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Event Review: On The Road With Cowboy Surfer
The 2005 NAMM Show In Anaheim, California
By Cowboy Surfer, Seedless Records
(more articles from this author)
2005-02-15
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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.

-Cowboy Surfer

For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.


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