First, melt down whatever gold jewellry you’re not using. Start with the stuff that you drunkenly buy on a whim when you get your huge royalty checks, and work your way up to gifts from exotic heiresses. Once your Crybaby is smoothly coated in glistening gold, it should look like this.
Next, reach into your bucket of reserve Swarovski crystals and apply them with glue. Not normal glue, mind you. Only glue made from the finest truffles mixed with the finest caviar and the finest limited edition special-colour M&Ms will work. Now apply them to your pedal. You can do it nice and neatly like the image below, or you can just roll the pedal around in them. The important thing is to make sure that the pedal is adequately coated and sparklesome.
Oh wait, those are just limited edition Crybaby wah wahs by Jim Dunlop, on display at the 2012 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, where I went in January, and why Miss Pilgrim had the house all to herself save for a boisterous five-year-old and a classically mismatched cat and dog. NAMM is a huge trade show where all the new musical equipment for the year is announced, rock stars wander the halls, deals are done, drinks are drinked, parties are partied, gigs are witnessed and everyone seems to congregate around Anaheim’s Mexican restaurants.
When I got back home to Melbourne, I regaled Pilgrim with my extensive collection of poorly focused photos of the goodies I saw. Here then, for your viewing pleasure, is some of the cooler stuff I saw at the show. Starting with…
One of the most visually engaging effect pedal companies is Catalinbread. Their designs reflect the uniqueness and creativity of their effects, which are often designed to emulate or build upon classic designs of days gone by. At the 2012 NAMM Show (the first that they actually exhibited at), Catalinbread drew audible gasps (from me, mainly) for these ‘Fuzz Flowers’ built by artist Sharlet Thompson from Spokane, Washington.
And check out Catalinbread’s Merkin, Pareidolia, Heliotrope and Teaser Stallion…
These Playboy guitars are officially licensed and they’re as attractive as the ladies they feature. My favourite is this model, the Playboy Covers Collage, which features tasteful (dammit) images of vintage Playmates. This guitar even features a cute little bowtie inlay at the third fret for extra bunny cred. (pilgrim sez: possibly the ONLY cool playboy licensed product, right?!)
Framus Earl Slick
Guitarist Earl Slick is one of the coolest dudes on the planet. He’s worked for David Bowie, John Lennon, Little Caesar and now the New York Dolls. His Framus signature model is based on a model called the Hollywood and its overall vibe is much like that of Slick himself: a little bit retro and a whole lotta cool.
Hayden Mini MoFo
There seemed to be a lot of sea foam green at NAMM this year. So much so that I wrote a post about it for my own blog. But this was probably the sea foamiest of them all: a Mini MoFo amp by Hayden in special custom livery. Dig how the control knobs recall the look of bakelite. Groove on how the amp’s design has a certain ‘grandma’s toaster oven’ vibe. I love this thing so freaking much.
Vox Apache Series
The Vox company has been around since the dawn of rock. Their amplifiers backed up the Beatles for almost all of their career – in fact there was even a Vox Super Beatle amplifier back in the day. The company has taken the feel of some of their classic 60s designs like the Phantom and Teardrop, and updated them in the form of the following beauties, all of which are part of the Apache series. Each includes a built-in amplifier with rhythm patterns to play along with – reggae, funk, country, rock, blues… hey, where’s Bossa Nova?
Y’know what? I couldn’t seem to find much information on the specs of this guitar by AXL, but it’s quite obviously based on the shape of a Gibson Les Paul with some minor tweaks. But who cares? It’s purple and it’s sparkly!!! I have a great love of sparkly guitars. Just get me drunk and ask some time. I’ll tell ya.
Yamaha THR amplifier
This innovative little Yamaha THR amplifier doubles as a recording interface, a set of computer speakers and an attractive faux radio device thing to look impressive on a shelf. I love that herringbone pattern over the speakers, and the pastel hue of the casing. And it sounds great too.
The Fender Telecaster has its roots back in the late 40s and today you can buy this guitar in various configurations and price points, but for me the really great stuff is the mid-60s Telecaster Custom line. The maple fretboard was replaced with dark-hued rosewood, the body received attractive creme binding, and some models even came with the Bigsby vibrato bridge, a primitive but super-cool way of imparting some wobble upon your musical musings.
The Fender Custom Shop is offering a 60s-inspired Custom in a whole range of gorgeous colours this year. Check out this small sample.
Gretsch Brian Setzer Hot Rod
The Gretsch company was responsible for some of the meanest, rockin’est rockabilly guitars ever, and their designs are still very much in keeping with this aesthetic. As part of this, you can occasionally find Gretcsh Brian Setzer Hot Rods in custom colours inspired by hot rod culture. Imagine these babies screaming down the street and pulling up at Mel’s Diner to order a chilli dog, potato salad and a cherry Coke.
Last but most certainly not least, Z.Vex pedals are some of the most fun, noisy (in a good way), creativity-inspiring little boxes ever devised. And in keeping with their spirit of frothing, uncontrollable artfulness, most of their pedals are available in handpainted versions. No two are exactly alike, and some of them are pretty freaking different. Check out this small selection from the huge Z.Vex display case of wonder.
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thanks for the take over, peter! mmmm colorful guitars!!