I have attended more NAMM shows than I will ever admit (though, hey, iced teas and movie tickets are reasonable bribes if you must know). They are crowded. They are loud. At times, they are absolutely silly. But they’re also excellent excuses to hang with industry friends and peruse a bounty of new products that you may even want to make your own.
NAMM 2019 had a special significance for me, because it was the first time I attended as my own boss, representing Guardians of Guitar. Furthermore, the show provided me the opportunity to Play It Forward to the manufacturing community—are you getting hip to that GoG mantra of “Play It Forward, Play It Forward” yet?—and devise an award to showcase products that prompted my fellow Guardians and I to go “wow.”
The Gigantically Outstanding Gear Award (funny how that also stands for “GoG”) is our way of saluting gear makers who developed products by either  actually listening to players’ needs,  innovating something awesome,  putting a crazy new twist on an age-old idea,  knocking the quality quotient out of the park, or  just did something so tremendously cool and fun that it made us smile. We also tried to limit our picks to gear that was attainable for the average working musician, and that will be readily available. For example, the Sundragon amp that we called out in our pre-NAMM article is absolutely a marvel of amp design. But it’s a limited edition, and it was pretty much sold out by the close of the show.
The following “Top 20” GoG Awards were culled from reports by Guardians Barry Cleveland, Jude Gold, Ali Handal, Jimmy Leslie, Gretchen Menn, and I. Obviously, these products haven’t been reviewed yet as many weren’t shipping at the time of the NAMM Show. But we’re not getting into nuts and bolts and analysis and investigations here. These are first impressions from a show that debuts cool new gear toys, and we simply let ourselves geek out at the creative possibilities promised by our 20 award winners.
That said, we now congratulate the GoG Awards inaugural class of 2019…
Line 6 Relay G10S Stompbox Wireless System
The Line 6 team continues to make wireless performance a simple plug-and-play affair for guitarists, and the G10S Stompbox system is about as easy and elegant as you can get. The receiver is pedal-sized, so it can fit on just about any pedalboard out there—even mini ‘boards for travel gigs. Speaking of traveling, if you’re away from your home base, the G10S will automatically lock onto the strongest available wireless frequency as soon as the transmitter is docked into the receiver. Magically simple! You can also manually choose any one of 11 frequencies, and a cool meter lets you know of any interference affecting the frequency you selected.
I’ve used the G10 transmitter while testing other Line 6 systems, and I never had any problems with it slipping out of the guitar jack or banging against the guitar body, and I move around a lot onstage. The transmitter’s black casing may be a tad more noticeable than a typical 1/4″ cable jack, but if the audience is checking out your jack situation, you may need to review your song choices or punch up your stage show. Most guitarists love simple, especially during the chaos of performing live, and that brings up another benefit of the G10S. As the receiver is on your pedalboard, if something goes south with the wireless frequency, all you need to do is have an “emergency” guitar cable by your feet. If the sound goes dead, you can simply remove the G10S receiver cable going into your first pedal, and plug the guitar cable directly into that pedal and your guitar. I tried it in a mock-up “terror trial,” and it takes no more than 30 seconds. No fear! Click Here for More Info