As the dust settles on NAMM 2019, we look back at some of the best gear we saw that really gave us GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)
Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS for short, really took hold of us at NAMM 2019, so much so that we thought we’d round up a selection of the best things we saw this year. This includes a range of cool guitars, amps, keyboards and microphones that we’re really looking forward to getting our hands on.
Here’s our top picks from this year.
Best Pedals at NAMM 2019
We always get excited to see which pedals are being released in the Winter NAMM show and this year two particular models stood out from the crowd.
MXR Green Day Dookie Drive
MXR brought out quite a few pedals this year, but by far one of the best pedals at NAMM 2019 was the MXR Green Day Dookie Drive, celebrating the 25th anniversary of ‘Dookie’ by Green Day.
This pedal was designed in collaboration with Billie Joe Armstrong to get as close as possible to Billie’s sound on the breakthrough album – most notably the sound of his two heavily modified amplifiers, one of which being a modded Marshall Plexi 1959SLP reissue that he had affectionately nicknamed ‘Pete’.
The team at MXR analysed the sound and recreated the amps in circuit form, effectively placing the sound of that album inside a pedal. You can even mix the two tones within the pedal the same way Billie Joe Armstrong did in the studio.
Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo Machine
When a new Strymon pedal is released, the music world listens as the team at over at Strymon have figured out how to create some of the best sounds known to man. The Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo Machine is no exception as they’ve managed to cram a studio-quality magnetic tape delay effect into a pedal with three unique delay types that responds exactly the same as a rack mounted unit would. Easily one of the best pedals released at NAMM 2019. Check out what it can do below:
Best Microphones at NAMM 2019
Shure and Aston got our votes for best microphones at NAMM 2019 with their perfect podcast and vlog microphones.
Aston Stealth Microphone
The Aston Stealth Microphone is yet another amazing microphone from the people at Aston offering broadcast quality recording and 4 switchable voices for a price that the regular person can afford – no more re-mortgaging your home for a vintage ribbon mic. This has been built with a Class A Mic Pre and features an intuitive Active Mode which eliminates the need for any extra gain lifting devices, saving you money in the long run.
There are 2 vocal settings which have been optimised for different vocal textures an acoustic guitar setting as well as an electric guitar/cab setting so you’re completely covered should you need a decent all rounded studio mic.
Interestingly, the Aston Stealth has an in-built internal shock mount design which suspends the capsule in mid air reducing any vibrational noise and protecting the capsule from damage.
Shure MV88+ Video Microphone Kit
The Shure MV88+ Video Microphone Kit has been designed for the aspiring filmmakers, professional reporters and vloggers out there who want an all-in-one professional recording rig that can capture high quality audio and facilitate video capture via your phone, all from one hand-held device.
All you do is connect the Shure MV88+ to your Apple device via Lightning connector, fire up the free ShurePlus MOTIV Video, and ShurePlus MOTIV Apps and you’re ready to start enjoying detailed stereo capture via five DSP preset modes. You can even adjust mic gain, stereo width, and end 24-bit / 48 kHz recording quality at all times.
In the box you get a Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod, phone clamp & shoe-mount as well as USB-C & lightning cables to connect your device with too – so you’re good to go, making it one of the best microphones at NAMM hands-down!
Best Guitars at NAMM 2019
So, we had to try REALLY hard to keep this list short! There were so many great reveals at NAMM 2019 that could easily take the crown for best guitar at NAMM 2019, but Gretsch, Fender and PRS got us really excited.
The new Gretsch Streamliner series, particularly the new Gretsch G2622 Streamliner Centerblock Phantom Metallic (pictured) really caught our eye. This new series for 2019 features all new Broad’Tron BT-2S pickups which offers a nice tight bass end, but still retains that Gretsch sparkle. The body is a smaller, lower profile guitar that allows you to get closer to your strings – ideal for solid body guitarists who want to make the transition to a hollow body. A ‘V’ stop tailpiece also finishes off the guitar nicely.
Shop Gretsch Guitars here.
PRS Limited Run SE Schizoid Electric Guitar
In celebration of King Crimson’s 50th anniversary, the team at PRS have created the PRS Limited Run SE Schizoid Electric Guitar featuring the famous "Schizoid Man" artwork beautifully printed onto a solid mahogany body. This is limited to 1,000 units worldwide and is also based on King Crimson guitarist Jakko Jakszyk's own Custom 24 Piezo guitar. This is packed with versatile 85/15 "S" humbuckers, with "Coil Tap" single coil function, so you have plenty of tone at your disposal.
A beautiful guitar for fans of the ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ album and unique guitars in general!
Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster Hybrid Guitar, Natural
The new Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster Hybrid Guitars were probably the biggest talking points at NAMM 2019. This completely new design really took us by surprise, and love them or hate them you have to admit, you’ve got to be interested in finding out what they sound like!
This fully hollow body guitar is of course designed to be played both acoustically and amped up, so you’ve got yourself a versatile workhorse. However, before you start thinking this is just an electro-acoustic, it’s not! The Fender and Fishman-designed Acoustic Engine is what sets this guitar apart as it takes the guitar’s natural sound and then modifies the resonance to deliver a curated collection of voices including acoustic and electric. It’s like using an array of different acoustic and electric guitars at the same time. There’s actually 10 different body style and tone wood combinations to choose from and we can’t wait to hear it in person.
Shop Fender Acoustasonic here.
New Designed By Fender Squire Guitars
The new range of Squire guitars, designed by Fender of course, really caught our eye this year as they reintroduced the Classic Vibe series which brings back the design processes of years past to recreate some vintage inspired, but extremely playable guitars. Basically they took all the best design features of some of Fender’s most iconic guitars and crafted them at a price point that all could afford. Pictured: Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar IL 3-Colour Sunburst. Check them out below:
Shop all the new Squier Classic Vibe guitars here.
Best Guitar Amps at NAMM 2019
Again, there were so many cool reveals at NAMM 2019 that it was hard to pick from the massive list. However, the likes of Blackstar really came up with the goods and Marshall surprised us with the addition of their studio range – capturing their iconic sounds in smaller enclosures.
Blackstar Limited Edition Jared James Nichols Amp Stack
The legendary Jared James Nichols has been championing Blackstar amps for years, so it’s about time the awesome guitarist (and lovely guy) got his signature model - the Blackstar Limited Edition Jared James Nichols Amp Stack! This 20-watt amp bundle includes JJN-20RH Jared James Nichols Signature Amp Head as well as the JJN-212VOC 2 x 12" Signature speaker cabinet. You can enjoy everything from boutique clean sounds to the signature ‘Blues Power’ JJN sound. We can talk about how the EL84 valves in the preamp section and the power reduction switch allow you to get lush saturated tube sounds at lower volumes, and how beautiful the distortion is, but we’d rather let JJN do the talking (and playing) below:
Marshall Studio Amplifiers
The Marshall studio amplifiers replicate the essence of their most popular amplifiers and place those sounds in a smaller, more convenient package. These are not modeling amps, but all valve amplifiers accurately reproducing the sounds that made them famous. The Marshall Studio Vintage SV20C 20W Valve Combo Amp in particular recreates the sound of their most popular vintage amplifier, the 1959SLP. However, it places it at a far more affordable price point, and it’s a LOT easier to carry! You have 2 x ECC83, 1 x ECC83 (phase splitter) and 2x EL34 Valves as well as 4 separate inputs for you to blend your sound and the ability to drop the amp output from 20 watts to 5 watts should you need to reduce the volume at home.
Shop all Marshall Studio Amplifiers here.
Best Drum Gear at NAMM 2019
We were lucky enough to get up close and personal with some amazing drum brands over at NAMM 2019 but it was British Drum Company and Mapex that stole our hearts.
Mapex Armory Kits
The stunning Mapex Armory kits were a highlight from NAMM 2019 and were easily some of the best gear at NAMM 2019 soon to be appearing at PMT stores around the country. These new Mapex Armory kits have two new finishes, Redwood Burst and Emerald Burst. All configurations come with a Tomahawk snare too! Check out the video below:
Shop Mapex drums here.
New British Drum Company Snares and Kits
British Drum Company announced 3 new snare drums at NAMM 2019, a new limited-edition finish on the Legend series kit and some new accessories. The addition of the aluminium seamless ‘Aviator’ snare from BDC will surely appeal to those who like to be heard on stage. There’s also a new Yew wood snare, which incidentally is what medieval bows were made of! Finally, there’s also the addition of a maple snare drum which is in response to demand from the BDC artists – entitled The Maverick. Check the video out below for even more great gear!
Best Synth Gear at NAMM 2019
Finally, some of the best gear at NAMM 2019 came in the form of some portable synths from the likes of Korg and Moog. Both brands really captured our interest with the mini synths – take a look.
Korg Volca Modular Micro Synthesizer
For a lot of us, Modular synthesis can seem a little daunting, but thankfully Korg have crafted the Korg Volca Modular Micro Synthesizer, which not only makes it a lot easier to get to grips with but a lot more fun! This ‘West Coast’ style synth features 8 analogue sound module, 16 step sequencer and 50 patch points – and it doesn’t cost a fortune!
Moog Sirin Analogue Synthesizer
Last but by no means least we have the Moog Sirin Analogue Synthesizer. This is lovingly nicknamed the 'Analog Messenger of Joy' and is a limited edition analogue synth based on the now legendary Taurus Bass sound engine. This allows you to produce lush bass lines as well as huge lead lines thanks to its 4-pole Moog Ladder filter, two incredibly fast ADSR envelopes and a multi-wave LFO – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
View all NAMM 2019 gear over at PMT Online today!