Today is the final installment of my Winter NAMM overview, and we’ll look at a few very cool products, but mostly at the oddities of the show. As you may know, downstairs in Hall E is where the newer companies and first time exhibitors dwell – the “mad inventors” as we like to call them.As a matter of fact, there was an overflow into Hall D this year, although that was much less fun do the fact that it’s near “drum world” and therefore subject to lots of noise. This is where you’ll often find the hidden gems, and there were certainly a few there this year.
Let’s begin, again, in no particular order.
First of all, here’s the hit of the show, at least for me. It’s called the Backbone and it’s simply genius. This block of aluminum connects to the neck of a Strat or Tele via the four bolts on the back, then connects to the bridge. The sound improvement is simply amazing. It takes an already good sounding guitar and turns it into a monster. About $60, it’s non-destructive in that it doesn’t harm the instrument, and it only takes about 5 minutes to mount.
The new Line 6 Spider V 240HC head is unique in that it has both midrange and hi-frequency drivers in it. You can use it at home to play along with your favorite tracks, then when you plug it into a cabinet get some frequency extension from the tweeters.
The GaffGun is brilliant in that it makes taping down those cable runs so easy. No longer do you have to peel off an individual strip, lean over and tape it down. Just let Gaff Gun do the work for you. It’s expensive at $269, but worth it if it saves your back.
The new CITES regulations mean that guitar manufacturers are going to have a difficult time shipping instruments with rosewood fingerboards, but there may be a replacement for the endangered wood. Believe it or not, it’s paper. Richlite makes glued paper that feels just like rosewood or ebony, and it’s available in multiple surfaces and colors. Really, it’s hard to tell the difference.
It thought that this Smartwinder was a good idea in that it had a tuner built into a powered string winder, until I saw the guy who was manning the booth tuning his guitar by ear.
There were effects pedals everywhere at the show, and it’s no wonder – pedal sales were way up last year. You have to do something to stand out from the crowd, as you can see from this photo. Can’t say who the company was, just that it was in Hall E.
Believe it or not, boomboxes are back, like this one from Elemental.
Just about anything can be electrified these days. I saw an electric kalimba down in E, but what really caught my eye was this electric harp.
There were also a lot of devices with the amplification built in, like this guitar. Sort of reminds you of those really old Sears guitars with the amp built into the case.
And finally, if you’re looking for a robotic drummer then this is for you. It’s from Polyend and it will play the skins just the way you programmed it.
There was so much more at the show, some that I documented and much that I missed, but hopefully these three posts give you a flavor of what Winter NAMM really is.