Daily Gear Obsession: NAMM Edition Part 1

I have begun to slowly digest all of the goodness that I saw this past weekend at NAMM. I saw some fantastic guitars, some that I will never be able to own, and some, like the Fender Steve Harris bass that I plan to pre-order this week.

Here is the list of everything that is on today’s Daily Gear Obsession:

Earthquaker Devices – Sea Machine V2. This is the ultimate chorus pedal! It allows the player to have complete control over depth, animation, and dimension. I didn’t even know that it was possible to control animation and dimension. This pedal is full of adjustable options and I would probably need to carve out a good part of my day to fiddle with it like I did with the Palisades.

Gretsch Brian Setzer Hot Rod – Gretsch has revamped this line of already great guitars to feature different color options like Green Sparkle and Harbor Blue. Gretsch makes some great guitars and it’s really nice to see so many great models laid out in a row. I used to own a 6120RHH and it was well built and played like a dream. I also love the Setzer Black Phoenix and Billy Duffy White Falcon.

Kramer Satchel Pacer – This is a fun looking guitar. It comes in either yellow or purple leopard print and I am leaning toward the purple. It comes with Seymour Duncan pickups and a Floyd Rose trem so you can bend that bar to your heart’s delight.

ESP Gary Holt signature – This is a thrash monster! The Liquid Metal Lava paint job looks awesome and almost like the guitar has swam through a sea of piranhas. The guitar comes with red EMG 81 and 89 pickups on both the ESP model and the higher end LTD model.

Dunlop Mini Cry Baby – Who doesn’t want a wah pedal that the size of an iPhone? This looked so cool and it will take up a lot less real estate on a pedal board. Given that Dunlop has scaled down the size of its larger pedals like the Fuzz Face, it makes sense that their wah was the next to get this treatment. If they ever do a mini Kirk Hammett wah I won’t be able to get my wallet out fast enough.

Ibanez Mini Tube Screamer – Ibanez has also miniaturized one of their iconic pedals and it looks more toy than pedal. I’m sure that it still retains all of its sonic tradition and I’d love to try it out.

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Steel Panther Tears Through NAMMJAM 2015

IMG_0564For the past few years, the annual NAMM Jam has been the hottest ticket in town and this year was no exception. The headliner for this year’s show was the delightfully outrageous Steel Panther. The quartet, decked out in leather, leopard print leggings, and teased hair looked like they were ready for a show at Gazzarri’s in 1986.

They took the stage at 10:30 and opened with Pussywhipped, a fan favorite that got everyone in a partyin’ good mood. Lead singer, Michael Starr did a great job interacting with fans by reaching his microphone into the crowd to have them sing parts of the chorus with him or high fiving other fans as he worked every part of that stage. After some back and forth jokes between Starr and Satchel, the band’s guitar player, as to who did what to the whose mom, special guest Marty Friedman was brought out. Friedman, an accomplished guitar player known for his time in Megadeth, is now living in Japan playing “J-Pop,” or Japanese pop music. This must have inspired the band to play Asian Hooker, a song off their debut release in 2009. It was obvious Marty Friedman was having a fun time up on stage playing with the band, and given how loud it got from the time Marty was announced to when he left the stage, it was clear the audience was also enjoying his time up there.  Continue reading

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Day 1: The AfterNAMMth

Today was a busy and tiring day. I clearly did not do enough pre-NAMM training in preparation for what was ahead. I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center shortly before 9 a.m. and waited somewhat patiently for the doors to open at 10. Once the doors opened, there was a mad dash of every other impatient person trying to find the first of their many booths of the day.

I checked out the Ibanez booth and saw the new Paul Stanley Iceman models they had on display. The cracked mirror one is so cool …and also so expensive. They also had three of the Joe Satriani Art Series models, which all looked very cool and very unique.

The people and products at Earthquaker Devices are really awesome. I had a chance to talk to a couple employees about their new pedals and am eager to try out a few. It’s a bonus when Andy Summers of The Police is checking out pedals right next to you.

I stopped by the Ernie Ball Music Man booth and was welcomed with a number of new colors for the John Petrucci Majesty Artisan Series. They also had a new JP15 model that features a sahara burst and a roasted neck. They were all very cool.

I went upstairs to check out the new Kramer Satchel signature Pacer guitar. This is a great looking guitar and has a very strong “hair metal” vibe.

The Fender booth was very crowded, but I was able to check out some of the offerings from the Fender Custom Shop. Wow, those master builders do not disappoint! I have included some images of their handy work and will post more when I get back tomorrow. I was also happy to see the updated Steve Harris Precision Bass. This new bass is white and features the graphic of his favorite team, West Ham United.

My next stop was the ESP booth which was filled with some crazy looking guitars. A few of the guitars I saw were more art piece than instrument and were priced out at $75,000! I was also impressed by the new Gary Holt signature series. Gary was previously with Schecter Guitars and this is his first signature line with ESP.

What’s better than a wall of Marshalls? Nothing. The Marshall display never disappoints. It’s a towering behemoth of sound and it looks so damn cool. In looking at my pictures from last year, I realized that I took the same shot this year, but from the other side.

A stack of Orange cabs was really sweet and I was impressed with the layout of their booth. They have a wide variety of products ranging from the aptly titled Rockerverb to the new Crush series of amps.

I also got to meet some fantastic musicians throughout the day. First was the great bass player, Marcus Miller, who was very gracious with his time and demoed a couple pedals at the Dunlop booth. Next was Devin Townsend, who is another nice guy that loves to talk gear. While waiting in line at the Music Man booth for John Petrucci, Uli Jon Roth walked by and I got a picture with him.

Warning: If you find yourself in Hall E of the Convention Center, do not walk to the end of the hall unless you’re a drummer or really love cymbals. The amount of noise and overall sonic chaos left me looking for the quickest way back up the escalator.

…also, if you’re ever walking next to Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynryd, make sure you don’t have a slice of Sbarro pizza, 2 breadsticks, and a Coke in your hand. It makes it really hard to approach them to say anything. I didn’t get a chance to meet them, but I did pay $10.25 for the above mentioned combo.


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