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, they also had the Free Music Lesson, and as always, we had a great time checking out all the gear!
NAMM amped up (pun intended) everything in 2015 – from the delicious lunch trucks outside to the amazing performances at the end of each day by GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC and other artists. Oh yeah, did we mention that there are also the amazing new products on display? As always, there’s too much to talk about so let’s highlight a few items that caught our eye.
For the drummers, a few great items were released. Tama announced the Tama Star hardware consisting of snare stand, tom mount and straight and boom cymbal stands. The Star line has been a hit with drummers of all genres already, and the new hardware will compliment their kit nicely. Another great item is Tama’s SLP or Sound Lab Project snare line, which will offer optimum configurations for every type of drumming style, including extreme metal. Add this with the new line of colors, such as the walnut kit, Tama has once again proved why their brand is so coveted by professional drummers.
Since we’re discussing legendary drummers, Paiste has launched the signature Dave Lombardo 22” Rude Power Ride cymbal, aptly called The Reign. Inspired by the original cymbal which Lombardo used on Reign in Blood, this heavy ride features not only a piercing, metallic ping, but stays clear in extreme conditions – note to extreme metal drummers, as this ride would surely cut through the downtuned guitars on featured album recordings.
Speaking of ride cymbals, Sabian introduced the Big and Ugly cymbals which produce a dry and organic sound, which cuts through more than the typical run-of-the mill cymbals, especially since we’re living in a 100% digital recording world now. Check out the following models from this line: King, Nova, Pandora, Phoenix, Apollo, and Monarch Rides.
One of the coolest drum kits that we have seen must have been from Schlagwerk – a German percussion company. At first glance, these Cajon drums looked like cardboard boxes, but they packed quite a punch and looked crazy and awesome (see our pics for more detail). Innovative and awesome!
Most of our readers are interested in the new guitars, so let’s talk about the some of the new guitar products!
Since THE HAUNTED’s last album Exit Wounds was my favorite album of 2014, I had to check out guitarist Ola Englund’s signature Washburn line, and the Swedish flag model was my favorite one. A beauty to see in person, and I’m sure it plays just as beautifully.
ESP recently acquired a new endorser, none other than EXODUS/SLAYER axeman Gary Holt! Holt was previously with Schecter, but has ditched them for ESP, and they belted out a new signature axe for him. The new GARY HOLT EC is a pretty sweet axe I must say, with crisp and clean highs to produce amazing solos, and nice action for that thrash attack. The blood red finish and red pickups are definitely a nice touch to the signature model, and retails for a cool $9,118.40. There are more affordable models as well, the GH-600 and GH-200, so check them all out!
Shredder Gus G. (OZZY OZBOURNE/FIREWIND) also debuted a few new signature models, most notably the ESP Gus G. As always, ESP had some amazing and gorgeous custom models for display. Most were not for sale, but the few that were went up to a dizzying $70,000.
Jackson introduced a few Dinky models in various finishes, and one new model that stood out was the signature Scott Ian (ANTHRAX) Thraxagram Soloist model, full with pentagram and U.S. flag. Of course a few new colors for Jackson Randy Rhodes V’s and David Ellefson (MEGADETH) models were available as well. Phil Demmel’s (MACHINE HEAD) signature guitars had some cool black/gray and black/red combo finishes on the body, and they looked pretty damn sweet.
Since announcing the famous Dave Mustaine line a few years ago, Dean had a few new models on display, such as the In Deth We Trust, United Abominations, and Rust in Peace axes. I loved the original Dimebag Dean design, but unfortunately, it seems like Dean has been milking any and all new Dimebag designs to death – new color schemes and the many Razorback designs just seems in bad taste just to generate some extra interest in what was already a great designed guitar. Anyway, at least Dean was gracious enough to have Dime’s original Dean from Hell on display.
Last but not least, Ibanez of course, had sick new models to show off to the world. New Steve Vai Jem models were beautiful, and guitar virtuoso counterpart Joe Satriani also was rockin’ his new line as well. KISS fanatics definitely appreciate the brand new Paul Stanley models, like the PS120, with chrome hardware, black finish, and sweet inlays. There was even a RG Iron Label 8 string Prototype on display too…craziness!
One last honorable mention was the limited edition MÖTLEY CRÜE “Final Tour” Marshall fridge. With authentic Marshall parts, genuine MÖTLEY CRÜE logos, this thing would be a conversation starter for sure, and there’s even a limited run of hand signed versions of the fridge as well. Killer!
The convention keeps getting better every year and we are extremely grateful to the NAMM folks for the opportunity to cover these sick products! Stay heavy!