Musikmesse 2018 review: The best gear from this year’s show

The largest musical instrument trade fair in Europe was back once again at Messe Frankfurt between 11th – 13th April. With this year seeing a host of new elements added to the show, and further integration with Prolight + Sound, there was no shortage of things to see at Musikmesse 2018.

Despite 800+ flight cancellations just one day before the show, and public transport strikes and torrential rain on, wait for it, Friday 13th, this year’s Musikmesse managed to keep things fresh with the introduction of its new World of Vintage Guitars, expanded live performance schedual, Amp World, and ramped up business insider programme. All this, of course, added on to the usual set up of halls featuring everything from drums and electric guitars to brass and woodwind, to electronics and synths.

Here, we highlight the interesting announcements, new products and news we discovered throughout the halls of Messe Frankfurt:

Hall 8 played host to acoustic instruments, percussion, sheet music and education.

The Baton Rouge booth grabbed a lot of attention with its array of live performances, and Martin Guitar’s new Black Walnut guitars were proving very popular. The company debuted the DE Black Walnut and the GPCE Black Walnut models at the show, offering guitarists an alternative tonewood to rosewood and mahogany.

Read more about Martin Guitar’s Black Walnut models here.

Hal Leonard’s huge book stand proved quite a draw for visitors, too. And there was a healthy mix of brass, classical and more unique instruments on show as well, including Feeltone – which produces percussive instruments that uses sound to massage and heal people.

In Hall 11.0 visitors were treated to keyboards and pianos. Impressive booths came from Casio, Korg (with its sound igloo) and Kawai, which offered up the first outing of its new hybrid upright piano – the AURES.

Read more about the Kawai AURES here.

Moving on to the area of the show that generally creates the most buzz each year: drums, electric guitars and their accessories, the ‘rock band instruments’ (as I like to call them) provided probably the most exciting announcements.

These included a pretty big announcement from GEWA music. The company unveiled the Drum Workstation G9 at the show, which saw GEWA team up with the likes of DW Drums, Remo, E-cymbals and more to create a digital drum kit that promises to offer a “completely new concept” to the market.

Read more about the GEWA Drum Workstation G9 here.

On the guitar side of things, it was great to see the interest a lot of the smaller booths got. There’s certainly no shortage of luthiers and designers. One that caught our eye was Darryl Jones, the live bassist for the Rolling Stones, introduce is own bespoke range of basses and guitars.

Read more about Jones Music Instruments here.

One booth that attracted a lot of attention was Hiwatt’s. The British amp maker recently re-launched and showcased two hand-build pedals by Gary Hurst, as well as a range bass and guitar amps and cabinets.

Read more about Hiwatt’s re-launch here.

While Amp World, powered by Musik Productiv, gave visitors a setting to sit down and combine various guitar amps and speakers to test out the latest heads and cabinets by top brands, those looking for a bit of history found it in the ‘World of Vintage Guitars’. The new exhibition area offered up an exhibition entitled ‘Fender by Leo Fender: The Evolution of Fender’s Electric Guitars 1950-1964’, which used original instruments to show the development of Leo Fender’s models during the golden years from the early fifties to mid-sixties.

One area of this year’s Musikmesse that really drew in the crowds was the Portalhaus, which featured a wide range of products from Yamaha.

Offering up what appeared to be its own mini trade show, Yamaha showcased acoustic instruments, electronics, and classical instruments. There were sound booths to try out the latest drumming equipment, stages demoing new gear and talks from musicians about how they utilise their Yamaha products.

Highlights from the Yamaha camp included new Line 6 Powercab 112 guitar speakers, the EAD10 electronic acoustic drum module, Revstar series guitars, and the new Enspire Pro series piano, to name but a few.

This year, organisers Messe Frankfurt decided to bring together the MI and pro audio sectors in its audio, Dj and recording area. There was plenty to see, with microphones, recording equipment, software, live demonstrations. It worked well, and so it’s good news to hear that next year’s shows will be even more closely tied.

Read more about Musikmesse and Prolight + Sound’s new setup for 2019 here.

Take a look at all of our pictures from the show at the MI Focus Musikmesse 2019 Facebook gallery.


About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.