Winter NAMM 2017 - part 3


Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3 Go to Part 4 Go to Part 5


James Tyler Guitars

An ash body Tylerbastar. I love everything about it. Especially the headstock!




New for 2017 from James Tyler Guitars is the possibility to order left hand guitars. A gift from heaven to the lefties of this world. Now they can also play these great guitars.

James Tyler's finishes has to be experienced. This Studio Elite with Alien Guano finish is a real eye catcher. Not for those with a timid fashion sense.


There are sofas for sitting in. Sitting is very much in short supply at NAMM so a sit down with James Tyler is always appreciated. Of course, more for the conversation than the sitting. I got some good ideas to ponder for a possible future build.


John Page Classic

John said he got a lot of requests for an H/S/S model in his Classic line and this is it, the Ashburn H/S/S. Two post tremolo and the HB in the bridge is what makes it different from the S/S/S model.

This AJ Special in Mary Kaye blond finish has an ash body and a tinted maple neck. Can be had with maple fretboard or rosewood.



This is a new bass from John Page Guitars and as such it's a custom offering and not part of the Classic line.

John Page and myself at out annual NAMM meeting. I first met John in 1991 when he was in charge of the Fender Custom Shop and his work now is better than ever. And I never miss a chance of talking to these master luthiers to learn and learn more.


K-Line Guitars


I'm always looking forward to seeing what luthier Chris Kroenlein bring with him. While Chris is a master of building you a vintage style bolt-on, his original offerings are equally good. I'm especially fond of his Del Mar model (on top) which marries a lot of vintage design elements into something very much its own thing. You can decide what pickups and how many (as long as space permits).

The Texola in the middle is also a more ergonomic take of the T-style body that I like.

Not in the picture but still on show was the Truxton Special that is a T-style body with a raised middle, like a Firebird and in addition to a Tele bridge pickup it has two Firebird pickups. I awlays felt the original Firebird were great sounding guitars but they felt awkward to play. The Truxton is a very viable alternative.



Kauer Guitars

The Kauer Banschee is Doug Kauer's version of a guitar that in its first incarnation had the lawyers from a certain well known guitar company breathing down his neck and sending him letters of a kind you don't want to get. This second design is no less cool than the first and is different enough from a certain guitar to be legally OK.

Doug Kauer to the left with unknown (to me) friend in front of some very nice guitars.

The Titan range of guitars is a very interesting concept. The necks are designed by Doug but manufactured by Grover Jackson in numbers not possible on Kauer's decidedly smaller premises. All bodies are routed the same way and, as you can see here, you can get almost any pickup you want in any combination. Kauer will also sell separate complete pickguard assemblies all wired up and ready for the quick and easy install. All you do is loosen the strings and use the one quick connector to connect the pickups to the output jack. This is a very cool and well thought out concept. I wish Kauer the very best of success with it!


At an upcharge you can get the Bigsby and TV Jones pickups. Stilll not an expensive guitar!



Keeley Electronics

The Monterey pedal has a fuzz and many modulation fx use by a certain left handed guitarist who mainly played Strats. This pedal supplies most of said player's signature sounds. One nerdy fact about the pedal is that the Monterey text on the pedal is made up from copying letters written by the player and then combined in Photoshop. When you visit your dealer to buy this pedal, don't be surprised if it looks a bit different. They change the design every so often just to because they can, and want to.

Dark Side of the Moon is possibly one of the most influential albums of all time and has had an incredible impact on guitar players everywhere. This pedal called The Dark Side has a fuzz and, according to the Keeley rep I spoke to, every modulation fx ever used by Dave Gilmour. After hearing the demo I'm sorely tempted to pull out my credit card.

According to Keeley, the Tone Workstation was the only gain pedal used by John Mayer on the Dead and Company tour. I'm thinking that this and one of the two signature pedals above would make a great mini pedalboard that would cover everything you need to put in front of an amp.


Keyztone Pickups

One of the most interesting new products I saw at NAMM was Keyztone's new pickups. This is a totaly new invention that had many pickup makers scratch their heads. The system is divided in two main parts. The pickups themselves that sit under the strings lokking like ordinary blade pickups. They are nothing like traditional pickups. The only thing they have in common is that they do pick up the vibrations from the strings. Then the signal goes to the little hockey puck shaped unit placed where where the second tone control usually is on a Strat. This contains the sound shapeing electronics and depending on what unit you have the pickups can sound like vintage single coils, modern single coils, P-90s, Filtertrons, PAFs or modern humbuckers. The cool thing is that this unit is held in place by a magnet and is very simple to exchange. So you can go from a humbucker high gain monster to a vintage single coil guitar in less than 5 seconds and no tools used.



Some of the different tones available.


Koch Amplification

Dolf Koch has always had a slightly different ear when designing and voicing his amps which has resulted in amps with their own personalities. There's has been many models through the years but they all have one thing in common. They are all very dynamic!

Owner Edvin Kool to the left and Dolf Koch to the right.


Koll Guitars

Saul Koll always has some very nice guitars on show. What I really like about Saul is that he never seems to be afraid of trying something new.


The, by now, instantly recognizable Koll shape seem to work for all music styles and guitar configurations. And as you can see to the left, also for electric basses.




KSR Amplification

In case you were wondering why Rhodes Amplification stopped displaying at NAMM, they didn't stop. Due to Kyle using his last name for the company, the lawyers representing the keyboard brand Rhodes sent him letters to cease and desist using his name. So now the name to look out for is KSR Amplification.

This year Kyle showed his new Orthos 2 amp. Available as a combo or a head. Everything from very clean to VERY high gain. And it all sounds great.



Burkhard Lehle has long heard complaints from guitar players about problems with volume pedals. There are issues with pots, noise, tone suck, linearity and so on. He set his mind to sort it out and now he introduced his mono and his stereo volume pedals. I'm not an engineer so I won't pretend to understand Burkhard's explanation, but it has something to do with using a magnetic field so he doesn't have to use a potentiometer.


Line 6

Line 6 had moved from their 2nd floor room to a room in the Marriott Hotel to be closer to their parent company, Yamaha. New at NAMM 2017 was the Spider V 240 head. One very interesting and useful feature of this head is thatit has stereo speakers, so in case you don't need the massive sound from the 4x12 you can practice with just the top. And that's not all. If you use the top together with the 4x12, you can set up a wet/dry/wet rig with the stereo speaker in the head as wet/wet.


LsL Guitars

LsL are just very good guitars. Great feel and great sound.


This is the first time I've seen an LsL bass.

It's always a pleasure to hear Steve Trovato play.


LunaStone Pedals

There must be something in the Danish water! Why is it that so many Danes build such great pedals? LunaStone is one of these great Danish companies who knows how to produce and voice a good overdrive. The True Overdrive 1 is very amp like in its response to playing dynamics and changes to your guitar volume control. Superb sounding pedal!!

Unfortunately, I didn't get his name but this guitar player (also from Denmark) sure knows how to play. He's the reason I stopped in my tracks and started checking out these pedals.


Malinoski Guitars

If thinking out of the box is a thing for you then Peter Malinoski certainly fits the bill. Few makers at NAMM dared to take the guitar this much outside. Kudos to Mr Malinoski for daring to challenge us all to think in wider terms.

A closer look at one of Peter Malinoski's guitars.



Marcodi Musical Products

This is a Harpejji. To me it seems like a mix a a harp and a Chapman Stick. The demo player made good use of it and played some beautiful stuff but also some right down funky things

When Stevie Wonder came by, he asked to sit in. Could he? Check it out on Youtube.


McSwain Guitars

Some guitars just look so utterly cool to me. McSwain Guitars definitely does. He had his instruments in the European Guitar Builders' booth.

More McSwain instruments.


Mad Professor

New for 2017 were the Mad Professor Big Tweedy Drive where the name says it all for the initiated. The Simble Twimble is basically a Simble Drive and a Predrive in one pedal. I think they are trying to SIMulate a dumBLE.


Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3 Go to Part 4 Go to Part 5