintendo Entertainment System

controller buttons.

bafergusonguitars.com



2. Mario Martin Serpentine 2

This Tennessee-based

company’s short-scale, Mustangesque

Serpentine 2 uses TV

Jones pickups and a super-lightweight

paulownia body to create

crazy-lively and overtone-rich

sounds. At 5 pounds 7 ounces,

it’s like slinging a feather!

guitarmill.com/custom



3. HeliArc Guitars Arc Light

Based in Santa Ana, California,

this new outfit debuted its

line of aluminum-bodied guitars

that combine quasi resonator-style

construction and Lace

Alumitone pickups for tones

ranging from fat, Tele-like bark to

super-mellow jazz vibes.

heliarcguitars.com



4. Larrivée Bakersfield

The boutique veterans from

Vancouver, Canada, unleashed their

beautiful Bakersfield T-style solidbodies,

which feature contoured bodies,

chunky D-profile necks, an optional

neck humbucker, and jumbo frets—

they’re sweet players, too.

larrivee.com



5. J.D. Vokes Art Guitars

J.D. Vokes’ Art Guitars made

its NAMM show debut this summer

with an eye-grabbing collection of

customized production guitars from

other manufacturers. The “Slashin’

Assassin” Epiphone Goth Explorer

(left) features an inlaid chainsaw

blade and rusted-steel pickguard,

while the “Home on the Range”

Kona KE35 has hair-in cowhide

and a leather-covered pickguard.

jdvokes.com



6. Burly Guitars

Burly Guitars builds ornately

carved semi-hollowbodies that

incorporate a patented Internal

Resonance System to get a wide

spectrum of growling tones. The

company says the resonance

system uses “tuning forks” carved

into each guitar’s core to “recirculate

vibrations back into the

strings” for added sustain.

burlyguitars.com



7. Burns Dream Noiseless

US distributor Saga Musical

Instruments debuted the Burns

Dream Noiseless, which marries

vintage Burns appointments such

as the Rez-o-Tube tremolo and

Gear-o-Matik truss-rod adjuster with

new Burns Rez-o-Matik Noiseless

pickups and locking tuners.

burnsguitars.com


1. Bad Cat Cougar Series

Bad Cat announced a

partnership with Hanser Music

Group at Summer NAMM. The

Kentucky-based distributor of

brands such as Kustom and

B.C. Rich is offering three new

PCB-construction amps designed

by Bad Cat’s James Heidrich

but offered at more affordable

prices than US-made Bad Cats.

The Cougar 50 head features

two footswitchable channels and

tube-driven reverb, and is powered

by JJ EL34s. A 2x12 combo

is also available, in addition to the

5-watt Cougar 5, which features

an EL84 power tube, three knobs

(Volume, Master, and Tone), and a

Celestion Vintage 30.

badcatamps.com



2. Wavelength AudioTone Bank AG

Wavelength’s chief scientist

Gordon Rankin says the secret to

the Tone Bank AG—which uses

100 percent silver wiring (including in the transformers), an EL84

power tube, and an RCA 5693

preamp tube—is that the reactor

follower driver directly couples the

driver stage to the output tube

and takes the amp from class

A to class A2, thus increasing

output by 40 percent.

guitar-engines.com



3. Little Walter SB5 Head

Little Walter’s new SB5 features

one 6V6 power tube for 5 watts,

a 6SJ7 preamp tube, and a 5Y3

rectifier for unadulterated tube

goodness.

littlewaltertubeamps.com



4. ValveTrain Bennington Reverb

The point-to-point-wired Bennington

Reverb is a 20-watt, fixed-biased

combo that uses two 6V6s

and an Eminence Wizard 12"

speaker to crank out deliciously

snappy, blackface-style tones.

Controls include Volume, Bass,

Treble, and Reverb knobs, as well

as a Bright switch.

valvetrainamps.com



5. Moss Amps Kraken

The 6L6-powered Kraken

head is switchable between 50

and 100 watts, and features

footswitchable clean and lead

channels that are handwired using

eyelet boards. Each channel has

Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, and

Master Volume knobs, while a

Master Presence brightens both

channels and a push-pull bright

function on the clean channel

makes things even spankier.

mossamps.com




1. Bad Cat Cougar Series

Bad Cat announced a

partnership with Hanser Music

Group at Summer NAMM. The

Kentucky-based distributor of

brands such as Kustom and

B.C. Rich is offering three new

PCB-construction amps designed

by Bad Cat’s James Heidrich

but offered at more affordable

prices than US-made Bad Cats.

The Cougar 50 head features

two footswitchable channels and

tube-driven reverb, and is powered

by JJ EL34s. A 2x12 combo

is also available, in addition to the

5-watt Cougar 5, which features

an EL84 power tube, three knobs

(Volume, Master, and Tone), and a

Celestion Vintage 30.

badcatamps.com



2. Wavelength AudioTone Bank AG

Wavelength’s chief scientist

Gordon Rankin says the secret to

the Tone Bank AG—which uses

100 percent silver wiring (including in the transformers), an EL84

power tube, and an RCA 5693

preamp tube—is that the reactor

follower driver directly couples the

driver stage to the output tube

and takes the amp from class

A to class A2, thus increasing

output by 40 percent.

guitar-engines.com



3. Little Walter SB5 Head

Little Walter’s new SB5 features

one 6V6 power tube for 5 watts,

a 6SJ7 preamp tube, and a 5Y3

rectifier for unadulterated tube

goodness.

littlewaltertubeamps.com



4. ValveTrain Bennington Reverb

The point-to-point-wired Bennington

Reverb is a 20-watt, fixed-biased

combo that uses two 6V6s

and an Eminence Wizard 12"

speaker to crank out deliciously

snappy, blackface-style tones.

Controls include Volume, Bass,

Treble, and Reverb knobs, as well

as a Bright switch.

valvetrainamps.com



5. Moss Amps Kraken

The 6L6-powered Kraken

head is switchable between 50

and 100 watts, and features

footswitchable clean and lead

channels that are handwired using

eyelet boards. Each channel has

Volume, Treble, Mid, Bass, and

Master Volume knobs, while a

Master Presence brightens both

channels and a push-pull bright

function on the clean channel

makes things even spankier.

mossamps.com


1. DigiTech iPB-10 Programmable Pedalboard

The iPB-10 features an iPad

dock and DigiTech’s new iPB

Nexus app, which offers 87

different pedal models, 37 amp

models, and 32 cabinet models.

All models can be quickly and

easily manipulated onscreen

via visual representations of the

devices. Fourteen footswitches

let you switch between 20 banks

of five virtual pedalboards, each

of which can include up to 10

pedals, as well as amp emulations

that you can insert at any

point in the chain.

digitech.com



2. Levana Mellow-D

Digital Delay

The Mellow-D digital delay has a

rear-panel Jitter switch that lets

you add a low- or high-frequency

oscillation to the signal for delectably

trippy lo-fi tones. It also

features an expression pedal input

and up to 1000 ms of delay.

studiobluellc.com



3. Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar

This new pedal from the stompbox

innovators at EHX aims to

give you access to sitar tones

with a polyphonic Lead voice

and tunable emulations of

sympathetic-string drones. It has

two expression-pedal inputs for

bending the pitch of the lead voice

and controlling the volume of the

sympathetic tones.

ehx.com



4. Amptweaker TightRock

Amp and effects guru James

Brown’s new TightRock has EQ

and Gain Boost switches, as

well as a noise gate that adjusts

in tandem with the Gain knob.

It also features a PlexEQ switch

for old-school stack flavors and

a SideTrak effects loop that

disengages when the pedal is on

so you can have, say, modulation

effects from your pedalboard

activated with your clean sound

but then click the TightRock on

to blast out a solo with a direct,

in-your-face tone.

amptweaker.com




1. DigiTech iPB-10 Programmable Pedalboard

The iPB-10 features an iPad

dock and DigiTech’s new iPB

Nexus app, which offers 87

different pedal models, 37 amp

models, and 32 cabinet models.

All models can be quickly and

easily manipulated onscreen

via visual representations of the

devices. Fourteen footswitches

let you switch between 20 banks

of five virtual pedalboards, each

of which can include up to 10

pedals, as well as amp emulations

that you can insert at any

point in the chain.

digitech.com



2. Levana Mellow-D

Digital Delay

The Mellow-D digital delay has a

rear-panel Jitter switch that lets

you add a low- or high-frequency

oscillation to the signal for delectably

trippy lo-fi tones. It also

features an expression pedal input

and up to 1000 ms of delay.

studiobluellc.com



3. Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar

This new pedal from the stompbox

innovators at EHX aims to

give you access to sitar tones

with a polyphonic Lead voice

and tunable emulations of

sympathetic-string drones. It has

two expression-pedal inputs for

bending the pitch of the lead voice

and controlling the volume of the

sympathetic tones.

ehx.com



4. Amptweaker TightRock

Amp and effects guru James

Brown’s new TightRock has EQ

and Gain Boost switches, as

well as a noise gate that adjusts

in tandem with the Gain knob.

It also features a PlexEQ switch

for old-school stack flavors and

a SideTrak effects loop that

disengages when the pedal is on

so you can have, say, modulation

effects from your pedalboard

activated with your clean sound

but then click the TightRock on

to blast out a solo with a direct,

in-your-face tone.

amptweaker.com


1. Benado Effects Multi-Effector

Sage Benado’s multi-effector

features stompbox-style layouts

for compressor, distortion, overdrive,

delay, and reverb effects,

and includes dual mono outputs

for use with more than amp. It

also features a tuner output and

an effects loop for the delay and

reverb sections.

benadoeffects.com



2. EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master

The Dispatch Master delay/reverb

offers 1.5 seconds of delay time

and a Repeat knob that doubles

as a Thickness control for the

reverb when Time is dialed all the

way back.

earthquakerdevices.com



3. Morpheus Bomber Polyphonic Pitch Shifter

The Bomber shifts pitches up

(a second, a fi fth, an octave, or

two octaves), down (a second,

a fourth, a fi fth, or one or two

octaves), and has a three-octave,

foot-controlled dive-bomb feature.

Other cool appointments include a

rear-panel Trim control and a USB

port for software updates.

morpheusfx.com



4. The Juliet Collective Set Adrift on Memory Bliss

The Juliet Collective had some

really unique and beautifully built

stomps to display at their fi rst

NAMM appearance. The ultra-cool

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss modulated

delay has tons of sweet

conventional delay sounds (we

loved the slapback sounds), radical

modulated delay tones, and a

guitar-mounted wand you can use

to control modulation in real time.

thejulietcollective.com




1. Benado Effects Multi-Effector

Sage Benado’s multi-effector

features stompbox-style layouts

for compressor, distortion, overdrive,

delay, and reverb effects,

and includes dual mono outputs

for use with more than amp. It

also features a tuner output and

an effects loop for the delay and

reverb sections.

benadoeffects.com



2. EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master

The Dispatch Master delay/reverb

offers 1.5 seconds of delay time

and a Repeat knob that doubles

as a Thickness control for the

reverb when Time is dialed all the

way back.

earthquakerdevices.com



3. Morpheus Bomber Polyphonic Pitch Shifter

The Bomber shifts pitches up

(a second, a fi fth, an octave, or

two octaves), down (a second,

a fourth, a fi fth, or one or two

octaves), and has a three-octave,

foot-controlled dive-bomb feature.

Other cool appointments include a

rear-panel Trim control and a USB

port for software updates.

morpheusfx.com



4. The Juliet Collective Set Adrift on Memory Bliss

The Juliet Collective had some

really unique and beautifully built

stomps to display at their fi rst

NAMM appearance. The ultra-cool

Set Adrift on Memory Bliss modulated

delay has tons of sweet

conventional delay sounds (we

loved the slapback sounds), radical

modulated delay tones, and a

guitar-mounted wand you can use

to control modulation in real time.

thejulietcollective.com


1. Stonebridge Guitars G22CR-C

Stonebridge introduced more

affordable versions of their

instruments at NAMM, including

this G22CR-C with a solid cedar

top, solid rosewood back and

sides, a 2-piece mahogany neck,

ebony fretboard and bridge, and

Schaller tuners.

stonebridgeguitars.com



2. Gitane DG-560 Gypsy Classical

Gitane’s new nylon-stringed DG-

560 Gypsy Classical is inspired

by Mario Maccaferri’s original

guitar. It’s a 12-fret D-hole design

with a solid cedar top, cypress

back and sides, ebony and

maple binding, and an ebony

bridge and fretboard.

sagamusic.com



3. Wechter Roundneck Resonator

Designed by famed resonator

builder Tim Scheerhorn, this new

Wechter model has post-andbaffle

construction and sports a

Scheerhorn cone.

wechterguitars.com



4. Martin 000-15 12-fret

The Nazareth, Pennsylvania,

flattop masters tweaked the classic

all-mahogany 000-15 for Summer

NAMM, revisiting the 12-fret version

with a slotted headstock.

martinguitar.com



5. Beard Guitars Odyssey A Resonator

Paul Beard’s new Odyssey A

resonator features an intriguing

design with an internal bass-reflex

baffle that turns the body into

more of a speaker cabinet, which

he says improves bass and lower-mid

response and projection.

beardguitars.com



6. Santa Cruz 35th

Anniversary Cowgirl

Richard Hoover pulled out all the

stops for Santa Cruz’ 35th Anniversary

Cowgirl. This showstopper

has old-growth Brazilian

rosewood back and sides, and

an Adirondack spruce top from

Hoover’s own special stash. The

mother-of-pearl fretboard inlay is

jaw-droppingly gorgeous, too.

santacruzguitar.com




1. Stonebridge Guitars G22CR-C

Stonebridge introduced more

affordable versions of their

instruments at NAMM, including

this G22CR-C with a solid cedar

top, solid rosewood back and

sides, a 2-piece mahogany neck,

ebony fretboard and bridge, and

Schaller tuners.

stonebridgeguitars.com



2. Gitane DG-560 Gypsy Classical

Gitane’s new nylon-stringed DG-

560 Gypsy Classical is inspired

by Mario Maccaferri’s original

guitar. It’s a 12-fret D-hole design

with a solid cedar top, cypress

back and sides, ebony and

maple binding, and an ebony

bridge and fretboard.

sagamusic.com



3. Wechter Roundneck Resonator

Designed by famed resonator

builder Tim Scheerhorn, this new

Wechter model has post-andbaffle

construction and sports a

Scheerhorn cone.

wechterguitars.com



4. Martin 000-15 12-fret

The Nazareth, Pennsylvania,

flattop masters tweaked the classic

all-mahogany 000-15 for Summer

NAMM, revisiting the 12-fret version

with a slotted headstock.

martinguitar.com



5. Beard Guitars Odyssey A Resonator

Paul Beard’s new Odyssey A

resonator features an intriguing

design with an internal bass-reflex

baffle that turns the body into

more of a speaker cabinet, which

he says improves bass and lower-mid

response and projection.

beardguitars.com



6. Santa Cruz 35th

Anniversary Cowgirl

Richard Hoover pulled out all the

stops for Santa Cruz’ 35th Anniversary

Cowgirl. This showstopper

has old-growth Brazilian

rosewood back and sides, and

an Adirondack spruce top from

Hoover’s own special stash. The

mother-of-pearl fretboard inlay is

jaw-droppingly gorgeous, too.

santacruzguitar.com


1. Bootleg Guitars Dawg Basses

US-built Dawg basses feature a

34" scale, ash bodies, quartersawn

maple necks, a brass nut,

Bartolini BC4C humbuckers,

Volume and Blend knobs, CTS

pots, and solid-brass Hipshot

B-style bridges.

bootlegguitars.com



2. Source Audio Soundblox Pro Bass Envelope Filter

The Soundblox Pro Bass

Envelope Filter has a Wet/Dry

Mix knob and four modulation

options—wah, envelope, LFO

auto-wah, and Hot Hand motion

sensor-controlled modes—for an

incredible array of funky and/or

mind-bending sounds.

sourceaudio.net



3. Bluesman Vintage ’61 El Dorado

Tennessee-based Bluesman Vintage

had a collection of beautiful,

Fender-inspired “recreations,” including

this Candy Apple-finished

’61 El Dorado J-style bass. With

matching headstock and early-

’60s-style features, it was among

the more eye-catching specimens

in a booth full of handsome,

vintage-style instruments.

bluesmanvintage.com



4. Overton Amps Flyweight 200 and

Touready OB-110 Cab

This new head lives up to

its name—it weighs just two

pounds—and features an auto

compressor, Sculpt control, and

a 3-band active EQ, in addition

to Gain and Master Volume controls.

The Touready OB-110 cab

features a tuned-port design and

a 10" speaker that handles 250

watts at 4 Ω or 8 Ω.

overtonamps.com



1. Bootleg Guitars Dawg Basses

US-built Dawg basses feature a

34" scale, ash bodies, quartersawn

maple necks, a brass nut,

Bartolini BC4C humbuckers,

Volume and Blend knobs, CTS

pots, and solid-brass Hipshot

B-style bridges.

bootlegguitars.com



2. Source Audio Soundblox Pro Bass Envelope Filter

The Soundblox Pro Bass

Envelope Filter has a Wet/Dry

Mix knob and four modulation

options—wah, envelope, LFO

auto-wah, and Hot Hand motion

sensor-controlled modes—for an

incredible array of funky and/or

mind-bending sounds.

sourceaudio.net



3. Bluesman Vintage ’61 El Dorado

Tennessee-based Bluesman Vintage

had a collection of beautiful,

Fender-inspired “recreations,” including

this Candy Apple-finished

’61 El Dorado J-style bass. With

matching headstock and early-

’60s-style features, it was among

the more eye-catching specimens

in a booth full of handsome,

vintage-style instruments.

bluesmanvintage.com



4. Overton Amps Flyweight 200 and

Touready OB-110 Cab

This new head lives up to

its name—it weighs just two

pounds—and features an auto

compressor, Sculpt control, and

a 3-band active EQ, in addition

to Gain and Master Volume controls.

The Touready OB-110 cab

features a tuned-port design and

a 10" speaker that handles 250

watts at 4 Ω or 8 Ω.

overtonamps.com