At NAMM 2020 back in January, the worst thing you had to worry about was getting NAMMthrax (or NAMMonia), that is, a bad cold from shaking all those hands. We live in different times now; hope you and yours are healthy.
What this year’s winter show lacked in number of interesting product debuts it made up for in decibels. Complaints were constant about being unable to hear the gear, or talk to the vendors. (You can experience this in some of the videos). That said, there were a few cool releases that should appeal to the modern guitarist. If April seems late for the roundup, consider that many of these products are just now shipping.
Full disclosure: Though Source Audio is not one of my advertisers; I am their rep in Nashville. As with my advertisers, I don’t claim they make amazing things because I work with them, I work with them because they make amazing things, so I feel touting them at every opportunity is providing a service to you, the reader. The latest fab product from Source Audio is the True Spring Reverb pedal
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.