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  • SoCal World Guitar Show 2019 (When the NAMM Show Isn’t Enough for Guitar Nerds)

    Can you ever get enough guitars?

    By Russ Loeffler |


    Amigo Guitar Shows began hosting guitar shows in the late 70’s. They now host “world” guitar shows in Nashville, Chicago, Southern California, and the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Amigo International Guitar Show in Texas each year. The winter SoCal World Guitar Show is scheduled each year on the weekend of the Winter NAMM show. The guitar show is held at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, less than 15 miles from the Anaheim Convention Center.

    Before leaving for my annual trek to the NAMM show, my wife asked if was going to that “flea market” again. Flea market! My response to that is:

    1. There will be awesome vintage guitars at the show that cost 10’s of thousands of dollars

    2. This is not a place to look for cheap instruments

    3. Orange County doesn’t have “flea markets”. They have “farmer’s markets”




    When we arrived at the fairgrounds there were other events happening. This included a farmer’s market (which I must admit looked like a flea market) and a gun show. It was obvious that the gun show was a much larger event. I declined an offer to join the NRA, but it made me think about the possibilities of “guitar control”.


    • If you think about it, should someone be allowed to buy a ’59 Les Paul without a background check?


    • Should there be restrictions on assault guitars …. Limits on the number and output of pickups loaded into a single guitar?


    • Should there be waiting periods or cooling off laws to prevent guitarists from making passionate, impulse buys at the World Guitar Show?



    These thoughts disappeared when I walked up to the hall entrance and saw the “Welcome to Fabulous Nerdville California” sign. Joe Bonamassa was back this year with another display from his amazing collection of guitars. This year he brought an impressive collection of blonde Gibsons from the 50’s and 60’s. The guitars were stunning and in mint condition. As usual, Joe took the time to explain details of the guitars, answer questions, sign autographs, and take pictures with his fans. He also took the time to look at vintage guitars that people brought to him for comment, inspection and verification.




    The entrance fee to the show is $20. However, the show was large enough that it takes a couple of hours to go through all of the display rows and rooms. The overall collection of guitars included hundreds of classic and coveted vintage guitars. Most of the guitars weren’t there just for display. They were for sale if you were ready for the price tag that comes with a vintage guitar.


    Vintage 50’s Stratocasters and Custom Shop Fenders




    Vintage Martin and Gibson acoustic guitars





    If you’re not ready to spend thousands of dollars for a vintage guitar, there are always plenty of newer and vintage pedals that are reasonably priced.




    Between Winter NAMM 2019 and the World Guitar Show, it was a week of guitar over-load ... NOT! I was good and managed not to break my bank, but my guitar lust has been elevated significantly! If you have a chance to catch one of these guitar shows, make certain you either come with money to purchase, or leave your wallet in a lock box at home. -HC-




    Russ Loeffler is a contributing editor to Harmony Central who covers trade shows and live events when he is not fine-tuning his guitar chops. He is also a  gear head with a passion for good music, great tones, and music that is much easier to listen to than it is to play.


    Sub Title: Can you ever get enough guitars?

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