When you think of the number 26, the greatest names in sports might not come up. There are clearly some, like football great Rod Woodson and baseball Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs, but the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League have no players bearing the number that most would consider memorable.
What will definitely be memorable, however, will be the 26th Annual Music & Sound Awards, which will be handed out at Winter NAMM in Anaheim next month. That's because we have many great storylines this year. Our entire list of manufacturer nominees up for hardware is below. But first, let's briefly take a look at some of the intriguing races:
First on the list is the Lifetime Achievement Award. Is this Bob Taylor's year to win our biggest award? If so, the Founder of Taylor Guitars will need to fend off a top-notch list of competitors: Mark Gander of JBL Professional, Seymour W. Duncan of Seymour Duncan, Larry Fishman of Fishman Transducers and Chuck Surack, Founder of Sweetwater, whose name appears in this category for the first time.
Also intriguing will be the Best Instructional Book/Video category. The Rock House Method is going for the "three-peat" with its IN YOUR FACE GUITAR, Advanced Techniques & Concepts.
The Rock House Method won't be the only company looking to repeat an award-worthy performance. There are many others, including MBT Lighting, which has won Best Lighting Product several times; Audio-Technica, which has several Best Cabled Microphone awards to write home about; and Taylor Guitars, Fender, Ibanez, Peavey, Fishman and Sabian—just to name a few—all of which perhaps need an entire room at their respective headquarters to house their Music & Sound Award hardware.
Although many companies will be looking for a repeat, we are also assured to see many new category winners this year. That includes Product of the Year. Last year, Taylor's GS Mini took home the prize. This year, a formidable list of companies will vie for the prize, including Shure, Barcus-Berry, Seymour Duncan, MBT Lighting and Fishman.
Another fascinating race will be the one category that's guaranteed to have a new winner every year: Best New Manufacturer. We handed out that award for the first time last year to Knaggs Guitars. Which will follow: Bob Carver LLC, M3 Products LLC, Supernatural Cymbals, 3rd Power Amplification or Asterope? We will soon find out.
The following quotes were made by the company's staff, unless a specific individual is noted.
Editor's Note: Photos of assorted nominated products are interspersed throughout this story.
Sierra's SDSD1 Acoustic Guitar
"On behalf of everyone at Sierra Guitars, we would like to thank our dealers for nominating the Sierra SDSD1 for Best Acoustic Guitar. With so much competition in the acoustic guitar market, it is truly an honor to once again receive recognition for a Sierra guitar model in this category. We sought to provide a quality product at a great value, and we accomplished that goal with the SDSD1."
—Craig Toporek, Product Manager
Taylor's Model 814ce Acoustic/
Martin's D-28P Guitar
Peavey's Composite Acoustics Line
Fender's T-Bucket 200-CE Acoustic
"Wow, what a great honor to receive these nominations. The Fender product team is focused on creating compelling products that speak to players, provide new opportunities for our retail partners and inspire new music to be made. Our crew was busy in 2011, and I think it shows in the breadth of nominations. A big 'thank you' to our retail partners for their recognition of our efforts. We have been trying to offer a few variations to the wall of brown dreadnoughts that dominate the traditional acoustic offering. The T-Bucket 200-CE was created for the acoustic player looking for something out of the ordinary, with its classy flame maple top with transparent black finish and unique pin-striping motif designed by legendary hot rod artist Vince Ray. With its smaller folk-style body, the T-Bucket 200-CE is perfect for beginners, fingerpickers or those players with smaller hands looking for an acoustic electric guitar that is flashy and fun!"
—Richard McDonald, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Fender brands
Fender's Pawn Shop Series Guitars
"The Pawn Shop Series guitars represented an experiment of 'hindsight' in product development, to create new instruments that look, feel and sound as though they could have been part of Fender's mid-'60s lineup, but in fact never were. This concept came with freedom to push the envelope a little and get creative, all the while remaining distinctly Fender."
Taylor's Solidbody Electric Double
Ibanez's RG920QM Electric Guitar
Godin's 5th Avenue Uptown Electric
"We are very proud of the Godin 5th Avenue Uptown. We worked extremely hard on this model to make sure it was exactly what we envisioned it to be in regards to the look, feel and sound. We wanted the Godin 5th Avenue Uptown to give players a great feeling before they even picked it up, and get blown away once they did! Thanks for the great news. We're honored to be nominated."
—Mario Biferali, Sales and
Line 6's James Tyler Variax Guitars
"James Tyler Variax modeling guitars are revolutionary instruments that offer guitarists unprecedented ranges of tones based on history's most desirable electric and acoustic guitars. Featuring instrument designs by legendary luthier James Tyler and guitar modeling by modeling pioneers Line 6, James Tyler Variax guitars are turning guitar history on its ear. On behalf of Line 6 and James Tyler, we are honored to be recognized as a nominee for Best Electric Guitar in the 26th Annual Music & Sound Awards."
Ibanez's SR Premium Bass
Lakland Skyline Series LJ05RTWXX
5-Strings Bass Guitar
Fender's Blacktop Precision Bass
"The Blacktop Basses took the success of the Blacktop guitars and expanded the line with the same goals of modernizing our core platforms with slightly edgier interpretations of our iconic models. The Blacktop P Bass is all 'P Bass' in form, but incorporates dual humbucking pickups for low-end domination." —Richard McDonald
Squier's Matt Freeman Signature
Precision Bass Guitar
"Working with Matt Freeman on his new Squier P-Bass was amazing. Although designed with his fans in mind—delivering the true P Bass experience at an extreme value (as is the case with all Squier by Fender products) was the real goal. We love it, Matt loves it and apparently our dealers do, too!" —Richard McDonald
Hamer XT Series Basses
"We would like to sincerely thank everyone who nominated the Hamer XT Series basses. These bass guitars are visually stunning and deliver spectacular sound at a great price. We are glad to see our dealers share our excpitement for these Hamer XT products."
—Craig Toporek, Product Manager
Fishman's Blackstack Soundhole Pickup
On-Stage Gear's GTA7800 True-Bypass
"Accessories are where the margins are these days, and it's an honor that our products have been nominated as the best in their categories. All our brands are geared toward mass consumer appeal and high returns for our dealers, so it's great to have our On-Stage Gear GTA7800 Pedal Tuner recognized. The GTA7800 packs a lot of features into a $54.99 MAP price point: metal casing, true bypass circuitry, LED display screen, an advanced "Flat" tuning function and more, yet it boasts well over 50 percent profit margins, which is a rarity in its product category. From guitar tuners, to drum sticks, to mic stands, to speaker mounts…we've been successful in many product categories by giving consumers more for their money, and offering our dealers more profit per item."
Peavey's Marvel Guitar Accessories
Martin's SP Lifespan 12 String Set
Graph Tech's ResoMax Wrap Bridge
Roland's JUPITER-80 Synthesizer
Yamaha's Clavinova CLP-400 Series
Nord's Stage 2 88/76/73
Fender's Mustang Series
"Out of the gate, Mustang amps rocked the industry with power, tonal versatility and value. They contain some of the finest amp modeling and effects available to date, beefed-up output power and are loaded with presets covering every conceivable musical style. And they are easy to use. Computer connectivity, a dedicated online community, free Fender preset downloads and cutting-edge consumer support represent a huge addition to the impressive product itself."
Fishman's Loudbox Artist
Peavey's 6534 Plus
RMS' Blue Amplifiers
"The striking blue RMS amps certainly stand out in a showroom with their unique look, retro feel and impressive sound. The entire line is priced to move quickly, which our dealers have enjoyed, and we are very pleased to be nominated for this award."
—Roy White, Product Manager
QSC's GX7 Amp
Peavey's IPR 3000 Amp
Crown's ComTech DriveCore Series
"Crown is honored that the ComTech DriveCore Series has been nominated for the Music & Sound Awards. ComTech DriveCore is ideal for installations that require premium sound quality, high-power-efficiency design, convection-cooled, multi-channel configurations, and compact dimensions. Typical applications include boardrooms, video and teleconferencing, VIP suites, and upscale restaurants and retail outlets, to name just a few. Representing next-generation technology, ComTech DriveCore proves without a doubt that big things really do come in small packages."
American Audio's XLT Series
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