Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2020 Edition

Packrat Barry

Other Goodies

Two-Armed Bandit

I've seen other systems that allow for the quick swapping of pickups but none of them were nearly as fast (and cool) as this.

I'd be tempted to paint the pickups so they'd look like slot machine reels.

Warm and Cozy Tone

These are probably not quite as acoustically transparent as normal grill cloth but for many guitar tones, rolling off a little of the high end would be an improvment.


Complete the Set

If you buy one of the Black Volt amps (above) you simply must have one of these beautiful cases to go with it.


Frets > Board

Instead of adding frets to a piece of wood, the subfretboard is a sincle CNC machined piece of metal with wood pieces inserted between frets. It's supposed to improve the tone and harmonics. My only question is what happens when you need refretting?


Cabinet Canvas

Marshall had artists create one of a kind art pieces on speaker grill cloth. Jay Scott painted the "Not-So-Black-Box" and Christopher Brown did "Far From Home," which deperately needs to be paired with the Metasonix Butt Probe pedal that debuted (debutted?) in 2005.


Mystery Wrapped in a (Transparent) Enigma

There was nobody in the booth, there was no literature, and I can't find a website for them, but the guitar case with a view was pretty sweet.

  • Temple of Tone

Uke With a View

It looks like the Temple of Tone weren't the only ones with the idea for an instrument case with a view port.


They Come in Threes

Like baseball movies, westerns, or dead celebrities, apparently see-through instrument cases show up in groups of three.


Tremolo the Untremoloable

The Axe Bender is a whammy bar controller that feels like the real thing. Couple this with something like a Fractal amp and you can now have a functional whammy bar on your multiscale and multistring instruments where a traditional bar is not an option.


Loggins Approved?

As a fan of Archer, for me the phrase "danger zone" is now inextricably linked to that show. This custom display for the Danger Zone pedal looks like something that could show up in an episode.


Sweet Convertibles

While these are interesting amps that collapse, they didn't skimp on the quality of the electronics.


Spin Control

This spinner acts as a decelerating modulator for Sliver and Ages tremolo stompboxes. Their cool spring reverb units are at the end of the video.

Beautiful Inside and Out

Beetronics takes as much care with the look of the PC boards (that you'll normally never see) as they do with the exterior art.


Upping Their Game

When I've featured Jam Pedal here in years past, it's usually been because the artwork was, shall we say, unique. These pedals are less ironically interesting and more truly artistic.


In USSR, Pedal Stomps You

The stark, functional design of these pedals may have been influenced by the Brutalist style of architecture embraced by the former Soviet Union, which is where these pedals hail from.


Italian Design

The proliferation of boutique pedals has created a NAMM environment where things really have to stand out to attract my attention. Earthtone achieved that goal.


Sequencers For Guitarists

There are some specific guitar effects that include step sequencers. StepAudio has created a pair of devices to do step sequencing; one works with the Digitech Whammy Pedal, the other with any MIDI-enabled device.


Heartbreak Prevention

Les Pauls are infamous for snapped headstocks. The Atlas C-1 provides accurate counter pressure so that your treasured guitar will not be in danger of decapitation during transit.



I didn't realize that vegans came in so many colors. Actually, the origin of these non-leather straps starts with the vegan daughters of an Audi executive who kept pestering their dad about finding an alternative to leather car seats. These actually feel like real leather.


Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

This is essentially the evolution of a stick that the inventor used to play his guitar as he was teaching class. The production version is very light and made from a material called Richlite.

Not For Commitment-Phobes

If you've got a set of Jam pedals that you're happy with, you can get a single unit custom-built and kiss all the interconnects and power supplies goodbye. The thing is, I've never known a guitar player who was any more committed to a specific signal chain than they were to the groupie du jour.


Exquisite Tuners

If your fingers are too refined to touch ordinary knobs, you can have these beauties made from titanium and exotic hardwoods. #snobknobs


Training Wheels

This year's revolutionary guitar pick gives you more to hold on to, dramatically reducing the chances of a dropped pick.


The Missing Link

This is the evolutionary midpoint between the thumb pick and the flat pick.


Smart Case

The latest addition to the Internet of Things is this guitar case that monitors its internal humidity and transmits that information to a connected phone.



The Soundtrek GI is an audio interface taken down to the size of a guitar cable jack. It can do everything from 44.1KHz/16bit up to 192KHz/32bit.


Sag Wagon

Provide your tube amp with consistent power for consistent tone. You can even dial it back to starve the amp and change the tone.


Perfect Pairing

You don't normally want the audience to hear you tuning up. It makes perfect sense then to build a tuner into a volume pedal.


3000 RPM String Winder

Couple this doodad with a powerful electric drill and you can change your strings with the speed of a NASCAR pit crew.

I think it would be unadvisable for that duck to operate power tools given his obvious prescription of choice.


Louder + that Je Ne Sais Quoi

Products like the Cloudlifter and the Royer dBooster have the goal of providing clean gain for low output ribbon and dynamic mics. The goal of the Soyuz "Launcher" is to give you more gain but to also add more character to the sound.


Spanish Butt Lift

I have no idea why, but I get emails from Groupon for deals on Brazilian butt lifts, which apparently are a thing. It would have been perfect if this Bluetooth-controlled piano seat was from a a Brazilian company, but sadly it's not.

Next Up: Percussion

©2020 Barry Wood