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Last year, we were on one of the last flights out of snowy Seattle and had to fly from Seattle to Denver and finally to Orange County. This year, we made it to media day!
Thanks to NAMM for having a pretty good rental car promo code for a compact or larger car. I thought that would pretty much guarantee us a compact – WRONG. The car company translates compact or larger to whatever they have most on their lot when we arrive. Stef – our designated California driver – was living the dream in a Ford Crown Vic. You got that right...Streets of San Francisco riding in Anaheim!
We got to parking lot 1, made our way over to the Hilton to get our NAMM badges and headed into the Anaheim Convention Center. We walked into the press room just in time to catch Tara Busch’s demonstration of the Stylophone S2. I love the Stylophone and Stef really liked the British Flag version.
Then Peavey Electronics announced and demonstrated their new Vypyr VIP amplifier. This amp is the first one that will actually work for acoustic, electric and bass guitars with the turn of a switch. Mr. Alex Skolnick of Testament and the Alex Skolnick Trio demonstrated each guitar type for us. This is a great amp for you musicians that want to consolidate your gear but not lose anything sound wise in the process.
Next up – Grover Jackson (yes, the Grover Jackson of Jackson/Charvel fame) and his new guitar line, the GJ2. Tom Dumont of No Doubt has been road testing the prototype of the new Zora guitar and actually had the prototype on hand to compare next to the production version of the guitar. Tom did a little demo for us on the production model. Currently the guitar body and the Jabanero Pickups are made in house with plans to expand the rest of the parts being made in house as well. The other guitar debuted by Grover Jackson was the Glendora model.
Dean Guitars’ Curse Mackey introduced Dave Mustaine and his new double neck signature guitar. Dave was pretty entertaining and even handed the guitar to one of our friends to test the weight after she asked him how heavy it was. He did some posing with it, but we weren’t treated to a demo. I saw Mustaine the first time he played his prototype live back on 4/26/11 at The Big 4 in Indio, CA (see photo below).
We headed out of the demo area and started to see some of the preview booths. We came upon Alex Skolnick having a little jam session with Malcolm Turner(bass) & Jon Barnes(trumpet). Alex was using the new John Lennon amps from Fargen. There are 2 versions, white and black, and a couple of artwork versions currently. The white amps are very limited production and will retail for $5K. There are 11 in each artwork being made and Yoko Ono will be getting one of each which leaves 10 of each for sale. The black amp will be the production version and retail for $2700.
Lanakai will be releasing ukuleles this year with a USB port. They can be hooked right into your computer for recording.
We found the AlphaSphere and immediately thought of our kids fighting over it. It’s like an electric drum synth in a big sphere with LED lights in the middle for a little atmosphere.
If you are into woodwinds, we saw the most updated piccolo I had ever seen. Instead of round hole covers, they were square. Made by Powell Sonaré, Stef was over there asking questions for quite awhile. She said the demonstrator had a bit of an adjustment period but the square covers also had a bit of a cradle to them so the fingers set in them nicely.
Back over to the stage for NAMM President Joe Lamond and former New York Yankee/Latin Grammy nominee Bernie Williams having a chat about the importance of music education.
To end the Media Day presentations Muse Research's Bryan Lanser, Vice President of Business Development, introduced the incredible Receptor VIP. A road-worthy plug-in player used by just about everyone in the music business you know that want to bring their sounds from the studio to live situations. Check out the video courtesty of Skinny Music TV on the presentation. Amazing!
Time to check into the hotel and make our way over to Disneyland for a little relaxation before the next 4 days of The NAMM Show!!