Winter NAMM 2014


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Premier Builders Guild

To me, the biggest news from PBG this year was the appointment of industry veteran Brian Swerdfeger to president of PBG. Brian comes with a huge wealth of experience from many places in the music industry and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what will happen at PBG under his leadership.


Dennis Fano is one of the builders with PBG and he had some really tasty guitars on display.


Saul Koll's easily recognizable shape in a few variations. I like these and could easily see them in the collection I will amass when I win the lottery.


Perinetti Guitars

There's a lot to like with these guitars. Having spent a lot of time in my life playing guitars, I'm still amazed by the difference a small design detail can make. To the unitiated, a carved top single cut guitar is just that. But to us guitar players the smallest difference in design can make the greatest difference in feel and will translate into better music. So the Perinetti instruments you see here are worthy of your attention.


Pete Schmidt Music Accessories

A strap that feels good is very important. There were many strap makers at NAMM and Pete Schmidt were one of the premier ones.



Having spent a lot of time in the field of music education I welcome all effort to help teachers further their craft and include digital technology in their everyday work. PreSonus really gets that education is important and they have formed an education initiative wich includes an on-line resource center with tutorials, lesson plans and more. They have also realized that ease of use is paramount in the class room environment and have put together a complete bundle centred around their Digital Audio Workstation Studio One and notation program Notion. Also included in the bundle is an audio interface, 49-key MIDI/USB keyboard, a microphone a set of headphones and all the cables needed for a complete set up.



Att NAMM you can get everything you need to build your own guitar. If you just want to peronalize an existing guitar that's fine too. Q-parts has a lot of stuff.

And I mean, lots of stuff!


Quiver Bass Amps

Had I primarily been a bass player I would be all over this one. A bass amp with 5 series 500 slots in it so you can bring your studio sound around. Excellent thinking that gives excellent sound.



A José Ramirez guitar was the first instrument I really dreamed of owning. This was when I played mainly classical guitar and before I learned to lust for electric guitars. The Ramirez guitar is still to me something magical. When I hear someone great play a Ramirez, I always think that I might have made the wrong choice to go electric.



Big and ballsy and with loads of knobs. The Kirk Hammet signature amp from Randall.

Ola Englund with his new signaure guitar took time to pose in front of this years collection of Randall amps.

And this is Ola's Randall signature amp called Satan. You probably won't be seeing this one too much with the players on the worship circuit. On the other hand it is eminently suited to the heavy player who need power and definition.



Same display type as last year but with new guitars.

I tend to like somewhat flashy guitars so the blue sparkle caught my eye.


Rhodes Amplifiers

One of the biggest surprises of the NAMM show was the clean sound coming out of the Rhodes Colossus. But that's not its primary goal, I think. When I heard the demo, the power and definition of the amp threatned to reorganize every bone in my body. Then there were all the 50 shades of gain in between. If not more. I'd love to have this amp so it's now officially on my wish list.

Here are the Orthos and the Gemini from Rhodes.

The Artemis is very switchable amp in a 19" rack format that has a close to ridiculous amount of gain on tap. But the sound was always controllable and well defined.

Kyle Rhodes himself. If you call Rhodes, this is the guy you probaly will end up talking to. Know a lot about amps, he does.




I like a sense of word play and with a sign that says "built with the latset technology from the 1960s" they have me interested.


Ritter Guitars


Jens Ritter is one of the luthiers out there pushing the boundaries of electric guitar design. While the $29.999 price tag puts it squarely in the group of instruments not available to people in my financial situation, it can't be denied that it is a breathtaking instrument.



As I stated earlier, I'm fond of flashier guitars but I doubt I would dare to take this Swarowski encrusted guitar to my local bar for the weekly blues jam.  

Jens Ritter was introduced to me by Nik Huber who said Jens was a master of his craft. I have no doubts at all after seeing his work. Like Nik he's also very generous with his time and his knowledge. I feel so fortunate to be able to visit NAMM and meet people like Jens and Nik.


Rivera Amplification


The first guitar amp designer I ever talked to was Paul Rivera and that was way back inte 80s when he worked at Fender.

Since then I'm had the pleasure of talking with Paul almost every NAMM show (15+) and Frankfurt Messe (30) since then. I still think he's very polite to smile after all these years when he sees me coming.


Here is a pair of Rivera Venus amps. I have always liked the Rivera sound and this is no exception.


Rob Papen

I know most of the readers of this NAMM report are probably guitar players but I recommend everyone to check out Rob Papen's new synth Blue II. This synth is enough reason to go out and learn how to play the black and whites.



Bob Waller, one of the founders of Rocktron, and I go way back and I always make a point of meeting up at NAMM. With Bob, business is so much more than just business in a good way.




Sadowsky basses have legendary status and are heard on so many records. It's easy to see why when you get to play these beautiful instruments.


Aaaaaaand, here's Roger!





This will probably be my next bass. The Sandberg Umbo, here played by Travis Carlton and dialed in by Mike Van Tine who knows bass sounds like no one else I've met. Apart from hearing some superb bass lines I had a blast hanging with these guys.


Santa Cruz

In search of a good acoustic? This is an obvious stop during your search.



The Habibe built for Prince is usually on display in the Schecter booth.

To me Schecter was THE first custom shop and now they have come full circle and have opened up the Schecter US Custom Shop where they build what you want.

So if you want an 9 string electric like this Sunset-9, you know where to go.


Shabat Guitars


Avi Shabat builds his guitars, lovingly by hand resulting in some guitars that I have on my list as guitars to look out for.

This Tele style guitar with Charlie Christian pickups and snake headstock was a nice sounding take on the classic concept.


Shred Neck

Can't practice in the office? In the air plane? On the commuter train? When the kids are sleeping? Get yourself a Shred Neck and you have no excuse not to have your chops up to par.



No this is not guitar oriented either but it's just so cool so I had to include it. The Console 1 is Softube's new way of dealing with mixing in your DAW. This hardware controls software you insert into your DAW mixer channels and then you have fast access to all your tracks and traditional mixer processing using the hardware. Now we're back to mixing with our ears instead of our eyes.

The mixer plugin is an emulation of a Solid State Logic SL 4000 and is approved by SSL.



I must admit I didn't go out of my way to find them but I think this was the only occarina booth to be found.



Thanks to Sperzel you can now color match your tuner to the guitar finish.



The studio where I recorded my CD had an SSL desk. Since then I take every opportunity to drool over one when I see it. This one's a beauty.



The Supro amps were demoed to appreciating players.



You need an easy to use fly board? The Soul Mate from T-Rex may be your choice. Includes a boost based on the Möller (one of my favorite boosts), an OD based on the Mudhoney, and a delay and a reverb. Easy to use and sounds good to boot.

The Vulture distortion gives you a lot of control over the low end and mid range. The Creamer Reverb is a small enclosure variation on the Room Mate.


tc electronic

I was surprised to see that tc released yet another looper. When they told me the Ditto was the most sold pedal in the world last year, it suddenly made sense. I also realized that I may be one of a few guitar players who don't use one.


Tech 21

This Fly Board 5 fits in your guitar case pocket and sounded good when played through a Power Engine 60. I have to check it out.


Temple Audio Design

Temple makes a very smart pedalboard. You fasten the plate to the bottom of your pedal.

Then you fasten the knob with the screw. No tools needed.

The light pedalboard can go into a light weight case.

Mounted and ready!

For the players who gig with backing tracks played by an iOS device there's an USB power option on the side of the pedalboard so your device doesn't run out of power during performance.



This is a take on the the legendary metal plate top guitars.


TMG Guitars

People spent more time talking about the Dumble then about the guitars.


Tom Anderson Guitarworks


One of the smaller builders that garners the most respect is Tom Anderson. I have been following Tom Anderson's work since very early and he never disappoints.

Tom is always on hand and is always talking to people about guitars.


Two Notes Engineering

This year Two Notes announced the Torpedo Studio. It will replace the VB-101. The sStudio adds stereo capability. Guillaume Pille, the president of Two Notes said that they would update the VB-101 to include the newer Studio capabilities.

Speaking about Guillaume, here's the man to the left!




Touchmark introduced a new way of switching and controlling your guitar. All the traditional controls like volume, tone and pickup switching is not done with these two touch panels. You can program them so you can decide what part of which panel does what.



Travis Bean

If there was ever a blast from the past, this must be it. Apart from the metal neck with the T-hole headstock I clearly remeber they showed an assymetric headstock design that was new to me.



My old Traynor YCV-40 is a very good clean platform and goes with me to most of my gigs except where I go direct to FOH. This Dark Horse is a cool amp and should be considered in the low wattage amp race.


James Trussart

Colorful metal was on show at the Trussart booth.



The Dual Fusion was designed with British guitarist Tom Quayle. The pedal is very amp like and when Mr Quayle uses it it sounds very good indeed. Very flexible and it's definitely a contender for my pedalboard.

Tom looks happy with his pedal.


Way Huge



Way Huge had this Javelina germanium fuzz pedal in their news section. Orange is the new black!


Wilkins Guitars

Through the years Wilkins Guitars have shown some of the most amazing finish work I have ever seen. They also make guitars that are the envy of people who don't own them but have tried them.



There were some really beautiful wood for sale at NAMM. Here's maple.

And here are some other kinds of wood.




YouStrap allows you do design your own strap by combining different colors for the different parts of the strap. I like this idea!




Z-Vex has made guitar pedals an art form and I saw this with true appreciation. Some of these designs are stunning in detail.

Here's a Super Seek Trem for the sonically/rhythmically adventerous.


The end

So the NAMM Show is over and so is this report. Yours truly thank you for spending your valuable time with me as I enjoy sharing my many findings. As I hope to travel to NAMM next year I also hope that I will meet some of you there and learn more about our wonderful world of music and gear.


Mats N


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