NAMM 2023 Highlights!

Published on 17 April 2023

It’s NAMM time!

Every NAMM show is cause for excitement throughout the industry, as dealers and makers alike set up with a bevy of new releases and limited edition guitars. Now fully back into the swing of things again, the year’s Winter NAMM in California played host to some eye-poppingly beautiful instruments, from hand-painted one-offs to awesome new production models. We had a staff member in the midst of it all, and so here’s just some of the highlights from what was a most exciting weekend… 



Japanese giants Ibanez were out in full force this year. Their two biggest endorsees - Vai and Satch - both had lovely new signature models to show us. At a quick glance, Steve’s stupendously psychedelic Pia is a nod to his swirl finish Universe models from the late 80s, but upon closer inspection, the actual finishing work is quite unlike anything we’ve ever seen before!

Joe's new JS model is actually one we were given a sneak peek of last year during our second Joe Satriani interview, and this limited edition production model is announced just in time for his rescheduled European tour. We reckon he’ll be playing a lot of this one on the road!

The illustrious J-Custom team made their presence known with a few typically delicious examples of their craft, in both 6 and 7 string varieties (check out those frets!), complete with Tree of Life inlays. As Ibanez’s elite, these top builders constantly create some of the world’s most beautiful guitars.

Lari Basilio’s signature model is now available in white to go alongside her bold purple model, and Martin Miller’s sig is available in blue. Ibanez had a ton of new releases showing, so keep your peepers peeled here on the guitarguitar website for more news soon!



Headless heroes Strandberg showed up strongly in Anaheim with a brace of stunning guitars, including some with hand-painted finishes and others made out of bicycle parts! 

As a keen cyclist, Ola Strandberg must’ve been eyeing up his bikes for potential! The Boden Meloria is a concept travel instrument, so we don't know yet whether it'll get a formal release. Either way, Strandberg have become a significant brand in today’s market, and it’s great to see them constantly innovating.



Martin have doubled down on the relic game, it seems, with some gorgeous new dreadnoughts. We’re loving the D18 Streetlegend, a timeless 14 fret Dreadnought made of spruce and mahogany, with some excellent - and realistic - wear and tear across the entire instrument. Tasty!

This was joined by a similarly aged D-28 Satin number, built with the classic spruce and East Indian rosewood combo for that inimitable Martin tone. We’re looking forward to having a strum!

Lastly, we spied an absolutely gorgeous dreadnought with a top hand-painted by artist Robert Goetzl. Martin have commissioned Goetzl on more than a few occasions to create extra-special one-off pieces, and this has to be one of the very best! We hope to see more like this in the future, it’s magical!


Santa Cruz

On the subject of stunning acoustics, guitarguitar favourites Santa Cruz were at NAMM with some typically tasteful, low-key masterpieces on display. We just love the wood choices here, and the richly evocative burst finishes that make these guitars as elegant to look at as they are to play.


Eye Candy

The show was choc-full of stands as always. Wandering from booth to booth, we spied a real treasure trove of guitars, so here are some candid snaps we took as we made our way around the show:

Music Man had some gorgeous new models and finishes to show us, including the extremely bold Kaizen


ESP’s USA Custom Shop brought the ‘rock’ - as well as some stunning flashes of colour - to their custom builds. 

ESP are always exciting when it comes to showpieces, as this gleefully demonic creation capably shows!

Boutique acoustic builders IRIS brought their A-game with a collection of retro handpainted guitars…

…and Electro-Harmonix showed up with a range of exciting new pedals nestled in next to a choice selection of classics. It’s great to see that the original NYC innovators are stuff showing the younger companies how it’s done!


Coming Soon!

That was a brief trot through some of the more notable pieces we discovered on our travels through the show. Most of these guitars will be formally released soon (apart from the crazy showcase pieces built for display only) so keep an eye on our news pages in the coming weeks! As ever, the NAMM weekend was over before it ever started, but we have some tremendous things to look forward to!

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I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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