If you’re a gearhead… this is for you!

NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) is where all the new music gear is announced for the year. It’s pretty chaotic, but it’s pretty fun too (in small doses.)

But if you couldn’t make it, I took some photos of some upcoming stuff you might enjoy:


Gibson wasn’t there this year, which was odd, and I wasn’t able to make it over to Fender (they were on another floor and I just didn’t make it up there,) but some of the smaller builders have some beautiful instruments:

Suhr Guitars has a new single cutaway coming (AKA, an LP style guitar.)

For Tyler Guitars, it's the 25th Anniversary of their classic "Burning Water" guitar.


Again, some notable absences (Mesa Boogie, Marshall had very little there) but one my personal favorites, Two Rock, had some beautiful new amps

The new Two Rock Bloomfield comes in some sweet new finishes


As you may know, I use a Kemper Profiling Amp quite a bit for live work and studio work. While they don't have anything new this year. I'm not sure what they might make new... it's a box

Kemper Profiling Amp

Looks like a new update from Scuffham Amps as well. If I have to use a plugin, this is the one I use

Scuffham Amps S-Gear plugin for your DAW


It really seems to be all about the pedal builders this year - LOTS of cool stuff coming your way (and I didn't get photos of nearly all of what I saw)

The JHS Bonsai is 9 Tube Screamers in one box!

Catalinbread has a lot of great vintage inspired pedals with more on the way

Henretta has cool little "cube" pedals. For set-and-forget stuff they're nice and compact.

I REALLY dug the tones out of these J Rockett pedals. The 45 caliber in particular.

Vemuram makes some incredible pedals from Japan.

Of course, there's a lot more... but you get the idea. This is not place to try and listen to anything - it's way too loud in the event halls (and you're not supposed to turn things up) but it's cool to see what's on the horizon, and it's a great time to be a guitar player!


    44 replies to "NAMM 2018"

    • Michael Chappell

      Thanks Griff for sharing these Pics..helps us to dream a bit. I get more fun at checking out gear in Music Shops and trying out new Guitars and AMPs just to keep dreaming and learning through BGU.

      Michael-Sydney-Australia 30 Jan 2018

    • Joe

      Love to have went myself, thinking of investing in that Bonsai Pedal,9 pedals in one,awesome! Thanks Griff for sharing those photos.Have a great week!

    • E Clifton Torrence

      Thanks for the pics, Griff
      Did you get to hear the new Vemuram Josh Smith pedal?
      It’s something new and actually different.

    • Jack

      Oh no, not a Suhr Les Paul. A friend of mine has their Strat and loves it, and I love Les Pauls…oh dear this is going to be expensive… 🙂

    • Peter Bas

      As I recall Sat is the day for the ‘unwashed masses’ to get to slobber over the ‘goods’! And to respond to above comment – no dollars change hands, it’s strictly “call ur local dealer if you want one’, plus if my recollection serves, it’s also hard to get retail prices except ballpark. Mosy of the reps can tell you wholesale chapter and verse and expected delivery dates but get ‘a little vague’ when pushed about retail or street prices. But man, noise or not, it’s like dying and going to heaven. And it is all instruments, sheet music, you name it, if it’s for sale you can can touchit, smell it, and ocassionally play it! Plus, lest we forget IT’S AT DISNEYLAND or across the street anyway. It’s been years but I was there as a publishers/manufacturer rep – man, I do miss SoCal. Best to all from Tx

    • BrianR

      Hi Griff, I would be interested in a review of the Universal Audio OX.

    • Paul Fulkerson

      I liked the YouTube video of the Rocket 45 Caliber as well. It actually appears to be a very clean overdrive. Nice color. For comparison purposes, what did you think of the J Rocket Archer Ikon? That one is also a clean OD.

    • Monty

      I do not like where Fender is going with their line of guitars this year. I guess I’m more of a traditionalist.

    • Harry S.

      Don’t be so down if you can’t attend NAMM. Sweetwater has a GREAT show in June,I believe (check it out at sweetwater.com) with all the great and new gear you can shake a stick at. And it’s also free to attend with free camping if you wish, and free parking. Great great people out there also. Even the owner has a meet and greet session at the front door of the place. I’ve been there the past 2 years and plan on going this year also. Can’t say enough about it.

    • Denny Mac

      The Suhr Les Paul is interesting. Short scale of the Les Paul is nice but weight and balance of the Gibson Les Paul is more challenging for us older players.

    • Thomas Blevins

      My $.02….To play the blues, one only needs a good guitar and if playing electric, a good amp. As far as any pedals, a tuner and a looper will be sufficient. Beyond that, one is just deviating from the pure essence of that wonderful sound of the blues. After all, isn’t the blues down to earth…think about it…

      • Denny Mac

        You make a fair point.Suggest however you may wish to consider an overdrive pedal subject to how much gain your amp puts out.

    • Chris Jackson

      Kemper Profiler, to many buttons and knobs. Don’t think I could afford the three week course at NASSA to learn how to operate it.

      • Griff

        It’s surprisingly easy to use. When all my gear got stolen a couple of years ago, this was a life saver. Since I “profile” my good amps, they stay home and this goes out on the road. When it was stolen, I just loaded the sounds into a new unit (which costs less than most any ONE of my tube amps) and was off again in 15 minutes. Hard to beat that!

    • Paula Rowe

      I sometimes despair over many guitarists’ obsessions with “gear”, i.e. the latest electric guitar or amplification and pedals. They seem to forget that it should be about the MUSIC. I admit that I play exclusively acoustic guitar. I feel that a lot of players hide behind electronics and special effects, they think that they get “more bang for their bucks”(i.e. volume etc.). I believe that that blues can only truly be played acoustically, and volume, in my opinion, only detracts from a performance. I have walked out on many a concert purely as a result of the volume. Yes, I admit I am now an “oldie” at 67, but I felt the same way when I was in my 20’s! So, don’t
      waste time looking at and comparing wattage and wah-wah and get down to REAL guitar playing.

      • Warner Swarner

        So true, and I’m a drummer. Yes, some hearing loss after 70 years of amplification. Hate drummers (or public) that only think loud and fast is cool. Some electronics is ok, but blues originate from acoustic sounds. Distortion originated from pushing small cheap tube amps beyond capacity. Griff makes a nice effort to blend (not depend on) electronics into the music. Some other online teachers crank up the delay and distortion so loud you can’t tell what octave they are in. Show us the toys, but keep playing the blues.good work, Griff.

      • Griff

        I agree that, when it becomes an obsession, it might be an issue. For me, “tone chasing” and playing are 2 different hobbies that don’t compete, but complement one another. In many cases the amps are competing, not to be bigger and louder, but to sound and feel better at lower volumes, so I don’t think it’s a volume thing.

        In the end, the tools are there to get the sound you want to hear. I need a tuner to stay in tune, and I love the sound of a vintage tweed twin dimed – but I can’t play that anywhere so I have to do the best job I can of re-creating that tone within reasonable parameters.

        I guess it’s that last 2% – that’s the part I’m always looking to obtain it seems.

        • Bob

          Chasing tone is a seperate hobby and most great players have great tone. It’s taken me a long time to develop the ear to know the difference. Try an early 70s Princeton you might get close to that tweed sound at a lower volume

        • Andy

          Sometimes new gear, guitar or a pedal or just a sweet amp tone can give you that inpiration or sweet sauce to come up with something, you know that freling when you think that tone is bitchin’ and you want to play cos it makes you smile

      • Sean Drummond

        @Paula Rowe: I agree that playing music is the point of it all. At the same time I do think we should all feel free to make our own choices, no matter who you think you are, or how old you may be, or what you think about any subject at all under the sun. Your stated belief that the blues can only truly be played acoustically is laughable. Electric-guitar blues players Howlin’ Wolf, the three Kings (Albert, Freddie, and B.B.), and Slim Harpo, (just to name some legendary ones), are all now somehow not true blues artists just because you say ”acoustic only?” Please don’t suggest your age somehow qualifies such bias, I’m your age, 66, and I could not disagree with you more or more strenuously that exploring what is available in the marketplace to identify a particular sound you want is a waste of time. That’s like telling an artist to put away the paints and use charcoal only, just because YOU say so and you’re a whopping 67-years old and must be obeyed. I suggest what IS a huge waste of time: telling people what instruments they should and shouldn’t use based upon your personal bias. Or are you just trying to stir up trouble and derail discussion here with an absurd statement? I wonder.

        • Paula Rowe

          Mr Drummond, Re. your reply on my comments – I was playing “devil’s advocate” somewhat in expressing my views on acoustic v electric playing. I just wanted to point out that most electric players seem to be more keen talking about gadgets than talking music. I do appreciate that it’s a matter of choice whether one plays acoustic or electric, but I feel that”toys” can become too much of an issue. I can enjoy the old boys playing electric, but still prefer the basic sound of acoustic players such as Broonzy,McTell,the early Snooks Eaglin’,Gary Davis etc. Sorry if I upset you but as long as we are making music, that’s the main thing.I’m not trying to be arrogant in any way. Peace to all.

          • Sean Drummond

            Miss Rowe: I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I agree, the music’s the thing.


    • Thomas Landon

      Thanks for all your efforts Griff. May the blessings be, Tom

    • Loyd newsom

      Really disappointed in your support system they don’t call you back they don’t take your order and if they do take your order you don’t get it really disappointed great blues player just disappointed

    • Dominick Popolillo

      Check out my good friend R;E; peddles. snarling dogs.com This guy rock,s N.J.!!!! Ken Segal. I promise ,you will sponger his equipment.

    • David

      Griff, what actually is that 9 tube screamers in a box?

      • E Clifton Torrence

        clif here david,
        it’s all 9 TSs in one box,
        it’s all 9 original circuits in that one box.
        1st one in 1978/79 to the latest one.
        it’s the screamer to end the arguments by all the 30 yr old boys
        who deign to declare which screamer was the best.
        all for only $399.00usd.

    • Bertster

      Thanx for the report from NAMM 2018

      Pardon my suggestion, but maybe your “floor time” was too limited to see all the new things. For example I counted over 40 new guitars and associated gear from Fender. Look here. Really cool!


      • Griff

        Oh, for sure I didn’t have nearly enough time. There’s was much I did not see.

      • Lexi

        Yeah, and not to mention Eric Johnson’s new semi-hollow Fender Strat that’s coming out. He was there and was showing the colors that it was coming out in!
        I plan to get me one!

    • Graham L

      I’m not surprised Gibson wasn’t there. They’re probably too ashamed to show their faces in view of their technical quality control having gone down the tubes. It’s quite disgusting that a brand with a fantastic reputation and history – guitars that have been used by the likes of Chet Atkins and Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, the Edge, Gary Moore, Johnny Winter, T-Bone Walker – could allow things to go so wrong. Somebody is responsible for this catastrophe! Presumably heads should roll! I mean, wow, what a list of names, and I haven’t even included them all! It’s like being given the right to continue looking after Batman or James Bond or something, it’s a cultural responsibility, not just a way of selling wood and strings to suckers!! Get your act together, Gibson, you’ve gone wrong Big Time, and it can take a long time to claw back loyalty and reputation.

      • Steve

        and you didn’t mention their (gibson)insane prices. so not worth it.

      • Paul Wilson- white from England

        I agree.
        I blame the CEO as if I’m not mistaken,he is the one who’s in to technology and belives that’s the way to go.
        His idea with those self tuning guitars.
        I mean it’s great to move with the times,but you have to keep a core line that is perfect every time.
        I’m afraid they have failed they can not even make a nice case anymore,this years cases are a little better.
        As for the cultural thing I Agree.
        I’m British and live in the uk and I belive Gibson is an American made guitar which grew with the country over many years.
        To us brits Gibson is a legend an American icon.
        But I belive epiphone is an American icon and should be made in America aswell both have great historical value to America,the British guys played American epiphones and I own a USA made epiphone and they are fine quality.

        • Michael Chappell

          Hi Paul, Well said. I have two great Epiphones, A) Dot 335 B) EJ200sce Acoustic Electric. Great value.

    • John Waldon

      For you, Griff, it’s like me living so close to Toronto and the Toronto Boat Show. They’ve got some beautiful things there.

    • kim

      I have to find a reason for my company to send me on a business trip to that area in January.

    • Donald Donohoo

      Looks like a great place to leave alot of money đź’°!lol I can see where you could say l want one of them,two of them ect…
      Looks like y’all are having alot of fun!🤪

    • John Waldon

      Wish I could collect guitars. I can’t play, but there are so many great looking guitars in your pictures. Plus great accessories

      • Steve

        John, with the stuff Griff has available there is every reason to purchase one of those guitars and get started on the road to playing a guitar. Just follow Griff..he will get you there if you have the desire. You must have an interest if you are looking..right?

      • Jeffrey D. Hubbard

        you’re in the right place to take lessons

    • Phil Bate

      You’re sooooooo lucky to have all that on your doorstep. Green with envy particularly after viewing some of Mike Rollett’s video uploads on FB.

    • Fred Palmeroni

      Is this open to the public

      • Griff

        It is not, you have to be a NAMM member to attend. It is designed to connect manufacturers with distributors and retail stores.

    • AdamQ

      Looks like a great day out, thanks for sharing the pics Griff.

Leave a Reply to Monty Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.