NAMM 2008 was again the ultimate candy store! The three of us (Jay, Eddie and myself) spent a full three days pawing thru all the available booths leaving no stone unturned!   There were lots of new amps unveiled from quite a few major companies and boutique builders. Marshall was touting the new Randy Roads 1959 100 watter in white and it demoed it in the Marshall booth dimed out or course! I personally thought it sounded very nice but when A/B’ed to the Vintage / Modern, my son Eddie and I both thought the VM was a better sounding amp. Interestingly enough the VM half stack disappeared from the sound booth Saturday afternoon. Maybe they also thought it was too much competition for the Rhoads… The new hand wired VOX AC15 and AC30 amps are a definite improvement over the CC series which I personally don’t care for, so I was happy to hear a noticeable increase in sound quality with these. Of course time will tell if they have taught the chinese assemblers to solder properly! The new Laney Lionheart Push Push circuit amps are actually a real true class A single ended parallel output guitar amp! Unlike 99% of the so called class A amps like VOX, Matchless, Badcat and the rest of the Laney amps classified as class A which are really push pull circuits that are just biased up to class A, the Lionheart is the real deal. Kustom came out with a new amp for the high gain crowd called the Double Cross. Unfortunately Kustom did not have a demo booth so we did not get to hear it. 65 Amps came out with a new 6V6 based amp called the Monterey and it is of course another winner with a great jangle in the high end and a wonderfully smooth drive. I talked with Bob Burriss or Burriss Amps for a while and listened to his amps, all are very nice hand wired units. The little Royal Bluesman is sure to catch the eye of players looking for a lunchbox size head with verb and trem which can easily ride on top of even the smallest 1/12 cab. Brunetti issued a couple new amps including a 60 watter called the Wizard 60 using a quad of 6V6’s which was a real standout. It has a great clean channel and a very smooth drive channel. I played one the electric Breedlove guitars and it was quite impressive with one of the smoothest necks ever. It felt, played and sounded somewhere in between a Les Paul Custom and a PRS. The build quality was very impressive as one would expect from Breedlove. The other stand out guitar was a traditional Telecaster made by HAHN. The attention to detail and build is beyond excellent. You can check them out here. I’m sure Eddie will elaborate on these as he also thought it was the nicest Tele he ever played. The Mad Professor amps were a standout as usual and these have some of the smoothest drive channels on the planet. The amp that garnered LOTS of attention was this year was the Metasonix F***ing F***er. Yes, it's a real amp and I must warn you its rated X, if you’re easily offended DO NOT CLICK ON THIS PIC! We heard it last year and it can make the strangest sounds I've ever heard. The drive is so over the top you can't use it all and the builder uses tube synthesizer technology and circuitry to create envelope and filter sounds. So if you're over 18 and want to see the actual front panel and control names check it out. Word has it that there were 10 of these made and they all sold for 6000.00 a copy! We had a lot of time to talk with Jan, Tomas and Augi from JJ Electronic so it was a great trip. There will be new tubes in the near future! The sunset on the flight home was pretty nice too!
NAMM 2008
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