Murmurs from exhibitors and visitors alike over the years prompted NAMM to relocate the Summer Session from Nashville to ‘bigger, better’ locations. The result was a show in Indianapolis and a couple in Austin, which proved so unpopular that the show receded to a size that could easily be accommodated back in Nashville.
One has to feel for NAMM – it has been trying to respond to members requests, but as regards the summer show, it seems it can do nothing right.
Well, the return to Nashville seems to be right and from the perspective of a Brit visiting the show for the first time and with nothing to judge it against, US dealers and suppliers alike should be more than happy with this show. It is intimate, not too crowded, but with easily enough of the ‘critical mass’ needed to create a buzz and a good atmosphere. Whatever Summer Session veterans might say, to this hack it is an impressive show as far as day one is concerned.
Items of note range, as ever when America is concerned, from the sublime to the ridiculous, with the Bogdon 3 two or three string cardboard box bass kit amply fitting the latter segment. Actually, the amplified sound is deceptively good for what is essentially a cardboard box with a plank nailed to it.
Plenty to fill the sublime category, however, with the new Fishman Solo Amp portable PA system. Two channels, six proprietary four-inch speakers and a compact and easy transport system, the demo for this underlined Fishman’s ability to produce excellent sound quality.
Another sublime was the launch of Normandy Guitars, aluminium archtop semi-acoustics that look jaw droppingly good and play just as well. The project is the baby of Jim Normandy, who has now established an efficient and sufficient production system that he hopes can meet the sort of numbers he hopes will be wanted. Normandy is actively looking for UK and European distribution.