Event Review: On The Road With Cowboy Surfer
The 2005 NAMM Show In Anaheim, California
I returned from the recent N.A.M.M. show in Anaheim,
California, with a big smile on my face.
For those of you who do not know what NAMM (North
American Music Manufacturers) (http://namm.org)
is, it is a giant romp through a musical candy store.
Endless columns and rows of the latest musical toys
that will rot your teeth, they are so sweet!
Every manufacturer, buyer/seller, musician who has
anything to do with the music business must attend
to keep and make their contacts for the next year.
If you have never been to this event, make your plans
now for next year.
Now primarily being a guitar player, I was mainly
attracted to the guitar displays, although I was in
awe just about everywhere I turned. I had the distinct
pleasure of meeting Canadian Luthier Jean Larivee, who
recently moved his Larivee Guitar operations from Canada
to my neck of the woods near Ventura, California.
Larivee Guitars are not built for the average player.
Jean showed me a beautiful baritone guitar, which does
not play like a regular six string guitar. The low string
is tuned down for a rich baritone sound.
But no matter how fine of a guitar you may have in your
hands, if you don't have a set of quality strings on
it, it could be rendered useless. I had an
experience recently onstage at a Ventura Theater gig
opening up for the King of Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, when
during the 2nd song, I popped a "D" string. I was using
Elixir Strings, which I thought were the best at the time.
But after that experience I was discouraged, when after
contacting them, the CSR tried to tell me it was my fault.
At this years NAMM show, I hung out with a man named
Sean Kerly (kerlymusic.com), who is revolutionizing
the way strings are built, packaged and sold. He
explained to me that his strings were better than others
because of the patented "cold fire" method of super
cryogenically freezing, then super heating the strings
so that the molecules adhere better, giving the strings
more strength, quality of sound and durability.
I must say, this all sounded like Excalibur talk to me,
but it made sense in some strange scientific way.
He tossed a couple of hermetically sealed "fresh" paks
of my favorite Phosphor Bronze strings (Kerly also makes
electric, 12 string and Bass strings) into my NAMM show
XL party bag I got from the good folks at Roland, and
I eagerly went home to try them out and see if what Sean
said was true. To my amazement, they are even better than
what he said. They are amazingly bright and have lasted
an entire month of me banging on them relentlessly.
I can honestly say they are by far the best strings I have
played with. And I have tried them all.
All in all, the NAMM show proved to be quite a fun
learning experience. I rubbed elbows with Jeff "Skunk"
Baxterfrom Steely Dan, Joe Satriani, Dick Dale, Yngwie
Malmsteen who had his "rock star" glasses on, and Steve Vai.
But the funniest thing was watching my frenetic harmonica
player Tbone (Tom Molinelli) become humble for the 1st
time when we sat down with World Class harmonica player
and manufacturer Lee Oskar of War. Lee blows a mean harp
and can make the instrument sound like an orchestra with
his inimitable talents on the instrument.
That alone was worth the price of admission.
Well that and the Body Glove girls who were more than
kind to Cowboy Surfer.
Until the next set.
For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.
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