NAMM 2008 – Anaheim, CA: 2 months late

So this year, thanks to Kevan @ Tremol-No and some help from the Hoshino crew, I got into NAMM for the first time. For those who are unfamiliar, the NAMM show is the music industry’s big trade show. It’s turned into a global event and as the music equipment/supply industry keeps growing, so does the show. It’s a place for everyone from a huge guitar manufacturer like Fender or Gibson to show of their newest and staple products as well as knockoff companies and 2-3 person operations just getting their feet under them. By the way, it’s massive. The show takes place in the Anaheim Convention Center, which has over 800,000 square feet of space. They not only use all of it, they use more. There’s stuff outside, in the lobby, everywhere. I spent maybe 8 hours there on Saturday (pretty much from open to close) and aside from a quick lunch with a friend, it was all walking around, talking to people, looking at stuff. I played a lot of guitars, from fairly inexpensive Ibanez or Carvin models to borderline unaffordable Vigiers or similar high end brands. Best playing guitar there was by far in the Ernie Ball booth (they had a 30’s gangster theme, so all the guys were dressed in pin-striped suits with top hats, cool company, I liked the idea). I am now very eager to buy a John Pettrucci model. No joke. The 6 string version definitely surpassed anything else I touched at the show in terms of playability (there were plenty that were probably built better or looked nicer or sounded better). I’m going to start saving my spare change for one of those.

Like any trade show, there were lots of cool giveaways as well. I didn’t load up like some people (I think 40% of trade show attendants only show up for free stuff). However, my two prized freebies were a wood handled bottle opener from ZVex and some of the Eric Johnson series Jazz III picks from a guy at the Dunlop booth. The only thing I wanted to take home from the show was some of those picks and one of the reps there happened to have some. Thanks!!!

The other cool thing is all the music going on. I didn’t really care about guest appearances (I saw the Playboy PMOY, Paul Stanley, Joe Satriani, Nikki Sixx, etc), but the performances were cool. Caught a bit of the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in the Taylor room (they were good, I knew the name going in but couldn’t tell you any songs they did). I saw a few artists I had never heard of doing improv and structured songs. Went to the aftershow party at the Hilton (most 80’s people in one place since the 80’s) and saw Kandace Ferrell (really good) and caught a little bit of Rob Balducci (great guy, great guitar player), but I was absolutely beat by then despite pumping my body with ribs and Starbucks. Wanted to stay for Rob’s full show, but I was falling fast by then (it was after 11PM, had been on my feet walking for the better part of 15 hours), luckily I’ve seen Rob perform 2 or 3 times in the past.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of for now. It was a great time and I’d love to go back in the future. I especially want to show up with a boatload of cash next time.

Click here for pics (I’m testing out Photoshop Express)