NAMM 2011
- a changing trade show

This year it was a pleasure to leave a very cold Sweden to an unseasonably warm Californa. This year I got everything I could wish for. Great weather, great pople to talk to and learn from, good music, wonderful food (except inside NAMM) and a very interesting NAMM show.

I was very interested in finding out if the NAMM show was on it's way out due to manufacturer's increased presence on the Internet in the shape of better web sites, Facebook pages and increased activity in special interest forums like Huge Racks Inc and Harmony-Central. The answer to this was both yes and no. Some companies that usually display did not and some that weren't expected showed up with nice booths. There wer also new companies showing for the first time.

As always though, NAMM is about people and their wish to make music. You may not always like all the music you hear but there is something vital and invigorating with all these people all wanting do take the next step with their music.

Like last year I was asked by Harmony-Central to host a video highlighting the fun aspect of the show. So what we do is improvise a walk in Hall E where the smaller and (quite often) more inventive companies are with the aim of finding the coolest products. This year I really liked the Cube of Destinty from Dwarfcraft Devices. Check out the video below.

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To be sure not to offend anyone, here is my standard disclaimer.

This personal report should bee seen as my very own point of view and does not reflect the wiev and/or opinions of any other person or company of which I may be associated either through my work or in these pictures. If you find any faulty information in this report please e-mail me at hemstudion[at]telia.com.

I have placed the products in alphabetical order for your convenience. I also have divided the report i 5 sections. Otherwise the load times would be problematic.

Please also accept any language errors as english is not my native language.

Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3 Go to Part 4 Go to Part 5

 

Carr Amplifiers

It was so busy in Carr's booth every time I went by so I didn't get the name of this amp but I must say that it sounded oh so good. Every player that tried it seemed inspired by it. Doesn't get much better than that. We hope to see a better presence in Europe for Carr Amps.

 

Collings Guitars

I'm a great fan of Collings Guitars. Their electrics are all a logical step forward when it comes to set neck guitars. These are definitely not not your garden varitey "me too" copies of other designs. These bring new thought to the table as well as a level of quality many famous big makers should aspire to.

This new I-35 is made of laminated woods, both to cater to a certain sound as well as to a lower price point. Still sounded good and felt wonderful to play.

Here's a new model for the show, the SoCo with P-90 pickups.

 

CruzTOOLS

Dan Parks of CruzTOOLS is always there with some new product to make your life easier if you are a guitarist. Here's Dan with his Jack/Pot tool. This enables you too get to the hard to get places like the input jacks on strats and teles to tighten the nuts. This T-sshaped tool gives you three sizes, 1/2", 7/16”, and 12mm.

 

DAR Amplifiers

Beautiful or brutal? Anything between? Seems like DAR amps cracked the secret formula to the versatile amp. Load of features on top of great sound. Check it out!

Here's the people in the booth. Session player Tony from Canada, Jocke Skog from Swedish band Clawfinger and Paul from DAR.

 

Dean

Dean now topped themselves by not only having half naked girls in the both but now also half naked girls on guitars.

DVK

DVK has the idea that you can save pedal board real estate by combining to pedals in one enclosure.

 

Dwarfcraft Devices

If you ever make it to NAMM you simply must visit Ben at Dwarfcraft Devices. I don't know how his brain is wired but he always comes up with the most amazing stuff. All around nice guy too.

For an explanation of this Cube of Destiny you should check the HALL E video on the top of this page where everything is revealed.

 

Empress Effects

Empress showed this Multidrive where you can combine and mix any amount of fuzz, overdrive and distortion. Distortion also has a type selector and at the end of the signal chain you can shape the sound with a 3-band eq. Like to tweak your dirt? This may be your answer.

 

ESP Guitars

ESP had these George Lynch models on display.

 

Fairlight

Fairlight CMI is definitely not guitar oriented but it's such a piece of music history that I couldn't resist including it. They are now releasice a 30th anniversary edition. Still 16-bit and still expensive.

 

Fender

I was really impressed when I got the Fender Mustang II for review but the Mustang III shows even greater promise.

Now they have included the mid control I missed and a reverb knob. I still would have liked to control it from my MIDI pedal but there's now MIDI to be seen anywhere.

Grafitti artist Krash who painted some of Eric Clapton's strats has painted the Tele + amp set.

 

Here's another Custom Shop set with a Tropical Strat and amp.

 

There always is a crowd salivating over the relic strats.

 

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