What is NAMM you ask? Well, to be honest, despite having attended the convention four or five times, I had to look it up. It stands for, the National Association of Music Merchants. Basically, a long time ago, somebody asked: How much leather can we fill the Anaheim Convention Center with?
Actually, the NAMM Show is the place to be if you are involved in music retail in any way. There are booths (sometimes entire rooms or floors) from every brand of gear you’ve ever heard of. For gear heads, this is like Disneyland—yes Disneyland is literally right across the street, but you get the idea. Even the most motivated gear head could probably spend all four days of the event without seeing everything. It’s that big.
NAMM is a member only event, or closed to the public, and I generally get in through connections. I’ll give you a hint, it’s definitely not my Uncle.
What makes NAMM interesting for non-gear heads, like myself and say, my wife, is that whenever a musician is “sponsored” by a company, they generally are contracted to come to these events. In another words, you run into a lot of interesting people. Well actually, you just run into people. Especially on Saturday, holy geez, that’s a lot of people.
But B-list music celebrities autographs was not my thing this year. I actually did enjoy some of the gear exhibits. My wife and I spent half the day at Disneyland and half at NAMM. Yes, that is a lot walking. What is my point? We prioritized our time and saw the good stuff.
So here are my top 5 reflections of the NAMM Show:
AXL Guitars. I was completely surprised by this brand. Their guitars were gorgeous and felt great. AXL is on the cheap side, though that’s not exactly a drawback. I would compare them to Ibanez as far as the quality. Another great feature: Made in ‘Merica! http://www.axlguitars.com
JAMHUB. It was great to run into these entrepreneurs. Last year, my former band looked into Jamhub as a way to solve our practice-volume dilemma. You can check out the website but here is a quick gist: It’s a practice box that everyone plugs into. Each band member has their own monitor level and there is no external noise (unless you are playing with acoustic drums). Pretty cool. http://www.jamhub.com
Airborne. This is not a fancy new music company. No, I’m talking about the actual vitamin induced tablet you drop into water. This is what we should’ve taken. My wife was sick all week after NAMM and we didn’t put two and two together until a friend posted on Twitter about the “NAMMthrax” virus going around. Next year, be prepared! That many musicians should never be in one building.
Duesenberg Guitars. I may or may not ever be able to afford a guitar from this American made brand, but a boy can dream can’t he! I don’t really know much about these guys other than their guitars stopped me dead in my tracks. I’ll take the Starplayer III please. http://www.duesenbergusa.com
Tim Armstrong Fender Acoustic. There is so much to like and not like about this statement. Tim Armstrong acoustic? Fender makes acoustics? I’m not so sure about this. Yeah, I don’t know why, but this was awesome.
Bonus: The food left something to be desired. In another words, it was disgusting, super expensive, and the lines were longer than the new Cars ride in California Adventure. Note to self: Sneak in a granola bar next year.
One last photo: