Now that I am back home after an incredible 5 days, yes FIVE, of NAMM 2017, and going through photos and videos of the gear we saw and the performances given throughout the entire conference, I have come to the realization that the female representation at NAMM is finally about even! This may come as a shock, but being a participant at NAMM every year for the past seven or eight years, I have seen more and more women performing, demonstrating gear as well as seeing more in the role of company owner/CEO.
For we gals, the sky is the limit!Preview day for the media was only a couple of hours with a select group of manufacturers in the Idea Center at the Anaheim Convention Center, but outside and inside the hotels on site, many things were going on. Guitar Girl editor and owner, Tara Low and I were able to speak with Matthew Reich about the mission of The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.
The Lennon Bus kicked off the New Year by celebrating 20 years of peace, love and creativity at this year’s NAMM show by inviting many different kinds of musicians, students to pros, to participate in recording on the bus as well as performing and jamming in a tent right outside the bus. They will be moving from place to place, whether it be at a high school or college, promoting music education and spreading love wherever they go. Some of the sponsors of the Lennon Bus include Yamaha and Line 6, who provide instruments and recording equipment so that many artists may begin to see what the process is like.
Special guest Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes performed an incredible show at the annual Imagine Party joined by students from Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center, and Ronnie herself was on the bus working with students, passing on her knowledge!
Media Day at NAMM 2017
We moved into the convention center at 1 pm for their two hour preview which at first we thought would be plenty of time, until we started to run out of time inside!
Somnium Guitars at Media Day at NAMM 2017
One of the first merchants showing off their products was Somnium Guitars. At first glance, it seemed like they had a strat looking guitar, but then they started to explain what their company was all about. Although still in the design process and not ready for any retail sales quite yet, their product is pretty unique! Their whole idea is having multiple components that one can switch out when needed for various music projects, i.e. if you are playing somewhere and need multiple electric guitars for your different sounds, you can switch out the pick ups, the neck or even the body of the guitar to go from a Strat style to a Flying V style guitar. Seeing the guitar switched from single coil pick ups to humbuckers and from one body style to another was magical! Check out our video on YouTube HERE. Watch out for great innovators like Somnium. Iron Mike from Seattle’s KISW 99.9 “The Rock” chose these guitars as “the product of innovation” at NAMM 2017 Media Preview Day!
On to Fender previewing their newest Fender200, an acoustic amp with a beautiful design that would look great in any room. This amp has 2 channels, both 1/4 and XLR inputs, both with full controls along with chorus and reverb effects, 2 8″ speakers and 200W. This lightweight and very portable amp sounds great, looks beautiful and retails under $600. To read more about it and also watch a video of how it sounds go here: http://fender.com/products/guitar-amplifiers/acoustic
Christian Zezza demonstrates the Fender Collection 2 for AmpliTube
Next stop was IK Multimedia who always has a ton of new things! Their new product, the Rig is a digital microphone that fits in the sound hole of any acoustic instrument bringing “the beautiful, rich sound of your acoustic guitar as if it were mic’d up in the studio AND the freedom to move around without compromising your sound.” The control box has an out via USB for digital recording, and many other features. Check out their website HERE for more info about this great product as well as sound files to hear what it can do with many different kinds of guitars. The retail price is around $100, so totally doable! They also just came out with their recording plug in Fender Collection II, a collection of amps to use for digital recording!
Dubreq has come out with a hand held portable analog synthesizer, the Stylophone Gen-X1, that is so tiny you can take it anywhere! Look at how big it is next to the business cards that are on the table next to it. Fun stuff!
Martin Guitars has made their 2,000,000th guitar! We saw it up close and personal here on Preview day. Here’s a short video about how they made this guitar at the Martin factory in Pennsylvania that incorporates watches and clocks from another PA business!
Taylor Academy Series acoustic guitars get you in on the ground floor with a genuine Taylor guitar at an accessible price. These guitars are perfect for the young girl who wants to learn on a Taylor, but her parents may not want to invest in a $1,500 axe to start with! The model we saw was the Academy-12, and features a Grand Concert body with a Sitka spruce top, layered Sapele back and sides, and a mahogany neck with a genuine ebony fingerboard. The feel and the sound of this guitar was impressive – it is a Taylor of course! Retail price is under $500!
They also were showing off the GS Mini-e Bass, a small scale easy to handle bass for the player who needs something smaller! Although it has the condensed 23-1/2-inch scale length — about 10 inches shorter than the scale length of a standard bass guitar – the sound of this bass resonates much like it’s full sized older siblings. Retailing for under $1,000, this is a great bass for the working musician, the beginner as well as the closet player!
Gear Secure is a new company working with music equipment manufacturers to imbed chips into their products which will connect with the Gear Secure GPS app which owners will be able to program for finding lost or stolen gear. They have chips that you can purchase to put into your existing gear, but they are also working with major companies so that eventually every piece of equipment that you purchase will include the chip! For all of the info, go HERE.
When we were at the Gear Secure booth, Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen showed up, so we got a photo of him with the Gear Secure dudes and our fearless leader, Tara! Thanks Rick!
At Kala Brand Music Company’s booth, we visited with Avonlea, who spoke about her love of Kala Brand’s ukuleles and how she worked with them for her custom made “Nova.” Keep a look out for Avonlea!
Kala Artist Avonlea on her custom Kala Brand Uke named “Nova”
That is what WE did on preview day at NAMM 2017! And it was only in a couple of hours! Stay tuned for more!!!!!