The 2017 edition of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Convention has concluded, and it was mostly filled with updates/improvements on past products, but there were a few items of interest to the metal community! Let’s gear up (pun intended) and see what 2017 had to offer!
First and foremost for heavy metal fans, Paiste introduced its limited edition Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN) “Treasures” set – impressive looking cymbals with the artwork of the sun god, Tonatiuh, and of course with the Paiste logos in the classic IRON MAIDEN font. When the company says this set is limited edition, it truly is limited, as there were only 83 sets produced worldwide! For all you OCD freaks out there, Paiste also announced the Color Sound 900 series, with a variety of new colors to match the color of your kit. I saw purple, blue, black, and red on display, and the color scheme was a delight for the eyes.
Honorable mentions included the Soultone booth, where they showed a picture of the late Nick Menza (OHM, ex-MEGADETH), which was a very touching and cool thing for them to do. Yamaha drums celebrated their 50th anniversary, and were displaying a few of those solid kits on display.
NAMM is always top-heavy on guitars, and the APESHIT crowd loves to hear about new guitars on hand.
Let’s talk a little bit about the same ol’, same ol’ business. Another year, another few signature Kerry King (SLAYER) models released from the once great B.C. Rich line. The B.C. Rich product was once endorsed by some heavy hitters in the death metal scene, but has been unfortunately touted as a laughingstock company in recent times.
Dean Guitars have also rehashed more Dimebag Darrell “Razorback” models, this time featuring the graphics from the Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, and The Great Southern Trendkill covers. As if the camouflage, confederate flag, neon green, etc. versions weren’t enough, Dean is bleeding every last inch of Dimebag‘s legacy with these “new Razorback” axes annually. The other Dean line being bled to death is the Dave Mustaine signature line. In 2017, the new models feature of course the Dystopia album cover, “A Tout Le Monde” version (which also coincides with the blatant promotion of the MEGADETH beer with the same name), and various other random Mustaine models.
Schecter Guitars debuted their new Zakk Wylde signature models last year, and this year they included a few different variations with various color schemes. A nice addition to the Schecter lineup this year, however, was seeing the King Ov Hell (ABBATH, ex-GORGOROTH) “Mephisto” bass on display.
SLIPKNOT guitarist Mick Thomson has left Ibanez and introduced his new Jackson Soloist USA limited edition guitar. Also on the Jackson front, ex-MEGADETH guitarist and current Japan icon, Marty Friedman showed off his new signature “MF-1” guitar, featuring a mahogany body with 22 medium jumbo frets with pearl block inlays. Friedman was extremely busy promoting awesome new product, including his signature EMG pickups, known for its beautiful and warm tone, as well as his new ENGL signature “Inferno” amp head. The “Inferno” is a two-channel, 100-watt, tube head which was inspired by Friedman‘s last solo effort of the same name.
ESP probably had the most onlookers gawking at the display right outside the booth – METALLICA gear on display, such as the well used and extremely distinct ESP guitars used on past tours from James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett. Also in the same display was Jeff Hanneman‘s Heineken-themed “Hanneman” Marshall amp head, and one of his own SLAYER jackets on display. Very awe inspiring for fanboys and old school fans alike.
One of my personal favorite guitars I saw on display this year was also from the ESP booth, which was a sweet Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary guitar. Yes, you read that right, Sonic from the SEGA video game series. I’m sure this guitar plays beautifully, would look great on the wall, and would also satisfy the gaming nerd in you.
As NAMM comes to an end every year, we wish we didn’t have to wait another year before feasting our eyes on more musical eye candy. See you then!