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New Gear, Events and More Heat Up at Summer NAMM


It was hot at this year’s Summer NAMM show—both inside the Music City Center and out in downtown Nashville! In addition to loads of the latest musical instruments, this trade show features educational sessions, live performances, and, of course, evening parties put on by music brands from around the world. 


While the show has traditionally been a platform for musical instrument brands and services to share what’s new with retailers, the media, educators and professional musicians, the Summer NAMM show has invited the local community to participate on Saturday, the last day of the show. Attending the NAMM show provides an opportunity to chat up brand reps, hear major artists speak and perform, and get an exclusive look at the latest gear. Plus, being a fraction of the size of Southern California’s Winter NAMM Show in terms of size and attendees, Summer NAMM has a more low-key and intimate feel, allowing you to venture through every booth you’d like at your own pace. Here are our highlights from the 2019 show.


The Gear


First off, we checked out a whole bunch of gear, because really, that’s what NAMM is all about! 


Gibson was in full force. This brand has re-organized, re-invested and transformed what it means to be a market leader in the musical instrument industry. Their booth was easily the largest at the show – but after all, they are headquartered in Nashville! Packed with acoustic and electric guitars, they also hosted a variety of live performances and announced new products including the new G-45 Series Collection, Studio and Standard guitars which are hand-crafted by skilled artisans in their acoustic facility in Bozeman, Montana, plus a Sheryl Crow signature model coming later in 2019.  And their CEO, JC Curleigh, shared the Gibson vision with the media, and announced a new direction for the Gibson Foundation.  




Martin Guitar always has a beautiful display at NAMM – it’s an acoustic guitar player’s paradise! Here they shared some new woods for their 16E Orchestra series. 




Fender always has something new to share, and this year is no exception. At the Winter NAMM show earlier this year, the company debuted the Acoustasonic series. These guitars shift from acoustic to electric and have a gorgeous contoured, comfort-friendly body. At Summer NAMM, they introduced some new, exotic tonewoods for the series. 



Fishman shared their new Triple Play Connect Controller and app, which makes it easy for players to play and control virtual instruments, perform songs and share them online, create, share and play loops and audio files, or turn your guitar into a whole band. Good stuff. 



Casio have a wide variety of keyboards for players of all levels. Here they introduced their PX-S3000 in a gorgeous red finish, plus a line of portable and fun Casiotone keyboards that are great for students learning to play piano. They even have a handle!





We loved seeing the lineup at Deering Banjos. They shared some models with gorgeous inlays. Drool!



Yamaha’s new FG Red Label series is inspired by the company’s ‘60s-era of steel string acoustic guitars. Retaining the retro aesthetic and classic tone of their predecessors, the new guitars add a new pickup system and a wood aging process to create a guitar that sounds like a seasoned, vintage instrument right out of the box. Plus, they feel just as good — if not better — than other acoustics with a much higher price point. 



This ergonomic acoustic-electric from the UK-based guitar company Gillett caught our attention. It delivers a natural acoustic sound that is enhanced by a unique body construction and through-stringing system. Plug it in, and it's capable of a whole range of electric tones too, from pristine cleans to singing distorted leads. 



The Events


There are so many events that go on at NAMM that it’s hard to keep track! We stopped by the She Rocks Showcase hosted by the Women’s International Music Network. This evening was co-hosted by Marshall Amplification and featured incredible female talent. Our favorites were Jess Nolan, who serenaded the crowd with breathtaking vocal and piano chops as she performed original material, and Emily Wolfe, a monster guitar player who closed out the evening with a jaw-dropping performance. Wowza!



John Oates, of Hall & Oates fame, took time away from writing and touring to share songwriting insights with a standing room only crowd.




Superstar Lee Ann Womack took to the NAMM big stage on Saturday to share music from her latest album, The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone, plus classics like her hit, “I Hope You Dance.”



Like to play? So do the attendees of NAMM! Here the NAMM Foundation hosted a ukulele circle where everyone had a chance to learn a new song and then jam together!



Guitar World hosted some great performances on Saturday. Paula Jo Taylor, who gained viral internet fame as the “Guitar Shredding Granny” played live and proved that her chops are as good as the internet says!




Local Nashville musician Jude Smith wowed the crowd with soulful vocals and massive, John Mayer-esque chops. Pretty fantastic.



Guitarist Muriel Anderson hosted her mind-blowing All Star Guitar Night on Friday evening. With performances from artists from all over the world, the night included ArtistWorks’ instructor Bryan Sutton!



The Idea Center at NAMM has panels and workshops all day long. Our own Laura B. Whitmore shared PR insights with a packed crowd on Saturday.




Overall, the show inspired us to keep practicing, keep learning, and keep collaborating with the thousands of talented musicians, instrument makers and professionals that share our passion!





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