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NAMM

The iconic D'Angelico brand of guitars has been updated and relaunched

John D'Angelico is regarded by many as the greatest archtop guitar maker of all time. Prized for their smooth, mellow tone and excellent sustain, it's said that only around 1,200 instruments were made during his career in the Lower East Side of New York. This year, the first D'Angelico reissues have been selling faster than they can be made. Fueled by this success, the iconic brand is being relaunched with a new very limited edition USA Masterbuilt version of the 1942 D'Angelico Excel and three standard models.  Read More

Chord Dice songwriting and teaching tool

We uncovered lots of fantastic technology-driven innovations at NAMM recently, but as we saw with PocketStrings, not all good ideas are built around transistors. Chord Dice is another example. This clever songwriting and teaching tool dispenses with chord charts and books and hangs musical theory on the roll of the dice.  Read More

The DUBE is a specially-constructed wooden box that serves as a percussive musical instrum...

If you’re getting weary of trying to wrap your head around things like smartphones that answer questions, self-driving cars or microscopic machines, perhaps this might be more to your liking ... a wooden box. Well OK, the DUBE isn’t just a wooden box. It’s actually a percussive musical instrument, that caught our eyes and ears last week at NAMM.  Read More

Z-Stik demo at Winter NAMM 2012 (Photo: Gizmag)

Debuted at the aural Aladdin's cave that was Winter NAMM 2012, the Z-Stik is a wooden zigzag-shaped multi-use percussive instrument that its creator says "combines the most intriguing elements of a rhythm stick, a shaker, a fingertip drum, and a rain stick." The Z-Stik can be tapped and patted in various ways to achieve nice, organic-sounding percussive hits, and shaken to, well, sound like a shaker. "You can get tones from deep bass drum all the way up to bongo drums and everything in between clean or snare," says creator Greg Dahl.  Read More

Andy Graham demonstrating the SLAPEROO at NAMM

Eight years ago, California musician Andy Graham had a fateful meeting with a shipping crate. The container had a tightly-wound steel strap wrapped around it, and was slightly dented at the top, creating a small gap beneath the strap. By slapping that strap against the crate, Graham discovered that he could make all sorts of interesting noises. That experience motivated him to create the SLAPEROO, a unique musical instrument that we spied last week at NAMM 2012.  Read More

Winter NAMM 2012 photo journal

The 110th National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show wrapped up on Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. With upwards of 1400 exhibitors and a record breaking 95,709 registered attendees, the trade-only show delivered four days of the most mind-boggling array of musical hardware (and software) that you're likely to see anywhere. We've already reported on some of the outstanding innovations we encountered - and there's more to come - but in the meantime we hope this photo journal will give you a taste of the musical wonderland that is the NAMM show floor.  Read More

PocketStrings portable guitar practice tool (Photo: Gizmag)

Guitarists don't like to be parted from their guitars. Even as a rank amateur, I get a nagging itch in my fingers after a couple of axeless weeks on the road. But guitars take up a lot of space and they are expensive to haul with you on a plane, so I often find myself seeking out music shops just so I can have a noodle. It's exactly this kind of affliction that PocketStrings is designed to address. It's not an instrument and it doesn't make a sound, but this portable mock-up of the first four frets of a guitar could help you satisfy the playing itch as well as giving beginners and more experienced players a take-anywhere tool on which to practice chords and build finger strength while keeping your calluses tough.  Read More

Fender has launched its first ever multi-effects unit - the Mustang Floor

We've been treated to a number of Fender stomp boxes over the years - like the classic Fender Blender and BOSS collaborations like the '65 Deluxe Reverb - but the iconic manufacturer has never gathered all its tone tweaking know-how into one big bundle ... until now. The new Mustang Floor brings together dozens of effects, amp modeling and computer interaction into one rather attractive multi-effects unit.  Read More

Alesis has unveiled the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex - with a built-in accel...

Noted rock vocalist and bass player Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and more recently Black Country Communion) has often been quoted as saying that, for him, much of the 1980s was just a blur. It's probably just as well, or he might have had a hard time dealing with the emergence of the keytar - a strap-on keyboard that has a little neck with a number of parameter-changing buttons on it. Okay, I admit it, I'm not a great fan of the Jan Hammers and Jean-Michel Jarres of this world, but those who want to emulate these digital music innovators without digging deep for a Korg, Roland or Moog original can now rejoice with the release of the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex from Alesis.  Read More

Peavey Electronics and Parker Guitars have teamed up with Antares to launch the first elec...

The sound and feel of modern music was changed forever in the late 1990s when Antares launched its Auto-Tune pitch correction technology. As well as putting some life back into flat performances, the system was also used to great effect by the likes of Cher and T-Pain to give a unique twist to vocal tracks. The company announced its intention to bring the technology to the electric guitar in May 2011, sending shivers down the spines of purists everywhere. Now Peavey and Parker have launched the first guitars to incorporate Auto-Tune for Guitar and we've had the chance to take a closer look at the former's AT-200 in action at Winter NAMM in Anaheim. The verdict: pretty impressive.  Read More

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