NAMM 2013: Sameer Gadhia, Tom Dumont help kick off annual Anaheim convention
The world-renowned NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center doesn’t begin until today, and its most-anticipated moments (like the Elton John-led event for Yamaha’s 125th anniversary inside Disney California Adventure) won’t happen until the weekend.
But a media preview on Wednesday (January 23, 2013) provided a chance to get an early look at the new music-related products on display Jan. 24-27 at the National Association of Music Merchants’ annual trade show. NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond said this year’s gathering is expected to attract more than 100,000 people for the first time.
“The NAMM Show is where the global music industry comes together,” he explained during an appearance with Grammy-nominated guitarist and former New York Yankee great Bernie Williams to discuss the importance of music education. “There are products made today that will be played by our great-great-grandchildren.”
Lamond also praised Orange County for welcoming NAMM attendees every January, noting that the music show was first staged here in 1976 at the Disneyland Hotel.
As is typical, there was no shortage of names to check out even during an advance stroll through the massive hall. Highlights of the day included a performance by Young the Giant singer Sameer Gadhia, who utilized his TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2 to create layers of vocal parts he improvised on the spot, creating a fantastic experimental soundscape with Radiohead shading that had video reporters riveted.
No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont also turned up to share a few licks on behalf of Laguna Hills guitar manufacturer GJ2, co-founded by Grover Jackson. “I was a rock music lover,” Dumont mentioned, recalling the sound and feel of Jackson guitars back in the day. “I get the same feeling today as I got all those years ago.”
Another gifted guitarist, Alex Skolnick of Testament, showcased a new 40-watt Peavey amp ideal for both acoustic and electric players as well as bassists. But what got onlookers excited was his speedy fretwork. He later played an impromptu set with jazz players Jon Barnes (trumpet) and Malcolm Turner (bass) that revealed his chops extend beyond metal’s loud and lightning-fast demands.
Music history was also celebrated: violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn played her “Red Mendelssohn” Stradivarius built in 1720, movingly performing John Williams’ theme for Schindler’s List. In an age of digitally-enhanced everything, it reconfirmed the power of a single acoustic instrument, when it’s in the hands of a master.
Much newer creations that were unveiled included a series of boutique amplifiers created by Sacramento-based Fargen Amplification, featuring John Lennon’s artwork. Taylor Guitars showcased “The Grand Orchestra,” its successor to the Taylor Jumbo guitar and the largest acoustic model it has made.
“It’s distinctly original and not a borrowed design,” said Andy Powers, a master builder with Taylor and primary designer of the instrument. “It’s louder and has a huge, powerful sound.”
You can view a video and photos courtesy of Mark Eades at The Orange County Register via this link.