By Bradley Weinholtz
The first day at NAMM offers an exciting chance to ogle a mind-boggling array of the latest and greatest gear from all the top manufacturers. The biggest challenge is strategizing how to navigate the 800,000 square feet and take in over 1,600 exhibits in just 37 hours. What to see first? I feel like a kid in the world’s largest candy store with an unlimited gift card in my back pocket!
With my show directory in hand and copious notes from my colleagues and musician friends, I set my course to report on the some of the hottest new gear introductions for 2014.
My first stop was to check out the Fender 60th Anniversary 1954 Stratocaster 2-Tone Sunburst. The guitar was being demonstrated and sounded amazing. But because I was on a reconnoitering mission to see as much as humanly possible on the first day, I opted to come back later for a test drive of this extraordinary guitar.
Next up was Gretsch Drums where I scoped out the new Signature Series Steve Ferrone Snare Drum and the tasty Catalina Maple 6-Piece Shell Pack with Free 8" Tom finished in a classy Aqua Sparkle.
Next to Gretsch was the Latin Percussion display. LP is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a great assortment of limited-edition gear. I always believe you need more cowbell, and their 50th Anniversary Black Beauty looks like just the ticket for rockin’ out on “Mississippi Queen.”
Gibson was my next stop where I checked out the new Gibson Acoustic Electric J Series. The introduction of the very cool Min-ETune auto tuning system on the Gibson J-45 Acoustic-Electric Guitar in Vintage Sunburst is a fitting upgrade to this iconic guitar.
The new J-45 sounds crisp and clear and is stage-ready with its onboard pickup as demoed in this NAMM 2014 video powered by Harmony Central.
At Yamaha’s exhibit I played their new TRBX3 and TRBX5 electric basses. They’ve got all the craftsmanship and quality you would expect from Yamaha, play well, and have plenty of tone choices. The pricing makes them a great value.
Stay tuned for more new gear debuts, NAMM 2014 videos, and news every day through Sunday—right here.
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