Winter NAMM 2013 Preview

Although it's not open to the public, we will be brining you all the info right here!

Good afternoon, music fans! We here at ProAudioLand will once again be attending one of the country’s biggest music gear gatherings – the annual NAMM Convention held in Anaheim, California! Beginning tomorrow, manufacturers, players and the music press from across the globe will gather to showcase the year’s hottest upcoming pieces of gear along with performances and meet-and-greets from some of rock’s top acts. We will be heading down to convention floor this weekend in order to give you guys a front row seat to all the action so look for our full report this upcoming week with plenty of info including highlights, photos, video and tons more! Today, we here at the Pal Blog would like to take the time to preview some of what we feel are must-sees and most anticipated of NAMM 2013. There’s tons to cover so whatever we can’t get through today, come back tomorrow for our NAMM Convention preview!

First off for all of you out there who might be unfamiliar with this event, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) is a not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry.

NAMM holds two trade shows each year - one in Anaheim, California in January which is the one we will be attending and the other in Nashville, Tennessee in July, both of which serve as a gathering for people who are seeking to check out some of the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound and lighting. NAMM is headquartered in northern San Diego County in the City of Carlsbad and has been holding its Winter Show in Anaheim for the past 35 years. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take check out what we are most excited for!



Special Guest Artists

It wouldn’t be a music convention if there weren’t tons of rockers showing off their new gear along with their skills and 2013’s offering will be no different. Everyone from Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx to dual jazz-metal guitar threat Alex Skolnick will be on hand to meet and greet fans in between demoing their respective products – such as Sixx’s brand new signature line of Schecter basses! Alex meanwhile will also be performing with his Alex Skolnick Trio which is a must see, even if you don’t consider yourself a jazz person. GJ2 co-founder Grover Jackson and No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont will unveil their new line of GJ2 Zora guitars during the Media Preview event which should make for an interesting Wednesday. Kelly Simonz – the amazing guitar shredder from Japan – will be demoing the new lineup for FGN guitars, also made in Japan. And that’s just for Wednesday (Media Preview).

Moving on to Thursday, the day kicks off a few of music’s masters previewing their insane respective skills on one of the year’s most anticipated app updates: Ampkit for iPad, iPhone and Mac. Guitar aficionados Rob Math (Player, Soul Sign) and Malina Moye will both be showing off thier amazing skills on the six strings along with some of the most lauded features of the app. Not only that, mega-talented guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Ali Handal will perform music from her upcoming album and put the AmpKit app through its paces for all to see! Should be pretty exciting for all of you iOS engineers out there! Also for Thursday, if you are near the Venue Stage (which is open to the public, by the way), make sure to catch my little bro on lead guitar when he and Smiles – winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest – rock the crowd at 12 noon sharp! I won’t have time myself to make it while I patronize the booth babes and/or get kicked out for patronizing the booth babes but you should go check them out if you’re around.

Other notable players making their rounds through NAMM 2013 include jazz legend Eddie Daniels (demonstrating and performing on the latest Backun clarinets throughout the day on Thursday January 24 and Friday January 25), drum virtuoso Danny Gottlieb (Basix Drum Demo's), Roy Wooten (who will be conducting music using Beamz laser controllers and Notion Software), Martin Blanes (demoing Blackbird carbon fiber instruments by playing his signature Spanish/celtic fingerstyle compositions and arrangements), Andy Anderson of FUEL, Nikki Sixx, Lita Ford, Mich Perry, Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Jeff Burlon and plenty, plenty more! We will be taking plenty of pics just in case some more notables sneak in there without an announcement. Look for that in the upcoming week.


New Gear

What will be this year's Kala U-Bass? [Shown here w/the acacia finish]

And what would a music merchant’s convention be without tons of new gear? Yes, the reason for the entire event! While it will be hard to imagine just what kind of gear of the future we will see during this year’s NAMM, expect plenty of forward thinking innovations – along with plenty of nice surprises! And it really could be anything. Last year’s unexpected darling of the convention ended up being the Kala U-Bass which as the name suggests is essentially a ukulele bass which you can now find at pretty much most major music stores. Not to peg it down, I myself really want to get in on the low end uke action but the point remains that it can be just about anything – from a hot new pedal unit to a brand new instrument category – anything! Unfortunately, there isn’t much concrete information on this year’s surprise stunners at this point simply because they will be revealed during the event itself (and also, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise) so you can check in with us next week for an article purely on all of the shiny new gear that we had a chance to check out!


Insider Information

And finally, the panels! Much like all of the Comic Con attendees who get to ask actors who portray their favorite made-up characters questions about said made-up characters that the actors probably don’t know or don’t care about, NAMM features tons of panels and Q&A sessions with some of the biggest names behind and in front of the scene. The following are just a few of the panels we don’t want to miss!


Getting Killer Drum Sounds in the Studio with Ken Scott

He’s probably one of those few people whose work you’ve undoubtedly heard numerous times but just never realized it. Think Bowie’s seminal Ziggy Stardust or Supertramp’s Crime of the Century. Or maybe you’ve heard of the Beatles? Anyways, that signature drum sound came thanks to Ken’s skill on the mixing board! While some might find his signature drum sound a bit crunchy and unnatural, you can’t deny the fact that it helped shape the sound of an era; maybe not as much as some other behind the scenes guys such as the venerable George Martin or Phil Spector, but he’s up there. Either way, you don’t always get the chance to catch one of the masters discuss in an open panel format how he gets his killer signature drum sound. We will be catching it live next Thursday when the two hour presentation commences at 2:30pm. And if you’re looking to get deeper inside the mind of Ken Scott, you should check out his book, “Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust,” based his personal experience with music engineering including plenty of personal tips that any budding sound tech will enjoy.


Recording Studio Designers Panel: Creative Acoustics for Modern Music Makers

For all of you home studio engineers out there – this one is especially for you. While there isn’t much information on this even out just yet, NAMM’s event listing describes the event as follows:

“Learn from today’s master designers about modern acoustic treatment and recording studio design, from the requirements of a large commercial facility to the creation of a personal home project environment. Mr. Bonzai moderates, with Russ Berger, Vincent Van Haaff, Peter Grueneisen and Andy Munro.”


Mixing Engineer Dave Pensado’s 100th Episode

If you don’t know who Pensado is, do yourself a favor and head check out his official website right here. Known as one of the top mixing engineers in music today, the Grammy-winning Pensado has worked with tons of the biggest names around including Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Michael Jackson and plenty more. He is also well known for his internet TV show which runs the gamut from insights into his illustrious career to teaching you how to get that “platinum record” sound for your own mixes.  The also show includes interviews with top music industry artists, engineers, producers, mixers, and record executives, as well as in depth tutorials in engineering and mixing.  If you are into music production, you can’t miss this show! Since 2011, he has churned out 99 webisodes and will be premiering his 100th at NAMM in association with title sponsors Avid and Vintage King. We will be catching the premier on Thursday at the iZotope booth on Thursday morning at 11am and in case we aren’t able to post it up here when it’s out,  make sure to stop by his official website. Anyways, each episode offers tons of valuable information and the 100th episode looks to be no different!


Well, that’s all the time we have today but come back tomorrow when we will kicking off the best from Media Preview day along with more info on other must-sees!

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