NAMM 2022: While Positive Grid's Spark MINI – a downsized version of its celebrated Spark smart guitar amp – was officially unveiled back in February, we knew it would be hot property at this year's NAMM show.
To recap, the Spark MINI is literally small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, but is loaded with an array of forward-thinking features, including Auto Chords learning – which analyzes songs and displays chords in real time – and over 10,000 available tones via Positive Grid's Spark app and ToneCloud preset sharing community.
So the minute we walked in those pearly doors at the Anaheim Convention Center at the weekend, we sent our intrepid Tech Editor Paul Riario straight to the Positive Grid booth to learn more about the amp, and it just so happened that session guitarist Rob Math was on hand to give us a demo.
Math – with a tablet set up right next to the Spark MINI demonstrating its miniature form factor – shows us how easy it is to dial in tones using the accompanying Spark app, which offers a plethora of digital amp models, effects pedals and more.
He also offers a demo of the amp's Auto Chords feature, as it takes a blues-style piece of music straight from YouTube and produces chord diagrams at the press of a button. “You don't have to go out and buy the sheet music anymore; you just need to have this app,” the guitarist says.
“I used to play for hours and hours and one of my favorite things to do was to jam to the stereo,” Math recalls. “I'd turn on the radio, go to any station and just play for hours and use my ear. That was more fun to me than actually sitting and playing without music. So the fact that [the Spark MINI] is all-inclusive and you've got all these amazing tones, plus the backing tracks built in, it makes it so much fun.
“Honestly, for the first time, I actually played for like three or four hours straight when they sent me this. I just pulled up some tracks, [a few] hours went by, I was just lost.”
As Math explains, the Spark MINI is compatible, via the Spark app, with Positive Grid's new Experience Jimi Hendrix Official Gear Collection for Spark, which offers access to digital replicas of Hendrix's classic gear, including amps, pedals and more.
For more info on the Spark MINI, head to Positive Grid (opens in new tab).