Winter NAMM, that time of year when we all look to Anaheim, California for the newest and best innovations in the music industry. If you recall last year’s convention, we thought we had seen it all. Telecasters that are also acoustics, a local blues hero getting their own signature guitar (shout out to East Troy, WI,) and all manner of direct assaults on my paycheck, that have been funneled back into the business (thank you, Dave.)
This isn’t a forum for me to explain why my rent check was frequently late last year. No, this article is an explanation for why my rent check may frequently be late this year. Here are some of our favorite new releases from NAMM 2020.
This year’s Winter NAMM has been all about companies innovating by looking to the past for inspiration. Gibson has certainly doubled down on their legacy with the recent launch of the Murphy Lab headed by legendary artisan Tom Murphy, Slash collection of Les Pauls and J-45s. and four new Tribute model guitars. Despite this news, our favorite announcement from the Gibson camp comes from an unlikely place.
Epiphone USA… that feels weird to say, doesn’t it? For the first time in over 50 years, Epiphone will be producing a few models here in the United States, a Casino and a Texan. There is not much information on the Casino yet, but we do know a little bit about the Texan.
The Texan will be produced in their Bozeman, Montana plant. It will be a hand scalloped “X” braced acoustic guitar, featuring a solid spruce top with mahogany back and sides. More interesting still, the guitar will feature an uncharacteristic 25.5in scale length and “Round D” neck profile. We don’t know if Epiphone will continue to produce USA models after this run of guitars, but it’s always fun to speculate wildly.
You could practice your entire life, and be unable to play riffs like Paul Gilbert… at least you can sound like him (kind of.) JHS released the Paul Gilbert signature PG-14 Distortion pedal, designed to emulate a pushed tube amp at any volume.
This video from the JHS official YouTube channel is a much more entertaining explanation of the capabilities of this pedal. Just know that this thing oozes tone.
Fender Re-Release of HM Strat
I can’t speak confidently for the staff in LaCrosse or Madison, but it is absolutely the Milwaukee shop’s favorite NAMM release. Our store manager Phil legitimately let out a loud “AWEEEEE DUUUUUUDE” when he found out about the new release.
In production from 1988-1992, the HM strat is not your typical Fender Strat. Incredibly unique features like 25.1in scale length, one of the thinnest neck carves Fender makes, and of course the iconic “Strat” headstock decal reminiscent of a fast food restaurant paper cup.
Produced in the same Japanese plant they were built in the late 80’s, these guitars come loaded with all the appointments a shredder would want in a guitar. Available in four colors; Bright White, Frozen Yellow, Flash Pink, and Ice Blue
PRS S2 McCarty 594
Let’s talk about the McCarty 594. This is one of those guitars that feels familiar, but completely unique. It shares its DNA with some of the most storied guitars in the world, and cross-breeds its history with the almost obsessive attention to detail and care that Paul Reed Smith is known for. That level of care is found at every price point from their SE Models, all the way to the Private Stock.
The S2 line of guitars are the most affordable guitars PRS offers from their USA shop, and for the first time, the McCarty 594 joins that lineup. This is reason to celebrate for people who want a vintage-inspired PRS at an affordable price point. Available in three styles; Singlecut, Thinline, and Standard, this is a guitar you’re going to want to check out as soon as they are available.
That was just a few of our favorites from Winter NAMM 2020. There was a lot of announced and released that we weren’t able to talk about here, but are definitely excited for. We’ll be getting most of these products here at Dave’s soon, so stay tuned for updates as they come.
What were some of your favorite Winter NAMM releases this year? Let us know in the comment section, below!