NAMM 2020: The dust is almost settling on the Anaheim Convention Center, where we came, saw and conquered this year’s NAMM Show. Here are our favourite electric guitars – plus one acoustic! – that we managed to demo or check out in the four days in sunny California.
Unsurprisingly, Dennis Fano’s Solus earns a spot on this list. The Novo guitar is another sophisticated and immaculately finished offset-bodied six-string, powered by a single Fralin T-style single-coil in the bridge position (also available as a P-90 version). Other specs include a tempered maple neck, a 9.5-inch-radius rosewood fretboard, clay dots, 22 frets and an unbleached bone nut.
Eastman’s SB55/v-SB is a roaring rock ’n’ roll beast. The brand keeps it simple and straightforward for this single-cut, opting for a cap-less okoume mahogany body, one-piece mahogany neck, ebony pickguard and a single Lollar Dog Ear P-90 to supply the muscle.
Fender Tom Morello Soul Power Strat
At long last, Tom Morello’s not-so-secret Fender signature Strat was shown to the world at NAMM 2020. The Soul Power Stratocaster is based on a modified Designer Series Strat, and features a raft of mods and customisations that the Rage Against The Machine noisenik himself uses. These include a kill-switch toggle, a recessed Floyd Rose trem system and that iconic Soul Power decal.
Gibson Custom Shop Non-reverse Firebird
Gibson’s show-stopping Non-reverse Firebirds, whose Maestro Vibrola trem and vintage-inspired colours made them some of our favourite guitars of the show. According to the brand, it intentionally chose these bright colours to almost give the Firebird a “pawn shop” look.
Taylor‘s Grand Orchestra series adapts the V-class bracing construction for use in the brand’s biggest and deepest body shape, improving sustain and dynamic range. In addition to V-class, the new 618e features figured maple back and sides with a Sitka spruce top.
The Comet is the latest addition to Harmony‘s Standard Series, and is based on the 60s-era H-72. Interestingly, this is also the rejuvenated brand’s first-ever semi-hollow design. It sports Harmony’s gold foil pickups – tuned for a warmer and fuller tone – and a double-cutaway mahogany body with a mahogany set neck.
Fender George Harrison Rocky Strat
Based on the Strat the Quiet Beatle had used on such albums as Help! and Sgt. Pepper, the Fender Rocky Stratocaster is an acid trip of an electric guitar. It’s designed by Paul Waller – the master builder studied the actual, original instrument – and shares the same body, pickups, wiring and asymmetrical C neck shape of Harrison’s Strat.
D’Angelico Deluxe Bedford SH
One of D’Angelico‘s rarest guitars, the Deluxe Bedford SH is a three-pickup semi-hollow of which only 100 will be made. It features a basswood body, a three-piece maple/walnut/maple satin-finished neck and an ebony fingerboard. Electronics-wise, the guitar uses two Seymour Duncan STR-52 Five-Two’s in the neck and middle positions, and a Seymour Duncan SM-1b mini-humbucker in the bridge.
Epiphone Modern Collection Les Paul Standard Figured
Gibson has announced a massive overhaul of its Epiphone brand for NAMM 2020. Arguably the most notable of the changes is the introduction of a new larger ‘Kalamazoo’ headstock shape for its Epiphone Les Paul and SG models.
From the Epiphone Modern Collection, the Les Paul Standard Figured has a weight relief mahogany body on which a figured top sits. Coil-split ProBucker pickups power the guitar – which lists for only $699.
The Trinity is Relish’s first foray into the mass market. The Swiss company has partnered an Indonesian guitar maker – PT Cort – to produce this solidbody guitar that features its innovative pickup-swapping system. It ships with two Relish Buckers, but single-coil and P-90 units can be fitted, too.