New Gear From NAMM
By Bass Player Staff
Fri, 15 Apr 2011

SPIRITS WERE HIGH AT THIS YEAR’S NAMM Show, as last year’s spark of economic optimism seems to have encouraged some new innovation in the bass world. Walking the vast show floor over the course of several days, we were able to get a sense of at least a few low-end trends. Here’s what we spotted.


There’s never a shortage of wild new bass creations at NAMM, and with literally hundreds of boutique basses carved from exotic wood and stuffed with cutting-edge electronics, this year was no exception. The traditionalist crowd of those who pay tribute to Leo Fender’s classic bass designs were well represented, but there were a few beyond-the-box basses that pushed the envelope. From Brubaker’s hot-swappable bass preamp to Fodera/Mike Pope’s sliding pickup design and Ernie Ball’s Game Changer pickup selector system, flexibility seemed to be the name of the game in terms of electronics innovation.


The demand for lightweight, high-power amplification is nothing new, and the field of companies offering featherweight heads—mostly with Class D switching power supplies—continues to grow. Somewhat paradoxically, there were also a handful of manufacturers either reissuing or reinventing the classic flip-top amp design made famous by Jess Oliver with the Ampeg B-15, with Ashdown’s Drophead combo looking to challenge the Ampeg Heritage B-15 head-on. (If you missed it, check out last month’s issue for the full story behind the legendary B-15.)


Innovation in the effects realm was equally dynamic, with established companies such as Ibanez, MXR, and Tech 21 expanding their offerings, and newcomers Daring Audio and Fishman (new to effects) entering the ring swinging. Octave effects seemed especially well represented.


With Germany’s massive Musikmesse show and Summer NAMM just around the corner, 2011 is sure to see more new products. You can always read about it here in BP; for the latest developments as they’re announced, be sure to check

bp0411_feat_namm_ag1_nrA 500-watt Aguilar Tone Hammer head sits atop two new CL 410 cabinets, which feature Neodymium drivers and weigh around 70 pounds apiece.

























bp0411_feat_namm_al1_nrA former design engineer at Marshall, Steve Grindrod introduced a slew of his new Albion amplifiers.
























bp0411_feat_namm_as1_nrThe Ashdown Drophead 200 is the latest entrant in the all-tube, flip-top combo game.
























bp0411_feat_namm_am1_nrPeople were flipping over the new Ampeg PF-500, a 500-watt head that folds over to fit into the new PF-210HE and PF-115HE cabinets. A 350-watt version of the head is also available.
























bp0411_feat_namm_ca1_nrThe Carvin BX Micro Bass is an absurdly light head with all the bells and whistles a gigging bassist could want.














bp0411_feat_namm_br1_nrThis wild Brubaker Brute sounded as stunning as it looked.


















bp0411_feat_namm_da1_nrThe new EXP Reds from D’Addario combine a copper/ steel wrap with the company’s popular EXP coating.





















bp0411_feat_namm_dan1_nrThe Danelectro Wild Thing ups Dano’s already considerable cool factor.

























bp0411_feat_namm_dar1_nrDaring Audio had a bunch of their brand spanking new pedals on display.
















bp0411_feat_namm_dm1_nrDBZ Guitars, a new venture by Dean Guitars founder Dean Zelinsky, showed off this hot little number, the Imperial FM Bass 4.















bp0411_feat_namm_eb1_nrThe EBS booth featured the company’s new ClassicLine 110 and 112 Mini Cabinets.
























bp0411_feat_namm_ep1_nrEpifani had three new heads on display— the UL 501, the Epifunky 300, and this Piccolo 600, a Class A/B head that weighs 4.5 pounds and pumps 600 watts through 4Ω.















bp0411_feat_namm_er1_nrErnie Ball was proud to debut their Game Changer, an innovative new pickup switching system that allows players to access a staggering 250,000 pickup confi gurations. Heavy, man!

























bp0411_feat_namm_fb1_nrFretless master Alain Caron was on hand to demo his updated signature basses from F Bass.



























bp0411_feat_namm_fe1_nrFender’s ’60s Anniversary Precision Bass is like a mashup of all the greatest eras in P-Bass design.


























bp0411_feat_namm_fe2_nrThe Fender Rumble 350 head has magnetic feet to keep it in place atop a rumbling cabinet. Killer!















bp0411_feat_namm_fi1_nrThe new Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord FX is loaded with out-of-thisworld effects.
















bp0411_feat_namm_fo1_nrFodera unveiled the Yin Yang Standard, a more affordable iteration of Victor Wooten’s famous bass.
























bp0411_feat_namm_ha1_nrThe Hartke Kilo is one mean machine, with 1000 watts of power (mono) and extensive EQ controls.
















bp0411_feat_namm_ib2_nrIbanez had lots of new bass goodies, from its Grooveline basses to its new TS9B Bass Tube Screamer.

















































bp0411_feat_namm_ge1_nrGenz Benz bolstered its line of highpowered, lightweight heads with the STM-900 (left) and STM-600.













bp0411_feat_namm_la1_nrLakland brought a few of its new Precision- inspired models.
























bp0411_feat_namm_lu_nrMike Lull shows off his latest creation, the TPT4 Tom Petersson Signature.

























bp0411_feat_namm_mar1_nrMarleaux displayed an array of fine 4-, 5-, and 6-strings.

























bp0411_feat_namm_ma1_nrMarkbass weighed in with its new 500-watt TTE 500, which features a tube preamp and compressor and the company’s Tube Technology Emulator power amp.
















bp0411_feat_namm_mx1_nrThis pocket-sized Bass Compressor is the latest from MXR Bass Innovations.
























bp0411_feat_namm_or1_nrWith its isobaric cabinet design, the Terror Bass combo is a tasty new treat from Orange Amplifiers.
























bp0411_feat_namm_pe1_nrCosting roughly $0.50 per watt, the 600-watt Peavey Headliner threatens to take center stage in the featherweight amp arena.














bp0411_feat_namm_re1_nrReverend Guitars has returned with a righteous line of new basses.















bp0411_feat_namm_ro1_nrRoland’s Bass Cube amplifiers pack huge sound into itty-bitty boxes.



























bp0411_feat_namm_sp1_nrStuart Spector and Down’s Rex Brown show off Rex’s new signature Spector RXT Bass.















bp0411_feat_namm_tc1_nrIf you dig TC Electronic’s RH heads but want something in a bigger, badder box, the Blacksmith is ready to rock your socks off.


















bp0411_feat_namm_te1_nrThe Tech 21 Boost Chorus Bass is a two-fer type of stompbox that can make your head spin with its lush chorus effect— if it isn’t ripping it clean off your body.






















bp0411_feat_namm_tr1_nrThe mighty Traynor YBA300 head—especially through a TC412 cabinet—is bold enough to strike fear to the heart of even the stoutest stack.

























bp0411_feat_namm_ve1_nrThis Veillette Concorde (center) was just one of the Woodstock, NY-based lutier’s beautiful new creations.

























bp0411_feat_namm_wa1_nrWarrior Instruments always brings a few stunners to the NAMM show. This year, the Isabella 5 (center) caught our eye.



























bp0411_feat_namm_was1_nrStu Hamm was on hand at Washburn to demo his new signature electric, the Hammer.
























bp0411_feat_namm_war1_nrThe Warwick booth was awash with talented peeps plying their wares, including this new range of BC combo amps.

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