NAMM 2017 (& New York) - Part 1

I know I promised some sort of coverage of my first NAMM experience, but whilst my intentions were pure my internet access was not. Although I thought I had planned for unlimited mobile data and hotel wifi, the reality was an extremely throttled 3G connection and piss poor patchy wifi in a Travelodge.

That being the case I decided to concentrate on the experience of being there and writing about it when I return, rather than stressing about finding good connectivity and upload speeds.

With that out of the way, where do I begin? I think I will split this up into three posts, which will cover three rough chunks the experience fell into, but the up front summary is that it was all a lot of fun. It was good for me both musically and mentally, and took unexpected twists that have left me in a bit of a daze now looking back as I type this with my tiny tyrannosaur arms, cramped into the middle row of a 747.

As the post title hints, I ended up in New York after NAMM, but we’ll get to that, first I’ll run through the highlights, my involvement and throw some pictures into the mix.

The journey there was pretty cool to being with. Travelling with friends is fun and helps a long flight go by much quicker than it would otherwise. Tom, Bronsy and I flew from Leeds to London, where we met up with Dan and also Jason Wilding from Wampler Pedals and Laney/Ibanez demo artist Lee Wrathe. Expensive airport beers were drunk and comments were trolled.

Anaheim was a wash out weather wise, and screwed us over with the hotel room, (no 3rd bed and it stank of all the jazz cabbage ever grown!) but as we were essentially to be in an enormous air conditioned convention centre all day, the weather really didn’t matter much. Until it did! But again, we’ll get to that.

Quick Fire Thoughts:

  • The scale of NAMM is staggering, it’s an assault on the senses in every way. Not that it's necessarily bad, although towards the end it did get fatiguing. I barely scratched the surface of what was available to see, it seems like every single company in the world that manufactures musical gear had a presence there.
  • Meeting the Fibenare guys Gabor, Csaba and Arpi.  This was the true highlight for me. Getting to shake the hands of and drink Palinka with the guys that designed and built my guitar was a true honour. They are lovely people and I feel I’ve made good friends in them. Late night Palinka and beer in the hot tub will never be forgotten. Their world class, inimitable skills as luthiers is matched only by their kindness and sense of humour.
  • Jamming at the Booth. I got to hang out and play at the Fibenare booth, jamming with friends and help talk about and introduce the guitars to visitors.
  • Making connections. Getting outside my introverted comfort zone and networking with companies and individuals. There's a strange sort of necessary hustle involved with this whole game, and that I'm terrified of getting it wrong. I feel like I'm slowly figuring this out without being too cringe inducing, I guess we'll see! 
  • Getting recognised. There’s no way around saying this without sounding like a humblebragging bell-end, but being stopped by people that watch and enjoy The Guitar Hour was awesome 🤣 🤘🏻.
  • Interviewing legends. Before traveling out to California I had lined up an interview with my current axe man crush, Allen Hinds. This ended up being an audio only interview whilst waiting in line at the food court! Having said that it was humorous and highly interesting. Look for it on the upcoming fourth season of The Guitar Hour.
  • Meeting modern bad asses. Over the last couple of years, as I have gently poked my nose out into the guitar community, I have had the pleasure of getting to know some really awesome players and people. Finally putting faces to names and watching them shred their asses off in real life was another highlight of the trip.
  • Cliff hanger! I mentioned earlier I didn’t go home at the end of the week, I went to New York instead. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this will know exactly what happened anyway, but I'm gonna leave the details for my next post

So in summary, two thumbs up. I really enjoyed the show and after pivoting slightly, perhaps realigning my expectations on day two, I feel like I got everything out of it that I had hoped to..