NAMM 2020 is next week. I will try and get my report up sooner this year. If you are looking for a distillation of some of the most interesting gear for the modern guitarist to come out of 2019, this is a good place to start. Nick Reinhart, and Juan Alderete always have their fingers on the pulse of what is forward thinking and cool.
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.
If there is a young guitarist you captures the Guitar Moderne ethos perfectly it is Nick Reinhart. In his work with Tera Melos and with Nels Cline in Big Walnuts Yonder he exhibits a spirit of musical experimentation and pushes the guitar’s sonic potential as far as it will go, with virtuosic technique and wry humor. Premier Guitar caught up with him when he came through Nashville and did an extensive rig rundown, revealing his fan bestowed nickname (no pun intended). Reinhart also reveals one of his sonic secrets. Spoiler alert: Superglue.
The band Cairo Knife Fight is Nick Gaffaney, a drummer from New Zealand, and George Pajon Jr, a Grammy award winning songwriter and guitarist who has worked with The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Carlos Santana, Macy Gray, John Legend, and Sting. The duo redefines what two musicians can create live with Gaffaney drumming, playing keyboard bass, live looping, and singing, while Pajon generates live looped soundscapes and riffs. Thanks to Pete Thorn, we get a glimpse of how they do it. Are bands like this and Josh Dion’s Paris Monster the future?
EarthQuaker Devices corralled Nels for their Board to Death series. He talks about and demonstrates his gear alternating between brilliant playing and hilarious commentary.