Greetings and salutations from sunny California! Once again, another amazing National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention has come and gone! There were a few surprises along the way, and as always, we had a great time checking out all the gear!
On the drum front, a major item of discussion was the rebranding of Sabian – which is now called Sabian Unbound, along with an updated logo. The cymbal company has implemented a fresh take to the legendary brand for drummers of past and present.
Tama continued to introduce their Sound Lab Project (S.L.P.) line, and the S.L.P. Big Black Steel drums looked sleek, hip, and most importantly, sounded amazing.
For those of us lucky enough to witness Dirk Verbeuren in the flesh in such an intimate atmosphere, the new skinsman of MEGADETH introduced the Roland TM-1. The TM-1 triggers promote hybrid drumming, blending acoustic and triggered sounds, and as Verbeuren mentioned in his demo, it is perfect for his drum clinics and similar events such as a NAMM demonstration. Verbeuren showcased the TM-1 model by playing through a few MEGADETH and SOILWORK tracks. Quite a delightful treat to see an amazing drummer up close bashing away!
EMG unveiled the signature T.A. bass pickups for the one and only Tom Araya (SLAYER). Always supporting heavier artists, EMG continues to deliver quality goods for the metal community.
As far as amps were concerned, Ampeg celebrated its 50th anniversary with a custom-built eleven foot bass cab (a.k.a. The Beast), and invited Derek Smalls from SPINAL TAP to debut the monstrous marvel. A promotional stunt, sure, but it definitely got people to stop and check out the behemoth amp.
Peavey amplification was well represented in the death metal field with appearances by Derek Boyer/Charlie Errigo (SUFFOCATION), Chris Pervelis/Chris McCarthy (INTERNAL BLEEDING), and Moyses Kolesne (KRISIUN). Shout out and hails to Peavey for acknowledging the death metal hordes!
Many notable products were featured this year at NAMM, but there were also some notable no-shows such as B.C. RICH and DEAN guitars.
Gibson guitars decided to pay tribute to Chris Cornell (SOUNDGARDEN) with the ES-335, which features an olive drab finish, clear “no number” top hat knobs, Mother of Pearl signature peghead inlays, and is supposedly limited to only 250 pieces.
Kiesel Guitars are axes favored by many progressive/technical death metal bands, and their booth featured a very cool and transparent clear “ice” model, and members from FALLUJAH and OBSCURA jammed on the guitars for a few performance demonstrations.
Jackson guitars unveiled some killer looking signature models from some heavy hitters in the metal scene. Scott Ian (ANTHRAX) had a brand new signature X series King V, Phil Demmel’s (SLAYER/VIO-LENCE) signature Pro Series looked beautiful in the black/red model, but Jeff Loomis’ (ARCH ENEMY) signature Kelly was simply stunning – and will also set you back at a cool $6,666.66.
Quite a surprise in recent days before NAMM 2019 was the announcement of Dino Cazares (FEAR FACTORY) leaving the home of his longtime signature series from Ibanez, and jumped ship to Ormsby guitars from Australia. Two prototype signature models built for Cazares were available at the show, and they certainly looked and felt great. His signature Ormsby model is in development for release later this year.
Of course, ESP and metal have gone hand-in-hand for years, and this year Robert Vigna and Alex Bouks from IMMOLATION hung out at ESP to show which models they use and abuse in the studio and on stage.
Last, but certainly not least, Henry Rollins (ROLLINS BAND) made a brief appearance at the Shure booth to not only promote the Shure SM58 microphone, but to have an amazing discussion about longevity in the entertainment industry, life and career paths in general.
Once again we hope you enjoyed our NAMM coverage, and we always owe a huge thanks to the wonderful people for allowing APESHIT to cover the show!