NAMM is cancelled but Believe In Music Week will save us

It’s not surprising, but Winter NAMM 2021 has been cancelled amid the Coronavirus mayhem. But fear not! There’ll still be plenty of musical-instrument-related fun in January, with NAMM announcing Believe In Music Week. The press release is below.

My only concern is, the cancellation of NAMM means no epic karaoke jam in the Clarion hotel bar this year. Maybe we should organise a streamed version!

NAMM Announces Believe in Music Week, The Global Gathering to Unite and Support the Industry

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health and safety of NAMM members as the first priority, NAMM is reimagining how to connect all facets of the industry while benefiting those most deeply impacted by COVID-19 with the launch of Believe in Music: The global gathering to unify and support the people who bring music to the world.

Believe in Music, to be held over the week of January 18, 2021, will feature a mix of comprehensive programming and professional education at BelieveinMusic.tv, as well as an interactive marketplace to connect buyers and sellers – all designed to elevate the innovation and inspiration found across the industry while offering support for those most deeply affected by COVID. While not The NAMM Show or a virtual tradeshow, the initiative will meet the immediate business needs of NAMM member companies through thought-leader led education for all segments of the industry, networking and AI matchmaking, and business-to-business-focused opportunities to reaffirm and grow business connections, launch new products, share brand initiatives and engage with customers in real-time.

Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO, says, “While it remains unsafe for us to gather in person in January, Believe in Music week will use new, intuitive technology to connect us all to harness the incredible energy that happens when we come together. With a robust marketplace to launch new products and share your brand story, Believe in Music will also feature networking and matchmaking for our buyers and our sellers, education for all segments of the industry, and live music and concerts. And just like at all NAMM events, these activities will raise awareness and financial support to serve our NAMM family across our Circle of Benefits model. Believe in Music week will be a critical step for our industry to help us prepare for the new year and new opportunities.”

Tom Sumner, president of Yamaha Corporation of America, shares, “I believe there has never been a more important moment for our industry to gather, to conduct business, to inspire each other, to inspire music makers and to support those in our music family in need. That’s why Yamaha is excited to start working on our part of the new event from NAMM, Believe in Music. As an industry, we’ve always trusted NAMM to create gatherings that are safe, provide a conducive business environment and produce those surprise moments that we talk about years after the event. While I wish I could see you in person, I look forward to seeing you at Believe in Music.”

“We at Sweetwater as well as our customers look forward to The NAMM Show, yet with COVID, there’s been a lot of changes and we’ve all had to adapt in many ways… With each change like this there comes an opportunity and we’re very excited that NAMM will bring us Believe in Music,” states Mitch Gallagher, editorial director for Sweetwater. “While we can’t replace The NAMM Show, we look forward to all that this new platform has to offer including the ability to connect with our vendors, the opportunity for more of our staff to experience new products as they’re announced, the educational and training opportunities that Believe in Music will provide and so much more. By coming together for NAMM’s Believe in Music, we can all help support our industry and the world’s music makers. We’re looking forward to a great event.”

“NAMM is and always has been about helping people make connections, advocacy for music and musicians, and bringing people together from around the globe,” says Shure’s Abby Kaplan, vice president of global retail sales. “Shure stands by NAMM in pursuit to continue that effort. Perhaps, this year, those connections will be even more important as we in the pro audio and live sound segment work at getting back to having live events and concerts. Certainly, we’ll miss seeing all of our retailers, distributors and friends in person, but we’re excited about ways we can deploy an equally compelling experience this year and into the future … This creates a new opportunity for all of us to work together, rebuild and come back better than ever.”

The weeklong celebration will welcome domestic and international NAMM members from the music instrument, pro audio, live sound and live event industries, artists, media and policymakers, along with participants from GenNext (college music students and faculty), Music Education Days (school music administrators) and Nonprofit Institute (NAMM Foundation grantees and nonprofit affiliates). Emerging and established musicians and fans are invited to connect with brands and in special music-making projects and opportunities to showcase their talents and performances throughout the week, opening the potential to gather music makers in a capacity not restricted by location.

The industry’s much-loved annual events will now take place during Believe in Music week, as well. The 36th TEC Awards will recognize the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, live performances, films, television, video games and multimedia. In 2020, Joni Mitchell was presented with the Les Paul Innovation Award, an honor that recognizes musical artists whose work has exemplified the creative application of audio technology. The Hall of Fame Award, recognizing audio pioneers, as well as the music industry’s most accomplished producers and audio technicians, was presented to the creative powerhouse behind Pensado’s Place, Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick. The TEC Awards call for entries is now open through August 31: www.TECAwards.org

The Top 100 Dealer Awards will also be celebrated during the week. Now in its 10th year, the annual awards honor music retailers who have demonstrated a commitment to best practices, creativity and innovation in retail. The submissions process is now open for NAMM retail members and will close on October 2, 2020. Learn more and submit now at www.NAMM.org/Top100

Along with the award shows, music advocates will come together for The Grand Rally for Music Education. The annual event convenes music education advocates for a celebration of the benefits and pleasures of making music. In 2020, the Grand Rally welcomed 10-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin and Gimme5 for a special performance, along with a preshow performance by The Langley Ukulele Ensemble, The Legacy Ukulele Ensemble and winners of the “A Cappella at NAMM” contest.

Additional details of these events, receptions and other activities will be provided in the weeks to come.

In his final thoughts, Lamond shares, “If there’s any one common vision, it’s that as a global community, we believe in music. We believe in the future of music and in the future of our industry, and in this moment, we will unite and support music makers around the world.”

For those interested in participating or to learn more, please visit https://believeinmusic.tv/ to sign-up for future updates.

Official Hashtag: #BelieveinMusic

NAMM 2020: IK Multimedia Sunset Sound Studio Reverb

Y’know the legendary reverb heard on Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tone from those classic albums recorded at Sunset Sound Studio in Los Angeles? Yeah, that sound can be yours now thanks to IK Multimedia, who have worked with studio owner Paul Camarata to capture those iconic sounds. Check it out!

The NAMM Show, January 17, 2020 – IK Multimedia presents Sunset Sound Studio Reverb, a new T-RackS® module processor that brings the reverbs and sounds of the studios in the iconic Sunset Sound recording facility in Los Angeles to musicians everywhere. Sunset Sound Studio Reverb is the first convolution reverb for IK‘s industry-standard T-RackS 5 mixing and mastering software workstation.

IK worked in collaboration with studio owner Paul Camarata to give recording engineers “all access” to the sound and vibe of the studios in this landmark facility, where a who’s who of music has recorded for 60 years, including the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and countless others.

Studio owner Paul Camarata notes, “For 60 years, the sound of our studios has been heard on hit records around the world. Now, we’re proud to be working with IK Multimedia to bring our famed sound to everyone’s recordings. Sunset Sound Studio Reverb really nails the essence of our distinct character.”

Each room of Sunset Sound’s three studios was recorded using its custom console and Sunset’s mic collection, to capture not just the acoustics but also the unique vibe of the space. IK recreated them using a powerful new dynamic convolution engine, and the result is a faithful studio quality reverb that offers the same iconic sound as countless hit records, complemented by an array of flexible control options for further tone shaping.

Abundant reverb
Users can select from among the various reverbs taken from the live echo chambers and each of the three studios found in the facility. The choices are:

  • Live room: Studio 1, Studio 2 or Studio 3
  • Iso Booth: Studio 1, Studio 2 or Studio 3
  • 3 Live echo chambers
  • 2 plate reverbs and 1 spring reverb

Control it all
An intuitive GUI provides a realistic experience, offering information and insights about each particular room, as well as additional controls to help users shape the sound to suit their tastes. Additional controls include:

  • Adjustable decay time and pre-delay
  • High-pass and low-pass filters
  • Low and high shelving EQs
  • Stereo image width
  • Wet/dry mix

and more.

Flexible use
Like all T-RackS modules, Sunset Sound Studio Reverb can be used as an individual plug-in within any recording software, or inside the T-RackS 5 shell for even faster workflow both as plug-in or stand-alone mastering software.

About T-RackS
T-RackS 5 is the latest version of IK‘s industry standard mixing and mastering software workstation that has been used on countless albums by top engineers for more than 20 years. This powerful modular system offers maximum versatility via 43 high-quality processors (EQs, limiters, compressors, etc) that can be used in parallel or series, in a variety of working environments. In total, T-RackS 5 offers everything needed to professionally treat and finalize audio from raw mixes to a perfect finished product. For even more professional results, each version of T-RackS 5 also offers free downloadable signature presets from some of the industry’s top engineers.

About Sunset Sound Recorders
Sunset Sound was opened in 1958 by Tutti Camarata, then director of recording for Disney Studios, and initially handled in-house work for Disney, recording movies like “Mary Poppins” and “101 Dalmatians.” In 1962, Sunset Sound opened to external clients, and soon expanded to a 3-studio complex, welcoming artists like The Doors, Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Prince and countless more. Now owned and operated by Paul Camarata, Tutti’s son, Sunset Sound continues to welcome world-class artists to its iconic rooms. All three original rooms remain in operation, and with their custom acoustics and consoles, fully equipped echo chambers and comprehensive mic lockers, Sunset Sound remains a dream destination for musicians.

Pricing and availability
Sunset Sound Studio Reverb for T-RackS 5 will be available in January 2020 from the IK Custom Shop, the IK Multimedia online storeand from IK authorized dealers worldwide for a special introductory price of €/$149.99* until March 31, 2020 (regular pricing will be €/$249.99).
* All prices excluding taxes

For more information about Sunset Sound Studio Reverb, please visit: www.t-racks.com/sunsetstudio

To see Sunset Sound Studio Reverb in action, visit: www.t-racks.com/sunsetstudio/video

To hear audio samples, visit: www.t-racks.com/sunsetstudio/audio

NAMM 2020: Steve Vai’s new Synergy Amps module is badass

You may remember a few months ago I wrote about Steve Vai’s official move to Synergy Amps. Well the Steve Vai module was officially unveiled at the NAMM Show and yes of course it’s on the top of my gear wishlist for 2020 but until I can get my paws on one, here are some videos for ya! Needless to say, it sounds incredible. Keep an eye on Synergy Amps for more info soon.

 

NAMM 2020: New Charvel signature models

CHARVEL® ANNOUNCES NEW SIGNATURE ARTIST MODELS FOR GOJIRA’S JOE DUPLANTIER, STEEL PANTHER’S SATCHEL AND MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST ANGEL VIVALDI

Scottsdale, Ariz. (January 15, 2020) – Charvel® is thrilled to expand its signature artist models with the all-new Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH E Mahogany featuring the Gojira frontman’s new signature DiMarzio® humbucking bridge pickup, as well as new colors for the Satchel Signature Pro-Mod DK and Angel Vivaldi Signature DK24-7 NOVA.

French avant-metal quartet Gojira has cemented itself as one of paramount metal acts of the new-millennium. Led by singer, vocalist and principal songwriter Joe Duplantier, the band has always dealt in extremes — uncovering light in darkness and finding beauty in heaviness while also searching to expand the sonic palette.

Designed with the latest in Charvel high performance, the Joe Duplantier Signature Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 2 HH E Mahogany captures all of his preferred style and specs.

A raw beauty, the San Dimas body is crafted out of mahogany with a specially contoured heel for easy access to the upper reaches of the fingerboard. The graphite-reinforced bolt-on mahogany neck refuses to budge, despite heavy touring and dramatic climate changes. The heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel makes neck relief tweaks a breeze, while the oiled finish on the back of the neck provides smooth playability. Built for speed, the 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard has 22 jumbo frets with pearloid big block inlays.

A big fan of DiMarzio’s PAF® 36th Anniversary neck pickup, Duplantier sought something with a slightly more robust low end for his bridge pickup. The all-new Joe Duplantier signature DiMarzio® Fortitude™ humbucking bridge pickup completely responds to his needs — from crushing, heavy riffs to beautiful open soundscapes and everything in between. Combined with the PAF, these pickups deliver vintage tone with a twist.

Other features include three-way toggle pickup switching, knurled volume control knob in special placement slightly back from playing position, Charvel compound radius compensated bridge with anchored tailpiece and Charvel locking tuners.

Built to take a pounding while delivering pulverizing tone, this signature axe is also easy on the eyes with its Natural finish, chrome hardware, worn nickel pickup covers and licensed Fender® Telecaster® headstock.
___

Nobody puts the 1987 into today like Steel Panther guitarist Russ “Satchel” Parrish, and Charvel is excited to deliver a huge horns-up in the tiger-striped form of the Satchel Signature Pro-Mod DK in a wildly flamboyant Satin Purple Bengal finish.

Featuring sharper-radius top edges, the alder Dinky™ body is paired with a graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck capped with a Fender® Stratocaster® headstock with Charvel-branded die-cast tuners. Designed for comfortability and speed, the 12”-16” compound-radius maple fingerboard hosts 22 jumbo frets, offset dot inlays and a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel.

Of special note are the two Fishman® Fluence® Classic humbucking pickups topped with black/purple bobbins, which share a single volume control knob with special push/pull dual voice activation. Using this control, the PRF-CHB neck pickup delivers ideal-but-elusive vintage PAF humbucking neck pickup tone with just the right dynamics and output (voice one), or a Fluence-exclusive neck tone with clear and airy chime, unreal high end, highly vocal midrange and tight lows (voice two). Similarly, the PRF-CHB bridge pickup delivers ideal vintage PAF humbucking tone calibrated for perfect output (voice one), or quintessential hot-rodded humbucking bridge tone without all the baggage (voice two).

Other features include a three-way toggle pickup switch, top-loaded Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system, Charvel neck plate and more.
___

Instrumentalist Angel Vivaldi’s otherworldly talent is captured in the Angel Vivaldi Signature DK24-7 NOVA — a 7-string axe that packs as much phenomenal force as the man playing it.

Available in a new Satin Black finish with gold hardware, Vivaldi’s signature axe delivers spectacular style with the modified Dinky™ basswood body with a sculpted shredder’s cut heel finished in classic Satin Black with gold hardware. The bolt-on maple neck—custom-shaped to Vivaldi’s preferences—has graphite reinforcement, silky-smooth satin finish on the back, Luminlay® side dots, heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel and tilt-back reverse 7-string licensed Fender® Stratocaster® headstock. Its 12”-16” compound radius maple fingerboard features comfortable rolled edges, 24 jumbo frets, cascading black dot inlays and Graph Tech® TUSQ® XL nut.

Unbelievably deep, full tones and rich harmonics come from an HH pickup configuration consisting of a DiMarzio® Tone Zone® bridge pickup and DiMarzio Air Norton™ neck pickup, both with gold bobbins.

Other premium modern features include a five-way blade pickup switch, dome-style knobs for the volume and tone controls, Gotoh® Custom 7-string 510 tremolo bridge, locking tuners, and more.

For more information on our new Charvel products, visit www.charvel.com. For additional product images, please visit the FMIC Newsroom at http://spotlight.fender.com/newsroom/archive.

NAMM 2020: EVH 50 watt 5150III 6L6 head and matching cab

EVH® ANNOUNCES NEW 5150III® 50S 6L6 HEAD AND MATCHING 5150III® 50S 212ST CABINET

Scottsdale, Ariz. (January 16, 2020) – EVH® today announces the all-new 5150III® 50S 6L6 Head and 5150III® 50S 212ST Cabinet.

The EVH® 5150III® 50S 6L6 Head is the perfect amp for players who want Ed Van Halen’s touring tone, arena volume and performance in a compact package. Three channels of road-tested sound work for any playing style—crisp cleans, chunky overdrive, tight distortion and searing leads, while newly added independent dual-concentric controls allow for gain and volume level matching.

Tweaked to meet Ed’s touring requirements, this 50-watt head delivers a full-spectrum of tone. Channel one powers crystal-clear clean tone; channel two features increased gain for greater sustain and is re-voiced for improved low-mid frequency definition; channel three also has improved range for the “low” control and oozes with increased liquid gain. Channels one and two each have dual concentric gain/volume controls, with shared EQ (low, mid, high). Channel three has its own gain, volume and EQ (low, mid, high) controls. All three channels also have global presence and global resonance controls.

The 5150III 50S 6L6 Head is also loaded with seven JJ ECC83 preamp tubes, a pair of Shuguang 6L6 power tubes, switchable output impedance (4, 8 and 16 ohms) and an adjustable bias control.

Seductively dark in black textured vinyl with a dual black EVH striped steel grille front panel, the 50-watt stealth head also comes with vintage-style “chicken head” black control knobs, red lamp jewel, dual speaker output jacks, four-button footswitch, effects loop, direct out and molded plastic handle.

A high-quality fitted cover is available as an EVH accessory.
___

The EVH® 5150III® 50S 212ST Cabinet is the perfect companion to the new 5150III 50W 50S Head, with matching stealth black chrome EVH logo badges.

This 60-watt, 16 ohm front-loaded 2×12 straight cabinet features rock solid birch construction and a pair of 12” Signature Celestion® G12H Anniversary Series speakers.

Wrapped in Black textured vinyl with woven grille cloth, the 5150III 50S 212ST Cabinet comes with attached tilt-back legs, removable EVH pop-out casters and a head-mounting mechanism. A high-quality fitted cover is available as an EVH accessory.

NAMM 2020: Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 makes life worth living

Not gonna lie, that natural-finished one at the bottom of the pic makes me feel funny in the pants.

CHARVEL® ANNOUNCES ALL-NEW PRO-MOD SO-CAL STYLE 2 MODELS, EXPANDS OFFERINGS FOR SO-CAL STYLE 1 AND SAN DIMAS® GUITARS

Scottsdale, Ariz. (January 16, 2020) – Charvel® is proud to announce the brand-new Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 models, as well as additional finishes and pickup offerings for Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 and Dimas® Style 1 guitars.

Charvel’s all-new ultimate in sonic sophistication and design virtuosity lies in the Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HH 2PT CM Ash and Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 2 24 HH HT CM—a stunning summit of modern Charvel vibe, power and performance.

With one of the most beloved and iconic body shapes as the starting block, Charvel’s innovative design team sculpted even more dramatic curves for enhanced ergonomic comfort. The So-Cal Style 2 body features a scalloped lower back bout and shredder’s cut heel for easier upper fret access and hours of grin-inducing playing-feel and performance.

A graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck offers rock-solid stability regardless of ravages of the road and climate, while a heel-mount truss rod adjustment thumbwheel makes for quick and easy neck relief tweaks. Engineered for effortlessly nimble and highly expressive playing, these So-Cal Style 2 models have a speed neck profile with hand-rubbed urethane finish on the back, and a 12”-16” compound radius caramelized maple fingerboard with 24 jumbo frets, pearloid dot inlays and Graph Tech® TUSQ® XL nut. Luminlay® side dots light the way across the fretboard, even on the darkest of stages.

These instruments are equipped with multi-voiced Fishman® Fluence® Open Core PRF-COC pickups for layered, dynamic tone. The bridge pickup delivers quintessential hot-rodded humbucking tone without all the baggage (voice one), or ideal vintage PAF humbucking tone calibrated for perfect output (voice two). Similarly, the neck pickup delivers a Fluence-exclusive tone with clear and airy chime, unbelievable high end, highly vocal midrange and tight lows (voice one), or an ideal-but-elusive vintage PAF tone with just the right dynamics and output (voice two).

A two-way mini toggle switches between these two voicings, while a tone control with push/pull activation bypasses the mini toggle to activate voice three, which outputs clear, vintage single-coil tone on the neck pickup or slightly overwound single-coil tone on the bridge. Throw in the three-way blade pickup switch and volume control knob and tonal possibilities are virtually endless.

The So-Cal Style 2 24 HH 2PT CM Ash features an ash body and is finished in either Black Ash with black pickguard and black hardware, or in Natural Ash with black pickguard and chrome hardware. These 2PT models are built with a Gotoh® Custom 510 tremolo bridge for smooth action and enhanced sustain.

The So-Cal Style 2 24 HH HT CM offers an alder body and is finished in either Satin Black with black pickguard and black hardware, or in Snow White with parchment pickguard and chrome hardware. These models feature a Charvel® HT6 string-through-body hardtail bridge with brass saddles, providing endless sustain with laser intonation.

For even more unique style, these sophisticated beauties are all capped off with a reverse licensed Fender® Telecaster® headstock.
___

The Charvel® Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR E and Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR M pay homage to their 1980s Southern California roots, blending vintage-style appointments with the classic playability and innovative design elements that have made Charvel a legendary name.

More comfortable than an overstuffed armchair, the So-Cal body is sleekly sculpted out of alder and paired with a rock-solid bolt-on maple neck with a pair of graphite reinforcement rods to handle the ravages of the road and climate. Engineered for effortlessly nimble playing, the speed neck profile and 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard with 22 frets is perfect for all styles of play — from low end riffing to soaring leads with worry-free upper-register bends.

Hot-rodded for unparalleled performance and sound, these instruments host a high-output Seymour Duncan® Distortion TB-6 humbucking bridge pickup and a warm, fat Seymour Duncan Distortion SH-6N humbucking neck pickup. The volume control hides a push/pull coil split for even more highly useful tonal variations, ideal for everything from a biting lead sound to thick, chunky rhythm work. The no-load tone control operates like a standard tone control from positions one through nine, removing itself from the circuit at position ten for transparent sound that lets the full natural voice of the guitar shine through.

Other features include a Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system and a conveniently located heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel.

Featuring an ebony fingerboard, the So-Cal Style 1 HH FR E comes in a fiery Satin Orange Blaze finish with black pickguard and black hardware. The So-Cal Style 1 HH FR M offers a maple fingerboard and is available in Vintage White with parchment pickguard and chrome hardware, as well as in Satin Burgundy Mist or Satin Shell Pink with white pickguard and chrome hardware.
___

Charvel also adds to its Pro-Mod San Dimas lineup with the all-new Pro-Mod San Dimas® Style 1 HH FR E Ash, as well as new finishes for the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH FR E and Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH FR M.

Wrapped in a striking Old Yella finish with black hardware, the all-new San Dimas Style 1 HH FR E Ash features an ash body coupled with a graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck. Perfect for faster tempos, the 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard hosts 22 jumbo frets and dot inlays. For regularly touring musicians, a heel-mount truss rod adjust thumbwheel is a must, allowing for quick and convenient neck relief tweaks.

This model features an HH pickup configuration consisting of a direct mount Seymour Duncan® Custom Full Shred™ SH-10B bridge pickup and direct mount Seymour Duncan Custom Alnico II™ Pro APH-1N neck pickup. Like all Pro-Mod San Dimas models, this axe features a volume control with a push/pull coil split and a no-load tone control. A Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system and Charvel-branded sealed die-cast tuners complete the package.

Featuring an ebony fingerboard, the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH FR E now includes a Gloss Black finish with black hardware, while the Pro-Mod San Dimas Style 1 HH FR M offers a maple fingerboard with a Shell Pink wrapping and chrome hardware.

Both models feature an alder body with a graphite-reinforced bolt-on maple neck, 12”-16” compound radius fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and dot inlays, and a heel-mount truss rod adjustment wheel.

These axes are loaded with high-output Seymour Duncan® JB and Seymour Duncan ‘59™ humbucking pickups directly mounted to the body, cranking out high octane rock ‘n’ roll tone with plenty of sweet overtones.

Other features include a volume control with a push/pull coil split, no-load tone control, three-way blade and Floyd Rose® 1000 Series double-locking tremolo bridge system.

For more information on our new Charvel products, visit www.charvel.com. For additional product images, please visit the FMIC Newsroom at http://spotlight.fender.com/newsroom/archive.

NAMM 2020: New Fender artist models including Tom Morello Soul Power guitar!

I can’t be the only one who has utterly craved a production version of Tom Morello’s ‘Soul Power’ Strat as used in Audioslave, right? Or a replica of Eric Johnson’s legendary ’54 Stratocaster named Virginia. And Slipknot’s Jim Root is a man of great taste when it comes to designing new guitars with Fender. So read on!

FENDER® EXPANDS ARTIST SIGNATURE SERIES LINEUP WITH ROCK AND HEAVY METAL LEGENDS, ERIC JOHNSON, JIM ROOT, TOM MORELLO

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster® – The First Model Added to Fender’s Stories Collection – Jim Root Jazzmaster® V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster® Debut at Winter NAMM 2020

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced three new additions to its Artist Signature Series electrics offering – the Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster, Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 and Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster – all debuting at Winter NAMM 2020 in Anaheim, Calif. Developed with rock, blues and heavy metal players in mind, these all-new Artist Signature Series models add performance-ready features and stylistic touches hand-selected by some of the industry’s most iconic players – from Grammy®-winner Eric Johnson and Slipknot guitarist Jim Root to Audioslave and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello. 

For the first time, Fender has replicated and released Eric Johnson’s beloved ’54 “Virginia” Stratocaster, the instrument he used to record hit song “Cliffs of Dover,” the Tones record (1987 Grammy® nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom (1991 Grammy® for Best Rock Instrumental Performance) albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. Built in Corona, California, this extremely limited-edition model combines extraordinary history and exceptional tone. Its rare sassafras body, custom switching and special set-up will thrill players and collectors by showcasing its unique silky tone and distinct fine grain appearance. The Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster will be the first model in Fender’s all-new Stories Collection, a celebration of the guitars that shaped history’s most iconic music and the details that made them unique. 

Both beautiful and beastly, the Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 is the fifth Fender artist signature model for Slipknot guitarist Jim Root; it features active humbucking pickups, a 12″ radius, jumbo frets ideal for heavy playing styles, an ebony fingerboard, block inlays and striking white finish that makes the guitar stand out on stage. Fender worked hand-in-hand with Root to deliver crushing detuned tone with an all-new bold look, culminating in a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style.

The Tom Morello “Soul Power” Stratocaster is based on the modified Designer Series Strat, which Morello used during his time in Audioslave. Featuring an alder slab body with binding, a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system, Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker and two Fender Noiseless™ pickups, this Strat delivers powerful and unique effects from gentle rhythms to screaming feedback, chaotic stutters and more.

“We are excited to continue to work with such legendary players to help share their story through music,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “Whether it is their first Artist Signature model, or fifth, we continue Fender’s legacy by helping artists showcase the versatility of our instruments. Each Artist Signature model that we reveal at Winter NAMM this year will showcase a variety of exceptional, legendary tones that made music history.” 

Product Details: 

Eric Johnson “Virginia” Stratocaster – $4,999 (Launching February 2020) joins the Fender Stories Collection. Eric Johnson already had his 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster when he recorded Tones and the Platinum Ah Via Musicom, groundbreaking albums that made him a hero to music fans and guitarists alike. To this day, Eric continues to release brilliant music, tour constantly and is, to the electric guitar community, a savant and widely followed tastemaker. In 2020, for the first time, Johnson’s 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will be replicated by both Fender Custom Shop and the Fender Corona Production line in limited numbers. With its rare sassafras body, lacquer finish, custom wiring and more, the Eric Johnson 1954 “Virginia” Stratocaster will thrill players and collectors alike with its distinctive look and exceptional tone. 

Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) delivers detuned tone with a bold new look. Fender worked closely with the towering Slipknot guitarist to create a brutal-sounding signature Jazzmaster model that complements his heavy playing style—right down to its signature Daemonum™ open-coil EMG® active pickups, shred-worthy 12” radius fingerboard with jumbo frets, sparse control layout and more. The Jim Root Jazzmaster V4 dispenses with frivolities such as a vibrato, rhythm circuit and tone control. Only crucial essentials remain: a volume control, a 3-way switch and a hardtail bridge. Featuring a mahogany slab body for pronounced lows and mids, brilliant Polar White satin finish, maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, this powerful machine delivers brutal tone with a striking new look.

Tom Morello Stratocaster – $2,699 (Launching March 2020) is based on the modified Designer Series Strat used during his time in Audioslave and features an alder slab body with binding and a Deep “C”-shape maple neck with 9.5″-14″ compound radius rosewood fingerboard and 22 medium-jumbo frets. Other features include: a recessed Floyd Rose® locking tremolo system; Seymour Duncan Hot Rails bridge humbucker; two Fender Noiseless™ pickups in the neck and middle positions; a chrome pickguard; kill-switch toggle; locking tuners; matching painted headcap and iconic “Soul Power” body decal, and a black Fender case.

In true tradition, the Fender’s Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Artist Signature models and access product descriptions here; images can be found here.  

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.

NAMM 2020: Fender launches, well, pretty much everything!


Fender is absolutely smashing it this NAMM with their new product launches, including the return of the venerable HM Strat, an affordable Lead model in the Player Series, and some really cool stuff in the Parallel Universe series. Let’s dig in, shall we?

FENDER® SPOTLIGHTS RECENTLY-LAUNCHED AMERICAN ULTRA ELECTRIC GUITAR SERIES, REVIVES MODELS FROM THE PAST AND BRINGS BACK PARALLEL UNIVERSE AT WINTER NAMM 

Fender Introduces HM “Heavy Metal” Strat, Lead II and III models, Reveals All-New Parallel Universe and American Original and Player Series Guitars Now Available In New Models and Finishes

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (January 16, 2020)—Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today debuted its extensive electric and bass offerings for traditional and modern players alike at Winter NAMM 2020. In addition to showcasing American Ultra – the brand’s most modern and advanced electric guitar series, Fender is bringing back models from its past, including the Lead, which will be added to the Player Series. The HM Strat also returns with the same unique look and specs as the original ‘88-‘92 models. Joining Fender’s limited-edition offerings are refreshes of fan-favorites including cult classic Parallel Universe Volume 2 and the highly-acclaimed American Original Series – now offering new models and finishes. 

“We’re excited to present an incredible linup of new instruments at Winter NAMM,” said Max Gutnik, VP of Fender Electric Guitars, Basses & Amplifiers. “Our leading focus for 2020 is our new flagship electric line, American Ultra. Ultra is a great example of the continued evolution of Fender’s classic instruments in a way that remains true to Fender’s original creation yet advances the instrument to serve modern players of all generes. While we look to the future with American Ultra, we are also celebrating our past with the re-release of the all-new HM Strat and Player Lead II and III guitars. The HM Strat and Lead series represent a wonderfully innovative time at Fender and a historic era in music, when musicians and their instruments were changing rapidly, and we’re thrilled to debut them here at NAMM.”

Launched in November 2020, the American Ultra Series is the most advanced guitar from Fender. The series has all-new modern features, state-of-the-art craftsmanship and nuanced design. With 44 SKUs, the American Ultra Series offers many options for players looking for modern advancements, including the Stratocaster®, Telecaster®, Precision Bass®, Jazzmaster®, Jazz Bass® and Jazz Bass® V with an assortment of all-new colors in the $3,899 – $4,499 price range. The Ultra Series is a pivotal moment in Fender history as it offers new body design and contours – marking the first time in decades since the last significant alteration was made to the iconic Fender Stratocaster of Telecaster body shapes. Embracing artist and player feedback is a core driver for Fender’s design process, leading to decades of subtle yet crucial innovations. For more information, click here.

Fender created the Lead model in 1979, featuring a new solid-body design, hard-tail bridges and cool new wiring options. Paying homage, Fender is releasing the Player Lead Series for the unconventional, offbeat, and most importantly, undefined players. The series offers the choice of the Player Lead II (an homage to the late `70s models) and the Player Lead III (a tribute to the original 1982-only model), which both incorporate era-correct Lead Series specs with a blend of the modern Player Series specs offering style, power, and versatility in comfortable, easy-to-play models. For more information, click here. For images, click here.

A true Fender fan favorite and cult classic will also be reborn at WNAMM, the limited-edition HM (Heavy Metal) Stratocaster originally designed and launched in the late-`80s with metal heads and technical players in mind. Built in the same factory as the original, the HM Strat will be available in four original era-correct Day-Glo colors: Frozen Yellow, Flash Pink, Ice Blue and Bright White. For product images and more information on this model, click here.

Also debuting at WNAMM are all-new limited-edition models that make up Parallel Universe Volume 2 ($3,999 – $4,999). Offering even more unique models in the second iteration of Parallel Universe, these combinations of Fender design elements, body shapes and parts are for players looking for the most exciting and rare instruments Fender will come out with this year. For product descriptions, click here; and product images, click here. The following models will be released in 2020: 

  • The Troublemaker Custom w/ Bigsby ($4,999) 
  • Troublemaker Tele Custom ($4,899) 
  • Strat Jazz Deluxe ($4,699) 
  • Maverick Dorado ($4,999)
  • Spark-O-Matic Jazzmaster ($3,999)
  • Jazz Strat ($3,999)
  • Tele Mágico ($4,999)
  • Uptown Strat ($3,999)

Also, new this NAMM season are two new models for Fender’s American Original series, including the `60s Telecaster Thinline and `70s Telecaster Custom. For product images and more information, click here. Lastly, Fender is adding to the Player Series to further expand entry level offerings within the Fender brand. The new models include the Duo Sonic, Mustang, Mustang Bass PJ and Mustang 90. 

Fender’s new electric guitar and bass offerings will be available at local dealers and on www.Fender.com. 

For technical specs, additional information on new Fender products and to find a retail partner near you, visit www.fender.com. Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender.