Winter NAMM 2017 - part 5


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The first product I saw that really caught my interest this year was this Squaver P1 audio controlled synthesizer by Sonicsmith. You can control this by anything that sends audio. In my case I want to control it with electric guitar and bass. It's a digitally controlled analog synth with all the features you'd expect from an analog device and then some. One thing that makes this the gateway drug into serious modular synthesis is theCV/Gate output. This means you can get into all these new analog modules popping up just about everywhere. Mind you, this is a real synthesizer for those who want synthesizer sounds. If you want to play a Rohdes piano from your guitar, go away at once. This is for the adventerous spirits out there.



Soultools' guitar to the right in the picturewere also to be found in the European Guitar Builders' booth and I like what I saw. The guitar to the left is a Tao guitar.


Spalt Guitars

Michael Spalt is one of the founding memebers of the European Guitar Builders Guild and I was glad to see his art once again. I have this dream where I win the lottery and then ask Michael to make me four of his resin top Totem guitars, one reflecting the personality and interests of each member of my family.

Mr Spalt is not afraid of mixing design elements into his very own visions.

Here's Michael Spalt with his no. 1 display. The whole artwork including the guitar is sold as one piece.


Suhr Guitars

John Suhr was back at NAMM after a few years absence. He presented 4 official Signature guitars. Scott Henderson, Pete Thorn, Ian Thornly and Andy Wood are the people honored with their own axes.

They also had a lot of amps and pedals! And they all sound good!



At previous NAMM shows I have been surprised by the Supro amps and how they manage to put so much of the vintage vibe in an affordable package and now I was baffled at how they have done the same with the old SUpro guitar designs. I played the 2 pickup Westbury and loved everything about it. These give me the gold foil pickup sounds without having to pay gold prices.

I didn't get the chance of playing this part of the series but I would love to. Both because the Westbury was so much fun to play and because this one looks just as cool.




Synergy Amps

I was very impressed with the Synergy Amp modules last NAMM, so as they haven't yet been released on the market and announced no new products, I didn't really feel I needed to spend more time with them this NAMM. But for some reason I did and I came away even more impressed.

The excellent demonstrator showed me how the Twin/Deluxe module excuded clean sound with such power, clarity and depth it left me momentarliy speechless. And this was mounted in the SYN-1 going direct to studio moonitors. Then he put in the Friedman HBE module and let loose a stream of overdriven licks and riffs that made me think I was standing in front of a really good stack. Fluid and sultry are words that came to mind! I'm hoping these will hit the market soon.


T-Rex Engineering

Last NAMM T-Rex made a splsh with the Replicator tape delay. And that's real tape and not some half-assed simulation so often prevalent in todays multi-effects units. This year they showed the Replicator Junior with a slightly reduced feature set but also with a correspondingly lower price.

T-Rex has bought the rights for the name and tech of Binson. Those of us old enough, remember the Italian company who made the Echorec delay unit which, for many, was the first foray into the world of effects. To the pleasure of many delay fans, T-Rex displayed their version of the Echorec which includes all the features of the uriginal unit plus a few newer ones.


TAO Guitars

More guitars from the European Guitar Builders' booth. This time from TAO Guitars. While I love traditional S and T style and single cut guitars, I also love when builders push the envelope on what a guitar can be, what it looks like and how it plays. TAO Guitars really does all that. And I love the way they look.


Tausch Guitars

Staying in the EGB booth I also found German luthier Rainer Tausch. I have tried his 665 Withe Stirps (2nd from the right) and it's such a cool guitar that cover much sonic ground.


Tom Anderson Guitar Works

Two S style bolt on guitars from Tom Anderson.




It seems like the big guitar company reined in their lawyers when Tom did some changes on a classic design. Here's the new version called the Bobcat.


Turner Renaissance

I've seen Rick Turner's instruments here and there and have read about them for years but have never had the chance to try one. I was too busy when I passed by his booth so no luck this year either.


TV Jones

I'm almost sure I would choose a TV Jones over a Gretsch if the chance presented itself.


Two-Notes Engineering

New from this French innovator in the field of direct recording and power management was the Torpedo Captor. It's a loadbox, attenuator, speaker simulator (analog) and a DI.


Ultimate Support

I don't know if Ultimate Support's entry into the studio furniture market is something recent or not, but it's the first time I've seen them. They have some different basic tables and then you can get individual add-ons. Sturdy stuff!!


Volt Guitars

If you ever, like me, wished there was a modern version of the Firebird, then you'll be happy to see and play the Volt version of this classic theme.

Luthier and Firebird afficionade Sander DeGier with his Volt guitar.



Wilkins Guitars

For many years now I've seen builders present their takes on the Tele-meets-Les Paul concept. Here in Pat Wilkins' both are Toru Nittono's efforts and they do look good. There was a Robben Ford approved hollow version with a spruce top.


Xotic Guitars


Well known all over the world for their effect pedals, Xotic's guitars are not as widely known. Probably because all they can make sells in their home market. Very nice guitars these! Comfy necks and sound great!




Yamaha with matching Revstar guitars and motorcycles. Probably the only company that can supply both guitars and motorbikes from their own stock.

Yamaha had their Custom Shop do a few special Revstar for the show.



Here a view of the back of the same guitar.

Yamaha Pacifica 612v must be the most underappreciated H/S/S bolt-on guitar in history. I have loved the Paciafica for many years and this new version with a Wilkinson trem and US made Duncan pickups is so much bang for the buck it's almost ridiculous.



Some Pacifica configurations are now available with a matte finish.


Zematis Guitars

I've never played an original Zematis but some reputable dealers and luthiers have told be that they mor emore art work than instruments. Whatever level of truth in that statement, I'm happy to report that these new guitars baring the Zematis name are easy enough to play and still look good on any stage.




The end

If memory serves this was my 20th NAMM. While some kind of logic tells me I should be tired of this by now, I don't feel tired at all. As a matter of fact, NAMM is like a mental vitamin injection. Seing all this great gear, funky gear, crazy gear, useful gear, plain stupid gear and hearing all this music and, above all, meeting all the fantastic people who make the body of this fantastic business of musical instruments. I have heard many stories this NAMM that still make me smile. I heard so much music that made me want to play more and write more music. I really do feel grateful to have the priviledge of being a small part of all this. And I do hope to come back in 2018 and do it all again.

So until next time, I wish you all peace, love and creative freedom!


Mats N


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