I just got back from the NAMM Show, and It. Was. Awesome. Every brand you can name had a booth showing off their best new gear. Sneak peeks of unreleased products, over 100,000 people in attendance and, of course, great music. Dealers from around the world attend NAMM to look for new product to buy, and the NAMM Idea Center provides educational sessions for small businesses to learn from leaders in the industry. I was honored to be asked back to speak for my fifth Idea Center presentation and shared the stage with some amazing other business owners and leaders. At the breakfast sessions, we heard from the new CEO of Gibson Guitars, the CEO of Korg, Nancy Wilson (guitarist of Heart), a ‘Futurist’ (a man who predicts the future!), along with several other great keynote speakers.
The best part of NAMM by far is connecting with people. Old friends who have moved to other cities, band members from my touring days, and friends we’ve made at NAMM over the past 6 years were among those I ran into at the convention. Of course, our sales reps at Alvarez, D’Adarrio, Ludwig, EarthQuaker Devices, Casio, Orange Amps, Reverend Guitars, are all really great to work with. The vast majority of our interactions are over the phone or via email, so it’s always really good to meet face to face and catch up in person.
I was also lucky enough to have dinner with the CEO of Reverend (Ken Haas) along with his wife Penny, Joe Naylor (founder of Reverend and product designer) and Rick Vito (former guitarist for Fleetwood Mac). It was a happy accident that my Google calendar bumped all of my appointments early 2 hours with the time zone change, so I showed up to the party 2 hours early and got to have dinner with them!
So, what did I bring home? Well, a few things. First of all, we placed an order for some new gear with Ludwig and Alvarez. Be on the lookout for a Black Beauty snare drum (14X6.5) and a Classic Maple Kit in Vintage Blue Oyster (no cult).
From Alvarez, we’ve ordered new student models for acoustic guitars. These are 3/4 size instruments that will be perfect for students who are too big for a travel guitar but not ready for a full scale folk size guitar. It also saves our customer a little bit of money ($169 instead of $199).
From Reverend, we have a few new guitars on order: the Kingbolt will be returning to our store along with the brand new Trick Shot (tele-style guitar that in the words of Joe Naylor was “long overdue”) and a couple of other restock items.
NAMM always presents an opportunity to ‘step out of the office’ for a minute and refresh our perspective on what we are doing here at Mason Music in Birmingham, Alabama. We are part of a great industry that has a rich legacy and a bright future.