No matter what style of music you play, NAMM 2015 served up plenty of new electric guitars to get you excited about the coming year in gear.
Here are 10 electric guitars that got our temperatures rising.
Paul Reed Smith
The idea of a short-scale, vintage-inspired PRS guitar is intriguing enough, but what makes the new P245 truly interesting is the inclusion of an LR Baggs piezo pickup system in addition to two humbuckers designed by Paul Reed Smith himself. For greater versatility, the piezo and magnetic outputs can be mixed using the blend control, or you can output the LR Baggs system through its own jack to maintain a pure acoustic tone. The P245 features a 24.5-inch-scale, a figured maple top and mahogany back, and a mahogany neck with 22 frets and a rosewood fingerboard with bird inlays. Hardware includes a proprietary adjustable stop-tail bridge and nickel Phase III locking tuners. The guitar is among the first to feature the new 58/15 treble and bass pickups, a vintage-style pickup imbued with great clarity and focused midrange. Controls include blend, volume, push/pull tone knobs and a three-way toggle switch. The P245 is also offered in an Artist edition with an "Artist Grade" flame maple top, select neck and fingerboard woods, and gold, nickel or hybrid hardware.
LIST PRICE: $3,599
Available first-quarter 2015
For more information, visit PRS Guitars.
Yamaha Pacifica PAC611HFM
Yamaha’s Pacifica electrics have been popular with players everywhere for years, offering legendary Yamaha quality and value, solid alder bodies, rosewood fingerboards and maple necks. Their versatility is due in large part to top-notch pickup and hardware selections, which allow guitarists to create a diverse tonal palette. Unfortunately, the U.S. market has traditionally been limited to the 012, 112 and 212 Pacifica series. For 2015, Yamaha is offering the 611, 510 and 311 series in the U.S., making this the first time that the entire Pacifica line has been available here. The flagship PAC611HFM model caught our eye immediately, with its gorgeous flamed maple top, color-matched headstock and sexy finishes, including Root Beer and Translucent Purple. The PAC611HFM includes Seymour Duncan SP90-1 and Custom 5 pickups with coil taps, a Graph Tech String-Saver saddle and Grover locking tuners. If that's not your style, no worries: there are plenty of other models to choose from this year.
LIST PRICE: $979
For more information, visit Yamaha.
Epiphone Blueshawk Deluxe
As you probably noticed in our list of 25 Coolest New Products, Epiphone's new Limited-Edition Gary Clark Jr. "Blak and Blu" Casino was one of our favorite guitars at NAMM 2015. The company's new Blueshawk Deluxe was yet another. This year marks the long-awaited return of this now-classic guitar, first introduced in the Nineties. The Blueshawk has been one of the most distinctive-looking modern electric designs, combining the upper-bout curve and cutaway of a Les Paul with the semihollowbody design and small f-holes of an archtop. In its new incarnation, it gets new P-90 PRO single-coil pickups and a six-position Rotary VariTone, making it more versatile than ever. The guitar features a mahogany body with a contoured back, a maple top with a AAA flame maple veneer, an Epiphone SlimTaper D neck with a 25 1/2-inch scale, a rosewood fretboard, pearloid “Diamond” inlays and 22 medium jumbo frets. Controls include a master volume and a master tone with an easy-access push/pull VariTone True Bypass, as well as the now-classic Blueshawk three-position pickup selector slider. The guitar is offered in three beautiful finishes—Midnight Sapphire, Translucent Black and Wine Red—that are perfectly suited to its distinguished heritage.
Available spring 2015
For more information, visit Epiphone.
Guild Newark St. Collection
Guild continues to build out its Newark St. Collection with new options on popular models and a terrific new addition, the Starfire IV-ST. For the first time in decades, guitarists can now have a Guild Starfire III, Starfire IV, or Starfire V in a sleek black finish, a now highly desired option that was only available for a short period. The Starfire III, IV, and V remain the heart of the collection. The Starfire III is the only fully hollow model of the three, boasting a graceful single Florentine cutaway and a Guild vibrato tailpiece. The semihollow double-cutaway Starfire IV was famously used by Buddy Guy in the Sixties and, more recently, indie artist Feist. The Starfire V is also a semihollow double-cutaway guitar, and includes block inlays, a aster volume knob, and a Guild vibrato tailpiece. As for the Starfire IV-ST, it's a stop-tail version of the IV and is offered in a new color, Emerald Green, as well as Classic Cherry Red and an enticing flame-maple natural finish.
STREET PRICES: Starfire III Black, $1,099.99; Starfire IV Black, $1,099.99; Starfire V Black, $1,199.99; Starfire IV-ST, N/A
For more information, visit Guild Guitars.
Caparison Angelus CL15
We love the curvy double-cutaway shape of the Angelus, as well as the fact that its offered in a number of models with various tonewoods and pickup options and even a seven-string variant. It's a sensible approach to take with a guitar that looks equally at home in rock, metal, and prog. Best of all, Caparison offers the Angelus as its 2015 Custom Line Model. Dubbed the CL15, it features a master-grade hand-selected flamed maple top with mahogany back, a mahogany set neck with 24 3/4–inch scale, and an ebony fretboard with 24 jumbo frets and oval inlays. The CL15 comes in two new gloss finish options, Lemon Drop and Violin, and features chrome hardware. The Caparison PH neck and bridge pickups are governed by a master volume, a three-way toggle and a pair of mini toggles that, together, offer an impressively wide range of switching options.
For more information, visit Caparison.
Godin Passion Custom
Godin's Passion Series is all about craftsmanship and innovation, and the new Passion Custom has them both in spades. The guitar features a mahogany top over a red cedar body that features five synchronized resonant chambers joined by canals, a system that promotes free airflow through the body to increase resonance and produce a lively sound. The rock maple neck is topped with a maple fingerboard, and the guitar is fitted with a Godin Tru-Loc Trem that's smooth and stable. e were especially taken by the Passion Custom's electronics, which include a P-rail neck pickup with a hot Godin custom Cajun single-coil in the bridge position for added punch and bite. Godin's H.D.R. High-Definition Revoicer is key to the guitar's powerful and expressive tone, allowing you to switch from passive to active pickups with the push of a button, delivering extra bite and dynamic response. If you need a versatile guitar for hard rock, fusion or even metal, the Passion Custom delivers and looks great doing it.
For more information, visit Godin Guitars.
Framus Phil X Signature
Phil X is a prolific session guitarist, with credits that include Tommy Lee, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and Bon Jovi, where he filled in for Richie Sambora. His virtuosity and fluid style have earned him a new Framus signature model that's offered with a variety of pickup options, fretboard woods, tailpieces, finishes and inlays. The base model Phil X Signature features maple neck-through construction with mahogany body wings and a black fiber headstock with Framus mother-of-pearl logo. It features a rosewood fretboard with 24 small and high nickel silver frets and absolutely no fret markers or inlays. Electronics consist of a single Arcane Phil X Signature PX8 humbucker in the bridge position that delivers a sweet, powerful high end, as well as volume and tone knobs and a selector. Hardware is offered in black, chrome and gold and includes Graph Tech Ratio locking machine heads with wooden knobs and a Tone Pros Tune-o-matic bridge. We saw other variants at the show, including the gloss-black version shown in the video below. As Phil says, the Phil X Signature is a rock and roll guitar, and we couldn't agree more.
For more information, visit Framus.
Ibanez Roadcore RC430
Ibanez presented a jaw-dropping number of new models at NAMM 2015, and we found many favorites among them, including the Artcore AMF-73T, the FR 365 and the EKM 10T, which is the signature model of Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno. But we were especially taken with the Roadcore RC430, a great-looking retro design that incorporates the modern playability for which Ibanez is known. It features a basswood body and maple neck with maple fretboard and medium frets. Pickups consist of three Core Tone S passive alnico pickups that deliver warm but vibrant tones, with a five-way toggle providing plenty of tonal options. The RC430 comes standard with a tremolo bridge and nickel hardware, and is available in Candy Apple, Ivory and Sunburst finishes, with cream body binding that adds the perfect classic touch.
LIST PRICE: $551.10
For more information, visit Ibanez.
Kiesel Guitars Vader
Kiesel is Carvin's new parent company, but the name has deep roots in the Carvin brand. Carvin founder Lowell Kiesel sold pickups under the his own name back in the Forties before launching the Carvin Guitars direct-order business. The revitalizing of the Kiesel brand grew out of grandson Jeff Kiesel's desire to build special editions with a new level of innovation, including his unique techniques, like colorized fingerboards. The Vader is an excellent example of the company's forward thinking. It's a headless neck-through guitar with a 27-inch scale, available in six-, seven- and eight-string versions. It comes standard with a maple neck with dual carbon-fiber reinforcement rods and alder wings, and is completely made in the U.S. The Vader is offered with an optional chambered body and different top woods, and the six- and seven-string versions are also available with a 25 1/2–inch scale. The relaunching of the Kiesel brand brings a new level of excitement and energy to a long-established and much-loved guitar company. We're looking forward to checking out their new models.
LIST PRICES: Six-string, $1,199, seven-string, $1,249; eight-string, $1,299
Musicvox White Space Cadet Custom Floyd Rose
The unmistakable Musicvox shape takes a new incarnation with the White Space Cadet Custom Floyd Rose. The model has a limited-edition custom white-and-black finish in a retro Fifties-style pattern and features triple-bound body and headstock. Features include a mahogany body, bound maple neck, rosewood fretboard with block pearloid inlays, and 25 1/2–inch scale. Electronics include Musicvox Vintage Style humbuckers, single volume and tone controls, and three-position toggle. The chrome hardware includes the Floyd Rose term, locking nut and premium tuners.
LIST PRICE: $999
For more information, visit Musicvox.