Backstage Pass: The NAMM Roundup

By Susan Hornik

IF YOU’RE A MUSICIAN, there was only one place to be last month–NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants conference. Over 95,000 gear whores, music retailers, manufacturers and just about anyone lucky enough to snag a badge came together to check out all the hot new music products at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

Michael Jackson’s guitarist, Orianthi.

In addition to virtually every music product company showing off their effects, accessories and techy gadgets, high-profile musicians walk amongst the attendees, conducting demonstrations, performing in concerts, signing autographs. Celebrity musicians, like the very hot Orianthi, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Lita Ford, Megadeth’s Chris Broderick and Steve Vai were at the four day music mecca to unveil their own sexy new gear, endorsed by numerous impressive music companies like Fender, Gibson, Dean, Peavy, Yamaha, Casio, Paul Reed Smith and Taylor.

Blues/rock guitarist, Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

As I walked the convention floor, which covered multiple buildings and floors (you need comfortable shoes to walk at NAMM!), I was constantly pleasantly distracted by an array of  live music and plenty of conversation. Highlights included: The winner of NBC’s The Voice, Javier Colon, playing his favorite Taylor guitar; and John Mayer, announcing a new guitar with C.F. Martin & Co. Inc. — a 00-45SC (Stage Coach), which will only be released in a limited run of 25 guitars and a with a price tag of $14,000.

John Mayer with a new set of strings.

Before you get too excited about going next year, unfortunately the winter NAMM conference, which is actually the largest music trade show in the U.S., is not open to the public. Still TSJ is here to show you all the pix, so you can get a taste of what you missed!

All photos courtesy of NAMM.

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