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Winter NAMM 2012

The Mustang Floor multi-effects unit for guitar we featured earlier this month is a good first effort from Fender, but Japanese digital tone-manipulation veteran Zoom is about to really show how it's done with the introduction of the G5. The company's most advanced guitar FX unit to date, the Zoom G5 Guitar Effects and Amp Simulator Pedal - to use its full name - features hundreds of stompbox and DSP effects, tube drive boost, looping and recording, and an onboard drum machine. Read More
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
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
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
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
The never-ending quest for killer effects pedals is an expensive and time-consuming passion that most electric guitar players will have to endure for much of their playing careers (unless you're lucky enough to hit on the perfect setup early on, of course). Effects veteran DigiTech has developed a stompbox that could well put that quest to bed. The iStomp effects pedal effectively starts life as a blank canvas onto which the user paints a wall of sound in the shape of a downloadable effect. Just like any other stompbox, the new pedal allows for fine adjustment of tone with parameter knobs, but if you fancy a brand new flavor of distortion or a completely different reverb to the one which is resident on the pedal, you can just buy the effect from DigiTech's online store and download it onto the iStomp via your iOS device. Read More
Roland and Fender have joined forces to create a guitar called the G-5, that fuses a traditional Stratocaster body shape with cutting edge digital music technology. Set to hit the shelves a few months before either of the Auto-Tune guitars from Peavey and Parker, the VG Strat G-5 offers similar alternate tuning at the turn of a knob, a host of onboard digital guitar emulations and the chance to dial in different pickup and signature guitar sounds, too. Read More
Apps that transform an iOS device into a portable DJ system (such as Algoriddim's djay app) have been around for a good while now, but the restricted screen space on small devices can lead to somewhat limited mixing functionality. Budding party disc jockeys can get more control from physical deck emulators like Numark's iDJ Live, but those with an appetite for real-time mixing of music stored on more than one device have now been catered for with the upcoming release of the iRig MIX from IK Multimedia. This compact mobile mixer can auto match the tempo from any type of audio source with the tunes on a connected iOS device, features an extra input for an instrument or microphone, and comes with four free music apps. Read More
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
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
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