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Summer NAMM Makes An Innovative Return to Music City Center in 2021

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Summer NAMM made a triumphant return to Nashville, Tennessee. The two day event was held at the Music City Center July 15th and 16th. NAMM provided ideal opportunities for the music industry to rekindle relationships and reconnect. In addition to networking, NAMM featured educational forums that explored innovations and new ideas in business planning, music, pro-audio and more. Many established brands along with newcomers were on hand to show off their gear.

Jay Dozer makes innovative microphone stands for the stars.

As we were taking in the sights and sounds of Summer NAMM 2021, we observed a lot of innovations on what might be considered the ordinary. Then, one of the first extraordinary items that caught our eyes was a menacing green snake wrapped around a mic stand. This work of art came from MetalDozer Machine Works who specializes in the custom fabrication of mic stands, mic accessories, audio/video carts and more. Some of their iconic clients include Prince, James LaBrie of Dream Theater and Reba McEntire.

Guitar picks have been around for a long time yet Paul Holcomb who is a relatively new guitar player found them hard to hold, so he created his own and Bog Street was born. Their picks are refined and shaped to achieve three primary objectives - improved grip security, enhanced control for improved articulation of technique and responsive string release. These enhanced picks come in an array of colors and designs.

Bog Street Picks were fashioned by their inventor to make guitar playing more comfortable.

Another item that folks may take for granted is lighting. Yet, the folks at MuzicLight have crafted a dazzling way to display items using a common wall bracket and their instrument stands are even cooler. Also of interest, was Strapworks, LLC. a family owned small business, located in Eugene Oregon. Strapworks specializes in the production of high quality textile based belts, lanyards, straps, and tie downs. At NAMM this company was showcasing "Killer Guitar Straps" that could be customized thus adding a colorful spin to a useful item.

Not exactly new but something new for Jack White is hardware. His Third Man Records have moved into the pedal and turntable market. They have a number of offerings available in their distinctive black and yellow brand imaging.

Big Johnson Acoustic Bass, Bongo Peckers, Thimble Slide and Amahi Ukuleles at Summer NAMM.

Speaking of modern yet retro, Mara Machines is the world's premiere analog tape machine restoration company. "Since 2008, owner Chris Mara has carved out a unique niche of the recording industry by cultivating a community of analog tape lovers by restoring MCI Tape Machines. Mara believes utilizing a tape machine is one of the only ways to alter your recording workflow and techniques - it forces you to think about how you're utilizing your time, tracks, punch-ins, and overdubs. These techniques are invaluable to all recording engineers".

The strange circumstances surrounding 2020 forced people to think different. Live streaming and zoom meetings became the norm. But, for musicians the delay made collaboration challenging or required quite a bit of clean up. Now there is JackTrip - an open source software application that enables the live performance of music over the Internet by dramatically reducing the audio latency common in other online collaborations solutions while preserving the original audio quality.

JackTrip is a true example of pandemic inspired live-streaming innovation.

A number of guitar companies are embracing a versatile version of the six string. Somnium is described as the most versatile electric guitar ever made because it lets musicians change the pickups in just second by snapping in any brand, any style pickup, single coil or humbucker, active or passive, two pickups or three, in any combination. Reddick Guitars also offers a switch out guitar that they call the Voyager - a "boutique modular guitar designed for the gigging musician. It allows a player to change their entire pickup setup in seconds, onstage and tool-free". Six-string guitars are not the only instrument evolving. Watch out world here comes T. Roy Johnson armed with his acoustic, colorful basses.

"I had watched my luthier buddy build a harp guitar when we were making a resonator for my banjo bass. I would go from the upright, to the guitarrón/mariachi bass and the harp guitar, plucking and listening. I then drew up a trapezoidal flatback body with guitarrón/Ernie Ball Earthwood dimensions, and an extended harp arm that connects to the headstock, almost creating a small grand piano (and believe me it sustains like one)." And thus the Big Johnson Acoustic Bass was born! It can be played like a guitar using a strap, or with an endpin like an upright bass" enthused T. Roy.

Killer Guitars Straps, Mara Machines, Third Man Hardware and Muzic Light at Summer NAMM.

Other fun finds at Summer NAMM were Bongo Peckers which allows a player to pound the drum and hold a stick at the same time - an ideal tool for beginners and kids. Another item that could help folks is the Thimble Slide "a mini-slide designed to be worn on the tip of your 3rd finger, with the front edge about halfway to three-quarters down the fingernail toward the base. Worn there - ALL your fingers are now free for fretting". Amahi Ukuleles strive to offer the highest quality instruments at affordable prices. They had a colorful array of instruments along with the innovative banjoukes - yes it looked like a banjo and managed to combine the tones of both instruments. They also had uke basses.

Summer NAMM 2021 showcased plenty of innovations on what might be considered the ordinary and mundane thus proving that the industry continues to evolve. In addition to new ideas there were plenty of guitars, gear, orchestral instruments and other interesting accessories to see and play.

Reddick and Somnium guitars both offered advancements in removable pickups.

Related Links: For more information on SUMMER NAMM and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Summer NAMM | At Summer NAMM 2021 Rockin' Rich Lynch Vows to Become the Next King | Gibson Is Revved and Ready for Summer NAMM | MetalDozer Machine Works | Bog Street Picks | Big Johnson Acoustic Bass | Bongo Peckers | Amahi Ukuleles | Thimble Slide | JackTrip | Killer Guitar Straps | Mara Machines | Third Man Hardware | Muzic Light | Reddick Guitars | Somnium Guitars | Coverage of Summer NAMM 2019 | Coverage of Summer NAMM 2018 | Coverage of Summer NAMM 2017


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