Visiting NAMM

Every year the National Association of Music Merchants rolls into Anaheim for a four day party/concert/trade show. The last time I attended was 1985 so when a friend gave me an excuse to head over this year, I jumped on it. NAMM is one of those conferences like Macworld Expo used to be, where it is a gathering of a community and much more than a mere conference.

Walking the show floor you’ll see people in impeccable suits chatting with people in torn jeans and creative piercings. They all love music and just about everyone is insanely talented. I stood at one booth that sold ukulele’s strung with bass strings. That’s right, the U-Bass. While that is an interesting idea for a product, I couldn’t help but laugh as passers by would take a minute, set down their bags, and then shred that U-Bass like they’d been playing it their entire life. While there I also got to bump into several friends and a few MacSparky readers. 

Impromptu concerts started just about everywhere. I was chatting with fellow geek (and amazing musician) Sam Montooth, who then joined in with a jam session at a saxophone mouthpiece vendor. In a few minutes there were people arriving from the other side of the hall joining in. So much fun.

Sam jams.

Sam jams.

While there I also got to look at one of Stevie Wonder’s first synthesizers. Running my fingers over the dials, I could feel the braille printing over the settings. I have to admit, I didn’t have the guts to actually play it.

Stevie's Synth

Stevie’s Synth

I also got to take a good look at Yamaha’s new podcaster friendly mixer, which can even run on batteries and connect to my iPad, which may have me upgrading my mic soon. Something tells me I won’t be waiting 30 years to return to NAMM again.