The hall that holds much of the gear we GASsing musicians are there to ogle/stalk/drool over/lust after (delete as appropriate) is located on the ground floor in the main centre. The hall is, in fact, made up by four adjacent mega-halls linked by large doorways. We worked out that it’s a rectangle the size of no fewer than 22 football pitches, to which a further, corner-shaped area is added at one end.
Have a look at the show’s detailed exhibitor map.
Hall D – occupying one quarter of that huge rectangle plus the corner area – was the one where most of the electric bass action was taking place, although a lot of the stands dedicated to electric stringed instruments exhibited their newest models of both basses and guitars in the same space. The stands showcasing amplification, effects and accessories were also targeted to both bassists and guitarists. (I’m placing most of those stands Part 4, to avoid making this already humongous section even bigger.)
Happy Jack and I were at the show on the Thursday to help out Stephen Chown and David Konig of Retrovibe at the Chowny Bass stand (they would be joined by endorsee Scott Whitley from Friday onwards). For the rest of the show we were free to roam as Bass Guitar Magazine reporters and, above all, as kids in a candy store on a permanent sugar rush.
The following are photos of only some of the exhibiting companies. Although I saw most booths, I didn’t manage to visit every single one at times where the crowds were thin enough to allow acceptable photography. All the gear booths were well worth a visit – often a protracted one! While most names were familiar the world over, some booths were clearly targeted at the US market, and their companies (usually resellers of mass-produced instruments) were virtually unknown, or perhaps simply known by a different name, in Europe. In this Part 3 I have concentrated on the companies that are better known to us in the UK.
There were also a lot of double basses, and a booth showcasing special, dedicated amplification, as well as a booth selling a cool accessory – scroll to the bottom to see a few photos.
Most of the models on show on each booth were new for 2018, and had their first ever outing at NAMM.
There were some new beauties at on Alan Cringean’s show table in the Boutique Guitar Showcase area. How we GASsed…
They look good enough to eat, and Happy Jack played a few of them – they sound and play equally good.
We spent a day with this stand as our main base, and we liked what we saw!
There was an Aguilar rig and a PJB headphone amp, making sure that we could have two people trying the basses without annoying each other (that was a task our neighbouring booth had seemingly decided to take on).
David Konig, Stephen Chown, Happy Jack
Davie504, who was there to demonstrate his new signature EVO Retrovibe, but enjoyed playing all of the Chowny models on show.
The roaming team from Andertons Music Company interviewing Stephen
One of the less busy times at the booth
It was a large booth – I concentrated on the basses section.
Drool, drool and drool again.
This was the special Darkglass model, at the company’s booth.
Both companies usually collaborate to create guitars, but we spotted this bass prototype that looked very intriguing.
Very elegant models, as always, and they even had a lefty.
The Brooklyn company had lots of models, and also samples of the various woods and trimmings they use.
Once again, I concentrated on their bass section, and I saw my first lefty Hipshot detuner in situ.
The German company opted to place its booth in the quiet Acoustic Section, surrounded by cellos, violins and double basses. The models below are very nice re-issues. Strangely, no lefties around…
Huge, GAS-inducing booth!
The star of the bass section was the new not-too-long-scale upright.
For those who like a double bass-like sound but don’t want the bulk.
Those bass uke strings have a nylon core and silver-plated windings, and we were so intrigued we ordered some once we were back home.
Headless bonanza! And a lefty too.
Extremely busy stand at all times, except very early in the morning, when I took these photos.
Adrian recognised us from the London Bass Guitar Show, and we loved every one of his basses again.
This was another very busy stand, only possible to photograph early in the morning, when entering it was forbidden.
Yes, I had to do a double take on this, but it’s undeniably cool.
Unmistakable modern take on stringed instruments. No lefties at the booth, but I have one at home.
We’re big fans of PJB’s, and were happy to have a chat with Phil himself.
Phil Jones with Happy Jack
You could not fail to notice the Rickenbacker booth – unlike all other booths, there were no seats, no amplification, nowhere to plug the instruments into, and in fact, the instruments were secured to their hooks. However, we got to talk to John Hall and were shown into the special quiet room at the back, where Happy Jack put the new 4003S/5 through its paces.
Lefties! (We thank you, Sir Paul McCartney.)
Do not try to play this instrument.
The new 4003S/5
John Hall with Happy Jack
We expect no less than this from Jens! More on that bass below.
These guitars have had tight dresses sewn on.
This one made me want to bite into it!
Very special bass – the equation on the fingerboard is real and can be solved.
Great to see the guys doing great at NAMM too!
Nick ‘Doctor of the Bass’ Smith and Martin Sims
Nick with Happy Jack
Rudy Sarzo created a large crowd when he performed and signed autographs at the booth. I sneaked through to get this shot.
Another good company we were happy to see at NAMM after meeting them for the first time at the LBGS 2016. They even have a lefty model on show – spot it!
We finally had the opportunity to see a full Vigier stand, as opposed to just a few models as part of a mixed display.
If I thought I was over my Warwick addiction, I was wrong. I seem to have spent a lot of time ogling and taking photos of everything at their large booth. And I would like all of those models, please – left-handed if you don’t mind.
Warwick’s rational solution for messy pedalboards
The only thing I wasn’t able to see, touch or photograph is the new Idolmaker model – 4 and 5 strings – because it hadn’t arrived from Germany! Hopefully it was eventually released by Customs, but I wasn’t at the show during the weekend. All I could do is take a photo of the Framus guitar models it was inspired by. I will hopefully have better luck at this year’s LBGS.
The Double Basses
Double basses and other orchestral instruments seemed to be, with some exceptions, the domain of Chinese companies at NAMM. And very nice they were.
Have double bass, will travel.
You can smile at the shape of these speakers, but they sound absolutely great.
Have double bass, will wheel it around. Rick Williams demonstrates.
There was much more bass-related ‘stuff’ to see, but really, you had to be there. 😉
Stay tuned for Part 4.