Summer NAMM is 6 months and a few thousand miles away from Winter NAMM. More importantly is the scale size and attitude. Winter NAMM is insane, it is not possible to see everything; Summer NAMM allows you to not only see everything but spend time talking to the Sales Reps, Managers and even Owners of the company.
Conspicuously absent from the Winter NAMM was Gibson. Throw in bankruptcy and Gibson’s announcement that they would close the Memphis plant it was not clear that they would continue to be a company let alone a force in the music industry. Back is what Gibson is, and by the looks of the people crowding the booth they are not dead yet. Gibson stated they would be scaling back the line going with their tried and true products. No more funky X, M2, Zero or Futura, simply the good stuff and none of the products that no one wants.
Fender the other “American” electric manufacture was there presenting their new Fender Player line of guitars. The most significant change between the Player and Standard lines is the body routing. The Fender Player body routing is the same as the American line up. Potentiometers and Switches are according to Fender the same on the Player as the American line up. It looks as if the Fender Standard line will hang around a bit before being completely discontinued, perhaps to let the remaining stock to be sold off.
G&L is really pumping out some great guitars, specifically the Tribute line is something to be looking at. These are professional line guitars at a very reasonable price. The Tribute feature’s the exact same body (made in a different county though), and electronics as the main American Line. The big change between these line are the country of manufacture and the neck radius. The American line can be ordered in 7.5″ 9.5″ or 12″ radius. The Tribute line neck radius is limited, The ASAT Tribute is a 9″ radius, the Comanche and Legacy is available only in a 12″ radius. G&L is currently making the best production “Fender” available. Though Fret King and Vintage are barking at their door.
Fret king and Vintage. These are british designed takes of the traditional Fender guitar. Personally, I like them better than anything Fender is making. From Looks to feel and sound Trev Wilkinson designed these guitars as improved upon modified Fender style guitars. At Frist glance they look like a standard Fender or G&L but then no they actually look better, they have higher grade and better looking appointments. My first thought was oh another copy. However a second glance they look better, lightly hot rodded.
On the note of Fender Copies, CNZ Audio has come up with an inexpensive line of Fender Clones that I recommend over the Squire line for a beginning guitar. CNZ Audio’s J&D line of clones are attractive, good playing, good feeling, sounding guitars. Their top of the line semi hollow Tele style guitar (this is a 1972 thin line clone) streets for just $259.00 These have ceramic pickups similar to the Squire Classic and Mexican Standard Pickups just a lot less expensive. I noticed a few local pros playing these in Nashville.
certainly the hottest line of electric guitars is D’Angelico. D’Angelico started life in 1905 as a premier hand-made guitar. Made in Little Italy in New York City, at its peak in the 1930’s John D’Angelico and two assistants turned out around 35 guitars per year. D’Angelico brought on an apprentice James D’Aquisto in the early 1950’s. By the 1960s D’Angelico’s health failed and D’Aquisto took over more of the instrument production. In 1964 D’Angelico died at the age of 59. D’Aquisto purchased D’Angelico from the family. D’Angelico and D’Aquisto are the two greatest names in archtop guitars, bar none. In 2011 D’Angelico brings the D’Angelico brand back to life and has made D’Angelico the most successful “New” brand in guitars. Today D’Angelico has introduced its first solid-body collection in the brand’s 85-year history—are defined by their remarkable quality and tone. Who plays D’Angelico Bob Weir (Greatful Dead/Rat Dog), Susan Tedeschi (Tedeschi Trucks Band), Kurt Rosenwinkel Elliot Easton (The Cars), Brad Whitford (Areosmith) and an army of others endorsing their instrments.
Best Buy Professional Level Soild Body: G&L Tribute series, Dangelico Premier line, Fret King Line
Best Buy Beginner: J&D TL or JM or ST
Most Over Priced: Gibson, – (Get an ESP at half the price and you will have a much better guitar. If you want a really well built USA gutiar worth the price try a Dean USA, Heritage or Keisel gutiar)
As always get the best Amp you can afford . Your amp is 80% of your sound.