Gear talk for the GAS-afflicted.

NAMM 2013: Rockshop + Six-String Samurai Joint Coverage!! **Final Four**

NAMM 2013: Rockshop + Six-String Samurai Joint Coverage!! **Final Four**

Jan 29, 2013

The final day of NAMM – time to cram as much of the crazy experience as possible into that last precious day. And you know what happens when you try and do that? You run out of upload space on your Flickr account!! Haha, sorry folks – that’s why this post is a day late. We’re now rocking a Flickr Pro account, and it’s back to business!!

If you’ve missed it, you can see Pre-Show, Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 coverage here. Today it looks like we’ll be dealing with the big boys (Fender, Gibson etc) and their affiliate companies.

Some Juicy Oranges…

New for 2013 are some additions to the Orange OR series – paying tribute to classic “Pics Only” Orange amps from the 70s.

Much like at the supermarket, when you’re at NAMM you probably shouldn’t randomly pull out an Orange from the bottom of the pile. You REALLY don’t want to cause an avalanche…

Holey Manson, Batman!

Hugh Manson is a custom maker based in England. I checked out his website but it afforded me basically no insight into his guitar models… but here’s a model full of holes which one can only assume was an experiment in alternative materials and weight saving. Or just, you know… maybe he got bored and had some fun on the drill press.

Fender Acoustic Custom Shop

Didn’t know they had one! Though it’s not unusual for me not to know things. Shiny…

Very “Dia de los Muertos”.

Custom Cabronita of some sort

I like it. Is that a leather top? Yee-haw.

Fender Pawnshop

The Pawnshop concept is one that I really like, though I haven’t actually spent much time with any of them yet. This line is all about combining whacky features of various iconic Fender models, and making them into a new hybrid guitar. I haven’t heard as much buzz about this series as I’d expected to, but I guess it’s hit and miss whether these quirky creations will appeal to the masses. Kudos to Fender for doing this though, instead of just creating the 40 millionth Fender Strat model which no one really knows what the difference from the last one is…

Kind of along the same lines are the Greta and Excelsior lines – quirky things that you might expect to find in an old pawnshop. The Excelsior has a 15″ speaker, while the Greta looks like a little alarm clock or vintage radio. I’m unsure what the NEW sign is proclaiming – must be those lovely *cough* new colours the combos come in.

Running with the Devil (is that what they call FMIC these days??)

When Eddie Van Halen left Peavey and decided to spearhead a new branding under his own name, he needed someone to build the guitars for him. Oh hai, Fender. The EVH brand started out a little bumpy, but pretty awesome. Massively overpriced USA models were made in the Jackson Custom Shop, while the range below that was made in Japan – killer guitars. However, the USA models were soon discontinued, and late last year production of the Japanese models was shifted to Fender’s Chinese factory. Oh dear.

I’m a sucker for a nice looking Wolfgang, though. Here’s an unfortunately slightly blurry picture. Below the Wolfies is the new EVH Striped Series superstrat – an affordable alternative to the crazy expensive Charvel EVH Art Series that was released a few years ago.

From the EVH Gear site (though this has since disappeared):

It features a Basswood Stratocaster-style body with EVH stripes in three finishes: red with black stripes, black with yellow stripes and white with black stripes. There’s a graphite-reinforced maple neck with a hand-rubbed oil finish and thumbwheel truss rod adjustment, compound-radius maple fingerboard (12”-16”) with 22 jumbo frets and black dot inlays, and a direct-mount Wolfgang® humbucking pickup.

Other features include a single white volume control knob (labeled “tone” which is a classic Eddie-ism), single-ply black pickguard (white with black stripes model only), bar string retainer and Floyd Rose® locking nut, EVH-branded Floyd Rose® locking tremolo with EVH D-Tuna®, EVH die-cast tuners, chrome hardware, vintage-style strap buttons and EVH neck plate.


Continuing with the EVH gear is the combo version of the 5150III! I recently got the chance to spend some time with a 5150III with my Wolfgang, and man did it slay!

Meet the Jacksons

As you probably know, Jackson Guitars is also owned by Fender. Much like the rest of the industry, I’ve heard that they’re heading for cheaper pastures, with the longstanding Japanese produced Pro series to be moved somewhere else – I haven’t been able to confirm where just yet.

However, hopefully they’ll always have the USA Select Series as the cream of the crop… and man, is it creamy. Or flamey. Or something. There’s also a massive 8 string as per the extended range craze that’s going on at the moment.

These guys here with the horn scoop on both the upper and lower horns are the new Pro Series Chris Broderick Soloists, which we talked about recently. To be honest, I’m a little undecided about this body shape. It’s starting to look a little “generic Schecter” to me…

Seymour Duncan will eat your soulllllll

Found this elsewhere, but am stealing it – new 6, 7, 8 string pickups from Seymour Duncan. Badass names to the max – Nazgul, Pegasus (okay that’s a little bit less badass, since it’s a flying white horse) and Sentient.


Stop… Gibson time.

Any NAMM coverage would NOT be complete without the company that everyone loves to hate… but loves anyway. Cos, you know. Gibson.

This is a classy looking bound Explorer which to me recalls the Gibson Explorer E2 model from back in the day. Gold hardware is a must to add to the striking good looks. Mini humbuckers – interesting!

In stark contrast, here’s what appears to be a Les Paul version of that profoundly ugly Zoot Suit SG Gibson made a few years ago… It’s so ugly the camera refuses to focus.

Small-bodied ES… I’m guessing ES-339? Old school trapeze-style tailpiece, so perhaps a reissue of some description.

Bad Seed Guitars – a new NZ custom maker!

Hmmmm… an interesting looking Firebird which in contrast to the mini-hum loaded Explorer, has full-sized ‘buckers and a Bigsby. A quick google reveals that Bad Seed Guitars are based in NZ! Wow, what a surprise – I haven’t heard ANYthing about these guys. Apparently their deal is that they use titanium and other metals to make the bodies… cool.

This Explorer seems more overtly metallic. And you know what? I freaking love this look! I wonder if I can get a guitar from them to have a play with, if I ask VERY nicely…

Dos Rocks

Here is something new from the guys at Two Rock. Something for the boutique crowd, but in all honesty I know next to nothing about these amps except for the name.

Leaving you with the Boss

Boss pedals – the cork sniffer crowd may turn their noses up at these “pedestrian”, non-uber-expensive pedals, but they’re still a bulletproof stalwart of the pedal world, and more famous guitarists than you may expect still rock their trusty Boss pedals.

Celebrating the 100th Boss pedal to be released is the Tera Echo, which by early accounts is a great sounding pedal. We’ll have to wait till they hit our shores to find out! Also new are the Multi Overtone and Adaptive Distortion. One thing I’ll say is that the Boss guys need to step up their naming game to entice the pedal buying crowd. Names like that just scream “sterile scifi robots” to me. Quite obviously, to compete with the boutique pedalmakers of today you’d want to have ridiculous names with at least a little innuendo… so watch out next year for the Boss Way Large Rockcrusher Impregnatorplex. Patent Pending, mother%^&*ers.

And that is, sadly, the END of our NAMM 2013 coverage. I’ve had an amazing time covering the show from here, and thanks again to the guys at NZ Rockshop for taking all the cool pictures! I hope you guys had as good a time as I did – and next year I’m hoping to be there myself! These pics have given me massive GAS… I’m now going to go away and scheme about how I can buy many more new toys this year…

Rock on, Samurai out!


  1. JeremyB says:

    “maybe he got bored and had some fun on the drill press.” intentional pun???? LOL

    1. thesamurai says:

      Hahahhaa… it wasn’t, but I’ll take it!

  2. Hamish (@hamo_d) says:

    Bloody good stuff Ed, shame you couldn’t go this time round, but hope you do manage to get there next time.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Thank you sir! Glad you enjoyed it, and much thanks to Matt and the Rockshop guys for helping to make it happen! Yep, Six-String Samurai at NAMM 2014, that’s the dream!

  3. Mirabeau says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t find the Zoot Suit SG ugly? Sure, it’s not the nicest looking guitar on the planet, but ugly? I personally don’t agree. Though I do prefer the look the look of the Zoot Suit SG to that Les Paul, I can’t really call it “ugly”.

    1. thesamurai says:

      Haha I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste! I can’t say that if someone gave one to me I would refuse… but I wouldn’t pay much money for a demented lollipop, heh.

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