If you walk by the amplification booth at the 2014 Fender Showcase at the NAMM Show, don’t be alarmed if there are three nattily-dressed scientists perusing the new products.
They would actually be the three gentlemen who appeared in a “leaked” video from a secret lab as they tested the new Fender Pawn Shop Vaporizer amp. While the test subject in the video didn’t fare too well after a little too much vaporizing left only a pair of boots, the scientists seem to have ensured that the batch of classic-colored amps on display are safe.
The Vaporizers are only one of two new Pawn Shop amps that attendees could check out, as the Ramparte also made an appearance throughout the weekend. And they both certainly demanded a lot of attention, whether from the Vaporizer’s eye-catching Surf Green, Slate Blue and Rocket Red coverings, or the Ramparte’s two-tone chocolate-and-copper fabric covering.
Another amp that drew curious glances was the limited-edition Hot Rod III Blues Junior “Tequila Sunrise,” with a Three-Color Sunburst finish on the distinct ash cabinet.
In addition to the fans who gathered around Fender Guitar Amplification Product Manager Rick Heins or bluesman Chuck Hall as they performed live demos for several of the new offerings, the amp booth saw its share of artists stroll through – perhaps most notably John Mayer, who tested out a ’68 Custom Princeton Deluxe Reverb.
Heins said Fender had players of all levels in mind when putting together the amp area, whether it was the versatile Champion Series or the higher-end ’68 Customs.
“It’s the tone that most people have been searching for their entire life,” Heins said. “They hear their favorite music, see their favorite bands, and what they maybe don’t realize at the time is that they’re Fender amplifiers. The thing about Fenders is that they have such a distinctive sound, so when they are looking for the tone they hear in their head – maybe it’s (Eric) Clapton, maybe it’s someone else – they want the sound that is Fender. There is something unique and identifiable about that sound.
“It makes sense for us to say, ‘We know what you’re looking for, it’s the Fender sound.”
Also seen at the Fender Showcase at NAMM:
- Japanese singer/songwriter Megumi Mori beautifully playing a Fender banjo on the acoustic stage.
- Guitarist Paul Sidoti chatting with fans outside of the Fender Showcase.
- Slipknot and Stone Sour guitarist Jim Root holding court with fans during an hour-long autograph signing.
- English bassist Yolanda Charles checking out bass amps and playing a Dimension Bass.
View an amp photo gallery, and an interview with Rick Heins below.