I have opted to split my report on NAMM 2013 into two separate articles. In the first, I’ll review some of what stood out the first two days and in the second I’ll discuss the final two days of the show.

They changed things around a bit at NAMM this year, hoping to improve the experience for attendees. Some of these improvements included moving security to the front doors, adding an app to help find the booths, and closing down part of the street where the hotels were located to more safely accommodate pedestrians and a large stage, among other things. Some of these changes, however, weren’t for the better. To be completely honest, the new badge pickup process was a nightmare.

On Thursday, the first day of the show, we ran into a number of artists and musicians including Gregg Karukas, Jessy J, Robbie Benson, Patrice Rushen, Warren Hill, Bijon Watson, Greg Fishman, Elan Trotman, Gail Jhonson, and Alex Potts of The Memorials.

During the day there were a ton of great performances by artists at the various booths. We had the opportunity to check out Drew Simpson and several other bands play at Lewitt Audio and we even saw Tower of Power play out front after the floors closed.

As a Rico artist, I was invited along with a few of my friends to attend the D’Addario artist appreciation concert at the Hyatt. The show had a ton of great performers including the great Brandon Fields, Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, Marco Mendoza, and more.

The second day we ran into Tim Price, Ryan Saranich (one of our first Teen Jazz Artists!), Brandon Fields, Don Braden, George Benson, Incendio and James Barrera.

Throughout the day we saw Bob Sheppard, Don Braden, Paul Hanson, and Ernie Watts perform/check out horns. Later that night, I was invited to perform along side several talented artists at the BG France/Theo Wanne/Legere Artist Jam Session at the Hyatt. It was an absolute blast getting to play and hearing everyone else perform. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Some cool things we saw at the show were:

1. The Arturia SparkLE Drum Machine – I’m a huge fan of Arturia products, especially their keyboards. I hope to one day be the proud owner of one of them. This year, they featured the SparkLE, their new drum machine. SparkLE is one of Arturia’s several “hybrid” products, combining the SparkLE drum pad hardware with their fantastic Spark Engine software. I definitely think this compact and portable controller is a must have for anyone who sequences or programs drums.

2. BG France’s New Ligatures – NAMM would not be complete without BG France’s amazing woodwind accessories. I am really excited about their new ligatures and I can’t wait until they become available. I definitely look forward to using them on my Beechler alto/soprano mouthpieces and bari mouthpiece. I am also really excited about the neck strap I’ll be getting from BG too.

They’ve also started designing beautiful guitar straps. I may have to buy one for my acoustic guitar.

3. Pigtronix – Pigtronix has a great collection of pedals. I’m really interested in their Infinity Looper pedal.

4. Roland’s Vocal Trainer – I didn’t get the chance to really check this out, but the concept really intrigued me. The Vocal Trainer is a metronome, tuner, recorder, and comes equipped with a number of voice lessons.

If you were at NAMM this year, what products got your attention?

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.