The Anaheim Convention Center which hosted NAMM 2014 is huge, yet it was hardly able to contain all the cool gear on display.  We continue our search for the finest the show has to offer.


(return to Best of NAMM 2014 Part 1 , Best of NAMM 2014 Part 2 or Best of NAMM 2014 Part 3)


Kay Jazz II


Kay Jazz II 012914


Back in the day Kay was known for producing budget instruments, but they made a serious swing at producing some professional quality instruments as well…even going as far as endorsing and creating a signature line of jazz giant Barney Kessel.


One of the other serious instruments they made was the Jazz II model, which was used by a young Eric Clapton early in his playing career.


Now, following their success of reissue of the Thin Twin guitar and Jazz Special bass, Kay presents two versions of the desired Jazz II model: an affordable Street Series import and a more expensive, USA custom made Recording Series.


Tom Anderson Guitarworks Raven


Tom Anderson Raven 012914 b


Anderson Guitarworks’ instruments are held in the highest esteem by live and studio guitarists, and could quite possibly the finest solidbody guitars manufactured…ever!


The Raven is Anderson Guitarworks’ take on the offset body design.


Tom Anderson Raven 012914 a


Here the Raven is shown with a pair of the PH-Series of pickup, but other options are available to suit the player’s desire.


Korg MS-20 Kit


Korg MS-20 Kit 012914


Interestingly, one of the major keyboard manufacturers showed off one of there innovations which is being offered in kit form.  Yes, some assembly is required.


Unlike last year’s reissue of the MS-20 mini, this year kit is full-sized…however, rumors are early kits and later kits have different components.


Even though the “MS” might stand for “Mad Scienist”, the kit is suppose to be easy to assemble and requires no soldering.


Triad-Orbit Mic Stands


Triad-Orbit double boom 012914


As if to prove that everything can be re-imagined, Triad-Orbit displayed some of their microphone stand innovations.


Typically on stage or in the studio, the choice of stands was either a cast-based stand or a tripod design.  Triad-Orbit’s Articulating Tripod stands have the weight of a cast base in the tripod design.  Each of the legs of the tripod is adjustable, so the footprint can be wide or tighter, which allows for two stands to be placed so the stems are extremely close together.


Triad-Orbit tripod tilt 012914


And…since the legs can be articulated separately (and has the solid base weight necessary to do so) the stand can lean to varying degrees, often eliminating the need for a boom.


Triad-Orbit close up ball joint 012914


If a boom is needed, The Orbit Boom’s ball-socket allows for the boom arm to be manipulated in many positions without relocating the stand in ways typical booms can’t.  Triad-Orbit also has dual and triple booms that use a single Articulating Tripod stand which can remove clutter from difficult mic’ing situations (such as a drum kit) while still offering optimum mic placement…and a pretty slick quick release for swapping booms and microphone clips.


Levy’s Straps


Levy Straps for 2014 012914


Levy’s Straps (Levysleathers) always has new additions to their live for each year.  Among the offerings for 2014 are these colorful takes on zebra stripes and leopard skin prints.


Vox Night Train Combo


Vox Night Train Combo


New for 2014 from Vox is the Night Train Combo amplifier (NT15C1).


The amplifier section of this combo is the same as the 2nd generation of the 15-watt Night Train head.   This dual channel class A/B amp (with reverb) is paired with a 12” speaker in a vintage influenced cabinet that even has a old-style suitcase handle.


Vox also offers a 50-watt Night Train head that can be matched with a Night Train single or double 12” speaker cabinet.




Touchmark 012914


Touchmark showcased their innovative touch interface for the guitar which should soon be available.


Replacing the standard switch, volume and tone controls of the guitar, the Touchmark interface allows for the pickups to be blended in additions to the controls standard functions.


The laptop computer styled flush-mounted controls are designed to stay out of the player’s way while playing and does require any permanent modifications to the instrument.


Shure GLXD6 Receiver/Tuner Pedal


Shure Tuner


This unassuming looking tuner pedal from Shure is actually also a wireless receiver that works with works with their GLXD1 body pack transmitter.


Obviously, this unit is designed to live in the player’s pedalboard where its ¼” output would feed the effects chain.  This roadworthy metal cased unit has strobe or needle views for tuning, and a stompswitch to mute the signal while tuning.


Beatbuddy Pedal


Beatbuddy 012914


And, here’s another unassuming looking pedal…


The Beatbuddy is a performance-minding drum machine that is built into a standard sized stompbox.  Instead of playing programmed songs like a typical drum machine would, the Beatbuddy plays rhythm patterns.  Fills and secondary patterns can be accessed hands-free by clicking, or clicking and holding the pedal, allowing the artists to improvise the arrangement the way conventional drum machine song program don’t allow.


The unit can be connect to a computer for loading patterns, and an optional footswitch can be used for various functions.  Tap tempo can be executed either on the pedal itself, or via the footswitch.


The pedal can be run by itself into a P.A., but electric guitarists can actually run the Beatbuddy last in their pedal train to play unaffected into their guitar amplifier.


Zemaitis Guitars


Zemaitis 012914


There was no shortage of beautiful guitars at NAMM 2014, but the guitars at the Zemaitis booth were showstoppers…in fact, the company’s motto is “Art with Strings.”


Zemaitis close up 012914Tony Zemaitis started making guitars in the 1960s.  He used a metal plate on the front of his guitars to act as shielding, with soon led to the metal plate being engraved.  Obviously, this gave the guitars a unique look which attracted the attention of the likes of Ronny Wood, Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix.


The Zemaitis company of today continues that tradition and showed off several striking models during the show including the more affordably-priced (but still stunning) models from the Greco Zemaitis line.


– Jake Kelly