You never know who you’ll run into on the Exhibitor’s floor of the Summer NAMM show at Music City Center. Over a period of four-to-five hours spent walking the floor on Day Two, I ran into countless old friends and made quite a few new ones. I saw incredible instruments, amazing accessories and exhilarating effects! I heard stories told by legends, I watched new talent pick up instruments and flash glimpses of a future recorded music industry that should be loaded with genuine talent.
I also had a chance to speak personally with a couple of men responsible for AC/DC guitarist Angus Young getting his “sound back.” New Yorker Ken Schaffer originated the SVDS (Schaffer-Vega Diversity System) back in 1975. The landmark wireless system was a key component in virtually every major touring band of that era. The audio circuit of the SVDS improved the tone of guitars and basses and was used in the studio by countless engineers.
As stated, that signature crunch delivered by AD/DC’s Young on such staples as “Back In Black” and “You Shook Me All Night Long” were direct results of the marriage between Young’s guitar and the SVDS. Sadly, over the years, with technology evolving and new road crews rotating into the band’s touring team, the SVDS disappeared and was often replaced by other effects racks, seemingly adequate, but lacking the punch originally delivered.
Now, decades later, Schaffer has returned with TSR (The Schaffer Replica) and the long-awaited return has been worth the wait. Described by many as being an exceedingly accurate representation of the original unit’s sound, SoloDallas delivers the product to the public and “The Schaffer Sound” is back … in black … and it truly shakes the foundations! For more about this back story, check out SoloDallas site here and read about Fil Olivieri and his connection with Schaffer and Young.
As we mentioned in our recap of Day One, Summer NAMM show is decidedly guitar-centric – and why not? It’s Nashville, and some of the finest guitar players to grace our planet roam Music City. A walk down the aisles at NAMM brought thousands upon thousands of guitar based products into my sight. What was I to write about? How was I to choose? I enlisted the aid of Jason Brewer, originally from Charleston, S.C., and now settled in Nashville with his acclaimed indie-pop band, The Explorers Club. Brewer, finishing production on the band’s third album, slated for an early 2016 release is a serious musician, as well as a talented songwriter and vocalist.
Moments before I ran into him on the floor, I had seen a demonstration of the “Backbone,” an aluminum bar that is a direct bolt-on replacement for the stock neckplate of the Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars. My semi-untrained, non-musician ear thought I heard a dramatic change in the tone, sustain and resonance of the sound of these guitars when played with the Backbone modification. It was up to Brewer to sell me on it from a musician’s standpoint.
Beginning with a standard Strat, and then moving to one enhanced with the Backbone, Jason’s eyes lit up as he heard the initial difference. With an affordable price point, look for the Backbone in your local Musical Instrument stores, or learn more about it on the company website.
In tomorrow’s blog on Summer NAMM 2015, I’m going to take a look at a couple of local Nashville companies that were on the Exhibitor’s Floor and see how their products fare in the ever competitive MI market. Stay tuned and follow on Twitter for more updates from the floor at Summer NAMM.