Friday was another good day at NAMM. There seemed to be fewer people than Thursday which made it a little easier to get from booth to booth. The layout at the Convention Center is so spread out that it’s not uncommon to walk 4 to 5 miles a day.
I started at the Dean booth and was very excited to see they had Dimebag Darrell’s original Dean from Hell ML guitar. The guitar, housed in a thick glass case, showed every bit of road use and it was an honor to see such a historic instrument up close. Dean also had some impressive Dave Mustaine models, including the new Trans Blue Limited V.
The next stop was the Gretsch booth. They make some very iconic guitars like the White Falcon, Duo Jet, and Penguin. I was delighted to see an update to the Brian Setzer series of guitars. Gretsch has updated the Hot Rod series of his guitar to include a flame maple body, new colors like Harbor Blue, and his signature TV Jones pickups.
I then made my way to the EVH booth to see what goods Eddie and the EVH team had on display. The Wolfgang Customs look phenomenal, as did the famous Circles guitar. I was able to speak with one of their reps and learned that Eddie signs each prototype in gold or silver Sharpie. He showed me the latest Star guitar with Eddie’s approval on the back. As an owner of an EVH 5150 III combo amp, it was nice to hear how meticulous his approval process is across the full line of EVH products. I guess when your initials are the brand’s name, you want to make sure everything’s right.
Fender’s space at the Convention Center is one side of the third floor and all of their brands are located there, so in the same room as Gretsch and EVH, there was also Jackson and Charvel. Charvel has updated their Pro Mod series of guitars to now feature two Warren DeMartini models. The Pro Mod guitars are made in Mexico and feature a lot of the high quality components like Seymour Duncan pickups in their U.S. models. This year’s offerings from Jackson include some new signature models from Periphery’s Misha Mansoor and an update to the Phil Demmel line of guitars.
A great part of NAMM is the artist signings at various booths throughout the show. Lines for these signings often form an hour before the event, so it’s best to plan accordingly. I was able to meet John 5, guitarist for Rob Zombie and, gaining popularity as a solo act, Bill Kelliher from Mastodon, Animals as Leaders guitarist Javier Reyes, and Nita Strauss and Chuck Garric of the Alice Cooper band. All of these artists were nice and seemed to like interacting with the fans.
Another successful day at NAMM is in the books. With all of the cool gear that I’ve seen, my thoughts have now been consumed with how to get it and how soon I can make that happen.