Guitar Jam Daily
Home Events Winter NAMM The NAMM Awards: Best Supporting Products
October 20, 2020
The NAMM Awards: Best Supporting Products PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 16:34
namm-anaheim-convention-center.jpgBy Jim Basara - GJD
In the last issue, I discussed some of my favorite guitars at Winter NAMM. Today's award is for Supporting Products. In the past, I've reserved this for a variety of products from humidifiers to tone circuit upgrades. However, at this year's NAMM, I didn't find any of the secondary items that could measure up to some of the new amplifiers that are now hitting the market. So, this year's Supporting Product awards are going to amp companies for three outstanding new products.

First up is Elmwood Amps with their new M90 Modena. Ken Volpe introduced this amp a short time ago with his Elmwood M90 Modena Review . As someone who constantly struggles with amp selection, Ken's review intrigued me greatly. My problem is that I am on the "friends circuit" meaning that I get together with various groups of friends who play everything from clean folk, to country, to blues, to classic rock, to metal. As such, I've always maintained a large array of pedals from which I select those that I need for the particular style. Overdrive and distortion has always been an issue since I've never found a tube amp that could provide feel and responsiveness, but was still able to offer up a wide range of gain settings.

The M90 seems to solve these problems. It offers perhaps the best combination of responsiveness and flexibility that I have ever found in a boutique tube amp. Ken referred to this as being "fun", and I'd have to support his opinion, as I had an absolute blast playing with the M90. It has two channels, each with foot-switchable boost/drive. What I love about this amp is that each setting, whether it's clean, lightly overdriven, or full overdrive feels like the amp was specifically designed for that particular sound. Many of the boutique amps that I've played have a clear sweet spot and everything else sounds like you're stretching what the amp was really meant to do.

Also, being a townhouse dweller, I was thrilled to find that the M90 sounds awesome at low volume levels, even fully overdriven. Sure, it opens up wonderfully when cranked, but even at levels quiet enough to hear a TV at the same time, the amp is very responsive and provides great tone. I expect Elmwood to quickly build a fan base with this amp.

Next up is MI Audio's Revelation 60W Head. The Aussie pedal company has launched this new amplifier that it refers to as "Beyond Boutique", and they may have a valid point. This amp is absolutely loaded with features. The Revelation offers 4 completely independent channels featuring Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble and Volume. Each channel is independently voiced with unique design architecture, meaning that changing channels feels more like changing amps, not simply changing gain. Each channel also has 3 gain modes, low, mid, and high, allowing any of the four differently voiced channels to act as a 'clean', 'crunch', or 'overdrive' channel, or the amp can be set up for four distinct clean tones, or four different overdrive variations. The amp also features four FX loops that can operate at line level and guitar level, leveraging ultra low noise buffered circuitry.


Two different operating modes are available: Standard Mode uses the optional six-button foot controller where you can switch to any channel and toggle between master volumes, as well as assign any number of FX loops to a channel. Midi Mode allows you to store up to 128 programs for blending settings for channel, gain mode, master volume, FX bank, and more. This level of Midi control is rare indeed for a boutique, all tube head.

Like the M90, the Revelation should definitely be considered by anyone looking for a boutique head. It sounds great and provides incredible levels of flexibility.

Last but not least, we have the new Laney Class A Lionheart L5T-112. A 5-watt Laney sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but this new offering from the proven amp manufacturer delivers everything you'd expect from an amp with the Laney logo on it. Laney says that the amp is designed to provide the "evocative, classic tones of hot tubes pushed hard, but at a volume level your neighbors can live with." Well, the first part is certainly true, but this is the loudest 5 watts I have ever heard.


I took a quick test drive of the L5T and it sounds fantastic, both clean and overdriven. It captures the pure Laney tone and punch in a great little package. The output is achieved with a single EL84, driven from three 12AX7 preamp tubes. Gold plated PCB's and jack sockets, along with sealed gold contract relays in all signal paths, provide for minimum sound coloration.

The amp offers 2 channels (clean and drive) and standard passive bass, mid, and treble equalization, as well as an FX loop and a 4" large spring line reverb. It comes with a single 12" Celsetion Heritage G12H in a marine grade plywood cabinet with retro banding strip, leather strap handle and folding tilt-back mechanism.

For around a thousand bucks, this small but powerful amp is a great addition to Laney's respected line. Stay tuned for a full review of this amp in a future GJD edition

Daily Video Lesson

Daily Video Lesson
  • 02:41 - 01.10.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    A five week long, cross-country tour featuring some of the best known and most respected figures in rock and blues has been set to celebrate the legacy and music of Jimi Hendrix. Presented by Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., the Hendrix family-owned company founded by James A. “Al” Hendrix, Jimi’s father, entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix together with musical instrument giant Gibson Guitar, this year’s Experience Hendrix Tour represents a dramatic expansion beyond last year’s seven sold out performances.

    Featured artists who will be performing music written by and associated with Jimi Hendrix include blues giant Buddy Guy, contemporary guitar greats Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Eric Johnson, Cesar Rojas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos as well as Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford.
  • 01:53 - 26.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) and Italian distributor M.Casale Bauer proudly announce the grand opening of the Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy. It is the third such international exclusive Fender guitar destination, joining the elite Fender Custom Shop Lounge (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Fender Showcase Tokyo (Japan).

    The Fender Custom Shop Showcase Italy is in Bologna, Italy, and is housed in a building by California-born Italian designer Gretchen Alexander. The showroom is located near the offices of M. Casale Bauer, Fender’s Italian distributor since 1962, and was created to provide Fender dealers, their special guests and artists with a comfortable place to find, try and buy some of the most beautiful guitars in today’s market. The showcase features an impressive array of high-end guitars crafted by the master builders of the Fender Custom Shop and provides artists and dealers (and their VIP clients) with access to some of the most unique high-end Fender instruments ever made available in one place. The showroom houses an unparalleled selection of Fender Custom Shop instruments, as well as Bauer’s personal collection, one of the largest and most valuable in the world.
  • 03:41 - 23.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Los Angeles, CA – World-renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will  release Center Stage, a live concert DVD on October 14th via Favored Nations Acoustic.  
    The full-length concert DVD follows the recent release of the Center Stage  double CD, both having been recorded live for the PBS television series “Sierra Center Stage.” Filmed in eye-catching high definition, every element of modern technology was used in production, creating a stunning package, both aurally
    and visually. 
  • 00:09 - 19.09.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    Montreal, Canada- September 16th, 2008: Renowned guitarist Daryl Stuermer will be giving Godin Performance Clinics in and around Quebec and Eastern Ontario from September 29th to October 3rd 2008.

    Having performed in studio and toured the world with both Phil Collins and supergroup Genesis for years, Daryl is a player who is on top of his game and has the chops to prove it. Performing as the Daryl Stuermer Duo, he will be accompanied by keyboardist Konstantin Efimov during the clinics and will also be giving attendees his perspective on playing live, recording, technique, and his gear, by fielding a Q&A session after each performance.
  • 09:29 - 03.06.2008 Spotlight >> Spotlight
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (June 2, 2008) -- Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today that it has acquired certain assets of Groove Tubes LLC. Among other assets, FMIC purchased the Groove Tubes brand. Groove Tubes company founder Aspen Pittman will continue in a consulting role.