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February 11, 2015

Events › NAMM › Reviews ›


NAMM 2015 Recap: New Year, New Partners!

If you’ve been following us at all in the last few weeks, you’ve seen the smattering of #NAMM2015 posts on our social media channels and may be wondering – what the heck happens at NAMM? NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants and the biannual NAMM Tradeshow takes place in Anaheim, California every January (as well as in Nashville every July). It is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. As a musical instrument retailer, Chicago Music Exchange attends NAMM to meet with manufacturers (old and new) and to see the unveiling of 2015 product lines.

What is the most important thing we can tell you about NAMM? There are A LOT of brands at NAMM. The great news for you is, we sift through the good, the bad, the bizarre, and the unoriginal – so that you don’t have to. Here are the new brands and old favorites that we are celebrating!

Chicago Music Exchange is now a Strymon Dealer!
Chicago Music Exchange is now a Deusenberg Dealer! (inventory coming soon)
Chicago Music Exchange is now a Rock’N’Roll Relics Dealer! (inventory coming soon)
Chicago Music Exchange is now a Diamond Pedals Dealer! (inventory coming soon)

Fender Custom Shop

This was one our first stops at NAMM. We will be getting some Fender Masterbuilt guitars later this year, which is a first for us. Masterbuilt guitars give players a one-of-a-kind instrument of the highest quality, with custom appointments and painstaking attention made to every detail.

As a part of the Fender Custom Shop, we also saw the Gretsch Custom Shop line and fell in love with this one-of-a-kind Gretsch (built by Stephen Stern). We are anxiously anticipating its arrival in Chicago. Call 888-686-7872 to reserve.


The Gibson booth put a high concentration on electronic products. Gibson is expanding their brand to include more home recording tools and audio equipment, so products like headphones and speakers dominated the space this year. As always, we were wowed by the Gibson Montana acoustics collection.

Premier Builders Guild

The PBG is a coalition of some of the coolest boutique brands in the industry: Fano Guitars, b3 Guitars, Koll Guitars, Tone King Amplifiers, and Two-Rock Amplifiers.

Fano was definitely a break-out star in 2014 with the Alt De Facto line exploding in popularity. Watch for the new Alt De Facto ML6 which can only be described as a cross between a SG a Corvette and a Wilshire.

We are bringing home several of the b3 Phoenix guitars which have received a lot of attention and success in the past year.

New to Chicago Music Exchange, the Koll Guitars Super Glide Almighty (the flagship guitar of their Glide Series) will be arriving this Spring.

Tone King just released their Imperial MKII Combo Amp – a worthy follow-up to the original Imperial. The main difference is the Ironman II Precision Compensated Power Attenuator plus Attenuator Bypass. Watch our latest demo video to see this amp in action.

Two Rock showed off their latest creation, the Akoya series. The Akoya amps boast big performance with vintage amp feel. We’ll be sure to make a demo when we get these in! 


Oh how we love Collings Guitars... While everyone knows that Collings acoustics are incredible, we are currently very into Collings electric guitars for their outstanding quality and playability. We are also very excited about the new Waterloo line of Collings Guitars (inventory coming soon). Waterloo guitars explore the sounds of the past (currently depression era guitars) at a more accessible price point – Collings quality without all the bells and whistles. 

James Trussart

Amazing works of art from James Trussart as always! Here are samples of the guitars and the basses we’ll be bringing home.

Santa Cruz 

We will be working with Santa Cruz this year to design more guitars with exotic woods like Cocobolo. Watch for fancy appointments and one-off designs from these guys this year.


D’Angelico Guitars wowed us with the addition of the NY-DC, a semi-hollow body built in Kalamazoo, MI from their brand new USA Pro Series of guitars! Getting even more attention was an entirely new line of solid-wood acoustic guitars featuring that beautifully ornate and timeless D'Angelico headstock.


Coming soon from Rickenbacker Guitars: the 4003S bass, a simplified version of the classic 4003, but at a lower price point. Also, the Rickenbacker 1993Plus 12-String guitar, designed with modification requests by Pete Townshend in mind.


Ibanez Guitars is producing some seriously high-quality guitars. From the Ibanez Talman Bass to a remake of the Ibanez Black Eagle Bass, we can’t wait to see these in-store.


Many of the Reverend Guitars models announced at NAMM are already in stock here at CME, including a welcome addition to the baritone party, the Reverend Descent! We will also be getting some Reverend colors exclusive to Chicago Music Exchange. Keep your eye out here on the website.


From Eastwood, we’re loving all of the non-traditional guitar pieces. Baritones, Mandocasters and Mandolas! 


Supro Amps introduced three new amps – the 1650RT Royal Reverb, the1648RT Saturn Reverb, and the 1622RT Tremo-Verb. As always, these Supro amps have their own unique sounds and style. Expect to see them available at CME in the coming months.


The pedal companies always hold a special place in our hearts. So much creativity and willingness to innovate! From JHS to Mojo Hand FX, Earthquaker, Wren & Cuff, to Boss – we have some great stuff in the works for demo videos and collaborations in 2015.

That sums up our NAMM 2015 experience. Well, except for the part where we saw Alice Cooper, Joe Walsh and Johnny Depp play together at the Duesenberg Benefit Concert. That was pretty outstanding as well.

Chrissy Hansen
Chrissy Hansen