NAMM 2019 Recap and Show Coverage

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Whether you are a singer, drummer, DJ, or any type or artist NAMM is place to be when checking out the newest and upcoming latest gear.

If you are not familiar with NAMM the National Association of Music Merchants, it was established in 1901, is the not-for-profit association that strengthens the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry. Our association and our trade shows serve as the crossroads for professionals wanting to seek out the newest innovations in music, recording technology, sound, stage and lighting products. Membership also includes access to the latest industry news and education, opportunities for music advocacy and cost-saving programs that will help your business thrive. All of these activities and programs are designed to promote music making for people of all ages and to help create a more musical world.

With some of the top manufacturers around under one roof you are bound to find what you are looking for. Just to mention a few we have Fender, Schecter, GHS Strings, SABIAN, Zildjian, and so much more. Below I’ll share some of the many great new items coming to the market.

First up is Two Notes, who showed us the the new Torpedo C.A.B. Speaker Cab Simulator. This is cool because it allows players to feed their preamp and/or pedalboard tone directly to PAs, front-of-house, or audio interfaces. This means you don’t have to worry about speaker volume, which is great for players who are looking to make their rigs as PA-friendly as possible without sacrificing effects.

The pedal packs 32 virtual cabinets to choose from (and you can always buy more in the Two Notes store), with eight mics and eight room sims, as well as power amp tube modeling. Users can control their software settings with a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Rounding out the new releases is the Super Switcher, built with enough I/O options to tame the most unruly of pedal rigs. Features, according to EHX, include:

  • Features mono and stereo send/return, insert send/return and mono/stereo out.
  • Equipped with tuner and tap tempo outs, MIDI In & Out and more.
  • Features eight mechanical-relay controlled, true bypass loops.
  • Provides 128 presets: 16 banks with 8 presets each.
  • Tap footswitch sets the BPM. The Super Switcher can be configured to send/receive MIDI clock and send tap signals to the output. BPM can be global or per preset.
  • Tuner footswitch sends the input signal to the tuner out and cuts off the signal from any loops or output.
  • Boost footswitch engages a knob adjustable, output gain Boost on both the left and right channels.
  • EHX 9.6VDC-200mA power supply included
  • Current Draw: 150mA @ 9VDC
  • Dimensions in inches: 19(w) x 6(l) x 2.5(h)
  • Dimensions in mm: 483(w) x 153(l) x 64(h)

Not only is 2019 shaping up to be a big year for Fender, but it looks like fans of the big brand’s more budget-friendly subsidiary have a lot to look forward to as well.

Squier made the huge official announcement that its Classic Vibe series—comprised mostly of models paying homage to ’60s and ’70s lutherie—would be getting a major face lift, with a whole slew of updates to the originals and new models alike being introduced this year.

New to the series this year for guitars, Squier is adding a ’70s Stratocaster and ’70s Stratocaster HSS, a ’70s Telecaster Thinline, ’70s Telecaster Deluxe, ’70s Telecaster Custom, a ’70s Jaguar, a ’60s Jazzmaster, and a ’60s Mustang.

Bassists should rejoice too, as Squier is also adding an equally substantial number of new models to the series. A few of those include ’60s and ’70s Precision Basses, ’60s and ’70s Jazz basses, a Classic Vibe Bass VI, and a ’70s-style Jaguar bass.

There are lots of different finishes and appointments to be had with the new offerings in the series, including special left-handed models, so be sure to find the one that’s right for you.

This latest announcement is the amplifier edition and sees the big brand updating a slew of amps in addition to the brand-new Chris Stapleton ’62 Princeton signature that we wrote about earlier this week and that will hit the shelves first in February.

Following close behind with another February launch date is the Bassbreaker 30R, 30-watt tube combo amp that will retail for $899 USD. Fans of the successful Bassbreaker 15 who’ve been itching for a little more power will also be excited to take advantage of added features, like full channel-switching for even more control over distorted tones.

The amp also features a built-in effects loop, a 12-inch Celestion V-Type speaker, three 12AX7 preamp tubes, and four EL84 power tubes that promise the same high-gain, distorted, and reverb-laden tone the Bluesbreaker is famous for.

Three more amps will follow in March of this year: the Mustang LT25, the Rumble LT25, and the Rumble 800 HD.

The Mustang LT25 is specifically designed for beginners and students, packed with a collection of 50 presets that Fender bills as the “greatest hits” of guitar tone as well as a suit of onboard effects that players can experiment and get familiar with. It’s also priced reasonably at $199. The Rumble LT25 is the bass amp version, and features an even sweeter price tag at $179.

Lastly, the Rumble 800HD is a bass head that’s ideal for bassists who want to not only harness vintage vibes and tones but bring them into the modern day with updated technology. It features a very pure and full low-end with easy tone-shaping ability via its simple control interface. Great for any bassist looking for lots of power in a lightweight and compact package.

Ludwig is celebrating its 110th year by remaking and taking inspiration from vintage models dating back to its earliest years. The new drums will include two new kits and the reboot of two acclaimed snare lines from the company’s past.

110th Anniversary Kits and Snares

The Legacy Mahogany Diamond Flash Inlay Series uses Ludwig’s “Legacy mahogany 3-ply shell design,” which the company says was first used in 1923. At the time, well before the advent of modern, metal fuselages, the construction technique was “in accordance with the recognized correct principles used in the manufacture of airplanes.”

Each shell features a 1/16″ mahogany outer ply, 1/8″ poplar core ply, and 1/16″ mahogany inner ply, with 1/4″ solid maple reinforcement rings. The bearing edge is a 30-degree cut with a 1/4” radius round over.

There will only be 20 of these kits made as a “Fab Configuration,” featuring a 14×22 bass drum, 16×16 floor tom, 9×13 tom tom, and matching Diamond Flash Inlay snare drum (sold separately). The shells are topped with dyed Tupelo and Koto veneers, with the inlays being made from arctic white birds-eye maple.

The Legacy Mahogany Van Buren Series harkens back to the 1940s, with a slightly different take on the finish “that celebrates the likeness of Ludwig’s first ever drum badge and Chicago showroom,” according to Ludwig. The mahogany-stained shells are also made with the three-ply shell design outlined above, as well as the same 30-degree, round over bearing edge.

Ludwig calls the center poplar ply as a key component to the “war, rich, low-end ‘woody’ tones” drummers associate with classic Ludwig tone. Unlike the Legacy Mahogany Diamond Flash Inlay Series, which feature metal hoops, the Legacy Mahogany Van Buren drums have maple hoops with an iridescent inlaid stripe.

The drums are limited to just one year of production. The “Pro Beat” set includes sizes: 14×24 bass drum, 16×16 floor tom, and a 9×13 tom. A 6.4×14 snare drum is sold separately, while a 16×18 floor tom is also available.

Rounding out the anniversary releases are four individual snare drums, separate from those available with the anniversary sets.

The 110th Anniversary Black Beauty 8-Lug brings Ludwig’s most revered snare back to specifications found in its original 1920 release: 8-lug black nickel brass shell, brass tube lugs, and single-flanged hoops. It’s available as a 6.5×14or 5×14 snare.

The Heirloom Black Brass Snare “is finished as a brushed Black Brass shell for a darker presence and imagined with die-cast hoops for elevated focus and attack.” It’s available as a 7×14 or 5.5×14 snare.

Ludwig will make only 110 of its Aged Exotic Avodire snare, which features “undeniably rich examples of Avodire wood finished in our proprietary Poly-Glass Lacquer for maximum durability,” according to the company. It too is available as a 7×14 or 5.5×14 snare.

To bring modern tonewoods to its 110th anniversary series, the Rosewood Exotic snare is an all-rosewood model, featuring 10 different plys and rosewood reinforcement rings.

The 110th Anniversary Rosewood Exotic Snare drum features a 10-ply Rosewood shell, with 10-ply Rosewood reinforcement rings, Die-Cast Nickel hoops, tube lugs and P88 throw off. Includes Ludwig suitcase style snare case. It’s available only as a 6.5×14 snare and includes suitcase-style case.

Jazz Fest and Super Series Snares

In addition to the 100th Anniversary models, Ludwig is also remaking two snare drum series long-beloved by drummers: the Jazz Fest and Super Series.

Original No. 908 Jazz Festival snares from the ’50s through the ’70s are one of the company’s the most sought-after vintage models. They were built in both 5×14 and 5.5×14 shells. (You can find a range of them on Reverb: from 1958–1960, 1960–1968, and 1969–1976.)

Ludwig’s new Jazz Fest snares will be 5.5×14, and will feature some of the same finishes as the originals—vintage black oyster and vintage blue oyster—along with mod orange or black galaxy.

As you can read in our “History of the Drum Set Part II: Snare Drums Through the Years,” Ludwig’s Super Series began in the 1940s and featured mahogany or nickel-plated brass shells, a parallel snare system, and was available in a variety of depths.

It got a sleek new design in 1960, with only a beaded, two-piece brass shell available with chrome-plated or clear lacquer finishes. In 1963, the model changed to all-aluminum shells and was split into two different varieties: the Supraphonic and Super Sensitive.

Ludwig’s two new Super Series snares harken back to the earlier models, with both featuring brass shells. The Super Ludwig—available in 5×14 and 6.5x14 sizes—has a chrome finish over brass, while the Super Brass has only a lacquer over its brass shell.

In addition to these new series, Ludwig also announced four new finishes for its Legacy Mahogany, Legacy Maple, and Classic Maple lines. The new colors include: white strata, avocado strata, burgundy mist, and copper rose mist.

Sabian once again pushes the boundaries of cymbal-making with the transformation of its ground-breaking AAX line. Adding new Thin, Medium and Heavy models, AAX now offers perfect highs, a touch more dark, more complexity in tone – and a whole new look.

With additional hammering, using a larger, rounder peen than traditionally used for AAX, the new models offer a wider range of tone, from dark to bright – and increased complexity.

AAX was ground-breaking when we introduced it in 1993” comments Sabian Director of R&D Mark Love. “But 25 years later, the ways drummers play, record and listen to music have evolved dramatically. In order to remain relevant as a modern-sounding cymbal, we knew AAX must also evolve.”

In addition to new models, the AAX line has been streamlined to make it simpler for drummers and retailers to navigate. Much loved AAX designs like X-Plosion, Freq, Aero and Omni remain the same – while sounds that have become less relevant have been delisted.

This is just a small fraction of what you can see out at NAMM. You still have so much more such as DJ lighting and turntables. Even low in soundboards to the much high end ones. You might even run into some very well known appearances from artists, and even some photographers from around the country and even world.

We are very grateful to attend such an amazing event we hope to be back next year to provide you even more coverage.

We did also take some video and in hopes to put something together in the coming days.


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