NAMM! New Goodies from the Disneyland of Gear - BassPlayer.com

NAMM! New Goodies from the Disneyland of Gear

The NAMM show, in case you’re new to the beautiful circus that is the musical instrument industry, is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show.
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The NAMM show, in case you’re new to the beautiful circus that is the musical instrument industry, is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show. Ostensibly it’s a four-day conference in Anaheim, California, for the people who make gear to show it off to the people who buy gear, i.e., music merchants. In reality, it’s a vortex of every corner of the music biz, no matter how ludicrous. Just as soon as you’re shaking your head at a Gene Simmons impersonator who actually wants women to think he’s Gene Simmons (which raises the question, why?), you’re hearing astonishing virtuosity or bumping into Stevie Wonder. It’s among the most complicated sensory experiences on earth. Yet, beyond the personalities on display, it’s the chance to see and play nearly every piece of gear imaginable that makes the NAMM show a worthy annual pilgrimage. Below is our list of some of the best we saw, bass-wise.

AGUILAR
SL 410x Cabinet

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Weighing in at only 49 pounds, this 4x10 cabinet is super lightweight, but packs impressively heavy tone. Boasting custom-voiced woofers and a phenolic tweeter, the SL pushes 800 watts of clarity and power.

Street TBD
Contact aguilaramp.com

BOSS
BC-1X Bass Comp

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The latest compression pedal from Boss is perfect for the serious performing and recording bassist. The BC-1X features a 16-segment gain-reduction meter so you’re able to see exactly how much compression is being applied at all times.

Street $200
Contact bossus.com

CARVIN/KIESEL
VB6 Kiesel Vader 6-String Headless Bass

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As flashy as this headless bass decked in racing colors may look, it’s the playability and the balance of its 30” scale that really impressed us. With a speedy ebony fingerboard and a sturdy B string, this bass is a bargain.

Direct $1,299
Contact carvinguitars.com

D’ADDARIO
NYXL Bass Strings

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Combining its innovative NYXL nickel-plated wrap-wire technology with its NY Steel core, D’Addario’s newest bass strings blew us away. Offered in sizes ranging from Light 4-string (.040–.095) to Regular 5-string (.045–.130), these are the strings you have to play to believe.

Street $30–$35
Contact daddario.com

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D’ANGELICO
EX-SD Bass

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D’Angelico’s chambered-bodied basses provide loads of clear sustain, thanks to their ergonomic design and Kent Armstrong pickups. With popping finish options and beautiful flame-maple tops, the EX-SD is a proper bass for rocking out.

Street $1,300
Contact dangelicoguitars.com

DARKGLASS
Microtubes 700 Bass Amp

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Of all of the excited rumblings we heard on the floor about new products, Darkglass’ new Microtubes 700 might have been brought up the most. With a burly Microtubes distortion built in with customizable drive, level, tone, and blend, and 700 watts of power, we’re looking forward to getting our hands on one of these.

List TBD
Contact darkglass.com

DUNLOP
CBM105Q Cry Baby Mini Bass Wah

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At half the size of its bigger brother (the 105Q Bass Wah), this little guy adds funk to your playing while keeping all of your low end intact and saving space on your pedalboard.

Street $120
Contact jimdunlop.com

EARTHQUAKER
Spatial Delivery Envelope Filter

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This voltage-controlled envelope has three modes: Up Sweep, Down Sweep, and Sample and Hold. Dial in a little for ambient weirdness, or crank it up for full on funk. Either way, this pedal rocks.

Street $195
Contact earthquakerdevices.com

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ERNIE BALL/MUSIC MAN
Caprice Bass

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The latest member of Music Man’s Modern Classic family has both J and P pickups. With an alder body, an oversize headstock, and four color options, this bass is pleasing both sonically and aesthetically.

List $1,699
Contact music-man.com

ESP
Multi-Scale LTD B-1004SE Bass

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With a special fret design to optimize string tension and ergonomics, this rosewood-topped bass, equipped with Nordstrand Big Splits pickups and Hipshot solo bridge, is perfect for playing any style of music.

Street TBD
Contact espguitars.com

FENDER
Classic Player Rascal Bass

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This vintage-looking throwback bass turned heads with its Seymour Duncan “lipstick tube” pickups, 30" short scale, and classic ocean turquoise finish. Its classic tone is perfect for soulful thumbing or muted picking.

List $799.99
Contact fender.com

FODERA
Monarch-P Bass

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Fodera has thrown its own stake into the P-Bass fire, and naturally it is masterfully crafted and as beautiful as expected. With an ivorywood top, hard-rock maple neck, and 34" scale, this is as elegant of a P-style bass as you’ll ever find.

List $3,995
Contact fodera.com

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HARTKE
Kickback KB12 Combo

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As Victor Wooten said at his booth performance, “Most of the time our amps play for our knees, when our ears are up here.” The remedy for that is the new KB12 combo that booms 500 watts of Class D power, and has a 3-band EQ and the Kickback design to propel your tone upward.

Street $450
Contact samsontech.com

GALLIEN-KRUEGER
Plex Preamp

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G-K had an ace up its sleeve with a new preamp that wowed attendees. It features a 4-band variable Q equalizer and contour circuit, tuner, footswitchable compression, selectable voice filters, and tone boost.

List TBD
Contact gallien-krueger.com

IBANEZ
AGBV200A Artcore Bass

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We couldn’t help but immediately stop to pick up this beautifully distressed-looking bass. Turns out it’s lightweight, great-sounding, and fun to play with its 22-fret 30" scale.

List $599.99
Contact Ibanez.com

KALA
Bubinga U-Bass BNGA-FS Series

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Good things come in small packages, and the BNGA-FS proves exactly that. Paired with Kala’s new line of Roundwound UBass strings, this compact bass creates big tones without any hand soreness.

List $399.99
Contact kalabrand.com

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LA BELLA
Olinto Carbonetti Gold P-Bass

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La Bella used the original gold-powder finish that adorned Les Paul guitars in the ’60s as part of the relic design of this handmade P-style bass. The spotless and dynamic tone made this one of the best-sounding basses at the show.

List $3,000 and up
Contact labella.com

LR BAGGS
Stadium Electric Bass DI

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LR Baggs is known for its acoustic pickups and powerful preamps, but the company has finally decided to release its first non-acoustic product for bass players. The Stadium DI was a must-try at the show for players serious about tone.

List TBD
Contact lrbaggs.com

PEAVEY
MiniMEGA Head

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Producing 1,000 watts of rumbling frequencies while weighing in at only nine pounds, the MiniMEGA takes powerful portability to the next level. The built-in optical compressor, 4-band EQ with punch and bright switches, and gain control crunch button really seal the deal.

List $599.99
Contact peavey.com

PRS
20th Anniversary Private Stock 4-string

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To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Private Stock collection, PRS created only six of these unique hollowbody basses. With amazing attention to detail, including a high-gloss nitro finish, an ebony headstock veneer, and mother-of-pearl inlays, this is a unique collector’s item.

List $9,999.99
Contact prsguitars.com

RADIAL ENGINEERING
Firefly Tube Direct Box

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Radial’s new direct box’s slick design is only the tip of the iceberg, as it offers Drag Control load correction, Radial’s award-winning zero negative feedback class-A front end, and a 12AX7 tube direct circuit. If none of that makes sense to you, just know that Nathan East beelined it to the Radial booth solely to rave about the Firefly.

Street $600
Contact radialeng.com

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TECH 21
Bass Fly Rig

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After the success of the Fly Rig 5 for guitar, Tech 21 decided to make a bass version, which it debuted at NAMM to the joy of us bassists. This truly dynamic pedal features pre and post boost, compressor, chorus, filter, octave, fuzz section, and a chromatic tuner. Pretty much everything you could need on the fly.

List $299
Contact tech21nyc.com

SADOWSKY
Single Cut 24-Fret 5-String Bass

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Bassist Chip Shearin was on hand to demo his new Sadowsky bass that he helped design, and we were knocked out by its sound. It features a single-cutaway chambered body, 24-fret bolt-on neck, and booming soapbar pickups.

List $5,500
Contact sadowsky.com

TRICKFISH
BM 215

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Talk about power: Trickfish’s new 2x15 cabinet gets about as low as you can go. Designed with a port in the center of the box, this heavy-duty cabinet gets massive tones, but thanks to the handle on the back and crafty wheel system, it’s not a heavy load to carry.

List TBD
Contact trickfishamps.com

WARWICK
Lee Sklar Signature Bass

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To make a custom bass worthy of Lee Sklar, it has to be as fearless and as different as he is. His new signature Warwick is exactly that. With a vintage sunburst transparent finish with a satin-stained side and a two-tone Ziricote fingerboard, this bass boldly stands out like a beautifully flowing white beard.

List TBD
Contact warwick.de

WESCO
Invert-O Bass

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Talk about a game-changer! Billed as “the ultimate short-scale bass,” the Invert-O is the only bass with the low notes at the top of the neck and the high notes down by the nut. Pictured, a NAMM attendee booms out a rootsy groove in E.

List $1,111.11
Contact pisspoor.com/inverto

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New Gear from NAMM 2010

THE VIBE OF THIS YEAR’S NAMM SHOW WAS UPBEAT, PERHAPS INFLUENCED BY THE ECONOMIC improvements of the past year. Manufacturers, retailers, and artists were excited by the variety of new products, and getting to check them out in person was an absolute delight. What follows is in no way a comprehensive list of new items from NAMM, but rather a small selection from the many products that caught our eye. Please note: A few manufacturers big NAMM releases were covered in our April issue, and we’ll continue to cover new releases in future issues. Check out the manufacturers’ websites for more details on products that grab your attention, and for our photos, videos, and blogs from the show floor, go to the Community page at bassplayer.com.

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New Gear: October 2009

Ibanez SR780  Ibanez has gotten a lot of mileage out of its basic Soundgear design. The comfy, thin-necked instrument can be found in iterations spanning the price spectrum. Ibanez also frequently delivers excellent value, as the new SR780 demonstrates. Its 5-piece jatoba/bubinga neck, spalted maple sides, and oval abalone inlays give it a decidedly high-end look, despite its relatively low price. Additi