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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Nick Reinhart: Willie Wonka of Guitar

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.

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