NAMM 2016





NAMM Report

There were a lot of show only guitars debuted this year. Psych to all of you that thought the catalog was it! But let's start with the most rumored and speculated over. Bruno was the anticipated model since Steve had announced it was in Japan to be copied, but somewhere alone the road that project got shelved, which is not unusual. That opened the door back to another project that was also in the prototyping phase, the new series of swirled UV's to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Passion and Warfare. Technically a year late, Steve will be doing a P&W tour to support the remastered release and the Anniversary [much like Joe did a 20th anniversary Surfing tour]. Why late? My theory is Steve has been devoting a lot of time to a new passion, drawing and painting, and it's taken away some of the time that would have been devoted to this project. I'd love to have one of his paintings hanging in my guitar room! One of Steve's many many talents is his great sense of style. I read somewhere a couple pieces were shown at Art Basil in Miami [I'd love to confirm that!] But - I'm just speculating, The guitars journey started well over a year ago when Darren swirled the samples for them. But things took a strange twist when Darren went MIA, and has stayed MIA. HUSA tried every avenue to contact him with no response. They finally had to move on and with Steve's blessing are using a Los Angeles based artist with ties to the LA Custom Shop. I don't know what his history is with the art but as you can tell, he does know how to produce a nice swirl. The style, materials and look make me think Ron was one of the buyers of Herc's swirling bible he sold on ebay about a year before he passed. RIP. I fear the ATD era may have come to an end but only time will tell. EDIT: Darren has posted a response on his FB account -

Darren Johansen Thorn guitars is the one who's doing these .
I love Steve beyond words and he is an amazing person as well as a God musically with a heart of gold, total respect to him always but, Ibanez has taken advantage of my work for far to long, swirled Black a
nd white rg's ,jemini pedals, shirts,....... so I collected my due and passed this one up. Should be mine but sometimes ya just gotta walk. Blew this off last year good luck to the next guy.
As for me NEXT!

I had a long talk with Darren on Saturday and he explained every single point [and more] that have been eating at him for 25 years [a couple I had known but I didn't know everything], I went back to the show and explained it all to Bill and he understands, but Darren had never told him any of it. And Bill was left in a very tough position with Japan when Darren went MIA in the middle of the process. I'm certainly not going to publicize everybody's dirty drawers, but it's one of those times when both sides are "right". There is nothing there that can't be salvaged, or couldn't have been fixed months ago with some communication, but, it never happened. It's like a marriage when you don't talk, you keep everything bottled up inside, until it all comes to a head, and sometimes ends up in divorce. Like when you come home to a note and the closets and your bank account is cleaned out [ooops, sorry, that was me]. Complicating things is if this run goes well there is little reason for Japan to want to go back to the "temperamental artist" when Ron has had a smooth working relationship with the LACS for many years. Only time will tell what the future holds. Bottom line, it was a dispute negotiating the deal that was the last straw for Darren.

The guitars are Sugi built just as the 77RE's were, and the main contributor to the $6999 retail pricing, with a List price of $9333. It's a Vai guitar, it's $7000. There will be 77 of each version built, with 38 slated for US distribution. 114 guitars. It is rumored that HUSA will keep a set for their permanent collection leaving 111 for US collectors and players alike. The specs are typical UVMC and are the same for all except the obvious cosmetics, and the color schemes are taken straight from the album cover. The 3 dimensional show display just has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated, and the plexiglass wall did not help in showing the guitars at their best. As always, swirls look better in person than in any picture.

This is the first Ibanez swirl with a swirl matched headstock.









This was a very very late addition and the paint was probably still wet. Joe wanted to add BLACKER THAN BLACK to his Muscle Car Series, DAMN this is one BAD ASS guitar! And beautiful at the same time. But above all, COOL!  Classic, with an edge. A twist of the knife. That chrome out slaps you backhand. Elvis's 59 Eldorado. Tastefully overindulgent. Black and chrome speaks to your soul, and this guitar is screaming. An instant classic. Muscle Car Black. Available Summer. 5 coming, pre order now! Priced the same as the MCP - $3466 List, $2600 retail.



Herman had added a really nice trans orange to the flame top on his EGEN18 that looks really sweet with the Gold hardware. These will be the same price as the TVF, $4000 List, $3000 retail.



Ibanez has been wanting to do another collaboration with Bob Wier and they have chosen to do another version of the body inlayed Cowboy guitar, this time using a different bridge and pickups. Sugi built of course, List price of $10,666, retail at $7999.





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