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National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2013 Show Report

March 1, 2013

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) 2013 has now concluded, and many new and innovative products were featured on the massive lot at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Many of these products pertain to musicians in the Metal scene, and some of the products are just plain cool.

The turnout was crazy as usual – some were there to do business, while others were there to be seen.  Metal remains one of the best represented genres of music, as members of SLAYER, ANTHRAX, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, NILE, MONSTROSITY, MEGADETH, and more were checking out the latest and greatest gear as well. Without further ado, let’s get started with what APESHIT thought were the best products NAMM had to offer for our metal fans out there. Zildjian announced the new Gen16 Direct Source Pickup, which is a direct response to drummers who are looking for an alternative to the unnatural metal or rubber cymbal triggers.  The Direct Source Pickup can be used for traditional cymbals or the Gen16 cymbals, and allows for more accurate cymbal definition, audio articulation, tone shaping, and no sound bleed from the tom drums.  Drummers take note, as this is the newest product for the best cymbal amplification and sound pickup for your cymbals.

Paiste has launched the Black Alpha Joey Jordison “Slipknot Edition” cymbals, which are coated with a beautiful black shine, and the infamous SLIPKNOT logo.  The Black Alpha models consist of the 20” Metal Ride, 17”, 18”, and 19” Crash, 14” Hi-Hat, 18” China, and 10” Splash.  The ride is very metallic with a strong ping, the crashes are powerful, and the hi-hats are crisp and loud, perfect for punishing death metal.  These cymbals will certainly add some spice and flavor to your kit!

Guitars and bass of course, are the meat of what stands out in the Metal genre, so we’ll dedicate a chunk of our attention to the axes.  It’s interesting to note that smaller companies try to create more creative and artistic looking instruments, while making slight variations to the top selling guitars in order to create their own niche.

People love free swag, as the Orange Amplification bags were a hit; many in the NAMM crowd were seen donning a bag, but the big boys always come out with a bang. Marshall has a new line of amps, which will no doubt be a popular hit with the rock n’ roll crowd.  Guitar legend Slash and Marshall have collaborated to release the SL5 – the combo amp which allows you to have Slash’s authentic tone that’s perfect for the studio or in the bedroom.

Peavey Electronics introduced a new generation of amplifiers with the Vypyr VIP series, the world’s first Variable Instrument Performance amplifiers.  The VIP series not only morphs from a bass amp, to an acoustic amp, to an electric amp, but it also allows the electric guitar player to access instrument models as well.  The Vypyr VIP has realistic instrument simulations which allow users to manipulate the sound of their guitar to mimic an electric guitar, bass, 12-string guitar, and more.  One fun release Peavey has in store for 2013 is The Walking Dead line of guitars, which are for serious horror collectors and musicians alike.  These guitars feature highly detailed artwork of the award-winning TV show and will definitely be a hit with the fans.

Speaking of horror influenced guitars, ESP showed off their line of the Bela Lugosi Dracula guitars.  The “Tales From the Grave” Bela Lugosi guitar is an amazing collectible item as well, as only 325 were produced worldwide.  The company also displayed their EC-1000ET and MH-1000ET models which were equipped with EverTune – the mechanical system which results in excellent tuning, accurate intonation up and down the neck, and can stay in tune, despite huge string bends, temperature variables, and other conditions.  The EverTune system allows the musician to concentrate on playing, without worrying about guitar tuning. The ESP LTD Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM) signature series are also new, and will no doubt be influencing shredders worldwide with the neon green/black combo.

Fernandes Guitars and Ashmedi from MELECHESH have worked together to issue the Vortex Scimitar, a beautiful 12-string V electric guitar.  Ashmedi showed off his new axe with a nice demonstration of what can be created and played with the mighty 12-string beast.

Dean guitars have been a staple in Metal, and since signing MEGADETH’s Dave Mustaine to sponsor their line of new guitars, Dave’s new signature line of double neck V guitars or Peace Sells design are quite a beautiful line of guitars to own or play.

Metalocalypse creator Brendon Small showed off the Gibson “Thunderhorse” Explorer – patterned after DETHKLOK lead guitarist Skiwsgaar Skigelf’s guitar.  Fans of the show can now be hip and cool with this guitar, owning a great sounding and shredding guitar at the same time.  Gibson never fails, and the axe sure looks and feels like a winner.

Ibanez is clearly one of the Metal musicians’ favorite guitars, and for 2013, they had a huge announcement - the RG9, and the 9 string prototype was a thing of beauty!

Tom G. Warrior’s (TRIPTYKON) Iceman guitars (IC500BWH, IC507BK models) looked amazing.  A few RG models were proudly displayed with Ryan Knight’s (BLACK DAHLIA MURDER) picture and Cameron Liddell (ASKING ALEXANDRIA) even had his own signature Ibanez, the CLM1.  Guitar virtuosos and heroes Steve Vai and Joe Satriani of course had brand new model axes as well (UV70PBK/JEM7V7WH and JS2410MCGO, respectively).  Ibanez continues to hold the flagship for Metal guitarists, so we look forward to new designs and innovations next year!

Bass guitars get a lot of love at NAMM as well, and in 2013, the highly anticipated bass was the Aria Pro II Cliff Burton Signature BassCliff’s father, Ray Burton, officially introduced the guitar.  The Aria Pro II is a replica of the Black ‘n Gold I bass that Cliff played, and has Cliff Burton’s authorized signature on the back of the headstock.  The tuning pegs are gold plated, and  handcrafted out of brass.  The rosewood fretboard and 24 frets make this the monster bass a great tribute to the legendary METALLICA bassist, and is an instrument that Cliff would be proud of.  On the topic of METALLICA bassists, Robert Trujillo made a guest appearance to try out the Aria Pro II, but he also has his own signature Warwick chrome bass to promote as well.

Schecter rolled out the red carpet for their brand new signature Nikki Sixx bass guitar.  While the Nikki Sixx bass sounds great, there’s nothing too exciting about it, unless you’re a huge CRÜE fan.

The rehearsal room is always a great start to practice and come up with new ideas and music.  Recording riffs is getting easier thanks to more powerful technology, and Roland always has this base covered.  The CD-2u SD/CD Recorder allows you to record quality recordings and play and burn CDs anywhere.  You can use the built-in mic, or external mics, to record directly to CD-R discs or a SD memory card.  This becomes very convenient for recording at the rehearsal room or while out on tour.  The recorder runs on an AC Adapter or six AA batteries, which make this the ultimate portable recording device.  The ability to record to SD/SDHC memory cards, as well as CD-Rs makes this a wonderful recording product without needing to lug unnecessary recording devices around.  Another product related to simple but great recordings, especially for the iPhone user, is Zoom’s iQ5.  This product turns your iPhone or iPad into a high-quality stereo recorder, featuring adjustable rotating mics which capture the sound with ease.  Both audio and video will have professional level recordings with this tiny device.

Roland’s TD-4KP V-Drums Portable is another great product for rehearsal in small areas, or if you need to jam in short amount of time.  The TD-4 sound module not only is equipped with a wide range of editable sounds, the integrated pads provide a great feel and response time as well.  This is the ultimate portable mobile kit, with snare and tom pads which feature cushioned-rubber surfaces for a natural feel.

Yamaha had an awesome array of instruments, as they had the entire floor of the Marriott lobby dedicated to all their gear, ranching from saxophones, pianos, drums, guitars, and much more!  Yamaha continues to show why they are the big fish in the sea of instruments, and Metal artists like Paul Bostaph, Jack Gibson, and James Lomenzo made appearances to profess their love to the brand.

Last, but not least, Behringer had the most stunning product on display, the iNuke Boom – the world’s loudest iPod dock, weighing in at 700 lbs., 8 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 10,000 watts of power.  It costs a cool $29,999 and would be a nice addition to any living room!

While there are literally thousands of amazing products on display at the NAMM show, these were the ones that stood out.  Keep your eyes and ears peeled for many Metal artists performing and using these products at the next live show or when watching the “Behind the Scenes” DVD material you see.  Thanks to the NAMM folks and all the companies for showcasing innovative and amazing products every year, and APESHIT will see you again next year!