The NAMM Show 2024

The NAMM Show 2024

Since our emergence as a brand, our experience at The NAMM Show has taken many forms, and 2024 was no exception.

In years past, we have set up a variety of different types of booths, some adorned with massive banners, others equipped with stages and a host of performances. This year, we opted for an alternative approach. Rather than having a booth solely dedicated to Vola Guitars, we teamed up with Marek Drozdowski of Driftwood Amplifiers, who was gracious enough to let us bring some brand new designs to his booth for attendees to test out and experience. So a small team of Vola representatives traveled from near and far to join forces with the Driftwood crew. As the show opened, we were immediately met with eager musicians who wanted to test drive the unique combinations of guitars and amplifiers.

A glimpse into the future

Our selection of guitars was distilled to the most refined choices from our ever-growing catalog. The time-tested OZ 7T in Firemist Metallic was the sole extended range option, and it was encouraging to see the joy on players’ faces as they delved into its expansive sonic options. Another staple in the line-up was the OZ RV TNC. This year, we were proud to add three new finish options for the guitar, and we thought it important to include at least one for the inquisitive bystanders to play. So we chose to feature the Trans Purple Light TNC because of its visual appeal and aural dimension. Our excitement grew further as we unpacked two distinct additions to our line-up, the JZ FRO and The Keene Machine.


The first unveiling was the JZ FRO model, the latest expression of our commitment to boundary-pushing design. With its offset body style, flamed roasted maple Modern C neck, 22 stainless steel frets, luminlay side dots, and reverse headstock, this instrument embodies a timeless functionality. It has been quite some time since we introduced a new body style, and the JZ finds the perfect middle ground for a variety of different styles, techniques, and players. We were humbled by the response and intrigue shown for its inaugural debut, and those who experienced it were pleased with its character and accessibility. One key component of that connection was the internal workings of our newest conception. 

Under the hood, it features custom-made Vola wiring and electronics. From a tonal perspective, the pickup configuration lends itself to a well-balanced range of sound. The integration of two Vola VFP90 pickups in the bridge and neck is complemented by a VS-I single coil in the middle position, which is activated by a push/pull pot on the volume knob. The varying combinations generate a unique symmetry, while a rich, warm, and clear tone can be achieved in every instance. GOTOH hardware ensures tuning stability and accuracy as you navigate the entirety of the guitar. It has become a steady fixture on our instruments, and for good reason. The JZ FRO is the perfect conduit for inspiration.

The Keene Machine

Our trip also included a side quest to visit the ever-talented Vola artist Michael Keene of The Faceless. To commemorate this year’s release of his signature guitar, we set a path and fought past the Los Angeles traffic, eventually arriving at his beautiful home. Once settled, we began staging his studio to film some demonstrations of his original compositions. His setup was impressive, to say the least. As you turn the corner, your eyes are met with a wall of custom-made Vola Guitars, ranging from his signature green, to a transparent purple, and even a bright orange 7-string model, amongst many other impressive instruments. On top of that, the studio was teeming with top-of-the-line recording equipment, amplifiers, microphones, and anything else your imagination can dream up.

Front and center was the new Made-in-Japan guitar. Appropriately named “The Keene Machine”, it was positioned and ready for action. With a sleek demeanor and crushing authority, it was created for uninhibited speed and grit. Perhaps its most notable feature is the integration of a GOTOH 1996T tremolo system, allowing you to raise or lower the pitch with intensity and accuracy, which Michael demonstrated flawlessly throughout his play-throughs. Another key feature is the installation of two Fishman Fluence pickups. These are complemented by a push-pull pot that allows two unique voices between the Fluences and can be expanded upon with the 5-way super switch. Aesthetically, the mahogany body is finished with a custom Keene Green Gloss. The ebony fingerboard is crafted with Vola Eye of Life inlays as well as a signature “Chaos Star” inlay on the 12th fret. Every component of the instrument seemed to mesh with his style and performance—the perfect recipe for musical annihilation.

After filming was complete, we discussed his approach to writing. It’s no secret that Keene’s approach to heavy music has set a high standard for innovative composition for everyone in the genre. Yet, his dedication to the process illuminated the integrity of the end result. Only someone with his meticulous nature could craft such intricate and astonishing creations. We are excited for the chance to collaborate with Michael on a guitar that complements his abilities, and we are equally ecstatic to offer it to the rest of the world. Stay tuned for the release later this year.

A far journey for DRIFTWOOD

It goes without saying, but we are so thankful for the hospitality extended by Marek Drozdowski and the Driftwood Amplifier team. They created an avenue for us to showcase our instruments and displayed generosity at every turn. Hearing Marek’s path to building amplifiers was an inspiration, and the enthusiasm he showed for the process was humbling as he truly seeks to embody the personality of each person he crafts one for. One musician that comes to mind is Vola artist Adam Phillips. A well-established member of both the Vola and Driftwood families, Adam performed several times throughout the duration of the week. With technical finesse and brute power, he ripped through a host of different songs from his various projects, and it was a fine display of power. Many thanks again to Driftwood Amplifiers for their warm reception.

The near and brighter future

As we concluded this year’s NAMM show, we had one final round of TJ tacos and unwound after a weekend full of movement, variety, talent, and new ideas. It is a truly special feeling to be reconnected with old friends of years past, to make new ones, and to experience the constant evolution of the music community that we are proud to be immersed in. A job well done to the staff, participants, performers, attendees, musicians, exhibitors, and everyone else involved for making this a very memorable 2024 NAMM Show. With new developments and concepts reaching their apex, we await the near future when we can share them with you all. Until then, stay inspired and be well!

Gregory James

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