Jul 22, 2012

Nashville’s Summer NAMM is not the “beast” of a convention its wintry LA sister is, but it’s still a great opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their latest products. Of course we were mostly interested in guitar related gear, and we weren’t one bit disappointed.

<img src=”http://www.samash.com/wcsstore/root/Items/IP_E/ETONETATT_ip.jpg” alt=”” width=”250″ height=”250″ align=”left” />Electro-Harmonix lately has been on fire, with an average of a new pedal released per month! Two of these new pedals, the <a href=”http://www.ehx.com/products/tone-tattoo”>Tone Tattoo</a> and the <a href=”http://www.ehx.com/products/crying-tone”>Crying Tone Wah</a>, are pushing the NYC based company in unusual directions. The Tone Tattoo is an analog multi-effect (a first of EHX) featuring 3 exhistin pedals circuits in one: Metal Muff distortion, Neo Clone Chorus, and Memory Toy analog delay.

The other new EHX entry, the <a href=”http://www.ehx.com/products/crying-tone”>Crying Tone Wah</a>, could be remembered as the guitar pedal that changed the rules of the game in the “wah/volume” style stomp boxes. Rather than being hinged to a bottom platform, this pedal rolls directly on the floor, which solves many problems related to fluidity and maintenance. The tone you ask? Beautiful, check out the video below.

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Danish manufacturer T-Rex has also been very active in recent months, and presented 4 new pedals in Nashville: <a href=”http://t-rex-effects.com/products/spindoctor-2-distortion-overdrive.aspx”>Spindoctor 2</a> (a complex a tube-driven preamp stomp box with 4 programmable channels blending a tube with digital circuit – see video below), the <a href=”http://t-rex-effects.com/products/tapster.aspx”>Tapster</a> (an improved version of their tremolo pedal featuring tap tempo function), the <a href=”http://t-rex-effects.com/products/duck-tail.aspx”>Duck Tail</a> (a delay featuring an expressive gate and tape tempo), and <a href=”http://t-rex-effects.com/products/roommate-junior.aspx”>Roommate Jr</a> (a valve-less version of the company highly regarded Roommate reverb).

<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”425″ height=”239″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”src” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Pme45TXfdNA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0″ /><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”425″ height=”239″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Pme45TXfdNA?version=3&amp;hl=en_US&amp;rel=0″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed></object>

Since we are in Denmark, we’ll take the opportunity to see what TC-Electronic had to offer. Not much if anything for guitarists (although we’ll soon have a review of their latest Tone Print stomp box <a href=”http://www.tcelectronic.com/spark-booster.asp”>Spark Booster</a>). Very interesting news for bass players though, thanks to what could very well be the smallest bass head released to date, i.e. the <a href=”http://www.tcelectronic.com/bh250.asp”>BH250</a> (pictured), which packs 250 Watts in just 1/2 rack – and TC Tone Print versatility, which allows to upload and store patches through any iPhone or iPod touch.
<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”aligncenter” src=”http://www.tcelectronic.com/media/bh250-front-thumb.png” alt=”” width=”384″ height=”150″ /></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Speaking about amps, Roland came out with something different, which may pave the way to the future of guitar amps. Although most guitarists in search of a sweet tone are still looking at analog gear, Roland – in line with its recent tradition of embracing digital – showcased their new guitar amps: the GA-212 and <a href=”http://www.rolandus.com/products/productdetails.php?ProductId=1218&amp;ParentId=57″>GA-112</a> (pictured below), feature a so-called “Progressive Amp Model” which basically means a digital, non emulation based core that allows control over 4 virtual amp channels, rather than the usual 2 provided by traditional amps. Considering the affordable price and the punch they pack, these might become winners for live guitarists.</p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><img class=”alignnone” src=”http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/shop_image/product/roland-ga-112-guitar-amplifier-combo-large.jpg” alt=”” width=”425″ /></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Going back to our beloved stomp boxes, quirky Minneapolis manufacturer Z-Vex surprised us once again with the <a href=”http://zvex.com/zvex_pr.html”>Sonar</a>, a fully analog tremolo/distortion that pulls off effects (like accelerating and decelerating oscillation) we though only digital devices could (see video below).</p>
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Z-Vex also released Double Rock (a pedal originally designed for Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, featuring 2 Box of Rock pedals in one, with separate switched) and the Loop Gate, which does what its name says.

NAMM was also a great opportunity to meet a lot of manufacturers we weren’t too familiar with, and we were really impressed with products by <a href=”http://amptweaker.com”>Amptweaker</a>, <a href=”http://www.benadoeffects.com/”>Benado</a>, <a href=”http://www.bigjoestompboxcompany.com/”>Big Joe</a>, <a href=”http://www.celestialeffects.com/”>Celestial</a>, <a href=”http://cusackmusic.com/”>Cusak</a>, <a href=”http://www.earthquakerdevices.com/”>EarthQuaker Devices</a>, <a href=”http://www.empresseffects.com/”>Empress</a>, <a href=”http://www.levana.co.il/products?page=shop.browse&amp;category_id=7&amp;vmcchk=1″>Levana</a>, <a href=”http://www.modtone-effects.com/”>ModTone</a>, <a href=”pigtronix.com”>Pigtropnix</a>, <a href=”http://www.vfepedals.com/”>VFE</a>, <a href=”http://www.voodoolab.com/”>Voodoo Lab</a>,  <a href=”http://www.wamplerpedals.com/”>Wampler</a> and many more – check them out!

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