NAMM 2018 was even bigger than last year, yet much more manageable. The brand new ACC (Anaheim Convention Center) North building housed most of the high tech and pro audio stuff, allowing guitars and related products to be centralized in one area on the main floor of the original building. NAMM further reduced the spread by offering the new boutique manufacturers—previously relegated to downstairs Hall E—smaller, more affordable booths in the main guitar product ghetto. Thus, I was able to cover the show in two relaxed, rather than three grueling, days.
I am trying desperately to catch up with all the terrific music being brought to my attention. Here is a wide spectrum of interesting modern guitar, including a pair of solo recordings from Bill Frisell: one new and one you may have overlooked—I had.
Any modern guitarist (or retro one for that matter), who doesn’t subscribe to Joe Gore’s Tonefiend website is missing out. If nothing else you must check out his analysis of the major germanium fuzz circuits released between 1962 and 1968. It is a magnificently researched and reported work. The only thing I would add is that some of the thinner sounding, lower gain fuzz circuits might find favor with players who are already overdriving their amplifiers and just want to add character to the amp distortion.
As Joe Gore says here, his last demo was more about imitating other instruments with the new Fishman TriplePlay synth guitar system. Here he shows some of the potential for creating otherworldly sounds using this new wireless MIDI controller for guitar.