Namm, the National Association of Music Merchants, is almost a musicians Walhalla. Stocked to the brim with amazing new gear, innovation and ‘guitar heroes’. Companies, big and small, compete for the attention of the consumer. It’s only logical that sometimes the small companies can be a bit swamped by the ‘Big Ones’. In this article, we just want to show you the products that stuck by us the most!
Charvel Pro Mod, Made in Mexico
A couple of years ago, Charvel launched their line of Pro Mod guitars. The So Cal, which was equiped with a pickguard, and the San Dimas, which came without a pickguard. They proved extremely popular, some might say even too popular for their own well being, because they were canceled. But fret not! They are back again! Made in the facilities of Fender in Mexico, these guitars are made to the best specs and the highest standards. Their standard equipped with a single piece quarter sawn maple neck, alder body, CTS pots, Switchcraft switch and jack, an Original Floyd Rose and Seymour Duncan pickups. They came in three versions, too. The So Cal (with the Seymour Duncan Distortion Mayhem set), the San Dimas (with the Seymour Duncan SH4 JB in the bridge and the SH1 ’59 in the neck), and a version with a hardtail bridge, too, which is equiped with the JB in the bridge and a stacked singlecoil pickup in the neck. With their very competative pricing, these guitars are bound to be a smashing hit!
What if you want to install a bigsby vibrato on your favorite guitar, but are reluctant to drill the necessary holes? You might get away by installing the B3, but you still need the down tension of a retaining bar. Towner recently came out with a great product that might help solve some issues. Their product is actually quite simple yet ingenious. The metal bar fits on the original studs of the stoptail and provides the proper downward pressure for, amongst others, the Bigsby B3. So now you can have that Bigsby trem on your favored Les Paul or ES-335 and you don’t even have to drill a hole for it!
Imagine a custom shop who can make your wildest dreams come true. Fibenare might be just the right shop for you. This Hungary-based custom shop creates amazing guitars. They make their own hardware, including the bridge, use hair-thin finishes and the most beautiful woods I’ve ever come across. These guitars are some of the finest instruments I’ve ever played. Heavy metal, funk, jazz, rock, blues… My technique is the only limitation to these guitars’ capability. Just take a look at this sevenstring guitar. The bridge is an in-house developed tremolo with the low B-string seperate from the tremolo unit, ensuring a more familiar feel of the guitar whilst retaining the usual string spacing.
Many have heard the story of how Dean Zelinsky joined up with Jeff Diamant and Terry Martin to form their own guitar company called DBZ Guitars. During the NAMM show they were out in full force with a host of eye-catching products. Their Koa built guitars were incredibly light and they took some classics and gave them a modern twist. Here are some highlights:
The Bolero FM (flamed maple) in tiger’s eye. It features flame maple over mahogany, rosewood board, natural scrape binding, and a JB/’59. Tune-o-matic bridge with stop tail. Nice full body, with a standard u neck for great sustain.
DBZ/Diamond Royale QM (quilted maple). Siberian Quilt with quilted maple over mahogany. Rosewood finger board and the DD-1/DD-5 pickups. DBZ Guitars recently teamed up with Seymour Duncan to produce the DD-1/DD-5 pickups for their guitars. The 4-Stroke (DD-1) produces a raw rhythm tone that is also sweet. The Hole-Shot (DD-5) has some scorch at 15.1k and three super charged ceramic magnets. It packs a bunch and has authoritative low end and vicious mid range. An extremely contoured taper on the body helps provide great resonance. It’s the nicely contoured expanse of wood that tapers out to about a half an inch at the edges that helps make it a great resonant plane.
This modern twist on a classic is called the Hailfire SM (spalted maple). Features a mahogany body, mahogany neck and rosewood board. Tune-o-matic/string-thru, matching headstock. It produces an extremely solid and full tonel, with good sustain and has the combo of JB/’59 pickups.
This year Gibson launched the Jason Hook M-4 Sherman Explorer, a limited-edition instrument inspired by the Five Finger Death Punch guitarist. The instrument features some of Hook’s own distinctive design plans, including a pickguard-less body which retains the route channel for the electronics but with the wires obscured in Hook’s custom manner, and a JB/’59 pickup combination.
Washburn has brought back the P4 model, which was originally launched in the mid 90s. Nuno Bettencourt was all about this model on his Schizophonic solo album, and with good reason: it’s one of the few sorta-Les-Paul-inspired guitars that really has its own thing going on. Built in the USA Custom Shop, the P4 has a solid mahogany body with a carved, bound maple top, and a mahogany neck with a bound ebony fingerboard and pearl teardrop inlays. Hardware includes a chrome TonePros tune-o-matic style bridge with Schaller fine tuning tailpiece, premium Grover 18:1 chrome tuners, Seymour Duncan ’59 humbuckers with one volume and one tone control, and the The Buzz Feiten Tuning System. It’s available in Tiffany Blue and Silver Sparkle.
Dean unveiled the Dave Mustaine Double Neck Diadem, based on a model he played during the Big Four shows a few years ago. It features 12 and 6-string necks, with Mustaine’s signature Seymour Duncan LW-MUST Livewires active pickups. But the distinguishing feature – apart from those two necks and the ‘Flying W’ shape – is the artwork inspired by the Book of Revelations. The guitar also marks Dave’s renewal of his contract with Dean. “I’ve been with Dean for several years, and ESP before then, and Jackson before then,” Mustaine said. “For a lot of guitarists, our career is based on our tools, and I’m very picky about the guitars that I play. I don’t know any guitar player worth his salt that isn’t picky. And when I went do Dean I found that the guitars are very responsive, and one of the most important things is the attention to detail, and also the relationship with me as an artist. In the previous relationships I was with, the guitars were good but the relationships were sour, and with Dean they took care of me as an artist, they took care of the guitars, and they also knew what the public would like. For me I’m flattered to be considered an icon but I’m just a guitar player. This guitar, the artwork is from the Book of Revelations – it’s like the final war – but it was just an image. The guitar plays like a mother… I won’t say it, but it plays great. The 12-string sounds just as good as the six-string does.”
Schecter has returned to their roots by offering a USA Custom Shop and a USA Production line – and to illustrate the point they had a few Prince ‘Love Symbol’ guitars scattered around the Anaheim Convention Center. They’ll build you pretty much anything, including classic Schecter-style Strat-like and Tele-like guitars, or crazy wild things like a 6/7-string double neck. Schecter also debuted a signature C-1 EX guitar for Type O Negative’s Kenny Hickey featuring a Seymour Duncan JB humbucker and a Sustainiac sustainer.