We continue our search for the finest, most intriguing gear that NAMM 2014 has to offer.
ESP Will Adler Warbird DB
Some people like their gear shiny and new. Fender’s custom shop a while back figured out people will pay a mint for an instrument that is brand spankin’ new, but looks like it has been rode hard for 50 years. ESP has taken notice, too.
This Will Adler Warbird DB (distressed black) looks as if someone has left it out in the rain! For those that like the graphic but prefer to distress their guitars in their own personal way, ESP has the much more affordable shiny WA-Warbird.
Gibson Les Paul Melody Maker
Gibson gave the Melody Maker a makeover for 2014, which is Gibson 120th anniversary (which is commemorated in the 12th fret banner marker). These updates include a standard sized headstock that looks more proportional than the smaller MM headstock used before and a carved maple top.
The body is thinner and the instrument is lighter over all, but it definitely has more of a Les Paul vibe than previous versions of the instrument. The price is lighter, too, making this the most affordable Les Paul in the Gibson line up.
Pearl Inner Circle Cajon
Cajons have caught on in a big way…and why not? This gives drums a way to carry an acoustic kit, the same way an acoustic guitar gives an electric guitarist a rig built-in to a single instrument.
Okay, the analogy is a little off, but hopefully you get the picture.
Pearl’s Inner Circle is a cajon, but it is also convertible. The “Inner Circle” is a fiberglass drum with a wood head that can be used with a strap as a standing djembe. Placed inside its box it functions as a cajon…and the box can be used as a stand for the drum making it a sitting height conga.
Fender Ramparte Amplifier
A couple of years ago Fender released some amplifiers in a series called the Pawn Shop Special. These amplifiers (devoid of the Fender name, BTW) harkens to some off-brand amp that a guitarist would discover, plug in, and…well, usually turn up to 12 and wail away on with some unexpected pleasure.
The Ramparte continues that tradition. Looking somewhat like a laundry hamper that has been recovered with the leftover curtain material from your grandmother’s house, Ramparte looks the part. There’s two volumes controls, one for each channel and…well, that’s it.
One channel is cool, and one is hot. The speaker is 12 inches: total wattage is 9. Vibe is more than.
At first it was just a piano. Then it was a piano and an organ. Then it was a piano, an organ and a Rhodes. Then a moog was added…and then the Arp String Ensemble.
Soon the keyboard player was half musician/half mad scientist.
The Piano Arc controller allows the player to maintain that crazy performance appeal of being surrounded by keys, without the clutter.
The practically of the Piano Arc is yet to be determined, but the visual effect was certainly a winner at the show.
ESP Custom Guitar
Perhaps it was just to wow the NAMM show attendees; perhaps it worked.
ESP Guitar had a whole wall dedicated to these stunning instruments that transcend being mere guitars into piece of fine art.
While the practicality of these instruments may be in question (I personally can’t wait to see the relic’d versions that will invariably show up next year), their beauty is not. A close up below for your viewing pleasure.
Perhaps to temper the angelic, beautifully sculpted custom shop guitar ESP had on display, the also had this custom painted Tombstone case.
Obviously, as the name implies, this case is painted to look like an actual tombstone, but ESP gets extra points for the 3-dimentional paint job and the counterpoint.
While we’re dealing with the macabre, this might be a good time to look at this pair of pedals from Ogre.
On the left is a distortion unit…the horns are actually the dials for the controls.
On the right is the Tubeholic Overdrive, and the top of the helmet pulls back to reveal the controls.
And, yes, on both units the eyes have LEDs that indicates when the unit is engaged.
Sublime Tomcat Stripe
Sometimes, simple is best…and this Tomcat model by Sublime Guitars might best exemplify that.
Obviously, the stripes help. At the Sublime booth, enough people had stopped by for them to start referring to it as “the favorite.”
The Tomcat has a chambered mahogany body, maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and is driven by a pair of custom wound Sublime TC-90 pickups.
– Jake Kelly