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NAMM 2021: Believe in Music Week and Best New Gear

NAMM 2021: Believe in Music Week and Best New Gear

In any normal year, musicians around the world would be gearing up for one of the biggest events of the season right around now.

I’m talking about the annual NAMM trade show where the coming year’s gear releases are debuted, teased or revealed over a four day event in Anaheim, California.

But with large gatherings of any kind off the table, how is the music industry’s biggest gear event shaping up in 2021?

Is this year’s NAMM Show cancelled? Will something else take its place? Is new gear still coming out!?

In this article I’m breaking down everything you need to know about NAMM 2021.

Is NAMM 2021 cancelled?

Technically yes—NAMM as we know it won’t take place in 2021. It’s pretty easy to see why.

The beating heart of the conference is its massive trade show floor. Packed with thousands of booths, exhibits and even a few full stages, it’s the kind of event that’s far too risky to go ahead with as normal.

It’s clear that the NAMM show organizers felt the event couldn’t happen without its usual hustle and bustle.

It’s clear that the NAMM show organizers felt the event couldn’t happen without its usual hustle and bustle.

But does that mean we won’t hear anything from the NAMM organization? Far from it.

What is Believe in Music Week?

Believe in Music Week is the digital event being held over the four days originally planned for NAMM 2021.

It’s not a direct replacement for the NAMM conference or even a digital version of the trade show.

Instead, Believe in Music Week will focus on supporting and energizing the music community through the challenges facing the world right now.

There will be webinars, interviews, panel discussions and even a virtual marketplace for connecting buyers and sellers.

Check out the Believe in Music Week website for more details on programming and events.

How you can participate

The biggest benefit of an online event is that anyone from anywhere can participate without the cost of travelling to a physical location.

That accessibility is why Believe in Music Week is expected to be a more broad and inclusive event than the NAMM trade show.

In fact, registration for the digital experience is free and open to all.

All you have to do is sign up to gain access to tons of free content available during the event.

Is new gear still coming out?

The NAMM show itself might be cancelled, but releasing new products around this time of year is a strong tradition for manufacturers.

The NAMM show itself might be cancelled, but releasing new products around this time of year is a strong tradition for manufacturers.

Some releases have already been announced and more are expected to break in the coming days.

In the spirit of the traditional excitement around NAMM for gearheads, we’re rounding up the coolest gear announcements we’ve seen so far.

The best new gear from NAMM 2021

Here are our top picks for the best gear from NAMM 2021. New entries will be added to the list as the situation develops!

1. Fender guitars and amps

Fender is continuing its fast pace of unique new guitar models and recombinations of old favourites.

The intriguing Parallel Universe line is getting an update with the hybrid Jazz Strat Deluxe. And the striking new Noventa series will feature S, T and offset-style bodies outfitted with P90 pickups.

There’s also a Floyd Rose equipped Tele Deluxe coming to the American Ultra line and a series of 75th anniversary Strats, Teles and basses in eye-catching Bourbon Burst and Diamond Anniversary finishes.

Preview of youtube video


Fender is also unveiling new amplifiers, including a micro-sized headphone amp plug and some additions to the ‘68 custom series.

2. New Roland groovebox

Roland is going back to its groovebox roots with the all-new Verselab MV-1 music production center.

Preview of youtube video


Roland claims its unique workflow will help you capture ideas and finish them without losing steam.

With a fresh look and feel the Verselab MV-1 hopes to revisit the glory days of all-in-one production machines while introducing advanced features like built-in mic connectivity and vocal comping.

3. Audio interfaces

Audient is refreshing its popular iD line of interfaces with a sharp new look and improvements to hardware and audio quality.

If you still need a compact interface or you’re looking to refresh an outdated unit, the sleek aesthetics of the 2021 iD series will be extremely tempting.

4. Tons of new synths and modules

Korg has revealed an exciting lineup of new synths for 2021. New releases include the retro leaning miniKorg 700FS reissue and the forward looking Modwave, a spiritual successor to the DW-8000 series.

Preview of youtube video


An updated, more compact edition of Korg’s ARP 2600 reissue is also on the table for those looking to get authentic ARP monosynth tones in a more manageable package.

IK Multimedia is building on the success of its Uno monophonic synth with a paraphonic update called the Uno Pro.

Preview of youtube video


The Pro series now features an onboard sequencer and comes in either 37 note standard key version or a small form factor desktop edition.

There’s lots still to come from the winter gear release cycle.

Sequential is debuting compact desktop editions of both the Prophet 5 and Prophet 10 analog polysynths.

3. Cool new pedals

Jackson Audio is kicking off the pedal announcements with the debut of their aptly named FUZZ pedal.

Preview of youtube video


The modular design allows you to swap circuit boards to achieve different flavours of fuzz while the extensive controls let you tweak your tone to your heart’s content.

Meanwhile Earthquaker Devices have teased an exciting new development in a mysterious teaser video with tarot card aesthetics.

Preview of youtube video


Ibanez has expanded its mini pedal line with compact boost and phaser pedals drawing on the company’s heritage designs.

Pigtronix is back with a series of intriguing small-format pedals with unique takes on modulation.

And perhaps most unexpected of all, Way Huge has launched a unique “Analog Weirding Module’ called Atreides based on a rare 80s Electro-Harmonix synthesizer.

Preview of youtube video

NAMM 2021 updates

There’s lots still to come from the winter gear release cycle. Check back here often for more highlights from NAMM 2021 as the story develops.

And make sure to check out all the exciting events going at Believe in Music Week in the meantime.

 

Michael Hahn

Michael Hahn is an engineer and producer at Autoland and member of the swirling indie rock trio Slight.

@Michael Hahn

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