National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2014 Show Report

The month of January brings excitement to the City of Anaheim every year, and the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2014 show is no exception!  Let’s cut to the chase this year!  A few highlights of the gazillions of musical instruments and gadgets are found below…enjoy!

After debuting the amazing looking Gen16 nickel-plated models not too long ago, Zildjian has added a beautiful bronze line to 2014.  These new buffed bronze Gen16 models stand to produce an even warmer tone than the original, and many drummers were excited to check this out at the Zildjian booth.

Remo added a few exciting products to their line.  The Emperor Ebony drum heads not only look sweet in their black textured film, but sound excellent as well.  These Ebony drum heads are durable and are perfect for Marching Bands.  Remo showcased some custom heads fit for the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade, Florida State University, and many others!

On the subject of Marching Bands, Yamaha showcased some amazing snares of all colors and sizes.  Universities and High Schools alike know that the best marching gear for drums is with Yamaha.

Although not as monstrous or impressive as Neil Peart’s Pearl kit a few years back, Paiste debuted Danny Carey’s (TOOL) signature kit, with all new Paiste gear to boot.

Not a lot of new gear in the world of amplification, but Marshall turned some heads with their Custom Shop Tattoo line.  The designs on these amps are, for lack of better words…stunning!  Marshall worked with five different tattoo artists, and each of the designs is brilliant.  Words do not do these amps justice, so check out our pics!  On a side note, Marshall also had on display the Marshall Amp Fridge!  Talk about a must have for the rehearsal room or man cave!  At a cool price of $399.99, the Marshall Fridge includes authentic Marshall parts, including the logos, fret cloth, and brass-finished faceplate.  Mandatory!

Korg, the leader in the industry for synthesizers and keyboards, introduced the TinyPiano – a miniature and portable, you guessed it, tiny piano, with a tone and pitch as accurate as the “grown up” kind.  The TinyPiano includes 25 digital sounds and 50 built-in demo songs.  Awesome for kids just starting out!  Korg also had some “keytars,” a keyboard-guitar!  Perfect for that 80’s tribute band you always wanted to join!  The Keytar has a 37-note slim keyboard that’s lightweight, with MIDI output jacks, and operates on six AA alkaline batteries!  The mother of all keyboards/synthesizers, the Korg Triton, has received an update – the Triton Taktile.  Some of the highlights include trigger pads that are velocity-sensitive, a touch pad that can be used as a mouse, and a more stylish and ergonomic design.  With 300,000 Triton units sold, you know that the Taktile is a solid unit that won’t fail you!

Ex-MEGADETH guitar legend Marty Friedman announced his new Paul Reed Smith guitar this year.  Friedman ran through a couple songs during his PRS demo, and talked a little bit about his signature guitar, which included some interesting stories.  In the past, Friedman always used his PRS guitar as a backup, because he knew that the PRS would never fail on him in any situation or gig, such as unique environments like Japanese Budokan arenas, or ancient temples, so he finally figured that he should ask to have a custom signature model made for him!  Mr. Paul Reed Smith himself came out to introduce Marty during the demonstration/sound check, and Marty unleashed his inner guitar fury by making love to his guitar with passion!  A great guitar for an amazing musician!

Dean Guitars did not have too many innovative or interesting guitars as years past, but the Michael Angelo Batio Rocket guitar was mesmerizing and killer to look at!  Slight variations and colors including a strange, minty green were added to the Dave Mustaine line, and various new “designs” were introduced to the Dimebag series, but nothing will ever beat the original lightning design!

Much like Dean, Jackson Guitars also added few new Flying V’s and 7 string variations on old designs, but nothing was too captivating.  Powerhouse Fender Guitars however, were showcasing their 60th anniversary for the iconic Stratocaster guitars!  The Fender booth was packed with tons of guests interested in all their amazing products…very impressive stuff.

In the last few years, guitar companies have been competing with each other to build the perfect 7 string guitar…and then the 8 string guitar!  Looks like the pissing contest has entered the 9 string guitar realm!

B.C. Rich’s notable new line included the 8 string Warlock Lucky 8, and the acoustic-electric Mockingbird Polarity.  The Lucky 8 is a nicely affordable 8 string axe, for metal guitarists on a budget.  The Polarity adds nice acoustic tones for those metal bands that are into the acoustic/distortion transitions in their music.  Both are nice additions to the metal driven guitar brand.

Ibanez, a metal staple, had some great products on display for 2014.  DECAPITATED mastermind Vogg finally has his own line (IC500BK), a variation on the original Iceman models.  EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn had some variations on his older models, and there were some funky looking designs on KORN’s Ibanez signature guitars.  The highlight of the Ibanez booth is of course, their 9 string (count ‘em!) guitars!  The RG9 was on display again, and was impressive as always.  Not to be outdone by the RG9, the prototype for the RG9 Prestige (RG90BKISH) was pretty sick at a bargain price of $4399.00.  This thing is just a monster; with a 28” neck, jumbo frets, rosewood fretboard…one must wonder what kind of sounds you can produce with this beast.  Truly fantastic for the guitar nerd/prog freak in you.

Schecter, home of shredders Jeff Loomis (JL-7FR), Gary Holt (V-1 FR), and others, modeled their respective signature models, as well as some horror inspired models such as the Dawn of the Dead and Dracula guitars.

Speaking of horror inspired models, ESP had the brand new Kirk Hammett Limited White Zombie guitar on display, and it looked gorgeous.  The White Zombie guitar includes a coffin case…count us in!

Other new ESP offerings included signature models from Taiwanese metal outfit, CHTHONIC, with Jessie Liu’s signature 7 string model JL-7 and Doris Yeh’s DY-5, her signature 5 string bass.  Bay area thrasher Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT) had his AS-1 and other signature models on display looking slick as ever.  You can almost hear the warm tones and solos cutting through like butter with these guitars.

These were just a few of the metal driven products featured this year.  Once again, we had a blast checking out all the new gear – thanks to all the vendors and companies for showcasing their innovative and amazing products!  Can’t wait to see what they have in store next year!

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