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Acoustic Guitar at NAMM -- Saturday, January 16th

OK, so it's still early, but I have a few minutes of free time before meeting Acoustic Guitar contributor Gary Joyner for breakfast. As Doug Young mentioned, a great time was had at our 20th anniversary party last night. The music was great (especially when Senior Editor Scott Nygaard sat in with the band for a few tunes!), and I was reminded about what a great bunch of people the guitar "industry" consists of. What other field could you find competitor such as Larry Fishman, Lloyd Baggs, and Even Skopp (of D-Tar) sharing drinks and laughs at a table?
I also had a great time catching up with AG contributors (including Mitch Gallagher and Michael Millham), artist (Martin Simpson, Tony McManus, Ed Gerhard, Richard Gillewitz, Alex de Grassi, Thomas Leeb...), and guitar makers (Chris Martin, Bob Taylor, Dana Bourgeous, George Lowden, and others). We'll have some photos to post soon, but for now, I'm just about off to head back to the show floor more more NAMM action!

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Comment by Charles Saufley on January 17, 2010 at 10:35am
Saturday at Winter NAMM is typically controlled mayhem—a feast of sights and sounds. This year was no different. And in addition to spending quality time with a ton of new products, there were some great—and most unexpected—performances to check out as well.

I went back to the LPD booth to spend some more time playing the new Larson Brothers offerings including the lovely Czech-built, slot-head Maurer model you see here.

The French Tramontane Lag guitars I mentioned yesterday were on display in impressive numbers. The instruments you see here represent only about a third of the models Lag had at their display.

Lag also proudly displayed a most unusual nylon/steel string double neck custom built for Jean Felix Lalanne.

Lots of fun at the Fender Acoustic booth. Here, the King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale discusses the virtues of his new signature acoustic, which features a slim, three-inch body (that "keeps the charlie horses to a minimum" in the King's own words) and a very cool Candy Apple Red finish.

Remember Fender's Wildwood dye-infused guitars from the 60's? They're back, here on a Sonoran cutaway.

NAMM always offers up the unexpected. Then, just when you think you've seen everything, Ted Nugent turns up to tear it up on Taylor's stage.

And on the other side of the performance spectrum, a lovely turn from Acoustic Guitar's good friend Ed Gerhard at the Breedlove booth.

There's many more images and impressions to come. Stay tuned!
Comment by Doug Young on January 17, 2010 at 12:19am
There’s so much going on at NAMM that it’s really hard to see the trees for the forest – there’s so much gear that you end up walking right past things without seeing them. But here are a few more items that caught my eye today, and I also tried to check out some of the things the others found.

There were several new looper devices. Digitech has updated their JamMan looper, splitting it into two pedals. The JamMan Solo is said to offer all the functionality of the previous dual-pedal JamMan in a smaller, single pedal package, while the new JamMan Stereo is a larger package that offers more accessible controls, and stereo recording.

Looperlative has made a no-holds-barred rack mounted multi track looper for several years, and has now introduced the less expensive LP2 Mini-Looper for those with less exotic needs.

The BagAmp was introduced at last summer’s NAMM, but this was the first time I got a look at it. The amp is surprisingly small and very lightweight.

Oktava mics, a popular choice for recording on a budget had a number of intriguing new mics, based on the same capsule as the MK -012 pencil condenser. One that caught my eye was this angled mic, combined with a novel shock mount. The mics can be inserted in several ways and rotated to allow traditional X/Y configurations in a single shock mount, or moved around to provide a wider pattern, as seen here.

Audio Technica was showing a new mic, the AT4050ST, a stereo mic that can output a 90 degree or 127 degree image, or Mid-Side (M/S), just by flipping a switch.

Martin showed some unusual custom guitars. Here’s a “Grand J” Baritone, with an asymetrical sound hole and some unusual fretmarkers.

And right beside it was a Grand J Double neck, combining a 6 and 12 string.

Martin was also showing the new OMC LJ Pro, the newest in the line of Laurence Juber OMs, in Maple and Adirondack spruce.

I stopped by L.R. Baggs’ booth to check out the new Anthem pickup, and got to watch Loyd Baggs giving a demo of the pickup to George Lowden.

Kenny Hill, of Hill Guitars, shows a guitar he built for NAMM, from a new “Players” line, in the $5000 price range.

I dropped by Godin Guitars, to check out a new Multiac Midi guitar with USB output (no MIDI convertion box required) that Teja had noticed, and was distracted by this 12 string nylon fretless guitar. I don’t know if this is a new model, but it was certainly new to me, and on a brief test drive, certainly produced some different sounds!

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