Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some Post 2015 NAMM Thoughts

Sitting here on the Tuesday morning after the show I'm and still feeling NAMM lag.  Even after 12 years of doing the show I'm still amazed at the physical toll it takes.  I even got in shape for several weeks before it this year to prepare.  It helped a lot, but I'm still really needing the Monday and Tuesday that we traditionally take off to recover.  Whew.

We did things a bit different this year and stepped up to a 20' booth.  We had a fine selection of instruments from our OEM customers and friends and I think it was a big success.  I'd like to thank Roger Sadowsky, Michael and Daniel Tobias, Mike Lull, Spector, Tino Tedesco, Laurus and Federico Malaman, Warwick and Framus, Ibanez, Sheldon Dingwall, Frank Pasquale, Luke Sheridan, Mozina Guitars, Tim Cloonan (Callowhill), Aquilina Basses, Oscar Prat, and Darryl Anders.  I am truly humbled to have had such a stellar lineup of instruments on hand, all with our pickups and preamps in them.  Amazing.

I'm also really excited about the new CND pickups in several new Ibanez basses that are coming on line.  I was truly humbled at how many instruments in the Ibanez booth had my N logo on them.  I counted 16!  Absolutely incredible!

And the response we got to the Nordstrand Audio products was better than I could have hoped.  The preamp pedal was very well received, but the response to the cabinets was amazing.  The typical reaction was a few notes and a big smile.  Followed by a reluctance to stop playing.  I couldn't have asked for more.  A big highlight was having Bobby Vega play his Shark bass thought my rig.  It was like a sonic bass bath.  Inspiring!

A few notes about the Nordstrand Audio thing.  The products we had at the show were prototypes and were there to gauge player reaction.  Given the incredibly encouraging response I am going to move forward with the next step and begin the process of starting up the product line and making Nordstrand Audio official.  There are many ducks to line up to make it happen, but things are VERY promising.  Given the proper lining up of the aforementioned ducks, I expect to have pedals available for purchase in 3-4 months, cabinets in 4-6 months, and with any luck, at least a 700 watt amp in 6-8 months.  Pricing will be announced as it can be determined with some degree of accuracy.  A website is also in the works.

Another cool thing that is happening is our discovery of how awesome Alnico III is for bass pickups. It's stellar for Tele pickups, as the response to our NVT A3 set has shown.  Premier Guitar magazine reviewed them and gave them a Premier Gear award and the reviewer even purchased the review set.  Michael Thompson loves them and went so far as to say the neck pickup is "about the best I've ever heard".

After all that I thought why not try some bass pickups with the A3?  So we started with a NP5 that I put in my personal vP5 bass and I was blown away.  Warmer and more organic than A5, the A3 offers an inspiring alternative flavor that I'm really enjoying.

Here's a recording of how the NP5 A3 works in a mix:  NP5 A3 Demo

We quickly made NJ5 and NJ4 sets and the love affair continued.  Then I put an A3 set of Big Singles in my personal NJ5 and they are just fantastic.  At this time, we have plans to put the A3 magnets in just about every pickup we make.  The overwhelmingly positive response to the A3 at NAMM really helped me decide on that commitment.

Oh, there's one more thing.  The new on board preamps will be available in late February.  These are a surface mount epoxied version of our current hand made through hole design.  Having these made for us will increase the reliability, make them smaller allowing more installation options, and most importantly lower the price.

All in all, it was an amazing NAMM show.  Undoubtedly the best I've had in my 12 years of doing this.