2019 NAMM Award LogoThe Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim in undeniably larger, but you just can’t go wrong when you are hanging out in the Music City. Summer NAMM has really come alive the last five or so years, and 2019 was no exception. Here are the Bass Gear Magazine 2019 Summer NAMM Best of Show Award winners:

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Ampeg – Heritage 50th Anniversary SVT Bass Head

You may ask yourself, what is groundbreaking or “best of show worthy” about yet another iteration of the most iconic bass amp in history. If you are asking such questions, either you already own a mint ’69 SVT and a mint ’75 SVT, or perhaps you just aren’t really into tube heads. For the rest of us, it is beyond cool that Ampeg is producing a made in the USA Heritage version of the SVT that has taken a new approach to Channel One and Channel Two – borrowing a page from the Heritage B-15N playbook and offering one channel modeled after a ’69 SVT and one after a ’75, with the ability to use both simultaneously using a jumper. The 50th Anniversary also offers “blue line” graphics, and matching Ampeg-branded 6550 power tubes. The original SVT was introduced at the 1969 Summer NAMM Show, so it’s pretty cool that Ampeg decided to stick to the “actual” 50th anniversary and debut this model at the 2019 Summer NAMM. For more information, head on over to https://ampeg.com/products/heritage/svt-50thAnniversary/

Bass AMP


Gillett Guitars – Slimline Contour Bass Guitars

It is not uncommon to see something that looks absolutely amazing on the NAMM Show floor, but then to be underwhelmed when you actually hear it in action or put it to use. It is less common to be blown away by the looks of a product, and then even more impressed when you actually get to play it. The Contour bass guitars we played from Gillett Guitars most definitely fall into this latter category. They had both the Slimline Contour model (in fretted and fretless form) and the (less slim) Standard Contour on display. Any of their basses in the booth could have won this award, and we picked the Slimline Contour largely because we were able to play two iterations of this model. The scale length is only 31.75”, but with their unique string through body option (in a hollow body, nonetheless!), the tension feels like a longer scale. The contours (hence the name) on the back and for your forearm add real-world comfort, in addition to ramping up the aesthetics. Their proprietary on-board active tone circuit did wonderful things to the neck J-style pickup, and the optional bridge transducer added great air and clarity, without sounding brittle. These basses played and sounded amazing! Learn more at https://www.gillettguitars.co.uk/bass-guitars/c/3/

Michael Gillett


BackBeat – BackBeat Wearable Rumble Pack

If you ever perform “rigless” or with in-ear monitors, you may find that you do not feel as connected with the notes you are playing. Even when you can hear everything, there is something missing when you don’t feel everything. The BackBeat solves this problem by mounting a battery powered transducer (“rumble pack”) to your strap. There are a variety of ways to route a signal to the BackBeat, but the general idea is that you can feel the vibrations from the notes you play (along with hearing them in your in-ears). This really does emulate the experience of playing in front of a big rig, and it communicates your playing/timing on another level. It sounds cool on paper, but you really need to try one out to fully understand what the BackBeat brings to the table. The latest iteration is slightly tweaked to allow a wider range of frequencies to trigger the transducer, and it definitely allows you to feel notes all the way up and down the neck. Check it out! https://www.getbackbeat.com/