The big pre-NAMM parties included product previews from Marshall, Roland, and US Music. KEYBOARD's Stephen Fortner handled Roland, as it was the same time as the Marshall bash, and I visited US Music and Marshall. At the US Music party, George Lynch played acoustically with bassist Stu Hamm—I posted a video of them jamming to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" in the video player on the COMMUNITY page. I said "hi" to George as he was passing through the crowd and wished him a good performance. He said, "I don't know—I'm a little out of my element, here." I didn't know what he meant until he picked up an acoustic guitar and sat down next to Stu. He sounded wonderful, though.
Then, on to the Marshall party, where a very cool "comfort food" dinner was served—mac and cheese, burgers, hot dogs, bar-b-q'd chicken, chocolate pecan pie, etc. Marshall debuted its hybrid JMD:1 amp that offers a digital preamp with spot-on emulations of classic Marshall amps (1959, JCM800 2203, etc.), an EL34 power stage, and ten effects. To demo, they brought on Keith Urban's guitar player Brian Nutter (a very low-key and funny cat who propped the amp's versatility onstage and in Nashville sessions), Allison Robertson of the Donnas (who liked having all her favorite Marshall sounds in one amp), and Zakk Wylde—who simply walked to the stage and launched into a near-15 minute solo-guitar extravaganza. Whew. Zakk also assisted with the Marshall marketing efforts by saying to the crowd of dealers, "If you don't buy this amp, you'll get your throat cut." No risk of death that night, though -- the amp sounded great, and I'm sure many dealers were impressed.
You can see the video of Zakk's barrage in the COMMUNITY page player.
More news to come...