From the beautiful to the outright crazy, these are the coolest guitars we saw at NAMM 2016
The National Association of Music Merchants or NAMM as it is widely known, offers musicians, gear geeks and guitar lovers a chance to see all the new and exciting products that some of the world’s biggest brands. Translation: it’s a chance for us to absolutely freak out about the awesome new gear and cry ourselves to sleep at night over the fact that we can’t afford a £15,000 diamond encrusted guitar. Of course NAMM isn’t only about aspirational products, but it’s the super interesting one-offs and unique guitars that really steal the show. So let’s take a look at 10 of the coolest things we saw at NAMM. Try not to cry. *I did*
15,000 Volt Relic Telecaster
One of the coolest things we saw this year came in the form of this absolutely unique Telecaster. Master builder Dennis Galuszka decided to pump 15,000 volts through the body of a tele, as you do, and see what would happen. The results did not disappoint as this thing looks absolutely awesome. By attaching electrodes to the mahogany body and probably running for cover, Galuszka has created a completely unique guitar with electrical burn marks that could never be repeated. We’re not sure exactly how much this was going for but it had a “sold” sticker on it, so someone is definitely riding the lightning at home. Ah thank you.
Music Repeater Tele
Built by Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, the Music Repeater Tele is the type of guitar that you’d buy if you had cash to burn, like you literally used cash to keep yourself warm by scorching it on a fire – that rich! Featuring 1005 diamonds, 38 sapphires, 325 natural pearls, 20’ 18-Karat rose gold wire inlay, 12sq inches of 18-Karat rose gold sheet inlay as well as exhibition-grade birds-eye maple neck. Oh and it comes with a 200 year old antique 18 karat gold and diamond swiss repeater watch too, just for good measure.
Orange O Bass
Not such a gaudy addition to NAMM as some of the other products in this blog, the Orange O Bass is still a really cool addition to NAMM. Originally revealed in 2014 as a prototype or “nice to have” product, images of the original incarnation of this bass quickly found their way on to the internet with the guitar loving public begging for it’s mass production. Orange answered their prayers and released these cool basses for 2016.
Gas can guitars
Well there’s not a lot you can say about these guitars besides, “wow”. Some seriously intricate designs are the order of the day here. I wonder what fuelled the designers ambition for this one? Again, thank you.
Gibson guitar throne
Ok so it’s not a guitar, but this guitar throne from Gibson deserves honourable mention because it looks totally awesome. We had to drag Gary away from it as he was throwing orders around, but that’s just what happens when you play the Game of Tones.
Martin D-28 John Lennon 75th Anniversary
Crafted to commemorate John Lennon’s 75th birthday, the Martin D-28 was by far one of the coolest things we saw at NAMM 2016. Limited to only 75 items, Gary was lucky enough to be able to play around with one. With intricate mother of pearl fret board inlays as well as a Madagascar rosewood headplate decorated with John Lennon’s famous self-portrait, this seriously unique instrument was lovingly created and is a great tribute to the musician.
ESP Angel Guitar
ESP never fail to impress when it comes to new guitars and this Angel guitar is definitely a head turner. At first glance it just looks like someone has superglued a dolls head to the body, but oh no, this is a completely ornate and highly intricate design by the brand. You’re essentially wielding a cherub in guitar format. We were unable to play it but by all accounts it sounded heavenly.
ESP Devil Guitar
On the flip side, ESP created a Devil guitar, raising hell in the best way possible. You can’t get much more ornate than this. Incidentally, ESP showcased a whole host of guitars for NAMM 2016, all intricate and highly coveted one offs. Take a look.
Stained Glass Tele
Master Builder Dale Wilson crafted a gorgeous telecaster using stained glass across the body and installed custom LED light panels within the multi-tiered body that will glow and illuminate the different coloured glass. It’s essentially your own light show strap to your shoulder.
Gibson Monarch Crown Jewel Edition
Since first appearing in 1990, The Gibson Monarch has fast become the ultimate collector’s edition within the Gibson custom range. This one off features a 14K gold crown medallion fitted into the headstock, hand inlaid mother of pearl lion design as well as Montana Yogo Sapphires. As far as acoustics go, this guitar is a show stopper.
Taylor 12 string models
Taylor announced a range of new guitars for 2016 including a selection of fantastic 12 string guitars. These two models offer an idea into the new direction Taylor guitars are taking when it comes to intricate fret boards. Many of the upper tier lines are currently being crafted with at least some type of ornate design, making them a coveted brand. The sheer amount of care that goes in to creating these stunning guitars is plain to see.
Fender strap suit
We also had to include this suit in the blog. Fender created this “interesting” piece for NAMM 2016, and we’re pretty sure no matter where you go this will draw attention. Interestingly, it’s actually made from old guitar straps. Unfortunately for Gary, it wasn’t for sale.
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.