Highlights From the NAMM Show 2014

By Benjamin Levine , |

The NAMM Show is always a whirlwind, so we enlisted our friend Benjamine Levine to run around and give us a hit list of 10 cool products he found. Enjoy!

Zon Basses Mosaic MOJO. This year Zon has introduced the Mosaic MOJO line – classic styling, top-notch Zon tone, and a street price below $1000 that will appeal to a broad range of budgets. www.zonguitars.com

Dean Guitars Custom Shop Basses. In an exactly the opposite way that Zon (typically expensive) has gone to a budge line, Dean (typically more affordable) has come out with some kick-butt custom shop basses. They are not cheap, but they rate off the charts on playability, tone, and look. www.deanguitars.com

NS Radius Bass Guitar. Playing this bass is like driving a BMW – everything about it feels solid and high performance. NS/EMG pickup configuration gives a host of tonal options and the fretless model accepts cello strings for truly remarkable feel and tone. www.nedsteinberger.com

Audiofly In-Ear Monitors. Man does not live by bass alone. This Australian company produces wonderfully full-sounding triple-driver in-ear monitors for a street price below anything comparable that I’ve found – around $350. They use one dynamic driver and two balanced armature drivers (with crossovers built in) for great sound. They also use cordura fabric cables for ultimate durability. www.audiofly.com

Sound Composites Carbon Fiber Fingerboards. These carbon fiber fingerboards for your upright bass have extreme durability, sustain, and uniformity that no wood can touch (not even ebony). Plus no trees were killed in the making of this product! www.soundcomposites.com

EBS Classic 500 amplifier. With 500 watts this amp is big enough for just about any venue. Unique tonal shaping (semi-parametric eq, ‘character’ switch, and a ‘drive’ knob) give you any sound you want from modern to classic while still remaining transparent to the sound of your bass. www.ebssweden.com

Kay Basses “Jazz Special”. In the world of bass there are a host of makers that are going for the vintage vibe. Kay doesn’t have to try to emulate the vintage vibe – they created it! Super cool styling and a unique vintage tone made me want to add one of the beauties to my personal bass quiver. www.kayvintagereissue.com

Dark Glass Electronics Microtubes B7X Analog Bass Preamp. This is a full-function bass preamp/DI with an * amazing * sounding drive channel. With simple, intuitive controls for blending, drive, and level, as well as a couple of switches that can take you from grit to growl with amazing simplicity this is one killer addition to any pedalboard. www.darkglass.com

Kala U-Bass California Built Series. If you haven’t played a U-Bass yet, stop reading, find a distributor near you and go play one. These instruments are just so cool! From a vintage P-bass sound to a thumping upright these basses pack more low end into a 20” scale than you can believe. This year they are introducing a series of solid body and acoustic instruments built in the Golden State of California. Kala has worked hard on their strings and are offering several types of synthetic gut as well as silver plated copper wound strings for higher tension and a more traditional feel. www.ubass.com

Regenerate Guitar Works. Big-name bass builders better make room for Rod Banach, the force behind the incredible basses at Regenerate. I played several of the basses at Regenerate’s booth and each one sounded better than the last. With a full line ranging from active 6 strings with exotic wood tops to the ultimate funky passive 4 string jazz bass this shop is putting out some of the absolute best basses around. These are my favorite basses at NAMM this year. www.regenerateguitarworks.com