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Craig’s List: Winter NAMM-o-RAMA 2019

Best. NAMM show. Ever.


by Craig Anderton



Before any inherent snarkiness takes over, I have to say that NAMM’s Joe Lamond & Co. did an amazing job handling the biggest crowds ever (115,301 people, over 2,000 exhibitors) in the biggest space ever for the biggest NAMM Convention and TEC Awards ever. Just thinking about it makes my head explode...not unlike walking past the drum companies in Hall C, come to think of it.


1. Thursday is the New Saturday, and Saturday Is...

On the show’s first day, as a flood of humanity coursed over the show floor like cockroaches in the alley behind a pizzeria, the crowds felt an impending sense of doom of what Saturday—the heaviest day for attendance—would bring. Even on Thursday, one attendee said “I’ve been to every hip club in L.A., and this is way wilder.” Yet when the unprecedented human deluge finally hit, all was well. Pro Tip: If you ever need to run a gigantic event that’s peaceful and civilized, invite only musicians.


2. Yesterday Is the New Tomorrow

The show was full of comebacks, and I don’t mean like a bad burrito. Technologies and companies that had been written off came back—tanned, rested, and relaxed. Oh, and to the various pundits who said the electric guitar was dead: are you the same guys who said Google Glass was going to change the world? Yeah...I thought so.


3. NAMM’s Exercise Program, “NAMMster Treadmill,” Was a Huge Hit

The new pair of North halls had major benefits. The sun sets later that far north so you can conduct business later in the day, the temperature was 5 degrees cooler, and Canadian companies saved on travel expenses. But most importantly, it meant healthy NAMM showgoers! Over four days, I walked 26 miles traveling among the various halls—so not only have I seen a bunch of cool gear, connected with friends, and learned a lot, I now have thighs of steel. Or at least aluminum. Okay, tin foil. Whatever.


4. The Great Shampoo Scare of 2019

Since you can’t bring 3.4 ounces of anything less solid than the Great Pyramid of Giza onto your flight, that means you can bring just about enough shampoo for an elf. But if you went to the Target near the convention center for some shampoo, the shelves were decimated. When I asked a clerk what happened, he said “Well, we’ve had a flood of long-haired musicians coming in here all day.” Aha! That explains it.


5. Yeah, Baby! A Politics-Free Zone!

NAMM creates its own reality. The only time I heard the word “trump” was when someone at a Convention Center eatery gagged on their food-like ham & cheese sub (short for “substance”) while saying “trumpet,” and the only wall reference was “build that wall of sound!” (Phil Spector would have been proud). I thought I heard someone mention “speaker of the house,” but it was a false alarm...just a workshop on setting up speakers in a house of worship. And the only shutdown was the sound of 6,127 barrier strips turning off power at the end of the day. Hmmm...I think I want to move to NAMMville.




Craig Anderton is a Senior Contributing Editor at Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages. Go to Craig Anderton's official website.


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