The Most Metal Instruments at NAMM

John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
You break it, you buy it.
A few weeks back, I wrote about the most metal moments at NAMM, but now I'd like to touch base on some of the amazing products at the one of the largest music trade shows in the world.

Manufacturers seem to have found a way of creating affordable instruments that sound amazing, and at NAMM I discovered quite a few.

But I'm not talking about the usual brands like Marshall and Fender -- there are a ton of other instrumental purveyors that have an impressive lineup of products, and two of my current favorites are Korg and Samson.

I mean, rock stars love Vox (owned by Korg) but choose Marshall because they want the wall of speakers. Vox is one of the most iconic guitar amps ever. It's been Paul McCartney's favorite speakers for, well, as long as anyone can remember, since it's what the Beatles always used. Other musicians that opt for Vox include the Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon, the Cult, and the Black Crowes.

Korg USA also handles distribution for Blackstar Amplification and Ashdown Engineering, both of which are UK-based, as well as a few other companies. Blackstar even won Brand to Watch at NAMM this year.

Korg has a ton of fantastic products that I saw at NAMM. First off, the brand is known for their keyboards. They first debuted the RK-100 keytar in 1984, and this year Korg resurrected it -- except this one is made out of wood, comes in three different colors and has a ribbon the whole length of the key bed, so you can do dive bombs and a ton of other stuff.
And out of the blue, one of my favorite products is the limited-edition MS-20 Kit.

"We also came out with an MS-20 kit. It's an analog synthesizer that you can build yourself. It comes in a flat box, you put it together and wire it, and the directions are easy to understand," says Korg artist rep David Ungar. "It's something really cool that no one else is really doing."

There's also the PiBass 240 and the Rootmaster Series, both from Ashdown, which is distributed by Korg. Some of the artists who have played Ashdown over the years are Adam Clayton from U2, Nate Mendel from the Foo Fighters, and Eric Wilson from Sublime.

Blackstar's new ID: Core series won Best in Show at NAMM as well. The new entry-level amp line features three models, the ID: Core 10 Stereo, the ID: Core 20 Stereos and the ID: Core 40 Stereo, and each punches way above its diminutive size. Each model is affordable, starting at $99, $149, and $199.

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