The NAMM Show 2014

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The NAMM Show 2014

The NAMM Show 2014 - Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim (USA) - 23 - 26 January 2014

NAMM 2014 features over one million square feet spread throughout four floors of exhibits of everything, anything and anyone music. It’s so big and spread out it’s almost impossible to get everyplace you want to be, so you have to schedule and pick events, navigating crowds upwards of 110,000 people from all over the world.

For the last 110 years companies that make musical instruments, such as DW, Tama, Ludwig, Pearl, Zildjian, Paiste, Gibson, ESP, Jackson, Charvel, Taylor, Martin, Fender, Ernie Ball, Marshall, EMG, B.C. Rich, Hartke, Orange, Shure, Avid/ProTools and UAL are there, showing off their goods. Also there are the people who sell those instruments to the public through their local music shops, and online, as well as the many amateur and pro musicians.  There are thousands of guitars and amps, keyboards, hundreds of drums and cymbals, it’s a musicians paradise.

The vibe is amazing, and it’s so cool to see all the new instruments and technologies that these companies are coming out with.  The coolest part for everybody from the vendors, manufacturers, music shop owners, and the pro musicians, is that the pro musicians are walking around mixing it up with everybody, talking, taking pictures with everyone, living, loving music, and everything about it, from new instruments and innovations at NAMM, technology, to different playing techniques, to amazing bands we’ve grown up with, what bands are coming out now, new music, and the amazing players we’ve seen in our lives like John Bonham (Bonzo Bash), and Randy Rhoads (Randy Rhoads Remembered).

NAMM is really not only about cool live performances, partying with old friends and new, but it’s about seeing new product lines from our favorite manufacturers. It’s better than being a kid on Christmas morning. And this year a few things stood out for me at The Anaheim Convention Center.

Marshall Amps had their usual and very impressive wall of amps using their large and varied models of cabinets and Amp heads. They also had several stacks and half stacks that were totally different from the standard black, because of bold colors, and graphic designs on the front of the amps themselves. Marshall has a brand new, limited edition of amps called The Custom Shop Tattoo Series of amps. The Custom Shop has teamed up with some of the UK’s hottest tattoo artists to lend their art and style to three JVM Series amps and cabs. Five artists created the designs and were free to do whatever they wanted, and they did a great job, very creative and eye catching. There are three amp and cab/combo configurations in the Tattoo Series, each features one of the five artists’ unique designs. The three Tattoo Series amps are based on the award-winning JVM range: the 1 Watt JVM1-H head with C110 cab; 50 Watt JVM215C combo; and 100 Watt JVM410H head with 1960A cab. Great looks and great sound always a good combination.

ESP had “walls” of guitars with some of the most impressive, daring and creative designs, graphics, and paint jobs of any of the vendors, and that’s not to take away anything from anyone, because they all had ass kicking gear, but it’s giving total props to ESP. They even had a very cool wall with George Lynch’s (Dokken, Lynch Mob) guitars including his tiger striped one. And the lines to get in and just see their guitars were out the door into the pavilion itself, and everyone gladly waited saying it was well worth it. Some of the guys who play ESP Guitars are Craig Goldy from Dio, Gus G from Ozzy’s band, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet of Metallica.


Pearl in 2014 is introducing some great new products including the newly redesigned SensiTone Snares, BCX Birch Masters Series, and the Hybrid Exotic Snare Line. Pearl had a stunning Masters Maple kit set up that had a Champagne Sparkle finish, with a brass snare, 2 kick drums (1 on the floor,1 mounted), and four rack toms, two floor toms, two double kik pedals, and about 10 cymbals to top it off. Some of the guys who play Pearl are Ray Luzier of KORN, Gene Hoglan of Testament and Deathlok, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Joey Jordanson of Slipknot, and Ian Paice of Deep Purple. Ludwig didn’t disappoint as usual with an impressive giant set that had a retro aqua marine finish, with 6 rack toms, 2 floor toms, several snare drums, and 4 kick drums on a large stage over looking the Convention Center floor for everyone to see and admire when they are in the area.

Ludwig had a lot of snare drums, and one of them was the hand hammered Ludwig Supraphonic Snare drum similar to the one used by John Bonham, which has a bright sound with a powerful crack to it, you know it when you hear it’s distinctive sound. It’s great compliment to any Rock sound either studio, or live. Some of the guys that play Ludwig are; Joey Kramer of Aerosmith, Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Carl Palmer of Asia and ELP, Alex Van Halen, and of course Ringo Starr. The stars love connecting with the fans, and the music merchants who come from all over the world, are excited that they will meet, and hangout with Bill Ward and Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake), Rikki Rockett (Poison), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, BCC, KOC), Doug Aldrich and Brian Tichy (Whitesnake), Chas West (George Lynch/ Lynch Mob), Brad Gillis (Night Ranger), Michael Devin (Whitesnake), Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Foreigner), Lita Ford, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy/Black Label Society), Gus G (Ozzy), Brent Woods (Vince Neil, Sebastian Bach), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake), Carmine Appice (King Kobra/ Ozzy), Matt Starr (Ace Frehley), Ray Luzier (KORN), and many many others. 

When you have this many talented musicians in one place you know you’re going to have a lot of killer jams going on. There is a main stage in front of The Anaheim Convention Center, with room outdoors for a couple of thousand people to see some great live music. A fantastic event was the Living Legends Show, which had members of The Doors (Robby Krieger), doing some really amazing jams with his band. All different combinations of players with the stage jammed to the rafters. They played Rock, Blues, Latin music, Pop, and they tore it up.

There were two especially hot shows also going on during this years NAMM. One of them was the Bonzo Birthday Bash and the other show was Randy Rhoads Remembered. It featured over fifteen guitar players paying homage to Randy Rhodes. Each player choosing a song of Randy’s, and playing it for the energetic and enthusiastic crowd, and the Rhoads family which was in attendance at The Observatory in Anaheim. The show was sponsored by Marshall Amps, and Natal Drums. The abnd comprised of the tireless Brian Tichy on drums, Michael Devin on bass, Chas West and Robert Mason (Warrant, Lynch Mob) on vocals, and all the guest guitarists in the house. These included Brent Woods, Gus G, Brad Gillis, Tracii Guns and Mike Orlando of Adrenaline Mob. 

If you ever get the chance to attend NAMM anywhere in the world, do... you will be glad you did. It’s as Rock as it gets and as cool as it gets. There’s no bigger or better party anywhere.

Evan Lipton

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