Charvel Guthrie Govan Signature
NAMM 2014: Every year, guitars of all shapes and sizes compete for our attention in Anaheim.
Old guitars, new guitars, bizarre guitars and star's guitars - they're all there, but it takes something special to cut through the noise and really grab your attention.
But we do love a challenge, so here is a gallery of our favourites this year, starting, of course, with Charvel's Guthrie Govan Signature.
It's a guitar that feels like it has been in development for decades, and now it finally lives. It was worth the wait, Govan and Charvel's attention to detail shining through everywhere.
Chappers was on the rampage at this year's NAMM Show, and he'd brought along with him some fine new Chapman guitars. Among them was this smashing looking ML7-T, and it had our palms itching.
There was a general trend for uncomplicated, classy 7-, 8- and even 9-string models this year, and the Chapman was, for our money, near the top of that pile. Affordable, packed full of features and ready to rip, what more could you ask for?
Fender Jim Root Jazzmaster
Some signatures are little more than a paint job and a scribbled name on a scratchplate, but this? This is something else.
This is the sort of signature that makes you radically reassess everything you knew about the original model in the first place. It's no surprise that Slipknot and Stone Sour man Jim Root has turned the Jazzmaster into a savage, matte black beast, but it is a little shocking just how well it works. Stripped back and ready to skin riffs alive, this is a guitar that was born to do bad things.
Guild Starfire V with Bigsby
How do you improve a guitar as beautiful as the Starfire V? Isn't it obvious: you add a Bigsby!
Guild had a few classy new customers on show this year, but it was the Starfire V that stole our heart. Why? Because it's gorgeous, for a start, but also because it begs to be treated terribly and be thrashed for 30 years.
We can almost feel our hands on one of these after a few years on the road, and it's making us blush.
Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan) LTD BW-1
ESP unleashed an avalanche of new guitars in Anaheim, but its was this LTD signature model from the Dillinger Escape Plan man that caught our eye.
Was it the EverTune bridge? The beguiling f-holes (are we even still supposed to call them f-holes when they look more like an evil step-mother's eyebrow?)? Perhaps it was the strange blocky fret markers. Whatever it was, it hooked us.
Collector's Choice #13 Gordon Kennedy '59 Les Paul AKA "Spoonful Burst"
Sometimes Les Paul fatigue can set in, but when you see something as pretty as this it's hard not to be stopped in your tracks.
A Collector's Edition Gibson, this won't come cheap, but it we had the money we're certain that we'd be taking it home with us. Great detailing and an awesome recreation of a fabulous Gibson.
Warwick Bootsy Collins Space Bass
It's a bass from space, and it's beamed straight from the mind of Bootsy Collins. If that's not enough to make you love this piece of funky artistry from Warwick then we don't know what will.
Because it makes us want to climb into a pair of stacked heels and get all funky. In fact, if funk could be distilled into a single instrument, this would be it. Plus, you could probably use it as a weapon if a gig got medieval.
Fendr Kurt Cobain Jaguar
There could be no better way to worship at the alter of the dearly departed Nirvana frontman than with this frankly delicious Kurt Cobain Jaguar.
It hasn't had the Fender relic treatment, meaning you've got a pristine Jaguar to do all the damage you want to all by yourself. A pair of DiMarzio pickups, '50s style Strat headstock and an alder body are all you need to enter the annals of rock and roll history.
Gretsch Custom '54 Roundup
You don't often see pine-topped guitars, but if this gorgeous piece of Gretschery is anything to go by, we want to see more.
Just look at it: a Trans Red/Brown Relic finish brings out every single knot and ring in the grain. The gold hardware and general air of high-end Gretsch goodness does the rest - we're a little bit in love with this guitar.
Schecter Hellraiser C-9
Some players are scared of anything with more than six strings, but us? We can't get enough. And when you see a guitar like Schecter's monstrous Hellraiser C-9, well, you'd have to be dead inside not to want to at least try it.
Yes, it is a guitar that is verging on harp territory, but we're convinced that it'd be an awful lot of fun to mess with. Plus, it looks like it has been forged in the seventh circle of hell by satan's very own luthier, which can only be a good thing.
Jackson Pro Rhoads RRT-5
It's always good to see a Jackson Rhoads model in the flesh, but this just blew us away.
Taking the well-worn Rhoads template and giving it a bit of a spruce up, this is the sort of guitar that was made to reduce stages to rubble. Impossible to resist.