NAMM 2015: Saturday Report

Today I started on the levels above the main convention floor.  Seems like a number of exhibitors are moving up there for a number of reasons.  I left the convention center for a couple hours to meet with Tom King and get some hands-on time with the Atomic Amplifire.  After grabbing some lunch, I settled down in Hall E and completed my sweep through the show.  But enough about my schedule, the reason you're on this page is to find out what I saw.

Guitars

Beveled tops seem to be all the rage this year. While this trend seemed to start with the PRS S2 series, this year's variation has veneer tops that are a different color from the bevel. I didn't take a picture yesterday of the beveled Kiesel guitars I saw but here's a Schecter as an example.

Bevel

Chris Mitchell builds CMG guitars (as well as his amp line) in Georgia. They start at $799 which is unbelievable for a US-made guitar. This one is a bit more but I thought the thru-body stripes were pretty cool.

cmg3 cmg1

D'Angelico is building some hollowbodies with very non-traditional paint jobs.

Dang3  Dang2  Dang1

The ESP NAMM guitars had no shortage of bling.

ESP

Fender custom shop had a number of funky instruments on display.

Fender3  Fender2  Fender1

Gibson had some nifty instruments on display. The new Satchel signature model by Kramer.

Gibson4  Gibson3  Gibson5

The "Less Plus" Les Paul. It's about 3/4 of the thickness of a regular LP with a very deep belly cut.

Gibson9

Some Custom Shop models with heavily carved backs

Gibson13  Gibson12

And a ton of other, more traditional instruments.

Gibson15  Gibson14  Gibson11  Gibson10  Gibson8  Gibson7  Gibson2  Gibson1

Doug Kauer was here in force with his full product line.

kauer1  kauer2

Buck Dharma was at the K-Line booth when I dropped by.

Kline1  Kline2

Line 6 had their Pacifica-based Variax Standards on display. Interesting that they come in a SSS configuration while the Pacificas don't offer that pickup option.

L62

PBG had their brands out on display.

pbg1  pbg2  pbg3  pbg4   pbg5  pbg6

Peacekeeper had an interesting concept of having interchangeable "onboard" effects housed in an M16-style magazine. Cool concept but I'd prefer something a bit less obtrusive.

Pk1  Pk2

Some cool looking guitars from Stephallen.

Steph

Amps

Chris Mitchell (the guy behind CMG guitars mentioned earlier) also has his line of Devilcat amplifiers. These US-made, cathode biased hand wired amps go for about $1500.

cmg2

Roland introduced a new Blues Cube. It has tone modules (one endorsed by Eric Johnson will soon be available). I think that they were overly cute when they made it look like a 12AX7, though.

Boss3  Boss4

Two Rock was in the PBG booth.

TwoRock

FX

Aclam had some cool modular aluminum pedalboards. They can be single or double depth and can attach pedals using Aclam's mounting clips or velcro. They have a number of options for mounting power supplies, tiering the board, and angling the board up.

aclam1  aclam2  aclam3  aclam4

Boss has a new effects switcher that supports up to 8 loops.

Boss1  Boss2

There's new product called Loknob that allows you to lock the knob positions on a pedal, amp, or even guitar. To adjust, you pull lightly on the knob. When you release it, the knob won't turn. Pretty slick idea if you find your controls getting changed when moving your gear.

Log1  Lok3  Lok2

I dropped by a number of other FX booths but don't have a lot of commentary to provide:

cbread1  cbread2

opt51  opt52

strymon

Digital / Modeling Gear

I got to spend two hours with Tom King talking about and demoing the Amplifire. When Tom handed a unit to me, it was shockingly light. Despite its lack of mass, it's a very capable amp modeler. The UI is definitely user-friendly and the editor seems well thought out. I'll write up a more detailed review later but the question of the day was answered: Yes, it does mid-gain grind and cleans up very nicely with the guitar's volume knob.

 

Atomic1  Atomic2  Atomic3  Atomic4

Pro Audio / Other

In addition to their pedalboard, Aclam has a cool guitar wall mount that holds the guitar using the strap buttons. They have a number of models to accomodate different styles of guitar.

aclam5  aclam6  aclam7

Hear had their new model. Major changes include 16 channels (up from 8) and the addition of a talkback mic on each unit.

Hear

The new Line 6 wireless models are pretty cool. They have lots of routing possibilities, a built-in tuner and a sliding battery cover, meaning it won't fall off.

L63  L66  L64  L65

I stopped in on fellow Colorado resident Curt Mangan.

mangan1  mangan2

...and got my picture taken with Regi Wooten

Woot

Zexcoil pickups

Zex1  Zex2
Here's Brian Murray and Walt Tavares from Guitar Workshop Plus. GWP is very similar to the old National Guitar Workshop but IMO Brian improved on the format. Until this year, GWP sessions were only held in Toronto and Vancouver (where I attended in 2013). For those not eager to travel north of the border, this June GWP will be holding its first US session near San Diego.

Murray

And our final eye candy installment. The first one was interesting in that she was actually knowledgeable about the product.

bb1

bb2 bb3