Like many first time bloggers, I completely neglected my brainchild after its initial incarnation. Although in my head I have big plans for this little blog, the first step towards realization is the hardest. So, I made my 2012 New Years Resolution to kick start Riffs of Wisdom! Here it goes . . .
Last weekend was a very special weekend for all of the music community here in Southern California (and world wide) – it was the annual National Association of Music Merchants convention in Anaheim, CA – aka, the 2012 NAMM show. In essence, it’s a business convention where music equipment manufacturers, education companies, distributors and representatives from all facets of the industry gather to examine new products, make connections and create plans for the upcoming year. In reality – it’s a massive music party where companies set up elaborate booths, showcases and demos to promote their brands and products. There are performances, Q and A’s, autograph signings, contests, and a host of other exciting events designed to turn attendees into loyal consumers. High profile musicians, celebrities and just about any YouTube music sensation can be spotted while perusing the over 6 halls and 4 floors of industry exhibitors. Sounds like fun!
As a guitar player, NAMM makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop. I can roam from Fender to Gibson to PRS to Ibanez to Martin and beyond, playing guitars and learning about this years new product lines. I visited T Rex, Electro Harmonix, Dunlop, Xotic, TC Electronics and others, checking out killer pedals and effects. And of course there is the amp buffet – Marshall, Orange, Vox, Bogner, THD, etc – supplying hours of endless fun. And that’s just the guitar stuff! NAMM also has an extensive exhibitor list of drum, pro audio, key board, brass/woodwind/orchestral instrument, education and specialty companies. A lot to take in!
Despite the fun of seeing all these great products, the most rewarding thing about NAMM is seeing and hearing the amazing musicians. Over my last two years of attendance, I’ve had the great fortune of seeing the likes of Guthrie Govan, Carl Verheyen, Alex Hutchings, Victor Wooten, Andy Wood, Joey DeFrancesco, Steve Trovato, Tim Lerch and many others, perform and play in a casual setting. Nothing compares to seeing these iconic players doing their thing at a little booth – it’s like a private concert, very cool and inspiring. Youtube is littered with NAMM videos, so I’m sure you can find some great NAMM performances from your favorite players on there.
So overall – NAMM is awesome, you should try and go! Because it’s a business convention, NAMM is not open to the public. I have been fortunate enough to gain entry though a student program called Generation Next, geared towards helping future industry professionals. However, your local music shop can probably get you a badge – if they like you. And although getting the badge can be tough, not everybody in NAMM is a music industry professional. There are plenty of NAMM tourists, aimlessly roaming around, trying to film performances for their YouTube Channel, mingling, etc. It’s all in good fun! For more info check out the NAMM website
There it is, the first real entry! Not exactly filled with Riffs of Wisdom, but hopefully it’s an interesting insider view on a world few get to see. Stay tuned for more Riffs!