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Acoustic Guitar at NAMM -- Friday, January 15th

It’s Day Two here at NAMM, and I just have a few minutes to report before heading to Acoustic Guitar’s 20th Anniversary Party. We’ll get into more details a bit later, but it was a fun day that started with a demo of Fishman’s latest Aura pedal, and ended with a quick glance at Takamine’s new fingerstyle guitar that Scott blogged about yesterday. In-between, I has a lot of fun playing Lowden’s Pierre Bensusan model, checking out Fabio Ragghianti’s Radical Classical model with fanned frets, armrest, lattice bracing, and a soundport, enjoyed a limited edition Guild D-50 with koa back and sides, and got a demo of Taylor’s new Eight String by Bob Taylor himself. Of course there was much more to hear and see, and again, we’ll post more later. “We” is also going to include Acoustic Guitar’s contributing editor Doug Young and former associate editor (and current freelance contributor) Charles Saufley, so stay tuned for much more from Winter NAMM 2010!

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Comment by Rob Reinking on January 27, 2010 at 3:39pm
Hey gang, you guys are there, get your cameras and show us some You Tube links latest and greatest in acoustic guitars etc
Comment by Mark Hanson on January 23, 2010 at 8:07pm
NAMM is always a delightful din. There are great guitars to play (even if you can't hear them particularly well in the noise!), cool new inventions, and lots of old and new friends to greet. Many of the greatest acoustic guitar players on the planet attended the AG magazine party Friday evening: Laurence Juber, Ed Gerhard, Martin Simpson, Tony McManus and Steve James, to name a few. Dick Boak and Richard Johnston of Martin book fame were there, too. Thanks to String Letter publisher David Lusterman for a great evening!
Comment by Doug Young on January 16, 2010 at 1:43am
I just got back from Acoustic Guitar’s 20 Anniversary party, and being well entertained by the Watkins Family Hour, and will try to recall some highlights of a busy day at NAMM.

The economy may be slow, but NAMM remained packed, as you can see from the crowd in the aisle in front of the Acoustic Guitar booth.

The first products that caught my eye were several cool new guitar tuners.

N-Tune tuners was showing a pre-production acoustic tuner that fits unobtrusively inside the sound hole. The unit is self-contained, using a small watch-type battery.

Rod Shenk was showing two tuners. The first is a matchbox-sized tuner that fits inside the guitar. The battery is self-contained, with just a small on-off switch that runs to a position at the top of the sound hole. This tuner is available for any acoustic guitar.

The second tuner is available only on Shenk guitars, (for obvious reasons!), and consists of led lights in the fret markers on the side of the fretboard!

Finally, TC Electronic was showing a new floor tuner that looks like a typical stomp box, but allows you tune all strings on the guitar by simply strumming the open strings. A six-point display shows each string’s relative intonation. The tuner can also respond to single strings like a normal chromatic tuner.
Comment by Doug Young on January 16, 2010 at 1:14am
Small digital recorders seemed to be everywhere. One interesting new device from Tascam is the DR-2, which records at 24 bits, 96Khz, and records in a dual mode, with one recording at the set volume, and another copy at a lower volume, with the idea being that if one track unexpectedly overdrives, the other track will be available as a safety.

You could probably spend all day at NAMM just listening to performances in different booths, and spotting well-known performers. Here’s just a few I caught on camera. Thomas Leeb played an impressive set in the Lowden booth. You can see the Pierre Bensusan Lowden Teja commented on at the far right.

Bob Brozeman was performing in the National booth.

I found Mark Hanson hanging out in the Collings booth.

Comment by Doug Young on January 16, 2010 at 1:02am
Besides the larger manufacturers, there were some small companies showing some new ideas. A company named Sideman-Charts showed a PC program that allows you to scan or enter a chord chart – even hand-written, and an mp3 of a backing track and synchronize them, so that the chart scrolls to the right position as the backing track plays.

MusicianLink showed JamLink, a hardware interface to the internet that allows real-time jamming between musicians. They had a drummer and a guitarist at the show playing in real time with a keyboard player who was 500 miles away. The box costs $149 or $199 for 2. The video is via skype, which isn't quite in sync, but the audio frm JamLink appeared to be in sync very well.

Philomuse showed an intriguing way to brush up on your music theory, a game that resembles Scrabble, except that the playing pieces are musical notes. The goal is to construct scales horizontally, and chords vertically. Fun for the whole family!

Comment by Doug Young on January 16, 2010 at 12:58am
Reunion Blues was showing their new RB Continental gig bag, which uses synthetic material instead of leather, with a greatly reduced price. It was fun to watch their videos of guitars in the gig bag being tossed from the second story, while remaining undamaged.

Comment by Charles Saufley on January 15, 2010 at 11:45pm
Greetings from Anaheim! LOTS to see and play here on day two of NAMM 2010.

LPD Music, perhaps best know for distributing the Danelectro and Italia electric brands, has resurrected the pioneering Larson Brothers brand for a line of guitars that includes a Dreadnought, OM, and an interpretation of the original Larson Brothers' Maurer model. The latter will be built in the Czech Republic using Alpine Spruce tops and Indian Rosewood backs and sides. The French brand LAG, will also showcased a full line of acoustics—from no-frills dreads to well-appointed jumbo 12 strings that are likely to range in price from $200 to $700. While legendary German builder Hofner (perhaps most famous for Paul McCartney's famed fiddle bass) introduced a cedar- and spruce-topped classical.

Fender introduced a chambered body Telecaster for the acoustic set in the form of the Acoustisonic Tele, which uses Fishman Aura imaging technology (and a cool rosewood bridge) to deliver
authentic acoustic tones along with classic Fender electric sounds. Simon and Patrick delivered another of the show's really fun new products in the form of their attractive, affordable, and high-quality Woodland Pro Parlor—a little spruce and mahogany six string with a ton of kick and tone. There's a whole lot more to report. Stay tuned for updates on new affordable offerings from Recording King and Norman, great recording gadgets from Tascam and Korg, and much, MUCH more.

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