The NAMM Show is a trade-show featuring the latest in musical equipment. Short for National Association of Music Merchants, the show’s products and exhibitors are a good barometer of the current state of music. This year, there was a bevy of hardware and production software that cater to the bedroom musician.Production software, various MIDI controllers and sequencers were ubiquitous across the showroom floor.
For instance, this Lineage guitar is a MIDI controller shaped like a guitar. The notes of the guitar can be replaced with different “voices” to make it sound like drums or even a brass section. Because I’ve been playing guitar for more than 10 years and never learned how to play a proper set of keys, this controller to me would be a solid option for music production.
YRG-1000 MIDI Guitar on the left, Lineage Midi Guitar on the right
The Lineage Guitar (pictured above) features an LCD Touch Screen allowing you to further customize the voice of your instrument. We even saw a MIDI saxophone – I don’t know how to play saxophone, nor did I want to use a mouthpiece with someone else’s slobber on it.
MIDI Saxophone by Softwind Instruments
Pioneer’s booth featured the latest DJ hardware including turn tables with LCD screens to properly mix the track. A glass case displayed their evolution from vinyl platters to CDJs to virtual turn tables with a control platter. Their latest XDJ-RX turntable incorporates a bright LCD screen to display the waveforms and cue points. The tables are solid enough to perform with yet compact enough to fit in the corner of your bedroom. Because it was designed with Rekordbox in mind, this set does not need a laptop or CDs; it can read music files from a USB drive or any smartphone with the Rekordbox app.
Pioneer debuted their XDJ-RX at NAMM 2015
Pioneer showcased the evolution of their turntables starting from the world’s first compact disc DJ controller, the CDJ-500.
For NAMM 2015, Pioneer brought back their Art Mix program, which brings together DJs, artists and lifestyle brands to create original works of art. First started in 2013, the first art pieces were eventually auctioned off and the proceeds were donated to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation to fund music education programs in public schools.
Fender had an amazing custom shop display. These guitars are playable pieces of art.
Cardinal Esquire by Yuriy Shishkov
Tree Siren Stratocaster by Dave Wilson
They even had artist David Lozeau painting live!
Gibson had a whole display of guitars with the new G Force automatic tuning mechanism. No longer do you need a separate tuner – simply push the button and then strum the guitar. The G Force uses sensors to detect the vibrations of the strings and incorporates small motors in each tuning peg to correct the pitch. Although it tunes to the standard E tuning, it can be programmed with up to 36 different tuning presets.
Aside from the “professional” musician gear, there was plenty of instruments aimed at beginners and tinkerers. The 3-string Loog uses the top 3 strings of a guitar, lowering the intimidation factor of a regular six-string guitar. This little guitar is a great introduction to playing music. The kit comes in pieces, but only takes 15 minutes to assemble. According to the Loog website, they believe building your own guitar will create a deep connection with the instrument.
The basement of Hall E featured the independent inventors and had a bevy of curious equipment.
Below, the multi-colored tubes are actually tuned to a pitch. With enough of them, you can create your own song or percussive symphony.
The SlapStick by Slaperoo is an instrument that fuses a thin metal sheet to a rod creating a tuned percussive instrument. The sound it produces mimics a slap bass. Using two hands to play the SlapStick, a player can actually create a thumping bass groove. There is a single tuning peg at the top allowing you to change the key of the stick.
This slanted fretboard is supposed to increase the playability and allow the musician to reach the smaller frets more easily.
The pedals by Ogre were hands down the most eye-catching pedal boxes at the show. The “horns” at the top of the Thunderclap Pedal are actually knobs that control the level, gain and distortion.
Some of the most interesting exhibits at NAMM were retrospectives such as the Moog modular synth display.
and an interesting re-creation of a classic recording studio:
You never know who you’ll see at NAMM…