Monday, January 22, 2007
Last week was the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers) convention in Anaheim. Because of my relationship with the folk at Lowden Guitars I get a visitor's pass and get to go and look around and visit with the folk at the Lowden booth. It is an interesting experience. You get everything there from the folk representing companies that build grand pianos or orchestral instruments to those that aim at metal rockers to companies that crank out thousands of low end instruments for beginners. Because it is the music industry, there are also lots of rockers and wannabes and hanger-ons running around. This year struck me as being busier than last with more yellow "visitor" badges around. There also seemed to be fewer of the small boutique electric guitar and amp companies.
George and company had some amazing guitars hanging on the wall as well as a few celebrities. Thomas Leeb was demoing guitars to the amazment of a crowd that quickly gathered each time he played. Lowden is releasing signature models for Richard Thompson and Alex de Grassi, both of whom were at the booth.
I wasn't able to play any guitars due to my finger, so I didn't look as carefully as I would have otherwise. So... there wasn't a lot that really caught my attention. There were some pretty wild basses at a number of booths and it looked as if there is a lot of innovation going on in that world. A few companies were building acoustics out of carbon fiber and there were people standing on guitar cases made of that same material. One company had some pretty wild looking electrics.
As you move from one area of the convention to the next the atmosphere changes radically. The drum area was all sparkle and noise. The electronic music area was darker with screens everywhere and scores of folk playing keyboards or computers wearing headphones. The acoustic guitar booths tended to be smaller and understated while some of the electric booths - especially those aimed at metal players really did whatever they could to grab your attention. And since it is LA and we all know it is the land of implants, cosmetic surgery, and image inhancement... here's the obligatory sexist photo from the Diamond Amps booth...