Every year, Frankfurt's Musikmesse conference brings together music gear professionals and fans from every corner of the industry. While many look to NAMM in Anaheim as the epicenter of the gear release world, Musikmesse is nearly as large and showcases new gear that didn't make the trip to California.
This year, hot products from Messe include a new line of Friedman amps, a state-of-the-art synth from Waldorf, and much more. Take a look at our picks for the hottest announcements coming live from Frankfurt.
New Pedals and Small Amps from Friedman
Boutique amp mainstay Friedman made its name with high–end heads like the BE–100. In more recent years, the firm has expanded its line with a popular crop of pedals including the wildly successful BE–OD overdrive.
This week at Messe, Friedman announced another batch of products aimed to bring their distinct sounds to a much broader audience. New amps include mini combo version of the Pink Taco and Dirty Shirly amps, which clock in at 20 watts with 10–inch speakers.
Also new from Friedman are two using 12AX7 tubes: the Motor City Drive and the Fuzz Fiend.
The amps will be available next week, with the pedals shipping sometime in May.
Waldorf Announces the Quantum, a Digital/Analog Polysynth
As we mentioned in a post on Wednesday, Waldorf announced an audacious new polysynth that combines analog synthesis with granular and wavetable synthesis techniques. The Quantum boasts a lot of everything, including a flexible sequencer and a touch screen.
Waldorf may have developed this synthesizer in response to players’ demands for more control given the menu–heavy programming of the Blofeld and Pulse 2. But the Quantum is almost a truer successor of the Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver than any of Waldorf’s own instruments.
Not only is it the most technologically advanced synth that Waldorf has ever offered, but it will become one of the most powerful keyboard synths on the market—vintage or new—when it sees release at the end of this year.
Nord Updates the Stage Series with a Synth Section
Another year, another update to one of Nord’s signature keyboard. But this year saw Nord bringing a lot more firepower to its Stage series.
The new Stage 3 has been expanded its acoustic piano sounds and its organ emulation, adding a Leslie 122 simulation and more. It also features a synth section, powered by the Nord A1 synth engine.
With the Stage 3, Nord gets even closer to offering performing keyboardists the last Swiss Army Knife instrument they’ll ever need.
Pons Guitars Shows Off Modular Guitars
Musikmesse also hosted its fair share of guitar oddities, including Yamaha acoustics with, for some reason, built–in reverb that works when the guitar is unplugged.
Potentially more appealing to guitar players are a line of what can only be described as modular guitars from Barcelona’s Pons. Guitarists can buy one of two “cores” which is a single piece with a neck, bridge, and electronics.
They can also purchase up to six different bodies which are easily attached to the core, with styles inspired by the Strat, Tele, Jazzmaster, Les Paul, SG, and Flying V. It’s gimmicky, but priced right this could appeal to guitarists who want the ability to be seen with all six of those models on stage but can only afford one guitar.
Martin Revives the 0–18 and Introduces Two New Dreadnought Models
The classic, small-bodied 0-18 has missing from Martin's Standard Series for years now. As announced at Musikmesse, though, players craving the specific cross-section of one of Martin's smallest body shapes and mahogany back and sides will finally be able to get their hands on a revived version of this old-school Martin model.
In addition to this reborn classic, Martin also announced two new dreadnoughts models: the DST and DSTG. According to Martin's website, these guitars are designed with the European market in mind and are built with ebony fretboards and sapele back and sides. Given the use of sapele over mahogany and rosewood, the positioning of these guitars as European-specific may be related to new CITES wood regulations.