Five Selfish Things I Want From NAMM 2020

I’m dreaming here, of course, because the groovy gear manufacturers unveiling new products at Winter NAMM 2020 on January 16-19, long ago decided what they were developing for the big show. But this is my little world—at least for the sake of this article—and I am free to muse over products that I would love to see. Please feel free to add your own desires, wishes, and dreams in the comments section.

Whatever Happened to the Ernie Ball VPJR Volume Pedal/Tuner?
I loved this pedal when it was debuted at NAMM 2019. A great big display, awesome colors, the quality and reliability of Ernie Ball volume pedals—this thing was a “must have.” But other than an Ernie Ball blog, some YouTube videos from last year, and 2019 press-release posts, the VPJR Tuner/Volume pedal seems to have disappeared into the mists. Maybe it will return to NAMM this month. Maybe I’ll find out what happened to it. Whatever went down, I still want one!

Reverend Guitars “Molenda Model”
Okay, this one is totally cheeky, as I’m far from a guitar star or celebrity, but it’s my dream, so I get to make it. I’m envisioning a Gretsch-like, double-cutaway semi-hollowbody with David-Bowie-esque lightning-bolt “f-holes,” two of those new Reverend Retroblast pickups, a pickup selector switch, a kill switch, the Bass Contour control, and one Master volume control in a stunning Monkees-red-sparkle finish. I think this baby would rule—well, if you were me, I suppose. But, hey, if this is too huge of a dreamwalk for Ken, Penny, and Joe to bring to life, then maybe they can simply produce that awesome Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike in a glorious Schwinn gloss red?

Fuzz Laboratory Pedal
I’m a total fuzz freak, but I’m getting tired of constantly changing out different fuzz boxes on my pedalboard (depending on the gig), or rummaging through my effects-pedal bins to find the perfect sound for recordings. I tend to stick to the same four or five pedals, so could someone please make me an analog multi-fuzz pedal that’s the size of, say, an EVH 5150 Overdrive? I mean, mini-pedals pack a lot of facility into a tiny chassis, so it must be possible, right? My wish would be for global Gain, Output, Bass, Mid, and Treble knobs with four footswitches, each one deploying one of my fave fuzzes (or at least the basic tonal colors): Mosrite Fuzzrite, JMI Mick Ronson Tonebender Mk-1, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, and a Pro Co RAT. Maybe if the engineering was possible and cheap enough, blending the different fuzz flavors by clicking multiple buttons would be pretty groovy. Perhaps I can get Joe Gore to give it a shot?

More Advances in Cooler Pedalboard Attachments
I’m super tired of Velcro’d pedals. Well, I actually don’t do that anymore. I find pedalboards that allow me to zip-tie my boxes to the board, such as the Holeyboard. But I’m very interested in advancements such as the Aclam Smart Track system (which I haven’t tried since the company’s initial prototypes) and the NEXI click and play strategy, because even zip-ties can get a bit wonky. Any takers?

One More Tiny Step Forward for Instrument Wireless Transmitters
It is a beautiful thing to pop a wireless transmitter into the output jack of your guitar or bass, and rock on—definitely more endearing (at least to me) than affixing a big ol’ transmitter box to your strap and running its cable down to your instrument. But what that system did do was allow you to prance around onstage without anything rattling about. Many of the jack-transmitter systems, however, are still a tad too bulky and can either flap around (if the jack is on a swivel connector) or just bug the crap out of me because they can make my fab guitars look all “added on” and dorky. Surely, we are at a point where technology can minimize these transmitters to almost the more-demure size of a 1/4″ jack itself? No eye-catching girth or flappy annoyance. I await the future. Until then, thanks all, but I’ll stick with my cables.

Author: Michael Molenda

Founder of Guardians of Guitar. Longest-serving Editor in Chief of GUITAR PLAYER (1997-2018). Long live Link Wray and Mick Ronson!

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