The Laura Report: My Faves from 2012 Summer NAMM Nashville
Right now I’m sitting on a plane on my way home from the summer NAMM show in Nashville. And boy, am I tired. I admit it; I can’t turn down a hang no matter how early my flight is!
In case you don’t know, NAMM is the trade show for music gear, and the summer show is the little brother of the massive winter NAMM that takes place in Anaheim, California. But what summer NAMM lacks in size, it makes up for in quality. And let me tell you, there is some serious talent in Nashville, Tennessee. Woo hoo!
Here are a few of my favorite happenings, encounters and pieces of gear I came across this year.
Check out the photo gallery below!
Laura B. Whitmore is a singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area. A veteran music industry marketer, she has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents 65amps, Dean Markley, Agile Partners, Guitar World and many more. Laura was instrumental in the launch of the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. She is the co-producer of the Women's Music Summit and the lead singer for the rock band, Summer Music Project. More at mad-sun.com.
1. Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa. I was having a chat with a fellow journalist when he mentioned his desire to see Dweezil play the next evening at the Cannery Ballroom. What?! I said. I know Dweezil! A couple of emails later and we were set for the show. His stories about what it was like to reformat his dad’s music for guitar were super interesting and a surprise appearance by drummer Chester Thompson was the cherry on top of a killer show.
2. Martin’s Custom Mahogany “00” guitar. I stopped by to see what was up with Martin (and because I heard their new vice president of brand marketing, Amani Duncan, and new director of US sales, Kit Culpepper, were women) and sat down to play a small-bodied custom “00” sized guitar. It was pretty hard to hear, but I’m guessing that baby could sing. I especially loved the parlor-sized body that seemed to fit like a glove.
5. Sonia from Disappear Fear. As I was chilling at the Fishman booth and chatting with Larry Fishman, Sonia from Disappear Fear stopped by. I was super stoked to meet her, and you can bet you’ll be seeing an interview coming up soon. Sonia told us a story about a new video she just shot while standing on a table knee deep in the swimming pool. Her main goal was to keep her guitar from getting wet while dishing out some super cool video art.
6. Fishman. While I was chilling at Fishman, I had to check out their Loudbox amps. Great for acoustic players because they work perfectly as monitors while sending a dry signal to the board. Fishman has just taken on the distribution of some elite cables for discerning players called Asterope. Some have a kind of purply black color, and I’m told they are crafted in such a way that they virtually eliminate signal degradation.
7. Griffin Woodtones earbuds. Sonia turned me on to some earbuds by Griffin that are made from recycled wood. I have yet to pop the pair they gave me in my ears, but I like the concept. We’ll see how the audio holds up, ‘cause that’s what really counts!
8. The Songwriting Panel. I was just as stoked to meet and chat with the songwriters and industry folks on my panel as my audience was, and they didn’t disappoint. Top songwriters Greg Becker and Stephony Smith joined me along with veteran Nashville publisher Pat Finch and Berklee College of Music songwriting instructor Shane Adams for a roundtable discussion about songwriting ideas, tips and business insight.
I also did a workshop focusing on Marketing for Musicians that seemed to resonate with the roomful of hopeful musicians that made it out.
9. More gear! As a columnist that focuses on female players, I was attracted to “pretty” stuff. My faves were the artfully tooled leather guitar cases from Ameritage, multi-colored music stands from Audio2000, supple and beautifully designed straps from Levy’s Leathers and a coral-colored baritone bass from Mosrite.
... multi-colored music stands from Audio2000 ...
... supple and beautifully designed straps from Levy’s Leathers ...
... a coral colored baritone bass from Mosrite ...
10. Loads of Hopeful Singer Songwriters. Nashville is the Mecca for aspiring songwriters, and it did not disappoint. Just about every other door on Broadway featured live music, talented players and some fabulous songwriting. I enjoyed hearing Christine Jamra (pictured) laying it out for us right on the show floor.
3. Mark Newton and Steve Thomas at the Paige Capos booth. Boy could these guys smoke it. Especially Steve Thomas on mandolin. Those fingers were flying! I just love that about the Summer show. You can walk down the aisle and go from ukelele to killer drummer to these amazing bluegrass dudes and then to ...