NAMM 2016 – Day 1

Heather Vandemark

Thursday, January 22, 2016

Day 1 of NAMM begins. The toy store for musicians has officially opened. I used the NAMM app to plan my day. It is easy to get distracted and lost in the lights and sounds of NAMM.  You really need five clones to experience it all.  Musicians walking from booth to booth with their picks, sticks, or mouthpieces in hand, ready to try out the new technologies. Strangers become friends through jam sessions without speaking a word to each other, just speaking through the music. The energy is contagious.

Rane was the first booth I stopped to see the demo. The Rane SL series of USB interfaces set the standard for vinyl emulation. Rane and Serato give advanced features that add extra creativity to DJing Low latency means the response time from touching the decks to hearing an audio signal is extremely fast.

Chicken Picks are sold in 40 countries. Chicken Picks are Multifunctional guitar pick. The beveled sides allow you to use every side of the pick. These picks last for up to a year or more. The sound is not a plinky thin sound, but more of a pronounced tone and more volume.  Check them out at

Minarik Guitars really caught my attention with their breathtaking designs and unique features. The Firebolt has chambers that have been carved to allow massive amounts of acoustic volume to be pushed out of the signature lightning bolt F-holes. The balance of the Firebolt is spot on.

The Trinity is the most intriguing shape. It is the only guitar in the world featuring a quadruple cut-away, an original Minarik design. The Trinity also features the patented GEMINI pickguard, the intricate and expressive design that compliments the Trinity’s bold original shape.

Willcox Guitars had a demo with Marc Cooper, Anthony Terrezza, and Paul Hansen.  Willcox Guitars brings high definition sound to electric guitars and basses by combining fine instrument design  and choice materials with LightWave optical pickup system. Using infared light to read string vibration in its cleanest and most natural form eliminates the noise, inference, and distortion inherent in traditional magnetic and piezo pickups.  Find more information at

Sabian had quite an impressive display. There was a huge wall of cymbals all shapes, sizes and designs. Sabian announces the launch of their brand new cymbal series: XSR, replacing the Xs20 series.  They had a demo of the XSR being hammered.  The XSR series will deliver unprecedented sound and performance at a price designed to fit your cymbal budget.

On the NAMM Nissan Grand Plaza Stage there was a moving presentation Industry Tribute: Remembering Those We Lost in 2015, complete with bagpipes.

Closing out Day 1 was a performance by the legendary Graham Nash on the NAMM Nissan Grand Plaza Stage.  Nash is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame, with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and with the Hollies. Nash was also inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame twice, is a Grammy award winner, and a New York Best Selling author.

Nash was honored earlier in the day at the NAMM U Breakfast Session: Breakfast of Champions with the “Music for Life” Award.  The “Music for Life” award is NAMM’s highest honor recognizing individuals and organizations that demonstrate, support and exemplify NAMM’s vision that the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone.


HEARD ON THE FLOOR today:                                                                                                                   

After the NAMM U Breakfast of Champions:

“Graham Nash was breathing the spirit of NAMM and importance of music education, the importance of keeping music in schools fresh. And when St. Vincent talked about being comfortable with holding a guitar, it really resonated with me as a former guitar teacher.”

– Anthony Cutietta, San Diego Music Studios, San Marcos, CA

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