Better Late Than Never: NAMM and Summer NAMM 2019

Life and website issues got in the way of doing timely NAMM reports this year. In my defense many of these products just started shipping a couple of months ago. As has become habit, there were hundreds of cool pedals on offer, mostly variations on pedals you have seen and heard.

With NAMM 2020 coming up, I thought I would do a listing of the things I saw last year that might be different and of more interest to the modern guitarist. The theme in January seemed to be the return of modulation (flange, chorus, and phase), fuzz/harmonizer combos, and guitar synth pedals. I am featuring only what I consider to be the most interesting takes on each. Please check company websites for details.

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Book Review: IrRational Music by Elliot Sharp

My years of making music in New York City coincided at various times with Elliot Sharp’s. Our musical worlds, however, rarely overlapped. I was playing blues and country music; accompanying singer-songwriters, both struggling and famous; and playing in pop bands that were trying to get record deals (my more avant-garde efforts would come later). Elliot, on the other hand, was at the nexus of all the art that was pushing the envelope during that period, and is still to this day. I never saw him perform live or met him until shortly before I left New York to move to Nashville in 2012, and then it was in a wonderful duo performance with Mary Halvorson.

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Strings and Circuits: The Ricky Graham Interview

A few months ago, I met Ricky Graham at an Ableton Live event in Nashville. His melding of an 8-string Electric guitar with designing hardware modules, using and instructing about Ableton and Max/MSP seemed a perfect match for Guitar Moderne. We did a long Skype interview that revealed Graham’s history as a guitarist and how he got into the modular synth world. It was way too long for my arthritic wrists to transcribe and my transcription service decided they couldn’t deal with our rapid speech and technical terms, so I am posting the original interview in full. I suggest watching Graham’s videos first to help understand what it is he does. Be sure to download his plug-in Stream . You can hear his music, as Signals Under Tests, here .

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