This is Day 3 of NAMM in sunny Anaheim, California, and I’m feeling slightly giddy about all the cool things I’ve seen so far. From amps that deliver incredibly sweet clean and overdriven tones to way out pedals to righteous sounding acoustic and electric guitars, this show has been a treasure hunt for the gear geek. Manufacturers have generally ridden out the recession by continuing to innovate and develop exciting new products in all genres, and the result is that there will be an avalanche of great new gear hitting the stores soon. One of the ways I got see how new ideas are fleshed out occurred late one night, when a small group of folks gathered at Paul Reed Smith’s hotel room to a PRS guitar with no pickups being played though an amp—with endless sustain no less! I can’t go into the details of how the technology worked (it was pretty far out!), and who knows if it will someday end up in a new PRS model, but this is one example of how one truly dedicated guitar maker forges ahead with new concepts. Suffice to say it was very interesting to witness this behind-the-scenes event.
So NAMM has been great. We’ve all had our hands on so much exciting stuff that It’ll be interesting to get back to the office next week and start comparing notes about the things we want to review in Guitar Player this year. One’s thing is for sure; there will be no shortage of exciting things to write about. —Art Thompson, January 2011