NAMM Show Makes Its 2020 Debut

The+Anaheim+Convention+Center+where+The+NAMM+Show+takes+place+every+year.+Though+the+event+is+a+trade-show%2C+the+organization+also+aids+in+helping+the+future+of+music+by+funding+charities+and+educational+programs.+

Megan De Lara

The Anaheim Convention Center where The NAMM Show takes place every year. Though the event is a trade-show, the organization also aids in helping the future of music by funding charities and educational programs.

Megan De Lara, A&E Editor

NAMM kicked off its annual celebration of music on Thursday to an intense crowd of industry veterans, newcomers and hopefuls. The convention, full name the National Association of Music Merchants, takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center in California and is one of the world’s largest music product trade-shows. Thousands of big names in gear pack three levels of the building to display new products for the upcoming year. In addition, the convention also offers instrument demonstrations, informative and educational panels, and guest speakers.

When it comes to music, it’s variety at all angles

Brayan Altamirano
The U.S. Marine Corps Marching Band playing before the official opening of the doors to NAMM.

The day started off with a high energy welcome performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Marching Band. NAMM badge holders crowded the Anaheim Arena outside the convention center to get a glimpse of the musicians, who played a surprise rendition of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”

After the performance, doors to NAMM officially opened and the bustle was nonstop. Record producer Joe Solos, who worked with artists such as Michael Jackson and Macy Gray, gave a keynote speech on success within the music industry. Sawtooth Musical Instruments hosted a series of demonstrations, including an electric guitar demo by renowned metal guitarist Michael Angelo Batio, and pro audio leaders Pioneer released their new DJM-V10 six channel mixer.

D’Angelico Guitars announce custom shop

New York-based D’Angelico Guitars of America also had exciting news to debut. The company announced their new USA Custom Shop housed in California which allows buyers to piece together guitars using an “à la carte menu of custom options,” as stated on their website. The menu includes six different base models to choose from in a variety of colors, in addition to an eclectic selection of pickguard colors, neck finishes, and hardware.

Megan De Lara
Gene Baker, Ryan Kershaw and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter talk guitars at the D’Angelico panel on Thursday.

“The combinations of the finish, the color, the tone woods. You can customize pretty much everything,” Vice President of Product Development Ryan Kershaw said during a discussion panel. “No two of these instruments are going to look the same.”

Once an order is placed, the one-of-a-kind guitar will be built entirely by hand by master luthier Gene Baker.

“I feel like I’ve been building all my life since I came out of the womb,” said Baker who has been collaborating with D’Angelico for years. “I just love playing guitar. So if you love the product, you’re going to build the best product you can.”

Acclaimed guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, known for bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers, is a longtime D’Angelico player and attested Baker’s claim.

“You’ve done an incredible job of thinking through all of the pieces,” Baxter said. “Some people build guitars because they want to make money. Some people build guitars because they think it’s the right thing to do. And simple people build guitars because they want to build guitars, and you’ve done a beautiful job.”

‘Animals as Leaders’ bring the first day to a successful close

Brayan Altamirano
Founder and lead guitarist Tosin Abasi of band ‘Animals as Leaders.’

At the end of the day, progressive metal band Animals as Leaders played an hour-long set on the NAMM Yamaha Grand Plaza stage. The Washington natives smiled as they performed to an immense crowd of enthusiastic fans. At one point, founder and lead guitarist Tosin Abasi had attendees-turned-concert-goers turn the lawn into a circle pit as the band played.

NAMM will continue to run until Sunday Jan. 19.

 

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