NAMM Show 2015 was a huge success and all the biggest and best brands showcased some wonderful new gear that will hit the shops very soon. Here's a quick round-up of the event and a look at the best new music gear for 2015!
This year, synthesizers were the main talking point of NAMM Show 2015, with new gear such as the Korg ARP Odyssey and Roland JD-XA getting everyone excited. Hell, even Stevie Wonder had to have a go at the new ARP Odyssey:
But, as Neil Young would say, Rock'n'Roll will never die... and all of our favourite brands such as Fender, Ibanez and Epiphone had extremely popular booths and showcased some great new gear that should hit the shops soon and will, without a doubt, prove to be popular in 2015. Here's a quick look at all the best new products announced at NAMM...
NEW FENDER GUITARS
As expected, Fender had one of the coolest and most popular booths at NAMM... after all, no-one could miss the opportunity to take a first-hand look at some hot new Fender guitars! Fender showcased several new products, so here's a selection of some of the best:
Fender Limited-Edition Hardtail Stratocaster
Hardtail Strats are quite special, and a bit of a connoisseur instrument: a great option for tuning stability, with their own distinct sound— with more body mass, a string-through-body bridge, and no harmonic overtones from the tremolo block and springs, they’re Stratocaster models that truly have a sonic and stylistic identity all their own.
Fender Limited-Edition Sandblasted Telecaster
The limited edition “sandblasted” Telecasters are a great example of how Fender continue to combine cutting edge finishing techniques with classic functionality and playability. Using a new technique in guitar finishing these guitars are treated to bring the best out of the wood the guitar is made from giving you a truly striking musical instrument.
Fender Standard Jazzmaster HH
The new Fender Std Jazzmasters (available in Black, White or Ghost Silver) are great additions to the Jazzmaster/ Jaguar family, perfect for modern guitarists who want heavy and aggressive tone, the Standard Jazzmaster HH is an unusual take on the classic Fender model, delivering massive high-gain power and a whole new sonic personality from two Blacktop pickups.
Fender Special Edition 60s Stratocaster in Surf Green
With a tone and finish that will transport you back to the era when rock was king and the Strat helped define the sound of an entire generation of musicians. For guitarists who must have original-era Strat sound, look and feel, the Classic Series ’60s Stratocaster Lacquer epitomizes the instrument during that decade, when musicians used it to conjure and create electrifying sounds never before imagined or experienced.
Fender Dee Dee Ramone Signature Precision Bass MN Olympic White
Hey, Ho, Let's Go! This is simply a stunning Precision bass, whether you're a massive Ramones fan or not. This signature Fender honours Dee Dee with absolute authenticity, smooth playability, and of course - killer tone!
EPIPHONE GUITARS FOR SPRING 2015
Epiphone surprised NAMM with a very interesting range of Spring 2015 models, which mixed classic shapes with modern finishes and interesting features. The highlight of the bunch as the Epiphone Limited-Edition Tommy Thayer Signature Les Paul. This guitar, which pays homage to Kiss' guitarist, was a true "White Beauty" and even Robbie Krieger (The Doors) had to stop by to have a go, as shown in the pic above!
IBANEZ RELEASES TONS OF NEW MODELS
Ibanez has kept us all very busy, by announcing a LOT of new 2015 guitars! Hey, we're not complaining - they're all great! No wonder their booth was very popular at NAMM, with many famous guitarists dropping by - from George Benson checking new semi-acoustic jazz models, to Paul Gilbert promoting his ace new signature guitars.
One of the highlights has got to be the new Steve Vai JEM Junior, his most affordable signature model, ever.
JACKSON NEW 2015 MODELS
Jackson is another brand who announced several new guitars, which cater for all budgets - from super-affordable JS Dinky guitars, to the new Misha Mansoor signature models. Here's some of the best ones we've seen:
Jackson Misha Mansoor Juggernaut H7
The Misha Mansoor Juggernaut HT7 7-string guitar is a brand-new seven-string model like nothing else Jackson has ever seen—or heard—before. The bolt-on quartersawn maple neck is sculpted with Mansoor’s own custom profile, and features graphite reinforcement, ivoroid binding and heel-end thumbwheel truss rod adjustment.
Jackson Scott Ian Anarchy Soloist
Fans of Trash Metal gods Anthrax will love the new Jackson signature Scott Ian Anarchy Soloist. New for 2015, the Jackson X Series Scott Ian Anarchy Soloist Electric Guitar is a homage to the venerable Anthrax guitarist! The Anarchy Soloist proudly depicts the Anarchy "Thraxaram" graphic in colour.
Jackson 32T KING V
Nothing beats a good "flying V"-shaped guitar. From Randy Rhoads to James Hetfield, there are many guitarists who simply love their looks. So, what about a red one, with zebra humbuckrs and, best of all, for under £250? That's the JS32T King V for you! Available in Gloss Black, Ivory and Ferrari Red.
Jackson JS11 Dinky guitars
For the price, you can't beat the new JS11 Dinky guitars! At only £100, these guitars have the looks and tone you'd expect from a more expensive instrument! These guitars take an epic leap forward, making it easier than ever to get classic Jackson tone, looks and playability without breaking the bank. Upgraded features such as arched tops, new high-output ceramic-magnet pickups, graphite reinforced maple necks, bound fingerboards and headstocks, and black hardware deliver more for less.
LINE 6 VARIAX STANDARD
Line 6 promises to once again rock the market with new, innovative gear, like they did last year with the AMPLIFi guitar amps. The new Line 6 range for 2015 looks very interesting, with the Variax Standard possibly becoming the most popular Variax guitar they ever made:
BEST NEW FX PEDALS FOR 2015
There were a few cool new FX pedals announced at NAMM 2015. One of the most popular booths was that of TC Electronic, who in the past couple of years has become one of the leading manufacturers of guitar FX pedals. Andy Allo showcased some of them at NAMM.
The TC Electronic Viscous Vibe uni-vibe style vibrato and Helix Phaser were the new pedals the brand announced, while TC Helicon Ditto Mic Looper was a welcome new looper pedal - designed especially for mics, as the name suggests.
TC Electronic is one of the brands who popularized mini FX pedals, and at NAMM two other major brands announced mini pedals that should be really BIG in 2015, proving that the trend of pedalboard-friendly pedals is here to stay! First off, Ibanez announced the Tube Screamer Mini, which has the same classic Tube Screamer TS-808 Circuit, with the JRC4558 IC chip.
But a pedal that surprised everyone was the Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah, an affordable Wah pedal half-the size of a normal Cry Baby, but packed with great features: fasel inductor and three difference voices to choose from. Not surprisingly, it won the 'Best In Show' award, a sure sign it'll be popular this year!
Electro-Harmonix released a couple of new pedals in time for NAMM: the Bass Soul Food Overdrive was pretty cool, but the best was definitely the Super Pulsar Tremolo, which is a very versatile pedal capable of giving you any tremolo sound you can ever dream of!
Boss announced the new BB-1X Bass Driver pedal, which gives the player a wide range of tones, from natural clean tones to heavy distortion, the BB-1X adapts and responds to any playing style or register, but never loses the body and core tone of your instrument. Plus, the Line Out jack on the BB-1X goes beyond a standard DI out, providing a newly crafted and enhanced direct sound for reaching larger audiences through a PA system.
Other Boss New Products from NAMM 2015 include a switching system for effects, a pedal for vocalists and a new volume pedal. Check them out!
BEST GUITAR AMPS AT NAMM 2015
There weren't many new amp releases at NAMM, but a few still managed to make a big impression.
The Blackstar ID: Core Beam Bluetooth amp (pictured above) is a compact, very versatile amp that can be used for electric guitars, bass guitars, acoustic guitars and also as a high-quality wireless speaker for MP3.
Vox announced a new amPlug I/O mini amp, as well as new finishes on some of their most popular models, which now come in Limited-Edition Red.
One surprise were the new 2015 Orange amps. They didn't release any new valve amp, but their new Crush series solid-state amps are better than ever: with true analogue signal path, and improved features, these are perhaps the best-sounding, no-nonsense solid-state amps around, with an almost "tube-like" tone. We got this exclusive demo that shows you how good they sound:
On a recent Online Q&A with PMT, Adrian Emsley, the Lead Amp Designer and Technical Director at Orange, explained why Orange's Crush series solid-state amps sound like no others:
"The op amps are running at the same impedance and within the same circuit (pot, resistor, cap values, etc.) as 12AX7's do in one of our tube amps. Most other solid state amps are designed with a different approach to this. It's not just down to the tubes or transistors used. It's down to the circuitry they are running in."