Sunday, June 05, 2022

2022 NAMM Show recap: performances, product innovations and wonderful instruments aplenty

Before attending NAMM Media Preview Day on Thursday, June 2, 2022, it had been more than two years since the music industry gathered in Anaheim for the NAMM Show (read my recap of the January 2020 NAMM Show HERE). 

Writer Robert Kinsler in front of the Anaheim Convention Center 
on June 4, 2022. Photo: Bob Steshetz 

The sense of eagerness for musicians and music industry representatives eager to get back into the world was palpable across the three days I spent at the event held at the Anaheim Convention Center. I wrote a quick update after attending preview events hosted by Martin Guitar and NAMM on June 2 (you can see that HERE), but here is my in-depth coverage of my experience at the 2022 NAMM Show, including reflections on performances and new products / instruments that caught my eye (and ears). And a very special "thank you" to photographer Bob Stesetz for the use of so many of his incredible photos taken during the NAMM Show!

Photographer Bob Steshetz, left, with saxophonist Mindi Abair.
Photo: Robert Kinsler

New Instruments, Gadgets & Gizmos!

Yamaha is always worth visiting and 2022 was no exception. I was truly impressed by the RSP20, one of the flagships of the second generation of Revstar; the affordable electric guitar (which retails for under $800) features carbon reinforcement in the neck and in the chambered body. It has dual humbucking pickups, combined with a five-position selector and a Focus Switch passive boost. I was able to play it for awhile on Saturday and really fell in love with its sound and the ease to play the instrument up and down the fretboard. The new Revstar series comes in three tiers: Element, Standard and the made-in-Japan Professional. Information: You can learn more on this exciting instrument HERE.

Yahama's Revstar was front and center
at the 2022 NAMM Show.
Photo: Robert Kinsler

After getting a glimpse of Minarik Guitars' 50th Anniversary Haunted Mansion custom guitar on Media Day, I went back to their booth on Friday to see what other guitars the Las Vegas, Nevada-based company was displaying. The company has really tapped into an area of the market with its custom shop's Art Series guitars. Check out the images below and watch a video on the Haunted Mansion guitar posted by TJR HERE. Information:

The 50th Anniversary Haunted Mansion guitar.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

'Alice in Wonderland' is celebrated via Minarik Guitars'
Acoustic Series. Photo: Bob Steshetz

An electric guitar model from Minarik Guitars.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Drummers will want to check out the new EFNOTE 7X (EFD-7X) drum kit courtesy of Artesia. The multi-sensor kit will be released in September 2022, and will retail for approximately $4,500. Information:

A close-up view of the impressive EFNOTE 7X. Photo: Bob Steshetz

I'm always excited to see the latest products from major brands such as Taylor Guitars, Martin Guitar, Deering Banjo Co. and Rickenbacker, but it's cool to discover new up-and-coming manufacturers as well.

Take the Orba 2, a follow-up to Artiphon's synth, looper and controller. A truly portable instrument that fits in the palm of your hand, the user can deliver the sounds of electric guitar and upright pianos, as well as collected audio sounds and even vocals. The Orba 2 retails for $149.99. Information:

The Orba 2 retails for $149.99. Photo: Bob Steshetz

Guitar players who use a slide (or would like to) should check out the Thimble Slide, developed by Hermosa Beach, CA-based inventor Cole ColemanThe Thimble Slide is a mini-slide designed to be worn on the tip of a guitarist's 3rd finger, wit the front edge about halfway to tree-quarters down the fingernail toward the base. When worn there, a guitarist will see that all their fingers are available for fretting. The Thimble Slide is available in several sizes. Information:

The Thimble Slide is available now. Photo: Robert Kinsler

I was able to meet with saxophonist-composer/vocalist Mindi Abair who came to NAMM to showcase her new signature Mindi Abair 2 alto mouthpiece produced by Theo Wanne. A celebrated artist and in-demand virtuoso musician since the release of her debut album in 2000, Abair told me that she has worked with Theo Wanne for a number of years to get the perfect mouthpiece and she is thrilled that it is available now. Information:

Theo Wanne, left, with Mindi Abair at the NAMM Show on June 3.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Saxophone great Mindi Abair.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Favorite Performances & Special Events!

The first official performance of this year's NAMM Show was staged early Friday during the Breakfast of Champions event with a set from French duo RoSaWay. Fusing European jazz, world music and pop, the songs were built on flute and percussion with inviting female lead vocals. Information:

RoSaWay performing at the NAMM Show on June 3, 2022. Photo: Bob Steshetz

RoSaWay, from left, Rachel and SteF. Photo: Bob Steshetz

Not long after RoSaWay finished their winning set, Multi-GRAMMY® winner, composer and performer Kenny Loggins was presented with the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) “Music for Life” award by NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. NAMM’s highest industry honor, the award was given at the opening Breakfast of Champions session in celebration of Loggins’ lifelong commitment to inspiring music makers everywhere.

Kenny Loggins, left, with NAMM President & CEO Joe Lamond.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

This writer was really impressed by Loggins' commitment to assisting young people get into music, instilling in them a love of music as opposed to seeking empty fame or stardom. “As far as music goes, music is in our DNA," Loggins said. "When I’m working with young artists, we’re talking about the love of music, its role, and its importance in our lives.” 

Kenny Loggins on June 3, 2022.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Michael Ubaldini performing on June 3, 2022.
Photo: Robert Kinsler

My Friday came to a perfect end with Michael Ubaldini's stirring set at the Sheraton Park Stage. As if performing at the NAMM Show wasn't special enough, June 3 also marked the official release date of the celebrated singer-songwriter's new album Rabbit Foot Carnival. Performing to the accompaniment of his acoustic guitar   as well as his harmonica at times — Ubaldini's 45-minute set allowed him to offer up a mix of classic material and new songs from Rabbit Foot Carnival. Standouts of Ubaldini's 11-song set included the timely "Free Speech Blues," haunting "Song Of Our Time," rockabilly-mining "Don't Say Goodbye" and tender "The General Store." He ended his set with a powerful take on "The Offended," a powerful song aimed at those unwilling to listen or consider anything beyond their own limited view. For more information, visit

I'm still not quite sure what to make of the Jam Galaxy Band's performance on the Yamaha Grand Plaza Stage on Saturday morning. The ensemble included a cast of real life musicians, as well as a robot named Desdemona — the latter offering up spoken word to a soundscape with layers were progressive rock and jazz meet. I can't say I loved the songs, but it was visually interesting. Information:

Desdemona of the Jam Galaxy Band.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Photo: Bob Steshetz
Much better was guitar great Carl Verheyen's 45-minute outing staged on the same stage. Verheyen  best known for his role as lead guitarist in Supertramp and as a session player recording for the likes of the Bee Gees and Dolly Parton  impressed with a set of songs and instrumentals displaying his top-tier guitar and vocal skills. Verheyen was backed by a stellar trio of musicians who collectively elevated the set (bassist Dave Marotta, drummer John Mader and new keyboardist Troy Dexter). Highlights of his fast-moving set (that attracted a big crowd) included the blues-rock original "Stealing Gasoline," bouncy "Queen Bee" (a new song enhanced by a cool guitar intro) and "Clawhammer Man," the latter a track from his latest album Sundial featuring some especially soulful vocals from Verheyen.  Information:

Carl Verheyen at NAMM on June 4.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

From left, bassist Dave Marotta and keyboardist Troy Dexter. Photo: Bob Steshetz

I also enjoyed a short set of wonderful instrumental jazz courtesy of Paul Navidad (alto sax), Edmund Velasco (tenor sax) and Sam Montooth (upright bass). The trio attracted an appreciative crowd while performing at the Dakota Saxophones booth on Saturday afternoon.

From left, Paul Navidad, Edmund Velasco and
Sam Montooth playing a set of jazz.
Photo: Robert Kinsler

Robert Kinsler

Editor's Note - check out the great interview conducted by the cool folks at MusicUCanSee with WAR founding member Lee Oskar HERE.

You can also watch their interview conducted with Mindi Abair HERE:

1 comment:

MusicUCanSee said...

Thanks for all the info! And the props!