NAMM 2014: Predictions, Speculation and Rumors

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NAMMThe NAMM show for the winter of 2014 is this weekend. This big event, the premier trade show on any music dealer’s calendar, runs from January 23 -26 in Anaheim, California where all major, and most minor, manufacturers showcase their products for the new year. (The Detroit Auto Show of music!)

Plenty of rumors and predictions have surfaced as the show date approaches and leaks from inside sources, both intentional and unintentional, have been keeping the rumor mill running at full throttle as each one vies for top billing as gospel truth. Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially in the last few days, can be nearly impossible until the show actually opens and the truth is revealed, sometimes to everyone’s surprise. Luckily, we only need to worry about the subjects that interest guitarists here.

In the TECH Arena

Gibson Min-ETuneWe think there will be lots of DAW plug-in announcements this year, some new iOS peripherals, and not much in the DAW upgrade area.

Focusrite has already revealed their new iTrackDock.

One thing we can always count on… an absolute avalanche of new guitar related gear, from a few great ideas to the downright weird and impractical. The “trend” seems to be an integration of vintage look and playability with newer technologies.

Gibson’s already introduced models for 2014 that are out in front of the pack with their inclusion of the MIN-ETune system on more models, giving players a technological advantage without extra weight or ugliness. More of this type of “guitar design first” thinking should be evident this year.

And in the  Amp Arena

Amp manufacturers will be following this trend, too. Rumors are floating around about Blackstar, Peavey and Orange debuting products that may knock a few socks off at the show. The “E” ticket seems to be that companies are finally producing a balance between functionality, looks and tone, even though trying to get the right blend of tech and tried and true products isn’t a new idea.

NAMM is the place to find every imaginable pedal or effect, and some no one should have imagined as well. The big names will be introducing boutique pedals, some already announced. TC Electronic’s Ditto X2 Looper, EHX Lumberjack and the DigiTech Bass Whammy have all been announced for the show.

You will see more artist signature model guitars as well with Fender’s Jim Root Jazzmaster, Duesenberg’s Johnny Depp Artist Series and a few signature models from ESP out in front.

There will be actually thousands of other music products introduced or shown at NAMM this year, from keyboards to band instruments to harmonicas. DJ equipment, lighting, and sound reinforcement are also big areas of the show. If you have a chance to attend, there is sure to be something there to spark your interest. Stay tuned…

Doug Knight

Our “Man on the Street” reporter, with his “What’s New in Music Stores?” series, resides in Coos Bay, OR. You can find him on Friday nights at The Small Events Center at OrCoast Music in Coos Bay.

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