New Gear From NAMM

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.

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

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

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

The Ashdown Drophead200 is the latest entrant in the all-tube, flip-top combo game.

People 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.

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

This wild Brubaker Brute sounded as stunning as it looked.

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

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

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

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

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

Epifani 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.

Ernie 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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Markbass 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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.

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

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

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

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

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



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


New Gear July 2010

Tight Drive Bass Distortion Pedal As a result of feedback from Greg Weeks of the Red Chord at the 2010 NAMM show, Amptweaker now offers a bass version of their popular guitar distortion unit. As its name implies, the Tight


New Gear April 2010

Bugera BVV3000 All-Valve head The big new Bugera head sports a classic array of all-tube goodness, including five dualtriodes in the preamp section and a sextet of 6550s handling the output. Tone-shaping come courtesy a 3-band EQ with midrange voicing filters and low- and high-register switchable boost.