As usual, the NAMM show was a whirlwind of fun, lots of new ideas, and exciting news to report! This was General Manager Jeff Massa's first time at the NAMM show, and boy was he sure impressed!
But before I get ahead of myself, the first stop on this trip sent me northward up the coast to the middle of California at Bridgepoint Music in Menlo Park. I had the pleasure of teaching a clinic with clarinet guru Morrie Backun. We both shared ideas about improving tone and intonation on our respective instruments, and I sure did learn a lot from Morrie's perspective! In fact, due to his keen insight and his willingness to share ideas with me, there's going to be a lot more clarinet repair tools being developed at MusicMedic.com!
We had a great time at the clinic, as 17 of us got cozy at the shop and were well taken care of. Miles DeCastro was an awesome host. Not only did he supply the coffee and donuts, but later when we all went out that night after the clinic, Miles and I were the only ones left standing at 1am! Thanks for the fun and hospitality, Miles!
Following the clinic, we headed over to Anaheim, CA, for the NAMM show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this event, it's one of the biggest music trade shows in the world, with people from all corners of the music business there: instrument manufacturers, high tech sound gear, players, band managers and bookers, sound companies, stage crews, you name it!
We have a booth there every year to show the world our latest and greatest, but since it was Jeff's first time there, he wanted to bring his most exciting new prototypes. People who visited our booth got to check out his excellent key cutting set and clarinet facing tools prototypes that hadn't yet been seen by the public. He also brought some pad samples for his latest new pad creations, including synthetic flute pads, various synthetic saxophone pads, and black pads for piccolo.
One cool thing we had at the booth was chocolate coins to help show off our new Chocolate RooPads, but the pads I was even more excited to show off were the new RooPads EXTREME: synthetic inside, airtight and watertight, same great non-stick leather used on RooPads. These pads seal faster than any other pad we have ever tested. The ProShop has been using the New Extreme RooPads on every instrument for the past three months. We'll be adding the new RooPad Extremes to our site very soon and Chocolate RooPads are already available here.
As per usual, there were tons of really cool horns and products. I went around and shot a few videos of some of the most exceptional saxophones I saw. We had some really cool horns at our own booth, too. We had examples of horns with white, SaxGourmet (black), and chocolate RooPads. One of our own Uberhauled horns had white RooPads, Steve Goodson's horn had the black Saxgourmet pads, and Theo Wanne's horn had the new Chocolate RooPads Extreme. Here are some of the videos we took.....
Then of course, after the day's work was over, we had some afternoon and evening fun!
As is tradition every day of the show at 4:30pm, we have libations. This year was different, however, because we skipped the usual red wine and instead had a selection of tasty single malt scotch and fabulous gin. If you need a recommendation, our booth favorites were....
The first night of the show, Jeff and I went to Theo Wanne's endorser dinner. We had a lot of fun with Theo's crew and meeting his endorsers, and we left we lots of cool Theo swag, including beanie hats and tshirts. Theo insists that all of his horns go through our meticilous set-up procedure. We completely assemble the Mantra Tenors and work closely with Theo and his crew to make changes and improvements. I don't know of any new Saxophone in history that has had this level of care taken in Set-up. It was cool to meet more of the people who make their livings playing these horns.
The second night, we went to a great German dinner with a group of friends and heard the most unusual accordion duo that has probably every existed. There were no photos taken at this mean to protect the guilty.
We had a wonderful Chinese dinner on the third night with all the folks from Chateau, the Theo crew, and a few other friends, so we took up a large part of the restaurant. Our big group had a raucous time and some great food.
Though all of those nights were hard to beat, my favorite meal of the trip was on the fourth night, when we went to the world's great vegetarian restaurant called Pho Veggie. Amazing every time!
After we wrapped up everything at the end of another great NAMM show, my trip still wasn't finished. I made a stop in Vegas to spread the word of instrument repair to the younger generation. Great clinics, lectures, dinners and most of all old and new friends. I'm looking forward to the next NAMM show, hopefully I'll see you there!