Friday, January 23, 2009


I get to go to NAMM as a guest of Lowden Guitars and went for a day this year...

It is always an interesting experience as it reflects all of the best (some amazing gear, wonderful musicians, and some really great people) and the worst (talk about surgically enhanced women, self-obsessed musicians, and smarmy business people) in the music business.

This year, I didn't spend much time checking out electric stuff but it looked as if there were lots of new very simple circuit guitar amps with just volume and tone controls. That is the way I like them.

This year, like the the last couple of years there have been amazing basses with a bajillion strings and monster players demoing them.

But I was there to see some of the acoustics...

This is part of George Lowden's booth. Notice the new Pierre Bensusan signature model on the right - the guitar you can only see part of, sorry. George built two prototypes - one with a Adirondack top and one with cedar. Pierre took the Adirondack top guitar and the cedar one was at NAMM and up for grabs. Some dealer purchased it. I did play it. It was difficult to tell what it sounded like through the noise, but the fingerboard was a little wide for me. George said that "the devil is in the bevel" and that little design piece on the lower bout is very tricky. The two darker top guitars are redwood tops. George really likes redwood.

One of the fun points at NAMM is watching my friend Thomas demo his Lowden F35C. He is an amazing player and even in the din of NAMM, always draws a crowd of on-lookers who are amazed at what he can do with a guitar. Boy, does he beat that guitar...

I've attended NAMM 4 times I think and this was the first time that I saw empty booth spaces. Also, there was a lot of talk about different companies cutting back on staff and on distribution of their products. The economy is having a real impact. Still, there were some amazing instruments and some of the companies, including Lowden, are still doing well.

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