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NAMM 2019: "What an Amazing and Overwhelming Experience"

Monday, February 4, 2019


NAMM 2019, What an amazing and overwhelming experience that was. From A list performances to educational/business seminars, and of course the main reason everyone wants to go. All the sick new music gear. Going NAMM as a first timer there’s lot things to do and lots more not to do! I plan on going through a little bit of everything.

First, book your hotel and flights early as possible as the price jumps closer to the date and vacancies fill up quickly. Plan to arrive the day before the convention starts, as you don’t want to be running around that starting Thursday like a chicken without a head. There will be a line initially to get your badge ID so, arrive early to the convention to beat the lines!

Bring hand sanitizer and Airborne to fend off the dreaded NAMMthrax! (With everyone traveling all around the world to one location, your bound to get sick.)
First day, after getting your badge, go head right into the convention. Each building and area is sectioned off based upon instruments then companies. Go get a good lay out of the land. A gear recon if you will. It will also be wise, prior to this, having a schedule of all the performances you want to see and what booths they will be at for the weekend. This initial walk around will help you get your bearings, as you will be running around later frantically trying to catch all the performances stacked on top of one another. Once you do that, it’s time to go play with all the goodies!

For me, the highlights of my NAMM visit, come from the company’s I’m endorsed by. Dingwall Guitars, won best bass of NAMM 2019 with their D Bird Special 5! Also the new Super J 5 was an incredible feeling bass. Darkglass Electronics with their new Alpha Omega bass head! Very very awesome piece of gear! As well as the new X7 pedal! Neural DSP and Fortin Amplification were showing off their great new guitar plug in, the NTS suite! The best and most realistic sounding guitar plug in on the market! Ernie Ball had some really beautiful new finish options and a new Sterling Majesty line! Ibanez was definitely strutting hard with the new CHON and Polyphia signature 6 string Prestige guitar models and new BTB 7 string bass models .


The quality is what you come to expect of the Prestige line! The new Strandberg basses were incredible. That Endureneck is truly something special. They also released a Sarah Longfield 8 string signature model and a production line that features the True Temperament fretting system. Both played fantastic, just like a Strandberg should. Two real highlights for me were the Ormsby guitar booth and the Dark Matter Instruments booth (same builder/owner as Balaguer Guitars). The Ormsby headless multiscale guitar was one of the best guitars I’ve ever played. And for the production line price range of $1200, it was definitely deal of the show. The guitar I vibed the most with was that Dark Matters Instrument headless standard fretting 6 string. This thing played like the smoothest butter. Also, the new Chicken Picks guitar picks are the best guitar picks I’ve ever tried.

Some of my favorite and highlighted performances were:

-Plini/Simon Grove, Dean Lamb/Tobi Morelli (Archspire), Jay Tarantino (Angel Vivaldi/Etheruis) at the Neural DSP booth.
-Jared Smith (Archspire), Kilian Duarte (Scale The Summit/Abiotic), Jeff Hughell (Six Feet Under), Jacob Umansky (Intervals/Painted in Exile) at the Darkglass Electronics Booth.
-Tosin Abasi & Javier Reyes (Animals As Leaders) at the Fischman booth.
-Columbus Conley (Obleak) at the Airis Effects/Skerverson Guitar’s Booth.
-Tim Henson & Scott Lepage (Polyphia) at the Ibanez booth
-Sanjay Kumar (Wormhole/Greylotus) at the Legator Guitar’s booth.
-Mohini Dey ( bassist) at the Mayones booth
-The Schecter Guitar after party featuring Interloper (former Rings of Saturn members Miles Dimitri Baker and Aaron Stechauner) and ICE T’s hardcore band, BodyCount! Both bands put on spectacular performances!

All in all, NAMM 2019 was a blast! Had lots of fun, met up with lots of friends from all over, caught great performances and got to play some of the sickest gear before anyone else. Excited for next year is an understatement!



Keith Kohlhepp
Dingwall Guitars
Bassist at At Rest and Failure in Vanity

Past: Shadow Of Intent and Whole Earth Center of Princeton

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