JANUARY 25-28th, 2018




Spotlight Feature By: Metal Mom

Photos By: Char Tupper





Company Overview: “We envision a world in which the joy of making music is a precious element of daily living for everyone; a world in which every child has a deep desire to learn music and a recognized right to be taught; and in which every adult is a passionate champion and defender of that right.”

To start, I picked up my Badge, my first by the way. First day was a little easier, since it was a day earlier then the start of the convention, it was Media Day. This day is set aside for media badges with a chance to see some new and upcoming gear that will be presented at this year’s NAMM Convention a day ahead of the “convention madness”. Nothing in particular stood out to me over the other. There was a cool vendor called 3Dvarius, a company that specializes in electric violins, which in the scene of MetalTitans, I can see where these instruments could make their way into our music genre, due to classic meeting metal is a theme that is slowly growing in the field. Aside from them, nothing quite said “wow” to me.

Now, for the official “start” of the NAMM Convention, had my notebook in hand, looking at my notes and making my mental notes to where I was going, who I wanted to see, or check out what booths. So many many decisions, and never did get to cover it all, considering there are 3 monstrous floors, and this year an addition of another building.

The NAMM Show offers the latest products from more than 7,000 brands, cutting edge industry education across hundreds of sessions, as well as special events, concerts and experiences where "only at NAMM" moments take place. What you can expect: Explore products from more than 2,000 exhibitors, showcasing over 7,000 brands. LEARN from industry experts at hundreds of educational sessions. Connect with other industry professionals at more than 150 networking events. Spot industry trends, best practices and content creation opportunities.

So, as you see, there is a ton of stuff to check out, from new guitars, guitar cases, straps, pedals on display, drums, cymbals, drum sticks, amplifiers, pianos, flutes, books, and make sure,  if you go next year, that you have some good walking shoes on because I am pretty sure my step counter was screaming by the end.

There were many more events taking place on the first day, but I thought it might be a better idea, since it was my first time at NAMM, to grab a map and explore so I would know where I should be going.  

On all the days there were lots of giveaways, demonstrations, and no chance of becoming bored. I discovered so many different kinds of instruments, and just when I was thinking that there was nothing for the little ones, I stumbled across a booth that had just that, nice to see since if you think about it, most musicians start off at an early age.

This is a five day event, and you can find unique seminars about increasing your business, in store events, sales, it is what you expect to find here as it’s exactly what the Namm show is all about. But that is not the only thing to find at NAMM, you will also find artists who come to do a Meet & Greet, or do some playing, like: Alice Cooper who made an appearance on Jan 27 3-4pm Shure Booth (Meet & Greet) and Ac North Hall #15610 7pm.

Nergal (Behemoth) made an appearance at ESP guitar booth to talk about his LTD Signature Series Nergal-6, also Orion stopped in to talk about his very first Signature Orion-5 Black Satin. There were many artists who also made appearances at the booth: Gary Holt (Slayer/Exodus), Mark Heylmun (Suicide Silence), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Doug Aldrich (The Dead Daisies), and more.

Bjorn Englen (Counselor at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, Bassist for Blackwelder/Dio Disciples/Soul Sign, and many former well-known bands) helped EBS celebrate their 30th anniversary with a Meet & Greet, where I had the distinct honour of finely being able to meet him and take a photo. Ryan Van Poederooyen did a signing at Sonor Drums with others and it lasted 1.5 hours. People will stand in those long lines to meet these artists, say thank you, tell them how much they appreciate what they do and get that signature.

If you were there the whole time, it was likely you could run into Rob Barrett (Cannibal Corpse), Lord Ahriman (Dark Funeral), Vinnie Paul/Tom Maxwell (Hellyeah), David Ellefson (Megadeth), David Vincent (I am Morbid), Kelly Mclauchlin (Diabolic), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, Blue Oyster Cult plus more), Niko Loureiro (Megadeth), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) and who had the longest line you had to wait in, and then not everyone got a signature. There were just so many musicians that played or promoted gear. In other words, you were here there everywhere trying to catch it all. A lot of walking, but also an opportunity to catch booths while you were on the move.

If you were lucky, you caught some live acts, like Quintin Berry, a bassist, singer and songwriter with a rich eclectic sound and unique style, has been performing since the age of twelve who performed at the Spector booth, Niko Loureiro (Megadeth) and Li-sa-X at the DV Marks booth.

Fender unveiled the new Vaughan Bros signature Strats, sadly I wanted to check this one out, and couldn’t find it, I probably walked past it looking for something else.

The Schecter booth, was one I never did find, found Dean Guitars though, but I didn’t find it had a big selection of guitars to look at, but the ones there, had some cool designs and colous on them. The ESP room, had an enormous selection of guitars and a whole lot of customers checking it all out, all on the second floor.  And, the choices of guitars on the main floor, well if you were a guitar fanatic, you would have been there for days. And there was a huge selection of small, large, quirky shapes, really interesting to look at.

I was told previous to covering NAMM that there were lots of artists that did signings or played, I found out that they were not hosting performances and signings like before, although everyone enjoyed them. The reason being, the crowds and the loud performances got in the way of what this convention is all about, which is doing business with dealers and distributors.  That being said, I still found a lot of musicians performing for people.

I finally figured out too that the main isle had all the numbers overhead, and each booth was numbered on the floor, good idea, but it would have been nice if each main isle had those numbers, especially for us newcomers. There are so many isles with others leading off.

If you wanted to take home some NAMM merch, they had their own little store as you came in, with a great selection, and being my first visit, I made sure that I grabbed a couple of souvenirs.

This event was also very clean, there was never any garbage on the floor, the washrooms were always spotless, and spacious if you found the right ones with no lineups.

Did I enjoy myself, after 5 long days and never-ending walking? You bet I did, I learned a lot, I met some new people, got to see some great friends in the business there. Would I do it again, I originally thought no, but the more I think about it, I would definitely attend again, I have learned a lot about the event and how to better organize myself the next time. It really is an amazing place to check out all the instruments, the gear associated with those, and so much more.

Thank you Namm for allowing me to attend such a fantastic event.