The sun and heat is back — no evil clouds, rain, or flood warnings — so things appear to be back to normal weather-wise here in Nashville. Wireless bandwith at the brand new convention center still sucks (arrgghh), but Art and I have been able to deliver "almost" instant photos to Instagram and Twitter daily, and we are adding new images to our Facebook "NAMM Album" on Friday and Saturday nights. In other news, Muriel Anderson's All-Star Guitar Night hit the stage on Friday night, and the line-up included just-married, Guitar Player Guitar Superstar champ Mark Kroos. I also bumped into several long-time Guitar Player readers on the show floor, and it's always great to hang with obsessed guitarists who are firmly in the GP family. We don't take your support for granted.
THE HUNT FOR FUZZ, Part 2
Funny how time slips away at these NAMM shows. I was determined to relaunch my quest for cool fuzz pedals early on Friday, but after several essential booth visits, photo sessions, meetings, and lunch, it was about an hour before the show closed, and I hadn't chased down one fuzz. Not to be denied, I raced down the aisles and tracked down the following pedals:
Vox Trike Fuzz.
The Trike is part of Vox's boutique-pedal influenced Tone Garage series. I'm not sure the boutique vibe is undeniably represented here, but the pedals DO look nothing like previous Vox pedals, and the circuit-view "canopy," chicken-head knobs, and distressed font certainly make for a unique and funky design. In addition to a wonderfully fractured fizz, the Trike lets you blitz the signal two octaves down or one octave up, and you can choose the octave effects separately or together. Bold!
I discovered Richtone distributor Marc Ingber's booth deep in the drum and percussion section, and was captivated by the Rat Fink-like imagery on the fuzz. It also turns out that Ingber used to market and sell subscriptions to GP way back in the early days. Small world! This pedal uncorks three different fuzz timbres: "Muff," "Bright," and "Warm."
Mojo Hand FX Iron Bell.
The Iron Bell is designed to emulate David Gilmour's soaring solo tone, and when partnered with a Mojo Hand delay, it really produces a convincing and sexy roar.
Daredevil Pedals Fuzz Boss.
The Boss is a butt-simple, one-knob design, but its simplicity from a control standpoint doesn't at all trip up its ballsy, demented sizzle fest. The tone seems right at home in the '70s era of fuzz, and it rules. Daredevil also unveiled the Atomic Clock fixed-wah effect that sounds awesome — like Mick Ronson in a box.
EPIPHONE REVIVES THE BEATLES' 1969 ROOFTOP CONCERT
Epiphone had a lot of events planned to celebrate its 140th anniversary during NAMM, and Friday's party was a totally fab surprise. The company set up Beatles tribute band The Return on the the third story roof of a downtown venue, and like the famous "illegal" concert atop Apple's offices in London, the boys played a set of Beatles tunes to the crowds below. A real traffic stopper. Here are some photos as evidence:
Epiphones at the ready.
The boys' guitars await the trip to the rooftop stage.
"John," "George," and "Paul" (back to camera) take the stairs to the stage.
Last-minute gear check before blasting into "Don't Let Me Down."
"Paul" and "George" churning out the "Get Back" groove.
Beatles on the Skyline with Epis.
A side view of the rooftop concert.
MUSIC INDUSTRY DAY
On Saturday, the NAMM show opens to the public with seminars and other events targeted to the interests of local musicians. I'll be teaching a few career classes myself. More to come…