The Saturday NAMM-thrax bonanza was no different in 2018, and the crowds were a seemingly un-tameable beast for those of us trying to get some photographs of new products.
Luckily for all of you I woke up early and got into the convention center as soon as I could so that I could provide you with some unobstructed video footage that I will be sharing in the days to come.
I sauntered back to the BOSS booth to play through the new GT-1000 guitar effects processor and I have to say, if there has ever been a piece of gear that I don’t need (since I just bought the GT-100 a few months ago!) but that I would buy anyway, it’s the GT-1000. It has a slick, user-friendly interface for all BOSS fans, and the presets sounded very “real” through the headphones at the booth. Now, how that will translate to a live or studio setting may very well be different, but if BOSS was looking to compete with Line 6’s Helix, the Headrush unit, and Fractal AX8, I think they have definitely thrown their hat into the ring.
Traditionally, the Saturday version of NAMM is full of “hey look at me!” attendees trying to make their “big break” (whatever that even means these days), and the long lineups at autograph signings. Those of us that are trying to work find Saturday the most difficult day to do so. Most companies save their best and most high profile signings for the Saturday, and this year was no different. David Ellefson, Chris Broderick, Doyle, Alice Cooper, Andreas Kisser, Angel Vivaldi, Phil X, Acey Slade, Rusty Cooley, Tommy Henrikson, Meegs from Coal Chamber, Michael Anthony (formerly of Van Halen and current Chickenfoot bassist), Glen Sobel, Niko McBrain, Bootsy Collins, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse, Hunter Hayes, Albert Lee, and Billy Sheehan are just a sample of the many artists doing signings. There were some surprises too, and I was stunned to see original Alice Cooper Band guitarist Michael Bruce sitting at the Bigsby booth with not a single person lined up to meet him. I took quick advantage of that and had a nice chat with one of the most talented songwriters in rock music history.
One of the highlights of the entire NAMM Show for me was the Guitar Boutique Showcase curated by Jamie Gale. I had the wonderful opportunity to talk to Robert Gale about the project and also grabbed some unobstructed video footage of the entire exhibited. Once that is edited and up on YouTube it will be posted here for all to see. During my tour I had the honour of speaking to Steve McSwain of McSwain guitars, and Enrico Di Donato of Di Donato Guitars. I have long been an admirer of both luthier’s work, so I was thrilled to meet them both and talk to them about their creative vision. The photos of their guitars simply don’t do them justice! Both gentlemen were so modest about their work and their enthusiasm for their work was absolutely infectious. I could have talked to either one of them all day! Be sure to check out McSwain Guitars and Di Donato Guitars on their respective websites. You will not be disappointed!
Saturday evening is usually topped off with various industry invitation-only parties, bring your friends concerts, and the TEC Awards. This year’s big-ticket honorees were Jackson Browne and The Section.
I am heading home today, the final day of the show, but stay tuned for more videos and interview footage in the coming days since there were 5 football fields worth of new gear to see!
Some more notable events from the day:
8:00 a.m. Breakfast Session–The Digital Consumer: How Buyers Have Changed and What to Do About It with Marcus Sheridan, Anaheim Hilton, Pacific Ballroom
9:00 a.m. The Grand Rally for Music Education with Vanessa Carlton and FORTE, Anaheim Hilton, California Ballroom CD
2:00 p.m. The Future of Content Creation and Distribution, moderated by Louis Hernandez, Anaheim Hilton, Avila (Level 4)
4:00 p.m. Birth of a Record: Jackson Browne's 1977 "Running on Empty", Anaheim Hilton, California Ballroom A (Level 2)
5:30 p.m. Roomful of Pianos: For 50 Pianos (50 pianos play in unison), Anaheim Convention Center, Lounge 88 (Level 3 Ballroom)
6:00 p.m. Imagine Party with Andy Grammer, NAMM YAMAHA Grand Plaza Stage
7:00 p.m. The 33rd Annual NAMM TEC Awards honoring Jackson Browne and The Section, Anaheim Hilton, Pacific Ballroom