This year I had the pleasure of working at the NAMM show. As an exhibitor for HollywoodWinds Saxophones, I had most of Saturday and a few other times that I was able to sneak away during the four days. Working the show was interesting, I got a little taste of everything having worked at the HollywoodWinds, Beechler, BG France, and SaxRax stands throughout NAMM. I did, however, miss getting the full floor time.

While I was there I checked out a few things. I went back to P. Mauriat and played through their booth several times and took friends over to do the same. Roger Greenburg is a really great guy to tolerate having to hear me play tenor sax so often. (Thanks Roger)

Of course, I hung out at D’Addario and Rico for a significant amount of time. Jean-Francois Rico and John D’Addario were kind enough to grant me interviews, which are up on the site.

Something new to me at the show were Marca Reeds. The company was started in 1953 by Franco Guccini, and he and his grandson Nick were there at the booth. The two of them were the nicest people and I had a lot of fun practicing my French. They gave me reeds to try out, and I cannot wait to try them.

And of course, at HollywoodWinds, there was the most incredible bari sax, of which I am now the proud owner! The copper bari played so wonderfully with a nice dark tone (with a silver neck) and the horn really projected. An added bonus is that it has a case that I can actually carry! I am pretty excited because I have a cool looking pink saxophone.

At NAMM, you get a lot of Chinese instruments, so I checked some flutes out and ended up buying a purple flute with gold plated keys to have just for fun. The flute actually sounded really good and I think it will be fun to bring it out to play at shows in the future.

BG France also caught my attention this year. I helped Franck Bichon with the booth for a moment while he went to a meeting so I was able to learn a lot about their different products. BG France really offers great accessories, and has a lot of new great products out. I bought a “Tradition” ligature for my Rousseau for classical music, and a great pouch for my bari necks. I strongly recommend checking out their “propacks” (kits with everything you could ever need for any woodwind instrument), cleaning cloths, pad dryers, and neck pouches. I am definitely a new regular user of BG France products.

Going to NAMM all four days was a very different experience. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else (it is tiring!), but I would do it again anyway. If you do it right, it is a really great way to meet new and wonderful musicians, see your musician friends, and get to try out and see all the music equipment you could ever dream of.

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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.