NAMM 2020 Rumours & Predictions
Who’s exhibiting at NAMM 2020? What’s being released? How many guitar pedals is too many? All common questions being asked at this crucial time of year for the music industry.
That’s right, it’s almost Winter NAMM time, which means heaps of new gear from your favourite brands. So what can we expect? Read on for our predictions, and maybe a few rumours from the inside…
What To Expect at NAMM 2020
NAMM is fast approaching, and we’re starting to get impatient. It’s the time of year when instrument manufacturers from all over the world descend on the Anaheim Convention Centre, California, to tease their upcoming kit for the year ahead. With increasingly rapid advancements in technology and an ever-changing economic climate, it’s hard to know what to expect from NAMM – but we don’t mind doing a bit of detective work!
There’s gonna be all manner of equipment on display. Electric, acoustic & bass guitars, amps, pedals, keyboards & pianos, synths, electronic & acoustic drums – we’re just getting started. Luckily, we’ll have our A-team on the ground as usual, headed up by the Captain himself, bringing you the news as it breaks live from California. In the meantime, here’s what we know so far…
Gibson Slash signature guitars
Slash and Gibson have shared a close working relationship for decades, with the GnR guitarist wielding countless models during his colourful career. Widely considered one of their most prominent and influential artists, Slash was given the title of Global Brand Ambassador in 2017. We had an inkling they'd follow up with a few more signature guitars - but we were surprised it's this many!
CONFIRMED: Now they've teamed up once more to unveil a curated range of six instruments based on his most recognisable guitars. From the Appetite Burst Les Paul standard to the Slash Collection J-45 Standard, this is the definitive signature Gibson collection. Check out the full range here.
Fender Tom Morello signature guitar
It’s looking likely that Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello will be getting his own Fender signature guitar. A photo cropped up on social media (courtesy and Ryan 'Fluff' Bruce) picturing Morello and a production model of his well known “Soul Power” axe, which he used during his time with Audioslave.
Morello well and truly Frankensteined the original Fender Aerodyne Strat with an Ibanez Edge trem, Seymour Duncan pickups and a kill switch. If Fender can get as close to those specs as possible, we might well have a 2020 winner here.
Horizon Devices/Abasi Concepts Collab
We did a bit of digging and found out that prog metal-focused brands Horizon Devices and Abasi Concepts are sharing a booth at NAMM 2020. What it means for new launches, we don’t quite know. But we’re sure these two modern rock superstars are bound to have something exciting line up.
Periphery mastermind Misha Mansoor’s Horizon Devices shot to success with the Precision Drive pedal, while Tosin Abasi’s Pathos overdrive and Larada guitars has heads turning. Could they collab on a new pedal? Potentially make a foray into the world of amps or modelling? We’ll find out soon.
CONFIRMED: Horizon Devices are keeping it old school with the Flux Echo delay and reverb pedal! This is their answer to large, fiddly and expensive pedals (we have an idea who they're referencing) that are just too much hassle to find an awesome sound with minimal effort.
Four controls and a voicing switch make up the compact, pedalboard-friendly Flux Echo. It contains a versatile array of ambient tones, as well as your traditional favourites. Tap tempo, momentary freeze and stereo capability wrap this neat little package up nicely.
Universal Audio Luna
Recording whizzes Universal Audio have given us a big clue they’re up to something special for NAMM. Now we’re not entirely sure about what they're releasing, but the image looks like that of a tape machine with its two reels.
As it stands, the only hardware UAD delve into are recording interfaces and preamps - so it’s more likely to be on the virtual plug-in side of things, especially with the DAW-looking bars at the top of the image. Luna suggests something spacey. Maybe an ambient sounding delay? We hope we’re wrong and they do something crazy like make a guitar pedal or a genuine tape machine.
PRS have been dropping hints of even more guitars to follow up the recent explosion of new SE, S2 and 35th anniversary models. Seeing as though they’ve got the Customs well covered and their more luxurious high-end ranges in the bag, it could only be the McCarty range left to spruce up.
CONFIRMED: We’re exciting to announce three new McCarty 594 styles the S2 line-up. These are the first McCarty guitars PRS have produced outside the Core and Private Stock ranges.
First off is the standard 594, known for its shorter scale length and vintage-tinged humbucker tone. This is also available in a suave singlecut variation. Rounding off the trio is the Thinline – an edgier, more modern guitar able to traverse single coil sounds thanks to coil splitting.
Keeley ECCOS Delay and Looper Pedal
Keeley’s ECCOS has been common knowledge for a year now, first announced at NAMM 2019. This delay and looper is jam-packed with features like true stereo, flange modulation, reverse and half-speed loop effects, tap tempo and switchable trails.
Add to that the endless recording layers, two minutes of mono and one minute of stereo looping and you’ve got yourself a truly inspiring pedal… but you’ll have to wait like us. Let’s see if they give it a proper launch this time round.
We have it on good authority that there’s a fair bit to expect from Orange this year. The England-based brand really only release new amps when they come up with an outstanding idea or need to plug a gap for the modern guitarist after great tone. At the moment they’re very well covered. That’s why we’re inclined to say they’ll look into expanding their bass offerings.
CONFIRMED: We guessed right! Orange announced the Bass Butler, a bass preamp pedal with two footswitchable channels. Extras include a ground lift, expression pedal compatibility with the gain on the dirty channel, compression dial and cab simulation.
They’ve also released the Little Bass Thing, a lightweight 500W amp with a solid state preamp. Super simple format, a lot of fun to be had. Expect an authentic Orange grunt wherever you go, on both accounts.
Headless guitars have been around for the past few years and are showing no signs of slowing down. One of the preferred bodyshapes of metal and prog musicians, the headless design has plenty of positives with very few - if any - downsides. They’re lightweight and compact, allowing them to travel well and remain comfortable to play standing up. Tuning and stringing is super easy too. Simply, it all comes down to the aesthetic preference.
Ibanez have introduced their new EHB headless bass range, packing some awesome finishes and exotic wood tops. We reckon it’s only a matter of time before they rival the likes of Strandberg for the headless guitar king title.
Korg ARP 2600 Remake
Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre dropped a HUGE leak that Korg are remaking one of the most sought-after synths ever: the ARP 2600. The Frenchman used the original on some of his most famous songs such as Equinox and praised its incredible filters and overall sound.
From leaks elsewhere, it looks like Behringer might be taking a stab at the ARP 2600 as well but with the flashier orange labels. Nothing like a good bit of healthy competition to up the stakes.
CONFIRMED: What. A. Beast. It was true all along! This is all you need to create fully fleshed out electronic tracks from scratch. We can't do it justice simply writing about it, so check out our video for a taste of all the incredible sounds it can make.
More pedal preamps, a la Strymon Iridium
Strymon are trend setters. A host of their previous blockbuster pedals, like the Big Sky and Volante set in motion what can be done in the digital realm with particular effects - now it’s the turn of the Iridium. They announced the Iridium a little while ago, although they consider it their big NAMM release.
The Iridium is an amp and cab sim pedal packed with familiarly stunning sounds. Therefore, it wouldn’t surprise us if this setup becomes the go-to for travelling musicians who aren’t forking out to transport heavy gear. It’s a simple and effective concept. Turn up to your show, plug the pedal into a power amp and away you go. We’d like to see other creative brands give Strymon a run for their money.