Day 0: January 24, 2018
I’ve just arrived in Anaheim, CA, and tomorrow begins the fulfillment of a lifelong dream–something that’s been on my bucket list ever since I began playing guitar in the 80’s: To attend a NAMM show.
Despite being one of the biggest, baddest, and coolest musical instrument-related events in the world, the NAMM show isn’t open to the general public. You have to be a NAMM member, and memberships are available only to music retailers, manufacturers, big companies, etc. You can read up on the specific membership requirements on their website, but suffice to say mere mortals like you and I are out of luck. Even being a guitar/music blogger like me doesn’t really qualify someone for a pass to the NAMM show.
However, there’s one exception: guests.
NAMM member companies are allowed to invite guests, and this year Mad Hatter Guitar Products invited me to attend as one of their guests. Also, a big thank you to Anthony Garone of Make Weird Music for introducing me to Mad Hatter and getting this process started. I can’t thank the two of them enough for what they’ve done, and I can now die a happy man.
Anyhow, off to bed for the evening, and tomorrow I’ll go to get my badge and attend my first day. I’ll upload photos continually, as time allows.
Day 1: January 25, 2018
Today I picked up my badge before the convention center doors opened at 10am. I can’t even begin to communicate to you how immense this show is. The entire Anaheim Convention Center is utilized… every floor, every square inch. And boy, is it crowded! I wasn’t able to get access to take pictures as freely as I’d hoped I would, nor did I get to play any guitars (again, it was just too crowded and busy), but my first day was still a blast. Here are a few photos from day 1:
Checkin and Badge
Ernie Ball / Music Man
There are a few more/better Kiesel photos under “Day 2” down below…
Day 2: Jan 26, 2018
Wow, I woke up sore today. I walked more in one day yesterday than I normally walk in an entire week! I went to the show later today–at about 12:30pm. My plan was to sneak into the exhibits while everyone was eating lunch. It didn’t work. It’s even more crowded today than it was yesterday, but I did my best to get some photos. I’d love to play some guitars, but we’re all packed-in like sardines and constantly moving, so it’s kinda impossible. Make no mistake though: I’m HAVING A BLAST!
I don’t have any hands-on experience with ESP guitars, but I’ve gotta say: they had one of the most impressive displays of Custom Shop guitars I’ve ever seen. Some SERIOUSLY amazing craftsmanship.
Paul Reed Smith
Day 3: January 27, 2018
Sadly, today was my last day at NAMM, but I’m happy to have seen and experienced most of what I wanted to during my first two days. That said, I figured I’d use today to sort of “fill in the gaps” and maybe visit some of the smaller booths and lesser-known companies. There was a “Botique Guitar Showcase” that had some seriously impressive (and expensive) luthiery on display.
Botique Guitar Showcase
G7th Capo Company
Gravity Guitar Picks
As I mention in the opening paragraph of Day 1 up above, Mad Hatter Guitar Products is the company gracious enough to invite me to NAMM as their guest. That’s why they’re listed as the company on my badge (see my badge photo from Day 1 up above). Mad Hatter is based here near me in Scottsdale, AZ and sells high quality guitar electronics, pickups, pedalboards, instrument cables, and more. I’ve bought several of their Terminator Solderless systems for my various guitars, and they sound amazing. Definitely check them out.
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on this website, you’ll notice that I recommend a LOT of Music Nomad guitar care products. That’s because 1) I use them myself and 2) they’re absolutely fantastic guitar care products. So, I made it a point to stop by their booth at NAMM to say hi. To my utter astonishment, the company owner Rand addressed me by my first name (before I’d even introduced myself). With the exception of a couple brief emails, Rand and I had never actually met prior to this. It just made me even more of a fan boy of the company.
(I am in no way endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise compensated by Music Nomad to make such comments)
The End… But Hopefully Not Forever
Coming back to normal life after being at NAMM for 4 days is a lot like coming home after a long vacation at some exotic location. There’s a “high” that’s going to stay with me for a few weeks. Attending a NAMM show was a lifelong dream that I honestly didn’t think would ever be fulfilled, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. In fact, it surpassed my expectations, and I sincerely hope this isn’t the only NAMM show I ever get to attend. Though I’d be content with only having experienced one, I’m hoping there’s at least one more NAMM in my future. Only time will tell.
I hope you all enjoyed the photos. Kudos to you if you got through all of them. I took nearly 1500 photos total (many were exact duplicates, taken in case any were blurry), so picking through them all and distilling them down to just what you see here was definitely a labor of love.