In January, the She Shreds crew returned to Anaheim, California for NAMM for show and conference to preview the guitar industry’s newest instruments, gear, and technology. Check our some of the amp companies that caught our attention below, and see our favorite guitars of NAMM, 2018 here.
courtesy of Benson Amps
I played through a lot of Bensons at NAMM this year. I couldn’t tell if it was by chance or if it’s a magnetic Portland thing, but I’m always excited to play out of a Benson because of how consistently great they are. This year Benson brought out their prototype Ryan Adams signature amp—the Sorcerer. It’s a 15w Chimera circuit with Tall Bird style ‘verb and custom chorus/tremolo module made by Chase Bliss Audio. This thing sounds great and looks stylish as hell with that working VU meter.
courtesy of Greer Amps
I played through the Mini Chief 3 Watt amp head by Greer Amplification Co. at NAMM and chatted with Nick Greer about his amps and pedals. I can’t help but be drawn to things that are tiny, especially amps, so the Mini Chief stood out to me. This one had more to offer than being adorable. It’s mighty. It can be clean, dirty, fuzzy, happy, sad, angry, you name it. It’s beautifully designed and it’s got a lot of heat; probably because it’s from Athens, Georgia. I love the quick response to tone and volume changes and the easy breakup. This is a great, versatile amp that can be used at home, in the studio, or at rehearsals and small club gigs.
courtesy of Milkman Sound
Tim Marcus is a dairy heir who named his amp company, Milkman Sound, after his family’s business. He’s rolled with the dairy theme and it’s pretty damn delicious. His various amp designs have labels like Pint, Half Pint, Creamer, Half & Half, Dairy Air, etc. They can come in “chocolate” (brown) or “vanilla” (cream). The amps are based off of vintage designs, but nothing is copied or cloned. Basically Tim—who is a guitar player—builds amps to his own liking, sourcing the highest quality American-made transformers, cabinets, speakers, wires, turrets, capacitors, etc. He cleanly assembles each amp by hand in San Francisco, CA. Feist and John Mayer are among his customers, and these amps sound and look amazing.