This year’s winter NAMM was INSANE! Thursday was as crowded as a typical Saturday and it escalated from there. The noise floor was non-stop jet-engine level. I came home with ears ringing and NAMMthrax. Was it worth it? You bet. Three full days was barely enough to cover all the cool stuff. It opened with a terrific concert band doing a modern composition that incorporated either recorded or live recitations from young people (I couldn’t see from my vantage point) about the difficulties of growing up. This boded well for a forward-thinking show and, in fact, there were ample examples of manufacturers leaving the traditional behind to explore new territory.
Other than the upward trajectory of the business evidenced by the crowd, the only trend I noticed was the invasion of the pedal market by Greece and Brazil. As usual, NAMM often stands for “Not Available, Maybe May,” so stay tuned to the manufactures’ sites and guitarmoderne.com for updates, and, if you would like to hear me talk about this year’s winter NAMM, check out Matt Wakeling’s Guitar Speak podcast featuring yours truly.
Compact reverb pedals have been around for three decades, since the Boss RV-2 arrived on the scene, and have largely settled into similar variations of Plate, Spring, Hall, and Room settings, with the occasional reverse and shimmer thrown in.
But Earthquaker Devices has developed a reputation for putting its own spin on even the most elemental effects, and their Transmisser ($225) twists this now common pedal into a unique new source of ambient sounds.
Catalinbread is rapidly becoming one of those companies, like Electro-Harmonix and Earthquaker, whose product line consistently reflects a combination of weirdly wonderful new tones for modern guitarists, along with fresh takes on classic tones. Their Antichthon ($169.99) and Talisman ($209.99) models represent that combination admirably.
Earthquaker Devices is introducing the Levitation reverb ($185.00), designed in conjunction with the Levitation music festival. Founded as Austin Psych Fest in 2008, Levitation honors and preserves Austin’s psychedelic rock heritage, carrying it into the future. Earthquaker has designed a variation on their Ghost Echo pedal to recall the reverb-drenched tones of classic psych rock. The Levitation Reverb builds on the sound of their Ghost Echo, while replacing the attack and dwell knobs with knobs for tone, decay, and atmosphere, as well as a toggle switch for long or short length. This vintage voiced reverb sits somewhere between the a dirty Sixties chamber, classic spring, and ringing plate reverb.
It will be officially released at the Levitation festival on May 8th, 2015 and will be available at the merchandise booth all weekend. It will begin shipping to dealers on May 26th, 2015. If you want to win a trip to the festival visit the festival Facebook page and share the post. For more about the pedal click here.
Guitar Moderne presents the ultimate in small pedalboards. Internet searches love this kind of pompous statement. I’m actually talking about my personal go-to board for jam sessions and quick recording work. Its three, extremely versatile, effects pedals cover many of the sounds I need, for a variety of genres. They are packed on a small, sturdy pedalboard, powered without batteries (in the pedals) or needing to plug into a wall. Whether the gig is blues, roots, country, Americana, rock, pop, jazz, improv, experimental, African, Latin, or virtually any other style of music, this pedalboard lets me create appropriate tones. Check out the video and “read more” for full pedal descriptions.