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> Cool New Guitar Gear At Namm
post Jan 30 2013, 06:18 PM
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Here are some random notes from my visit to NAMM last week that might be of interest to guitarists.

Music. As always, the best part of NAMM is the music. Where else can you hear Larry Mitchell jamming with Andy Timmons, walk around the corner and hear amazing gypsy jazz guitar, then step outside and hear Tower of Power! Plus you can meet Jeff Loomis, then a moment later meet Tosin Abasi.

Kemper was showing the new rackmount version of their modeling amp. I spent a lot of time playing it and I was pretty impressed. I have an AxeFX, but I might get this too when it comes out next month. It seems little more professional than the AxeFX, especially with the presentation of the factory presets, which all sound great, and the layout of the controls and the fit and finish of the manufacturing. But it has nowhere near the effects, routing, or software features of the AxeFX. Expect something new related to the AxeFX from Fractal Audio within about a month. Don't expect anything new from Avid related to the Eleven anytime soon.

IK was showing an new version of Amplitube for iOS for the larger iPhone5 screen and Retina display. Looks great, but I don't think any of the amp models are new.

Schecter was showing a few new models of guitar. They are definitely on the rise as a prominent guitar manufacturer and moved into a larger display room upstairs this year. They are now making amps as well. The Damien Platinum looked especially nice with active pickups, nice fret inlays, and a satin finish.

There was a new Floyd Rose bridge on display that doesn't require the guitar body to be routed. It has an axle, sort of like a bigsby. This might be something very cool for Les Paul owners who would like a Floyd Rose bridge for a whammy bar.

Yamaha practice amps. Yamaha came out with a small practice amp with modeling last year, but this year they were showing several new models, one for high gain tones. I was surprised at how small it is, but it sounds great.

There have been some interesting online recording products that allow for recording collaboration on the web (for example Indaba and OhmStudio), but JamHub was demonstrating a new system of theirs called BandLab which looks promising.

Not on display at NAMM, but Tracktion has been resurrected. This is a good software recording app for guitarists because it's simple and inexpensive, but has a lot of features. It was abandoned a few years ago when Mackie took it over. The big news is: it's back and is now owned by the original author. The new version looks quite nice.

Ibanez Iron Label. Ibanez has come out with an Iron Label series of guitars, both in the RG and S series bodies. Active pickups and 6, 7, or 8 strings. The neck feels super thin and slick. Definitely aimed at NuMetal guitarists.

Boutique pedals. The recent trend of lots of boutique pedals on display continued. Even Bogner and Budda where showing new pedals.

Apogee showed an update to the Jam. I always recommend the Jam for guitarists who need an audio interface for their Mac/iPhone/iPad and there is a new version with the new small lightning connector for the iPhone/iPad.

Studio headphones are always a topic of interest for guitarists and Yamaha and Superlux were showing new models. The Yamaha is a HPH-MT220 and the Superlux is the Evo HD668B. The HPH-MT220 was in use at all the demo stations in the Yamaha room and sounds very nice for studio work.

Also saw this striking minimalist guitar, , supposedly coming out this year.

This post has been edited by Rammikin: Jan 30 2013, 07:33 PM

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Todd Simpson
post Jan 31 2013, 04:11 AM
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Thanks for the roundup! Some great new gear out this year.

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