New Gear from the 2013 NAMM Show

This month and next, we’ll be sifting through everything we saw at this year’s NAMM Show to bring you the best in bass.
By BassPlayer ,

This month and next, we’ll be sifting through everything we saw at this year’s NAMM Show to bring you the best in bass. You can find more on this and other new gear at


DCB (top) and Super SingleAG 4J-HOTAG 4P-HOT As Aguilar’s popular Tone Hammer heads continue to fly off shelves, the company has sharpened its focus further up the signal chain with the release of four new pickups. The AG 4P-HOT and AG 4J-HOT are designed with oversized magnets and overwound coils for increased output in P- and J-style pickup configurations. Aguilar also unveiled two new soapbar pickups, the dual ceramic bar DCB, and the singlecoil alnico Super Single.


Heritage B-15NPF-800 Adding to its Heritage line of American-made amps, Ampeg introduced the Heritage B-15N. While the Heritage B-15 of recent years featured point-to-point wiring and chrome accouterment, the all-tube B-15N utilizes circuit board and a flat black finish to deliver the same performance at a lower cost. The Heritage B-15 will be available this year in a limited run of 250 units. Ampeg has also upped the power factor in its Portaflex series of lightweight heads and cabinets with the 800-watt PF-800. The powerful head is especially potent when paired with the ported PF-410HLF and PF-115LF extension cabs.


MiBass Interface Ashdown is extending its lead as a frontrunner in the British bass race with a range of new products, including the 100-watt CTM 100, and the 15-watt CTM 15, both part of its venerated Classic TubeMagnifier line of heads. The company also introduced the cute-as-can-be MiBassInterface, a no-frills USB bass interface featuring the company’s trademark VU meter. For effects-heads, Ashdown has paired with boutique pedal builder Dr. Green to offer a full range of bass effects, including the Bearded Lady bass fuzz, the OctaDose octave, the Doctors Note envelope filter, the Bass Verb reverb, and The Aspirin compressor.


Pawn Shop Bass VIPawn Shop Mustang BassAmerican Vintage ’58 Precision Bass

American Vintage ’63 Precision BassAmerican Vintage ’64 Jazz BassAmerican Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass

Fender brought a boatload of new basses to the NAMM show, including four new models in its American Vintage Series: the American Vintage ’58 Precision Bass, featuring a thick C-shape maple neck and fingerboard and chrome pickguard; the American Vintage ’63 Precision Bass, with a rosewood fingerboard; the American Vintage ’64 Jazz Bass, with a lower-mounted finger rest and period-correct pickup placement; and the American Vintage ’74 Jazz Bass, with its 4-bolt neck joint, U-shaped neck profile, period-correct bridge pickup placement (closer to the bridge), and pearl block inlays. Fender also expanded its Pawn Shop line of basses, with a Pawn Shop Mustang Bass featuring a mid-position “mudbucker,” and a Pawn Shop Bass VI featuring a 30” scale, a bridge-position humbucker, and a floating tremolo system.


Guild has given hardcore semi-hollow bass fans reason to celebrate by reintroducing the legendary Starfire Bass. The 30.5”-scale Starfire features a single Bi-Sonic pickup and aminated mahogany top, back, and sides, and is made in Korea.


G&L continues to expand its Modern series of basses featuring three bands of onboard EQ. The latest is the MJ-4, which features G&L’s new Bi-Coil alnico pickups, which utilize two side-by-side coils configured in series-humbucking mode to offer singlecoil tones without the hum.


D’Addario has a new look, having updated its logo and its packaging. In terms of new products, it has developed the new XL Balanced Tension Bass Strings, which feature balanced tension across all strings. Stay “tuned” for a more detailed review in the coming months. . .


EBS has teamed with shredder extraordinaire Billy Sheehan to develop the Billy Sheehan Signature Drive, which features a built-in compressor and the ability to loop in other pedals through its CLEAN LOOP and DRIVE LOOP jacks.


By popular request, Tech 21 has taken its SansAmp Character Series VT Bass pedals and packaged it in DI and rackmount formats. The VT Bass DI incorporates a BLEND control to mix direct and SansAmp signals, and a BITE switch for a treble boost and tighter bass. The VT Bass Rack has an additional XLR output level control and an effects loop.


AGB180BSAGB205DVS Ibanez has expanded its semi-hollow Artcore series of basses with the AGB180BS, a dual-cutaway bass with a 30.3" scale length and a neck-position humbucker, and the AGB205DVS, a 5-string semihollow with a set neck.


Dave Ellefson Signature Kelly Bird BassJS3VQM Concert BassJS3QM Concert Bass
Jackson continues to deliver the goods for heshers and head-bangers alike with three new axes: the Dave Ellefson Signature Kelly Bird Bass, featuring a bound maple bolt-on neck and EMG pickups, and the JS3QM Concert Bass, and the JS3VQM Concert Bass, which sport dual high-output Jackson pickups and quilted maple tops.


RockBass Star BassLWA 1000Rockbass Triumph
Warwick came strong with no fewer than seven new bass models. Most notable, however, was its entry into the world of ultra-light Class D amplifiers. The LWA 1000 is a 6-pound, 1,000-watt amplifier that features two parallel channels-each with individual gain control, four bands of EQ, adjustable compressor with bypass function, and mute switch—designed for players who play more than one bass on a given gig. The company also expanded its RockBass line of lower-cost instruments to include the semi-hollow RockBass Star Bass and the electric upright RockBass Triumph.


The Rumbler is the latest model in Kala’s popular U-BASS line. With its newly designed preamp and proprietary Kala Silver Rumbler Strings, the Rumbler offers all the bottom of its pricier U-BASS bruddahs at a fraction of the cost.