NAMM has returned to the Anaheim Convention Center for its annual Winter NAMM Show. The show runs Thursday through Sunday, January 24 to 27. On Wednesday, the media were invited to a Preview Day, featuring some of the latest innovations and performances by some of the biggest names in the business.
Rich Redmond, the drummer for Jason Aldean kicked things off with a demonstration of the new cast stone (concrete) frame snare drum for Drum Workshop. This drum is custom made at the factory in Oxnard, California, and has several unique features, including the strength of metal frames, and a three level switch that adjusts the amount of snare being used. It was most ably demonstrated by Redmond, who has proved his chops in this arena.
One of the industry's pioneers, Grover Jackson, maker of the Charvel line of guitars, then introduced his new company GJ2 Guitars. His guitar was demonstrated by Tom Dumont of No Doubt. Tom also told the story of his connection to Charvel and why he was pleased to be able to endorse this product.
The next company to showcase a product was Dean Guitars. They had previously made a "one-off" for Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and were pleased to introduce their new line of Mustaine guitars, beautifully painted and artistically crafted.
Former NY Yankee standout and now a Grammy-nominated Latin jazz artist, Bernie Williams, joined NAMM President, Joe Lamont to talk about the importance of music education and their efforts to reinstate arts programs into our schools through outreach to local, state and federal government officials. Lamont reminded us that all the profits from the annual NAMM Show go towards improving music education programs. Williams will be playing on the Main Stage at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Wittner, the next exhibitor, provided us with a special treat - a chance to hear a true Mendelssohn Stradivarius violin, manufactured in 1760. The violin had been a gift to violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn from her grandfather, and sounded incredible as she played John Williams' theme from Schindler's List.
Last but certainly not least was the dynamic duo of Brandon Milburn (keys) and Valerie Vigoda (Wood Violins electric). Through the magic of Muse Research, they demonstrated the use of computer aided music, looping and other techniques to bring the studio album sound to a live performance.
We also took time to check out the new John Lennon amplifier manufactured by Fargen Amplification, the first amplifier to carry Lennon's name and artwork. We also spoke with Chalise at Taylor Guitars, and are looking forward to great performances on their stage by such artists as the Doobie Brothers' Pat Simmons, local LA artists Raining Jane, country superstar Allen Stone and Japanese sensation Miyavi.
It was a great day of demonstrations. I can hardly wait for tomorrow's first day to check out more great equipment and live music. Speaking of which, live music kicks off tonight at the Marriott and Hilton Hotels by the Convention Center, starting at 7 p.m. These nightly concerts are open to the public.