NAMM 2013: Manufactures came out with both barrels blazing as the ecomony’s recovery begins hitting stride.   With camera in hand, we went looking the best and/or sexiest gear they had to offer.


gibson es-195


Gibson’s new semi-hollow body ES-195 has P-94 pickups, a Bigsby vibrato and a six on a side headstock!



fargen john lennon


This new Fargen John Lennon amplifer features a decade switch that changes the voicing to coincide with the artist’s tone in the 60’s and 70’s.


roland vocal trainer


Roland presented the VT-12 Vocal Trainer.  This palm-sized device has a built in microphone and recorder, along with LED’s that indicate pitch.  It can track a voice, even when two voices are singing at once.  The VT-12 also has a built in metronome to assist with timing, and can be used for harmony training as well.


vintage vibe



Vintage Vibe showed off their new Vibanet which gets the funky tones of the long discontinued Hohner D6 Clavinet.



Guild Starfire Bass


Guild Guitars introduced a new line of imported instrument based off the design of their more coveted electric guitars from the 50’s and 60’s., including this Starfire Bass.




The  Schecter TSH-12 Classic 12-string features a double cutaway semi-hollow body, slash soundhole and humbucking lipstick tube pickups. Also available as a 6-string model.


Schecter 12 string



george l


George L cables have long been popular for guitarists’ pedalboards as their solderless jacks make constructing custom-length cables a snap…well, that, and the cables sound great.  Now with multiple colors and multiple color caps, these cables should prove to be even more popular as they would make it easier to follow the patch path visually.


LED lights


Q-Lighting displayed a couple of cool, or totally cool, products at their booth including this Personal Light Show: a compact (4″ x 4″ x 12″) rechargable battery-powered set of 4 super-bright LEDs (they also have a convetional-powered 8 LED version).  You only need to play one show without lighting to know how cool this is.


They also have an LED light that clips to the bill of a ball cap (cleaverly called the Bil-Lite), that is perfect for the road crew working with their hands in dark places.  There are also color filters that help prevent drawing attention to the crew during the crucial repairs on stage during the show.


bil lite



AKG Drum mic kit


AKG included their brand-new kick drum mic, the D12 VR, in this complete drum mic kit which includes 2 large diaphram mics for the overheads which could serve double duty for the forward thinking individual.



Ming Drums


Ming showed off several impressive drum kits made of carbon graphite.  Even the rims and most of the hardware are made of the stuff, making for very resonate drums that are also extremely lightweight.  More conventional (and heavier) rims are available as well.  The company also makes stands using carbon graphite (below), making lugging your kit around a more pleasant experience.


ming stand



Italia Modena Sitar


The Italia Modena Electric Sitar is played like a conventional guitar but sounds like the distictive Indian instrument from which its name is derived.  In addition to the six conventional strings, the Electric Sitar has 13 shorter strings that vibrate sympathetically.  A clear plastic guard prevents the player’s arm from dampening the sympathetic strings.


Fano SP6


Luthier Dennis Fano of Fano Guitars has several models of his Alt de Facto line which in the various body shapes are combined with characteristics as if all the major manufacturers were working in conjunction with each other.  This SP-6 has the body shape of a Les Paul; the German carve of a Rickenbacker; the bridge, bridge pickup and control plate of a Telecaster; and a neck Filtertron pickup as used by Gretsch.  Then usually the guitar is relec’d to look as if it came from the golden age of guitar manufacturing.




In cool amplifier news, a new revitialized Magnatone showed several models of reissues of the namesake’s groundbreaking and influential amps.  The demos of these amps was very impressive.



Godin Montreal Premier


The Godin Montreal Premier is the company’s latest design with a semi-hollow construction, graceful new body silhouette, and their own unique f-holes. Made in Canada!


wheelharp 1 013113






These two instruments are variations of the Wheelharp manufactured by Antiquity Music (this is not a Yamaha product, just so there’s no confusion from the written segway) and, perhaps, would have looked more at home at the NAMM 1813 blog than this more current one.  However, it is a very innovative product and should find favor with acoustic instrument enthusists.  The Beatles and George Martin would have made good use of this.  Watch the video demo here:




And the WheelHarp would have been my personal “best of show” if not for the talented and unassuming Xie Yudan who demoed the pipa, which is often lamely referred to as the Chinese lute.  The grace, virtosity and soul in which she played is more than an equal match for anything this writer heard anyone at NAMM play on guitar: and there was some formidable guitar talent out there.