NAMM 2024: Latest Releases & Rumours in Guitars, Pedals & Amps
Published on 18 January 2024
NAMM 2024 reports are flooding in, friends, and it’s not even starting until January 25th! Over here at the guitarguitar HQ, we’re seeing some wonderful things on the horizon, making their way towards us all shiny and bright. Electrics, acoustics, basses, effects… it’s all ‘on’ right now and I’ll share with you some of the NAMM 2024 releases and rumors that are catching my eye and getting me excited…
- New Ibanez AZ
- Music Man Sterling Pete Wentz
- Walrus SILT Harmonic Tube Fuzz
- New Colours and Upgrades for PRS
- Charvel Relic San Dimas
- Gretsch Jim Dandy
- Martin GPCE Inception
- Boss VE-22
- Much More to Come!
New Ibanez AZ
Ibanez seem to be covertly dominating the world of the boutique s-type, judging by the quality of the AZ models we’ve seen in recent years. I’m always impressed by the quality built into all of the guitars, but from having a sneaky hands-on look at a few of these models, I’m more than impressed!
The AZ models offer a less spiky take on the Superstrat, with features and finishes that seem to be aimed at a less overtly-metal market. Necks are more substantial, tremolos are of the non-locking variety and the range uses a host of A-list pickups (Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio feature heavily) alongside some of Ibanez’s innovative switching circuits.
There are extended range models debuting too, which is nice to see: I feel like there’s more to 7-strings than generic moshing, and these guitars are ample proof! My favourite of the whole bunch is the Ibanez AZ42P1 in Prussian Blue, with SD Hyperion pickups. Why? The feel, the sounds and the performance are just right on the money.
Music Man Sterling Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz is something of a latter-day punk pop icon, and it seems that he has jumped ship from Fender/Squier to fellow Californians Music Man. This new signature Pete Wentz bass is from their offshore Sterling sub brand, and everybody knows that those are routinely excellent instruments!
So what does Pete have here? It’s a black StingRay with a gold pickguard, roasted maple neck and an interesting ‘loon’ inlay at the octave. I’m not sufficiently into either him or his band to understand the significance, but I do love the vibe of this bass!
Walrus SILT Harmonic Tube Fuzz
Just when you think you’ve dealt with fuzzes completely…along come boutique behemoths Walrus Audio and shove this thing under your nose! The Walrus Audio SILT is a fuzz that operates at two different voltages, so you can determine how much distortion is applied to your signal: 12v gets you more, and 9v less. Yes, that is a vacuum tube built into the chassis, a 12AU7 to be exact! Walrus effects are always ace, and I cannot wait to plug the SILT fuzz into my rig!
New Colours and Upgrades for PRS
It’s not so much about ‘new’ models with PRS right now, but they have refreshed much of their Core line with new finishes and some changes to the tuners, of all things!
You’ll see lovely new colours like Carrol Blue and Purple Mist being available in models like the Custom 24. The tuners are apparently supposed to echo the shape of the 12th fret bird inlay with its open wings, and whilst I can’t quite see that, the tuners are also lighter in weight. PRS say that they also eat up less string energy, so help out in the tone-stakes, too.
Charvel Relic San Dimas
Now, what do these wonderfully bashed-up Superstrats remind me of? It’s no secret that Charvel and EVH are both under licence to Fender, and these super-cool San Dimas models do seem to be pretty close to the EVH Frankenstein sans-stripes!
This is no bad thing, when you consider how ‘built for performance’ those were. These new Charvels absolutely capture the spirit of the early 80s, and the relatively anonymity of the non-stripes look (I’m making that association, by the way, not Charvel, EVH or Fender!) may work better for guitar fans who don’t want any overt artist associations.
Gretsch Jim Dandy
Gretsch keep calling their cool retro acoustics after some guy called Jim Dandy. Who is Jim Dandy?
Nobody, that’s who! It’s actually an old American term from way back in the mid 19th century, and it was used to refer to people who were just excellent: “he’s a real ‘Jim Dandy’” etc. So that’s where it’s from, but what of these guitars?
Well, again, I’ve had a sneaky play on a few of them (there are three body sizes from Parlor to Dreadnought) and what I can tell you is that they look brilliant and are incredibly more-ish to play. These are designed to be cheap and stylish, so there's little point in comparing them to Martins or whatever, but they’re amazingly fun to play and have cool details like tortoiseshell-style binding on some models. They won’t replace your heirloom Taylor, but you might just find yourself picking one up for fun!
Martin GPCE Inception
Not in fact a signature guitar for filmmaker Christopher Nolan, but actually a new concept in the inner building of an acoustic: Martin’s Inception series are here to change the game. Well, that’s the vibe I’m getting from all of their talk of ‘Skeletonized scalloped bracing’, which is definitely a new term for me! There are also ‘sonic channels’ built into the bracing, and all of this is to make a better sounding, more resonant guitar. I’ve not seen or played one yet, but I’m highly intrigued by these potential innovations. On top of that, sustainability is high on the agenda here: the top is made from FSC-certified Spruce. Very promising!
Another brand known for innovating, BOSS have issued an update on their twin Vocalist pedal in the guise of the (now triple pedalled) VE-22 Vocal Performer. It’s pretty timely, because the original VE-20 is now pretty old fare, and with PA systems getting ever-better, the demand for great live vocals is high.
BOSS deliver, as usual, with a pedal crammed with features. All the usual stuff is here - compression, EQ, reverbs, delays etc - and there are all the distortion, megaphone and pitch presets you could need too. On top of that, you get a looper, real-time tweakability from the front panel, and 99 user memories to use on. This is basically studio production for your voice, anywhere you need it.
Much More to Come!
There’s actually loads more stuff coming in from NAMM to chat about, but some are currently held by trade embargoes, so we can’t mention them. Of these choices though, what’s exciting you? Are the big companies releasing gear that’s making you reach for your wallet? Keep your eyes peeled for updates as and when we can, in the lead up to the NAMM show and during. We’ll add products to our site as soon as it’s possible, so for NAMM news, stick with guitarguitar!