Greetings from the 2018 **National Association of Music Merchants (**NAMM) Convention AKA the NAMM Show, where things have been changed up a bit from years past. For starters, all the booths were in different locations, including some booths that were outside the normal convention center area. While there was still an insane amount of people, it felt a bit less crowded due to the new format and wider areas between booths. Let’s not delay any further and get to some of the products we particularly enjoyed!
Sonor displayed the beast of a kit, the SQ2 “The Book of Souls,” made specifically for Nicko McBrain (IRON MAIDEN). Witnessing it up close and personal was truly astonishing. Crafted in Germany, the shells were made to Nicko’s specific specifications, complete with Eddie inlays. Beautiful stuff.
Paiste had a 90” giant gong on display. Yes, a 90” gong. Not sure how practical that would be, but that’s a whole lot of gong going on.
While not exactly metal related, some of you may remember the old Roland TR-808 or TR-909 drum machines, and now they have been officially reintroduced as virtual plug-ins. Note that you’ll have to use the Roland cloud, however, this is extremely cool and a great throwback for those nostalgic drum sounds. Randall Amplifiers released the SATAN50, which is Ola Englund’s (THE HAUNTED) new tube amp. If you’ve listened to any of THE HAUNTED albums with Englund on it, the sound delivered is heavy without losing the crunch or distortion. For you gear nerds, the amp includes 12AX7 preamp tubes, two 6L6 power amp tubes, precision, depth, volume controls, as well as a two-button footswitch which enables the channel and kill switch, as well as effects loop switching.
While Gibson and B.C. Rich did not showcase their products this year, there were tons of guitars to marvel at.
Kiesel (formerly Carvin) had guitars with some amazing finishes on display, with vibrant and unique colors for all types of fans. It was also great to see a section of guitars made just for guitar virtuoso Jason Becker.
Mick Thomson from SLIPKNOT seemingly jumps ship quite often from B.C. Rich to Ibanez in recent years, and back to Jackson again. This year he has the Jackson Soloist SL2 on display, which he hopes to use for a while.
Strandberg Guitars, known for their headless design and favored by “prog-tech” metalheads alike, revealed the new Masvidalien Cosmo, custom designed for Paul Masvidal (CYNIC). Just holding the Masvidalien seems elegant and exquisite, and the guitar was extremely comfortable while sitting down, encouraging a sweet “natural” feel.
Guitarist Nina Strauss (ALICE COOPER) broke new ground not only because she has a brand new Ibanez JIVA10DSB signature model, but she is the first female signature artist for the Ibanez line. Well done, Nina. For all the KISS fanatics, Paul Stanley unveiled three 40th anniversary signature guitars, the PS1DM with more than 1,400 pieces of rhinestones, PS60BK, and PS60SSL – perfect for the KISS nerd in you!
Last, but certainly not least, we were very excited to check out the ESP booth to see the BEHEMOTH signature models in person, and while they look pretty plain, they are some sweet axes. Nergal’s signature Nergal-6 has the sick looking custom BEHEMOTH “Trinity” logo inlay. His partner in crime, Orion, debuted his signature Orion-5 bass guitar with the same inlay. Sleek looking guitars, gentlemen!
Something worth noting we thought was great, was that David Ellefson’s (MEGADETH) coffee was on display. Yes, NAMM guests were able to try some of the brew, and it was actually pretty decent. Picked up an Ellefson Coffee Co. tumbler because it’ll look great with my next cup of java.
The Peavey booth had some metal performances, first with Derek Engemann (CATTLE DECAPITATION) and Mark Kloeppel (MISERY INDEX) playing SCOUR’s Red EP in its entirety, and thrash mongers WARBRINGER closed the night with a quick and dirty performance. Fun times indeed, and once again thank you to the fine folks at NAMM for inviting us to showcase all this great stuff!