Winter NAMM 2015


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GTC Sound Innovations

You want new? Forward thinking? Real time control? Integration with your old products? If the answer to those question is yes, then you need to check out Revpad. This wins my Best New Product Award for NAMM 2015. The guys who did the demo showed without a shadow of a doubt, that the Revpad can take guitar player to new sonic vistas, if only they are open to new ideas. Everyone I met who had seen the Revpad, talked animatedly about it.

The ability to control so many things from a small X-Y pad on your guitar in the creative way they have set it up is truly exciting news.

VGS endorser Tommy Denander has fun with the Revpad.





Guild displayed som fine jazz guitars sporting a traditional DeArmond pickups. In this case, traditional values work for me.


Guitar Hanger

Chris Samu, the inventor of the Guitar Hanger is now branching out into store display hangers. And there are more things in the cooker.


Heritage Guitars

Bigger, shinier, curvier and better looking than a 50s Hollywood movie starlet. I never really understood why the Heritage insrtuments didn't get a much bigger following considering craftsmanship and history and the fact that this business puts a premium on just craftsmanship and history.

More arch top goodies.


Hughes & Kettner


The Triamp has always impressed me with it's European top industrial almost luxury car like design. While not very usual, the Triamp has always impressed me with its plethora of sounds and dynamic projection. Now the new incarnation in the shape of this Mk3 was shown and it's still impressive.




At Ibanez this years theme seemed to be "Let's do it again! But maybe in a different color". The Iceman here was one of the big "news".

New at NAMM was an Ibanez bolt-on with three single coils and a trem. Hmmm? I think I have seen this concept elsewhere before. Actually, many times before. ;-)



As a former user of the Rocktron Pro GAP and the Intellifex I was thrilled to see this Theta Pro DSP designad by the same guys who created the original Rocktron bestsellers. When I was invited to try it I immediately noticed the dynamics. Designer James Waller told me there are 4 parallell ADs in the inputs stage to make sure you have enough headroom and dynamics. The product was still in beta so I will reserve my judgement but I will keep an eye out for this. I was also pleased to hear that they still have the same extremely warm and lush stereo chorus as I remember them.





Italia always show some guitars I would buy just for the looks and quirkyness if I had the money for a collection. This archtop would be one of them.



The sitar-inspired creation to the left could be used in strange ways as I'm could the acoustic to the right.




Since Jackson was bought by Fender, the Jackson brand has been displayed in a part of the Fender booth. But when I first met Grover Jackson and heard about Jackson Guitars way back they were their own show and thus I still treat them as an individual brand.

This year there were no less than many different versions Misha Mansoor signature model.



Jens Ritter


There are people who rehash the old designs and there are the new breed of luthiers/artisans/visionaries who dares to take a few brave steps onwards. Jens Ritter undoubtedly belongs to the latter category. He has even managed to convince hollow body afficionado George Benson to get one of his solid body guitars.

If it weren't for the $35.000 price tag of this Ritter Porch, it would be sitting in my home. This is a fantastic piece of very playable art. I am quite envious of the person who managed to put the Sold sign on that guitar.


Jens Ritter himself!


K-Line Guitars



At K-Line I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind the guitars, Chris Kroenlein. In this picture he's holding up a San Bernadino model, a model that is a well thought out mix and match of vintage design features melded together with some of Chris' own design ideas. For the player (like myself) who likes the sound of a Tele but has a hard time with the sharp contours of the Tele body, K-Line offers the Texola, which is the same body style as the San Bernadino but with Tele style hardware and pickups. There was a Texola with a nice Klein minihumbucker in the neck. Tempting!


Kauer Guitars


I first met Doug Kauer and his lovely wife at the Holy Grail Guitar Show but at NAMM I really got the scope of Doug's talent.

From my point of view Doug manages to put together a seemingly endless and separate threads of inspiration into many different but still cohesive designs. Like these two guitars to the right.




This color reminds me of a brand of pear-vanilla ice cream I used to eat in the summer as a kid.

If you compare this guitar to the two above you'll notice they share the same body shape.

Doug has managed to find two shapes that works well no matter what you would like to do with colors, electronics and hardware.

This is his other shape. I tried it and I liked it. A really nice a well thought out variation on the classic singlecut theme.



New from Kemper was the eagerly anticipated foot controller Profiler Remote. I must say that I have never before seen such smooth integration between a product and a controller. Hats off again to Christoph Kemper and his team of thinkers/creators/engineers. If you have a Kemper, you should get this.


Klein Pickups

Pickup maker Chris Klein treated me to a very interesting and informed impromptu lecture about pickup design. Thanks to people like Chris, NAMM is always a great learning experience.


Knaggs Guitars

I've been aware of Joe Knaggs talents for many years since he started working as top designer at Paul Reeed Smith Guitars and was responsible for new designs and the Private Stock program. Now he runs his own company and he makes some remarkable instruments.

My eye fell on this beautiful blue guitar with a marine theme. The blue waves in the top are almost moving when you see it in real life.

The theme continues along the fretboard where you see a school of tropical fish and ...



... it ends at the headstock with more fish and artist Guy Harvey's signature.


This is an interesting variation of the strat theme but with a set neck, other woods and a Tele style plate with a trem bar that Joe designed. Don't see many of those.


KSR Amplification (formerly known as Rhodes Amplification)

In a silly trademark dispute with Rhodes (who doesn't manufacture nor market any products under that name) Kyle Rhodes were forbidden to use his own name on his products, i.e. amps that Rhodes (to my knowledge) never made.

The amps, however, still look and sound as aggressively impressive as always. If he wasn't already burnt by lawyers Kyle could market these amps with the slogan "50 Shades of Gain".

Kyle Rhodes, ever available for advise on how to get more out of his amps. And belive me, when you crank these babies, you definitely get more.


Lace Sensor Corporation


Lace usually shows a few unusual things. This year it was this acoustic with two pickups.





I've never seen an acoustic with matching pickups and pick guard. I like it!

The Lace brother usually also shows a cool sense of humor. Last year they had a sign of canceled appearances and this year this bold statement.



Burkhard Lehle has some exceptional gear in his catalogue and these two pedal for bass and the volume pedal were new for the show.


Les Paul



This Les Paul was on display by Les Paul's former guitar tech who now owns it and is about to put it up for auction. The historic guitar was used by Les Paul himself to experiment with to get where he wanted.


Line 6



One of the big news last NAMM was that Line 6 had been bought by Yamaha. This year Line 6 showed the first fruit of this collaboration. The Variax Standard. In effect a Yamaha Pacifica guitar with the Variax electronics. This means a lower price point than the present Korean guitars designed by James Tyler.

There have been increasing expectations from many player (myself definitely included) that Line 6 would show some really cool almost groundbreaking new amp modeling device. Considering Marcus Ryle's unparallelled track record and now Yamahas considerable manufacturing capacity and their own tradition in modeling (DG-1000 and AG Stomp), I'm really surprised that this didn't happen.

What we got was the Firehawk FX which (if I got it right) is a mix of the POD and the Amplifi. Old tech in a new package.


LR Baggs



LR Baggs showed this Session Acoustic DI meant to bring your studio to the stage. I will be most interested in trying this out.



Lundgren Pickups



This guitar is probably one of the most played guitars ever. It's pickup guru Johan Lundgren's test bed guitar and he brings it to all trade shows and everybody can put the pickups they want to try in it and have a listen.

I've seen it at Frankfurt and NAMM and the FUZZ Guitar Show and I have tried so many time to buy it but to no avail.

I like the idea of sliding new pickups in to get the sound you want for a certain music situation.

A case loaded with pickups mounted on "sleds" ready to go into the guitar.


Mad Professor

The people at SImle have come up with a predrive. The info were scarcy so you'll have to search for it. The Evolution Orange Underdrive is VERY interesting. Instead of adding overdrive to an amp it actually removes overdrive from the amp. So let's say you have an amp where you have the pwoer tubes cooking and the sound is fat and saturated, just the way you want it. But then you want a clean sound. What now? Turn down the gain and add an overdrive? That won't give you the same fat OD as a sweating power section. Just add the Underdrive and it will give you a clean sound. Spooky Swedish cicuit voodoo or not, this actually seems to work when I heard it.


Maestro Guitars



Maestro Guitars are made in Singapore. I didn't get to play it nor inspect it closely, but judging by looks alone, it seems like a nice and interesting instrument.


In additon to the visual aspects of Magnatone amps I also like how they sound clean and powerful.


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