Day 1 – January 19, 2017
The REAL NAMM Day #1 for everyone started out with the return of Anaheim’s Savanna High School Marching Band, which is always a treat, while everyone is on the Convention Center grounds either waiting or walking to get in, taking photos, or just preparing for their NAMM experience! The excitement grows with this band’s energy and youthful enthusiasm, and gives everyone that “opening night” feeling at the beginning of the NAMM show. Listen to them HERE.
Heading into the hall as they opened the doors, I went down to Hall E, which is one of my favorite places to find some of the gems of the show! Mostly geared toward small up and coming manufacturers, Hall E has a vast array of handmade acoustic instruments, clothing and accessories, stomp boxes and more, plus a few larger companies who have chosen to be there, due to less madness as the show goes on during the weekend! ZT Amplifiers have come back to NAMM this year with a new product, the new Jazz Club amp. ZT is a brand that makes a very small yet powerful amp for the working guitarist. They are launching the ZT Custom Shop; low-quantity hand-built amps made by them right in their lab (Northern California) using 95% American made components and featuring a lacquer finish.
Their first model is the 1×12 Jazz Club, based on the discontinued ZT Club amp, but much refined with expanded features and tuned for jazz players. (And I would also add rock players! This amp has POWER!) It has a gorgeous midnight blue metallic gloss finish and sounds fantastic. This amp will be available in the spring. Available immediately, though, are a group of very small, lightweight yet powerful amps pictured below. From top to bottom you have the Lunchbox Junior which can run on a battery pack, the Lunchbox, the Lunchbox Cab which is a passive extension speaker for your Lunchbox, and the Lunchbox Acoustic which has a 1/4” input and an XLR input for the traveling singer songwriter! All of these small amps pack a punch! They have external outs and then Lunchbox Acoustic also has an external speaker switch in addition to the regular out. Find out more about them at ZTamplifiers.com.
Next stop in Hall E was Magic Fluke, who offer USA made ukes and other small instruments (bass, violins, etc.) as well as jewelry made from their leftover scraps of wood! This small company from Sheffield, Massachusetts has beautiful instruments which one can also get with a custom made top including colorful new tropical and surf originals by Evelyn Drew.
Heading back upstairs to the main floor of the convention center, you pass right by The NAMM Museum of Making Music, which hosts many different genres of music all week long. I happened upon Jessie Andra Smith and Nathan Rivera playing their resonator guitars, performing a fusion of jazzy folk and blues. You can find out when they are coming to your town on their official website http://www.nathanandjessie.com/ and view a clip from the MoMM stage at NAMM HERE.
See how inspiring NAMM can be?
Clear Tune Monitors is a family affair and the whole crew were there to tell us all about their products. They sell a beautiful headphone/monitor product that comes in not only different colors, but with different drivers depending on the clarity that you want and need (i.e., some people may want the high end quality so they can use these for on stage monitors, others may need new ear buds for their iPod. And they come packaged in a beautiful vintage designed box. For these as well as custom made monitors, check them out on their website!
Then I headed over to the Sennheiser booth where every single year they have some great music, with many, many female artists who may not be famous. YET. Tara and I met “LUCI” in the elevator that morning, while they were rushing to their performance spot, took down their name, and then went to check them out later on. LUCI is the magical result of a spontaneous session between three Los Angeles based, super fly songwriting ladies: McKail Seely (guitar, vocals), Ashley Maietta (keys, vocals) and Ariana Tibi (guitar, vocals). They switch off on lead vocals within a song and surprise the audience with their range and energy and keep you entranced with their stage presence and sound. Check them out here: Sennheiser, by the way, was nominated for three TEC Awards this year, and won two of those, the Sennheiser HD 25 Plus in the Headphone / Earpiece Technology category, and the Sennheiser evolution Wireless G3 A-1 Band in the Wireless Technology category. ROCK ON Sennheiser!
On my way to the next hall, I was able to catch two more female artists’ performances! First was Kat Perkins, well known for her appearance on The Voice, belting out her tunes like no one! Kat was on the EV (Electro-Voice) stage, where many other artists were also performing over the weekend.
Next I ran into the end of the set of the beautiful Paige Bryan whose soulful R&B dance music filled the hall after introductions thanks to comedian, Sinbad, her Dad! The Audiocenter stage featured many different types of music over the course of the weekend and I was thrilled to catch a bit of Paige’s set! Check her out and watch this blossoming dynamic talent!
I headed over to Teton Guitars to check out their new products and meet the crew. Owned by Chesbro Music Company, Teton has been run by female CEOs since 1953, now run by Tana Jane Stahn, out of Idaho Falls, Idaho. (Interview coming soon!) The guitars are beautiful and reasonably priced, have easy necks to play and sound beautiful acoustically. One of the guitars I really loved, on the “new” list is the STR103NT-OP, on the right, a “Range” body which is small like a Parlor style, (pictured on right below) easy to play and just sounded great. Their NAMM 2017 recap is HERE plus they have a feature called Teton TV where their bring their blog to life!
At the Breedlove booth I got to hang out with one of the endorsing artists, Sean Wiggins, plus interview her and see what new guitars Breedlove has to offer this year! She played a beautiful new Masterclass Brazilian Concerto E guitar made from Bearclaw Sitka Spruce, Brazilian Rosewood with a Honduran Mahogany neck. Pictured below are Sean (from Breedlove and Two Old Hippies) and Sean Wiggins and a clip of the our interview!
At Yamaha, I was overwhelmed with all of their instruments, from grand pianos to full drum kits, Yamaha has everything with new products coming out all of the time! The beautiful LS-TA, a concert size guitar looks and plays beautifully – here it is with it’s specs:
Among Yamaha’s innovations is the debut of the flagship A5 model, which is based on the 2015 limited run A6 model and, like the A6, will be crafted in Japan. The A5 is available with a solid mahogany or rosewood body and features scalloped bracing for increased projection and enhanced bass, as well as a beautiful new vintage natural finish, a new neck finish and a bound headstock with vintage-style tuners. The affordable, beautiful, playable, top notch guitars take Yamaha a step forward into the category that is neither beginner or pro, but with products that can be used by either, in the price range of many other competitors. Guitar Girl hopes to be able to review some of these new products as well as their new “Silent Guitar!” (WHAT?) Stay tuned!
How great to be able to see the ever so talented Ali Handal at the Tim Moyer Song Round at the Marriott Hotel on site at the Anaheim Convention Center, where music seems to be 24/7 or at least 24/4 during NAMM. Ali tore it up on stage.
The final event of the event (for us!) was seeing the exciting Orianthi on the main Nissan stage with Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi fame. With her explosive guitar licks and huge stage presence, Orianthi is influencing the next generation of female guitar Goddesses! Besides Richie, Orianthi has played with Alice Cooper, Carrie Underwood and Michael Jackson to name a few. This gal proves that practice makes perfect and that CHICKS ROCK!
Stay tuned — Day 2 coming soon!