You can always expect to find a surging mass of humanity at the NAMM show, as attendees arrive in droves to check out the latest musical gear. But even before the doors of the Anaheim Convention Center opened on the morning of January 24, it was clear that excitement for the 2019 event was at a fever pitch. and with good reason. This year’s NAMM show was a veritable gear feast, certainly for guitarists.

We previewed many of the latest offerings on guitarplayer.com and on our social-media pages and YouTube channel. And while we hope to (eventually) review every cool guitar, amp, effect, accessory and live/recording item that captivated us at the show, it will take some months to accomplish that. In the meantime, enjoy this first look at some of the equipment and gadgets that got our interest or aroused our gear lust. Be aware, this is by no means a “best-of” list but rather a distillation of the memorable products we encountered over the many miles we racked up walking the NAMM show’s aisles.

ACCESSORIES

1 EARTHBOARD PEDALBOARD

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The Earthboard pedalboard features a lightweight aluminum frame, a steel-rail system that carries voltage, and magnetic plates, a.k.a. gravity boots, that transfer power from the rail to a cable tether that connects to your stompbox. Attach your pedals to the gravity boots, place the boots on the rails, and you’re ready to play. A built-in rechargeable battery eliminates the need for wall electricity and provides a true isolated power source. Better still, the gravity boots make it easy to rearrange and change out your pedals. Earthboards are available in three models that hold five, seven or 11 standard-size pedals. Priced from $349 to $649. earthboardmusic.com.

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2 ERNIE BALL VP JR TUNER

The VP JR Tuner is a two-in-one pedal that allows precise volume control and features a built-in chromatic digital tuner. A large touch-screen display on the pedal’s face automatically switches between showing volume level and tuner mode when the pedal is in its minimum position. Other “always on” configurations are accessible by double tapping the touch screen, and the tuner can be calibrated to a variety of reference pitches. Price and availability TBA. ernieball.com

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3 ROTOSOUND ULTRAMAG

Rotosound’s new Ultramag strings are made with Type 52 Alloy and will initially be available in .009, .010 and .011 gauges for electric guitar. Type 52 Alloy has a composition of 52 percent nickel and 48 percent iron, and Rotosound claims this higher magnetic content accentuates middle and low frequencies while delivering more power, volume and sustain. The alloy’s low coefficient of expansion helps Ultramag strings maintain tuning and offers corrosion resistance. Prices TBA. rotosound.com

4 LINE 6 RELAY G10S WIRELESS SYSTEM

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This compact plug-and-play wireless system consists of a rugged metal stompbox receiver that easily integrates into a pedalboard. The Relay G10S receiver immediately locates and locks onto the strongest available wireless frequency and delivers pristine 24-bit audio quality with an impressive 130-foot line-of-site range. RF and battery status indicators are large and always visible, and you get both a 1/4-inch main output to feed your amp or pedalboard and an XLR D.I. output for connecting the Relay G10S system directly to a P.A. The system also includes the compact G10T transmitter that provides eight hours of playing time on a single charge. $249.99. line6.com

GUITARS

5 FENDER ALTERNATE REALITY SERIES

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Fender follows the success of its Parallel Universe series with its new made-in-Mexico Alternate Reality series, featuring five new futuristic models that blend elements of existing Fender guitars. The limited-edition series includes (above, left to right) the Powercaster (a Jazzmaster with an Atomic humbucker in the bridge and a soapbar in the neck), Sixty-Six (a shrunk-down Jazz Bass body with an HSS pickup configuration), Electric XII (an update of the 12-string model introduced in 1965), Tenor Tele (a four-string tenor electric) and Meteora HH (dual humbucker pickups with a push-pull tone control). The guitars will be launched individually between March and August 2019. Prices TBA. fender.com

6 GRETSCH G5655TG ELECTROMATIC CENTER BLOCK JR.

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Offered in a trio of stunning finishes, the G5655TG Electromatic Center Block Jr. features a substantial laminated archtop maple body with a center block to keep feedback in check. It includes a pair of Black Top Broad’Tron humbuckers that deliver bold and articulate tone, independent volume pots, and master tone and master volume. Other features include a Bigsby B70 tailpiece, anchored Adjusto-Matic bridge, arrow knobs and gold hardware. Available in Azure Metallic, Cadillac Green and Orange finishes. $1,199. gretschguitars.com

7 GIBSON LES PAUL TRADITIONAL 2019

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Based on the Les Paul guitar that established the legend, the new Gibson Les Paul Traditional retains the archetypal feel of the vintage Les Paul guitars with its rounded neck profile, solid rosewood fingerboard and non-weight-relieved body. Its has the legendary tonewood combination of a mahogany body and AA figured maple top, as well as vintage keystone tuners, ABR-1 Tune-o-matic bridge and nickel-plated hardware. A pair of Burstbuckers deliver classic PAF tones that are enhanced by hand-wired electronics, including Orange Drop capacitors. Finishes include Tobacco Burst and Heritage Cherry Sunburst. $2,799. gibson.com

8 PRS SE SANTANA SINGLECUT TREM

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Modeled after the workhorse gold-leaf single-cutaway guitar Carlos Santana plays onstage, the SE Santana Singlecut Trem came to life after Santana heard the 2018 Paul’s Guitar TCI pickups and requested a set without coil taps. Wanting to capture their full-range tone in a special model, Santana and Paul Reed Smith chose the gold-leaf Singlecut. Other features include the classic Santana/PRS combination of a 24 1/2–inch scale length, 24 frets and a tremolo bridge. $849. prsguitars.com

9 FRAMUS MASTERBUILT CUSTOM SHOP PANTHERA II STUDIO SUPREME

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The Framus Panthera II Supreme is now offered in a 25 1/2–inch scale length Studio Supreme edition. The new model features a mahogany body with carved AAAA flamed maple top, and a flamed maple neck with a tiger-stripe ebony fingerboard, 22 jumbo frets and fluorescent side dots. Electronics include Seymour Duncan pickups — APH-1N Alnico II Pro (neck), APS-1 RW/RP Alnico Pro II staggered single coil (middle) and SH-5 Custom (bridge) — with volume and tone controls (push/pull for humbucker splitting), a five-way pickup switch and a two-way “lead-free” switch. $6,999. framus.de

10 EPIPHONE DC PRO

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Epiphone’s first model for 2019, the DC Pro offers a modern take on the company’s ’70s-era Del Rey Double Cut design. It has coil-tappable ProBucker humbuckers, a treble-bleed circuit and Grover 18:1 ratio tuners. The guitar also feature a 24-fret pau ferro fingerboard, a mahogany all-access neck and a mahogany body with a AAA flame maple veneer top. The DC Pro is offered in Black Cherry, Faded Cherry Burst, Midnight Ebony, Mojave Fade and Wild Ivy finishes. $599 street. epiphone.com

11 & 12 REVEREND GUITARS GREG KOCH SIGNATURE GRISTLEMASTER AND RICK VITO SIGNATURE SOULSHAKER

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Reverend welcomes two new artist models to its 2019 lineup. The Greg Koch Signature Gristlemaster has a T-style body that’s slightly larger than a classic T, with a raised center ridge for increased sustain and a chamber under the pickguard for increased resonance. It features Fishman Greg Koch Signature Gristle-Tone active pickups with two distinct voicings from Fishman’s Fluence series. The Rick Vito Signature Soulshaker is designed for slide players, and has a satin-finished neck and single-action truss rod for lighter weight. Features include a pair of humbuckers emblazoned with Vito’s deco triangles, Bigsby tremolo and ebony fretboard. Each guitar, $1,919. reverendguitars.com

13 KRAMER GUITARS

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Gibson and Epiphone reintroduce the legendary 1980s Kramer brand with a line of new styles and old favorites that feature light tonewoods, new colors and the hot Seymour Duncan pickups and Floyd Rose hardware found on the originals. The models include the Kramer SM-1, shown here, which features a neck-thru design, double-cutaway mahogany body, Seymour Duncan Cool Rail and JB humbucker pickups, and a Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge/tailpiece and R2 locking nut. Available in Candy Blue, Crush and Maximum Steel finishes. $940. kramerguitars.com

ACOUSTIC

14 MARTIN MODERN DELUXE SERIES

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Martin’s D-18, D-28, 000-28 and OM-28 models receive custom features and modern technology as part of the company’s brand-new Modern Deluxe Series. Vintage appointments include a Sitka spruce Vintage Tone System (VTS) top, VTS Adirondack spruce braces, a dovetail neck joint and natural protein glue construction. The 28-style guitars feature East Indian rosewood back and sides with a contrasting flamed maple binding, while the 18-style features genuine mahogany back and sides with contrasting East Indian rosewood binding. A two-way titanium truss rod makes the neck easy to adjust and is 64 percent lighter than a traditional truss rod. The series also features a brand-new neck shape that has an ultra-low profile and is slightly asymmetrical for maximum hand comfort up and down the fretboard. D-18, $4,399; 28-style, $5,199. martinguitar.com/deluxe

15 FENDER AMERICAN ACOUSTASONIC TELECASTER

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A hybrid acoustic/electric guitar, the Acoustasonic Telecaster has a fully hollow Tele body with integrated forearm contour, a smooth-playing mahogany neck and an open-pore satin finish. It features Fender’s Stringed Instrument Resonance System, which aims to deliver “a naturally loud voice with lively harmonics,” as well as a Fender-and Fishman-designed Acoustic Engine that optimizes the guitar’s natural sound and modifies the resonance to produce 10 different body-style and tonewood combinations. The American Acoustasonic Telecaster will be available in Natural, Black, Sonic Gray, Surf Green and Sunburst finishes. $1,999. fender.com

16 LR BAGGS ALIGN CHORUS AND DELAY PEDAL

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The Align Chorus and Align Delay pedals are the two newest entries to the award-winning Align Series of pedals for acoustic guitarists. The Chorus has controls for volume, tone, chorus and size, which blends two chorus voicings that interact with one another as the knob is turned. The tone control shapes only the affected signal, allowing players to sculpt the effect’s EQ to their desire. The Delay pedal has controls for delay, tone, repeats and time, as well as buttons for division (dotted 8th note of current tempo) and tap tempo. The tone control only affects the repeats, allowing everything from warm, analog-style echo to clean, digital-like delay. Each pedal, $179 street. lrbaggs.com

AMPS

17 BOSS WAZA TUBE AMP EXPANDER

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This first-of-its-kind tube-amp command center is a variable reactive load box, active analog power stage, miked cab emulator, IR loader and recording interface in one integrated unit that’s road-ready and easy to use. The Waza Tube Amp Expander supports tube amps up to 150 watts and has user-adjustable impedance tuning that correctly matches the reactive load to your amp, retaining its natural tone, dynamic feel and distortion characteristics. Crank your amp to its sweet spot and play at any volume while faithfully retaining the core tone and feel you love. Other features include extensive connectivity, built-in Boss effects, 10 fully customizable rig setups, 22 miked cab emulations with variable mic types and options, headphone output, dedicated Mac/Windows editor software and deep real-time control. $1,299.99. boss.info

18 MAGNATONE SUPER 15

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For a distinctly British vibe, the Magnatone Super 15 packs EL-84 tubes and 15 watts of power into a compact 1x12 combo, or a head with matching 1x12 cabinet. It boasts the same full EQ section of tone controls and effects loop found on the bigger Super 59 model, and it boasts a new speaker emulation feature so you can practice quietly, or use headphones, but still tap into its full dynamic range. Combo, $1,999; head, $1,799; cabinet, $499. magnatoneusa.com

19 JIMMY PAGE SUNDRAGON AMP

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Jimmy Page has unveiled the Sundragon amp, a faithful recreation of the amp he used on Led Zeppelin’s debut album and the solo to “Stairway to Heaven,” among other recordings. Page’s original amp started out as a Supro Coronado, but was restored and modified significantly after falling out of the group’s van. A limited-edition run of 50 Sundragon amps will be hand-built by Mitch Colby and signed by Page throughout 2019, with a standard production run available later in the year. Price TBA. sundragonamp.com

RECORDING

20 AUDIENT SONO

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Designed to be “the ultimate valve guitar preamp,” Audient’s Sono combines a 12AX7 tube and three-band tone control with onboard amp modeling and cab simulation from Two Notes Audio Engineering. Sono features a wide range of guitar and bass cabs models and lets you completely customize your sound and rig. Choose from eight room types ranging from studio to cathedral, and select from more than eight microphone models with controllable placement and distance. Sono delivers latency-free recording and can be used standalone with up to three presets stored onboard. The unit features two Audient Console mic pres, left and right outputs, and optical in and USB-C to connect to a computer. Sono also functions as a reamp unit and can be expanded up to 10 inputs via ADAT. $449. audient.com

21 UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO X-SERIES

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Universal Audio’s new flagship Apollo X Thunderbolt 3 audio interfaces are offered in four DSP-powered models for Mac and PC. All feature elite-class A/D and D/A conversion, new HEXA Core UAD plug-in processing, Dual-Crystal clocking, Unison mic preamps, +24dBu operation, surround sound monitoring and more. The models include the x6 (for electronic music and post production), x8 (with four Unison-enabled mic pres), x8p (with eight Unison-enabled mic pres) and x16 (for commercial studios). x6, $1,999; x8, $2,499; x8p, $2,999; x16, $3,499. uaudio.com

EFFECTS

22 EARTHQUAKER DEVICES SWISS THINGS

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Swiss Things is a straightforward pedalboard switching system that lets you use as many pedals as you’d like without tone suck, as well as bypass or engage all of your effects with one click, shorten cable runs and reduce tone loss. Its Flexi-Switch technology allows latching and/or momentary-style switching with any existing pedals. Swiss Things features two true-bypass effects loops: Loop 1 is designed for fuzz, overdrive, distortion and boost pedals, while the buffered Loop 2 is aimed at time-based and modulation effects. These are combined with a Flexi-Switch AB-Y box with transformer isolation between outputs, a buffered tuner output, 20dB of clean boost with adjustable gain, an expression pedal output for volume control and a quiet, high-headroom output buffer. $249. earthquakerdevices.com

23 EVENTIDE ROSE

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Eventide’s newest creation, the Rose combines an analog op-amp for the mix, filter and feedback with a digital delay line based on the Eventide DDL 1745 digital delay. The pedal has six tactile knobs for mix, feedback, depth, delay, filter and rate. The delay line’s clock can be swept over a wide range — from .01 usec to 50 seconds — and an invert phase switch flips the output phase with respect to the input phase for short delay times. Other features includes a delay multiplier (2x, 3x, 4x or 5x), a hot switch (assignable to tap tempo, delay repeat, mod hold, mod reset or A/B), multiple mod sources (sine, square, random, envelope and external) and inputs for expression, auxiliary and MIDI TRS. The Rose has five customizable presets and accepts instrument and line levels. $349. eventideaudio.com

24 IBANEZ 40TH ANNIVERSARY TS808 AND TSV808 TUBE SCREAMER

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Ibanez celebrates the TS808’s 40th anniversary by offering a limited-edition version of the pedal in a sparkling Ruby Red finish. The company is also introducing a new Tube Screamer, the TSV808, developed in collaboration with Japan-based boutique pedal manufacturer Vemuram. This latest model merges the Tube Screamer with Vemuram’s flagship pedal, the Jan Ray, and features the TS808’s signature mid-boost as well as the wide dynamic range and frequency response of the Jan Ray, yielding a sound that is entirely new. The TSV808 boasts drive, tone and level knobs in a format similar to the TS808, with a maximum volume that’s set 7db higher than the original Tube Screamer. 40th Anniversary TS808, $285; TSV808, TBA. ibanez.com/usa

25 TEISCO DELAY, FUZZ AND BOOST

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The legendary brand returns with the Teisco Delay, Fuzz and Boost pedals. The analog Delay features up to 600ms of delay time, a modulation section and a direct out for connecting the pedal to dry/wet rigs. Inspired by a furry ’70s predecessor, the Fuzz is a classic silicon fuzz circuit with a switchable upper octave. The Boost has a FET design for softer and more organic clipping and can run at 24 volts for extra headroom. The pedal can work as a tone-enhancing buffer or overdrive and features an EQ profile switch for extra tweakability. Delay, $149. Fuzz and Boost, $129 each. teisco.com

26 STRYMON VOLANTE MAGNETIC ECHO MACHINE

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The Volante stereo multi-head delay recreates the classic sounds of vintage magnetic drum echo, tape echo and reel-to-reel studio echo, and features a looper and vintage spring reverb. The unit has four virtual playback heads, each with individual controls for feedback, panning and level (full, half or off). Each machine can operate at half, normal or double speed to deliver everything from low-to hi-fidelity echo. In addition to controls for input record level, time, repeats and echo level, Volante lets you adjust how each echo machine responds to changes in mechanics (such as speed fluctuations and irregularities), tape wear and head spacing. Other features include tap tempo and Favorite foot switches, stereo I/O, an instrument/line level switch, an expression pedal input, full-featured MIDI in/out and a USB jack for controlling MIDI via computer. $399. strymon.net

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27 SOURCE AUDIO SPECTRUM INTELLIGENT FILTER

The Spectrum Intelligent Filter is the first in a new line of C4 Synth pedals designed by Source Audio chief sound engineer Bob Chidlaw. It has controls for depth, speed, frequency and mix, plus a mini toggle for choosing between Tron, Dumpling and Crier settings. Sounds range from envelope filtering to octave and harmonizer effects, plus presets can be loaded and shared with Source Audio’s Neuro smartphone app. The Spectrum Intelligent Filter will reportedly be ready to ship in spring. Price TBA. sourceaudio.net

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28 SUPRO DELAY PEDAL

Supro’s new Delay is an all-analog echo pedal that uses a pair of new-production MN3005 bucket brigade IC chips to deliver from 20ms to 600ms of vintage-flavored delay. Designed by the engineer behind the now-classic Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and Pigtronix Echolution pedals, the Supro Delay offers dramatically increased headroom and dynamic range courtesy of robust 15-volt power rails. Controls include time, repeats, level and filter, which offers low-pass and band-pass functions on a single knob. Other features include an expression input for control of time, repeats or level, as well as soft-touch true-bypass switching and internally switchable dry kill and trails functions. $249. suprousa.com

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29 WALRUS AUDIO LILLIAN MULTI-STAGE ANALOG PHASER

The Lillian is a true-bypass, all-analog, multi-stage phaser with controls for rate, width, feedback and D-P-V, a unique blend between dry, chorus and vibrato. The stages switch lets you alter the voicing from warm and tight with four stages to a more complex filtered sound with six. The D-P-V control sets the dry-to-wet signal ratio, with no effect heard at minimum, equal parts dry and wet present at noon, and full vibrato on tap at 100 percent, with phase/vibrato combinations in between the noon and full positions. $199. walrusaudio.com

30 XOTIC SUPER CLEAN BUFFER AND SUPER SWEET BOOSTER

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The Super Clean Buffer and Super Sweet Booster mini-pedals help keep your signal intact. The Super Clean Buffer maintains signal strength with long cables and has a gain knob for when you require a bit of boost. The pedal features DIP switches on the side that provide four EQ settings: High Cut, Hi-Mid Boost, Low Mid Boost and Bass Boost. The Super Sweet Booster is a class A preamp based on a JRC4558 chip and delivers +20dB of clean gain. Like the Super Clean Buffer it has four EQ settings accessible via DIP switches. Both pedals require an external nine-volt DC power supply. Each pedal, $127 direct. xotic.us/effects

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