From faithful signature series recreations to unique new designs that push the envelope of what a guitar can be, here’s our run-through of the top new guitars launched at NAMM 2024.
What is NAMM?
NAMM is the National Association of Music Merchants, a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of music industry trade bodies. The organisation hosts an eagerly anticipated trade show - the NAMM Show - each year. Here, the world’s top manufacturers, vendors, and music personalities congregate to share the latest in design and innovation, unveil exciting new products, and share knowledge in several talks and demo events.
NAMM 2024 Guitar Highlights
NAMM ‘24 introduced the world to some incredible new products that we just can’t wait to spend our hard-earned money on. There were terrific new effects pedal products, like the Third Man Hardware Fuzz-a-Tron D.I.Y pedal, alongside incredible amp innovations, both real and modelling software, from the likes of Positive Grid. But what really caught our eye was, of course, the guitars!
Whether you’re an acoustic aficionado or a metal shredder, our round-up of the top new guitar models launched at NAMM 2024 has something for everyone.
Taylor Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Special Models
In 2024, American manufacturer Taylor Guitars celebrates their 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the high-end acoustic guitar makers are releasing a series of six incredible limited-edition instruments that commemorate five decades of excellence and commitment to their craft.
Drawing inspiration from a range of previous Taylor models, these special guitars perfectly showcase the company’s dedication to expert craftsmanship and the highest quality tonewoods. While each model has its own merits and characteristics, they all share a distinct design theme that’s unique to the anniversary range. You’ll find gold tuning machines and buttons on each instrument, together with ebony bridge pins with gold acrylic dots and a commemorative 50th-anniversary label.
50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce LTD
This special edition of Taylor’s flagship guitar features an intriguing combination of Indian rosewood back and sides and a sinker rosewood top. The company suggests that sinker rosewood offers cedar-like warmth and excellent projection, which should pair nicely with the renowned deep lows and zesty highs of Indian rosewood.
The guitar features Taylor’s customary grand auditorium body, with a bevelled armrest, bevelled cutaway, chamfered edges, and a Curve Wing bridge for excellent comfort and playability. The V-Class bracing is designed to help enhance sustain and volume, while amplification is handled with the company’s own behind-the-saddle Expression System 2 pickup and preamp.
50th Anniversary 314ce LTD
Reimagining one of the world’s best-selling US-made acoustics, the 50th-anniversary edition of the 314ce features a torrefied Sitka spruce top with solid sapele back and sides. This combination brings a warm, well-balanced tone with punchy mids, solid lows, and sparkling trebles.
Again utilising the V-Class bracing and the Expression System 2 pickup, this model features a soft Venetian cutaway with a vintage combo of a firestripe faux-tortoiseshell pickguard and a subtly shaded edgeburst finish.
50th Anniversary AD14ce-SB LTD
While all six of the 50th Anniversary editions are high-calibre instruments with premium prices to match, the AD14ce-SB LTD offers the lowest price point in the range. As far as acoustic guitars go, this one certainly has some interesting design features.
The body combination of a Sitka spruce top and walnut back and sides isn’t new for Taylor - the tried-and-tested pairing provides a wonderfully warm yet articulate tone with excellent projection. However, the combination of a neo-tropical mahogany neck and a eucalyptus fretboard is decidedly less familiar. Not many guitar manufacturers use eucalyptus, but the people at Taylor have employed it in several models in recent years, appreciating the wood’s stability, durability, and hardness.
Two 50th Anniversary PS14ce LTD - Figured Urban Ironbark / Striped Sinker Redwood
Moving into the uber-high-end Presentation Series, the following three instruments are absolute beauties. They utilise the crème-de-la-crème of tonewoods, and the design team really let their hair down. If the stunning aesthetics and audio performance of these creations don’t knock you to the floor, the prices certainly will!
At $9,999, the PS14ce LTD is the “cheapest” of the three. For the Venetian cutaway grand auditorium body, Taylor has kept sustainability in mind and opted for urban ironbark back and sides and a striped sinker redwood top sourced from the company’s Urban Woods initiative. Together, the tonewoods provide a powerful and punchy response with plenty of warmth and clarity. Further up the instrument, the neck is of neo-tropical mahogany, while stunning West African Crelicam ebony is the wood of choice for the fretboard.
Design-wise, the limited-edition model features a green abalone Byzantine inlay on the fretboard, peghead, and bridge and a paua edge trim with a matching rosette.
50th Anniversary PS14ce LTD - Figured Claro Walnut / Western Red Cedar
The fifth new model is another variation of the PS14ce LTD, but this time with slightly more traditional tonewood selections.
Stunning figured claro walnut back and sides are paired with a hand-selected Western red cedar top to spectacular effect. Walnut’s incredible midrange performance blends wonderfully with the warmth and presence of cedar. As with the more urban PS14ce LTD, this model includes gorgeous Byzantine inlays.
50th Anniversary PS24ce LTD
Finally, and most extravagantly, we have the jaw-droppingly beautiful PS24ce LTD. Constructed entirely from master-grade Hawaiian koa, this number benefits from crystal clear trebles, a punchy midrange, and a delivery that’s as smooth as it is commanding.
As with the other Presentation Series guitars, the PS24ce LTD features a number of premium flourishes, including an ornate green abalone Byzantine fingerboard inlay and matching inlays on the pegheads and bridge. Together with the striking koa wood, the appearance of this guitar is nothing short of phenomenal.
With the cheapest of the six going to market at $1,999 and the most expensive model, the PS24ce LTD, setting you back $19,999 (UK prices to be confirmed), these aren’t cheap instruments. However, if you’re on the hunt for an exquisite acoustic guitar that utilises the very finest materials, you’ll have to look far and wide to find a better option than these. Act fast, though; production is limited to a worldwide total of just 1,974 guitars for each model.
EVH and Wolfgang Van Halen Drop the SA-126
Following three years of collaboration and two years of road testing courtesy of Wolfgang Van Halen, EVH Guitars unveiled the long-awaited SA-126 at this year’s NAMM Show.
Named after and announced on the birthday of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen, the instrument combines the best bits of a semi-hollow and a solid body guitar. A centre block runs down the middle of the mahogany body to provide greater articulation and attack. Meanwhile, the guitar’s open-air cavity boosts resonance and tone depth. With a slim C-shape mahogany neck, jumbo frets, and high-output pickups, it’s an inherently playable instrument that can cover a wide range of styles, from solid rhythms to stand-out lead lines to thick metal chugs.
The SA-126 will be available in two different style configurations. The SA-126 Special will be available in Matte Army Drab and Stealth Black (priced at £1,449), while the SA-126 Special Quilted Maple (£1,499) comes in Transparent Purple or Tobacco Sunburst. Both configurations share the same hardware specs, with custom-wound humbucker pickups, a Harmonica bridge, Stopbar tailpiece and a 12”-16” compound radius ebony fretboard.
The guitar is to be released in May 2024.
Charvel Pro Mod + Super Stock
California guitar masters Charvel didn’t disappoint at this year’s show, confirming the arrival of new models that will appeal to various tastes.
First up is the Super-Stock DKA22, a limited edition number due for release in May. With an alder arch body finished in a classic black gloss, this elegant number includes a bolt-on caramelised maple “speed” neck (with graphite reinforcement), a hand-rubbed urethane finish, and a 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard with ergonomic rolled edges, 22 jumbo frets and crème dot inlays. Rounding off the look is a fully licensed Stratocaster® 6-in-line headstock.
Hitting the market at a reasonable-sounding £1,149, the Charvel Super-Stock DKA22 offers plenty of bang for your buck.
Elsewhere, Charvel also announced five other new models in their Pro Mod and MJ series. Starting at £1,049, the Pro Mod lineup includes some tasteful worn-in aesthetics in the Pro-Mod Relic San Dimas Style 1. The guitar features an alder body, graphite-reinforced maple neck, and a pau ferro fretboard, along with two direct-mounted Seymour Duncan humbuckers and a Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo.
Alternatively, those looking for a little more pizazz might fancy picking up one of the eye-catching new DK24 HH models, now available in Malibu Sunset and Bubblegum Pink.
Finally, Charvel also introduced three new models in their popular made-in-Japan MJ guitar series, bringing the HSS (humbucker + single coil + single coil pickups) format to the series. Each of the new models (San Dimas® Style 1 HSS FR M, San Dimas® Style 1 HSS FR E, and So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR M) offer a different 80s-inspired design, although specs-wise, they have plenty in common. Each model has a combo of a Seymour Duncan JB TB-4 bridge pickup and two Flat Strat single-coil pickups, along with maple speed necks, rolled fingerboard edges, Gotoh double-locking tremolos, and Gotoh tuners.
Head over to Charvel to find more about these guitars.
Announced just before this year’s NAMM, and making its first public appearance at the event, was Vox’s latest marvel, the APC-1. A brave new take on the much-maligned travel guitar concept, this inventive model seeks to improve on the typical failures of the travel guitar design while adding a host of new features.
Guitars with built-in speakers often lack in the bass department and tend to suffer from feedback, but not here. A Tectonic Audio wide-directional speaker paired with a passive radiator improves sound quality, even if you aren’t directly in front of the speaker. Furthermore, the use of superior speaker isolation minimises that pesky feedback.
But that’s not all. Besides the improved speaker quality, several effects are built right into the guitar to help sculpt your ideal tone. We’re talking gain and tone controls, along with integrated delay, reverb, chorus, and tremolo. And to really round out the one-man-band vibe, the APC-1 includes 33 rhythm effects for you to jam along to, with a choice of drum beats in 11 different genres, such as metal, rock, dance, and jazz.
Designed after the iconic shape of the Vox guitars of the 1960s, the eye-catching APC-1 should hit the shelves in July, with price details to follow.
Yamaha’s entry-level Pacifica range has long been a weapon of choice for those new to the guitar game. However, somewhat unexpectedly, the Japanese company has unleashed premium versions of some of their flagship designs, introducing the high-end Pacifica Professional and Standard Plus models.
The company introduced four new models in total. We have the PACP12 and PACP12M in the Pacifica Professional range, offering rosewood and maple fingerboards, respectively. It’s a similar story over in the Standard Plus range, with the rosewood fingerboarded PACS+12 and the PACS+12M opting for a maple alternative.
All of the new models feature alder bodies and come with Reflectone HSS pickups. Designed with Rupert Neve, they offer a well-voiced and dynamic tone with coil-split capabilities. Additionally, slim C-shape necks are the order of the day, along with Gotoh locking tuners and two-point tremolo bridges. The higher-priced Pacifica Professional offerings come with compound-radius fingerboards, a custom tinted neck finish, and hardshell cases.
With the Standard Plus models coming out at around £1,100 and the Pacifica Professionals topping the ticket at £1,900, these instruments offer a more premium option than the original Pacifica range - and maybe aren’t quite so beginner-friendly. However, the specs on hand show that these instruments offer plenty for the more intermediate or advanced player. Perhaps even those who learned their trade on a Pacifica and wish their beloved instrument could grow alongside their ever-developing guitar skills?
Signature Guitars Galore
A highlight for many enthusiasts is the announcement of the latest signature models, and ESP certainly didn’t let us down this year. Alongside other exciting new additions to their range, including a plethora of LTD Deluxe models, ESP also shared details on some new entries in their Signature Series line.
Amongst the highlights are:
LTD Royal Shiva (Bill Kelliher)
Designed with Bill Kelliher of Mastodon, this double-cutaway number features a maple-topped mahogany body with an eye-catching Silver Sunburst finish, 25” scale, three-piece U-shaped maple neck, Macassar ebony fretboard, 22 extra-jumbo frets and mother-of-pearl block inlays.
MK-EC FR (Mille Petrozza)
The latest signature model for the singer and guitarist of German thrash metallers Kreator, the MK-EC FR offers a black satin finish and is based on the ESP Eclipse. Centred on a single-cutaway alder body, this downtune-friendly axe features a neck-thru-body construction, 25.5″ scale, and a three-piece U-shaped maple neck.
Volsung (Lars Frederiksen)
This striking Oxblood satin number is ESP’s latest collaboration with Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen. The ESP Viper mahogany body is made from mahogany, as is the three-piece thin U-shaped neck, which is topped with a Macassar ebony fretboard. Completing the 24.75”-scale instrument is a TonePros locking TOM bridge and tailpiece, Gotoh tuners, glow-in-the-dark side markers, and a pair of Lars Frederiksen’s own custom EMG pickups.
GH SV-200 (Gary Holt)
In a strong year for thrash guitarists’ signature models, this none-more-metal number is the brainchild of Gary Holt, shredder for Bay Area thrash legends Exodus and formerly of Slayer. Designed to be a more affordable version of Holt’s LTD GH SV-200, this tasty number boasts an offset ESP SV mahogany body in a black finish with red binding. Utilising bolt-on construction, the GH SV-200 has a 24.75” scale and includes a three-piece mahogany neck, roasted jatoba fingerboard, pearloid split block inlays, and 22 extra-jumbo stainless steel frets. In terms of hardware, the guitar features a set of direct-mount high-output ESP LH-301 pickups with red covers, a Floyd Rose 1000 double-locking tremolo, and LTD tuners.
Find Your Next Favourite Guitar
So, there you have it. NAMM is over for another year, but not before unleashing a plethora of new instruments that will have gearheads across the world smashing their piggy banks in anticipation. And if you’re in the market for a new axe yourself, why not check out our Finder tool? Just enter all your must-haves, such as pickup configuration, tonewood, or body shape, and see just how easy we make finding your next favourite guitar.