This is the third year I’ve gone; each time I spend less-and-less time at the show. I never thought I could be overwhelmed with guitars, but it is such a visual and audible assault at the convention, I wind up at home with a headache, curled up in the fetal position listening to Yanni. (Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but close.)
It is a blast going to the Fender, Gibson and Martin booths seeing their new lines for 2016, and gawking at all of the custom shop models, but I tend to get more jazzed-up checking out the works of independent luthiers. These guys make the kind of guitars that if just ONE of theirs was at a retail store, you’d think, “This is the best guitar I’ve ever seen,” especially compared to the production models from the big guys. Then you discover their are dozens of similar builders at NAMM doing equally cool work. Though I’ve never built a guitar (I made a “C” in shop class), I fantasize that one day I could, and who knows—if I got really good, maybe I could DO IT FULL TIME! Makes you realize how hard it’s got to be for these independent guys to pursue their passion and earn enough money so they’re more than just scraping by, and it’s all worth it.
Anyway, for all you luthiers out there, I tip my hat to you.
Hey man, it’s been a while since I had time to get back to normal. I’m finally able to take a breath after NAMM, and the gigs that I have been doing. One day at NAMM is enough for me. It was only 12:30 and I had to have a beer. You are right about the independent builders. They make some very cool stuff, and I see alot pride in the builds. I learned it’s like 3000.00 a day to be a vendor. That is a serious commitment. I hope the future of our instrument see’s a movement towards more independents. I love the relationships I’ve built with the builders of my guitars. I’m also happy to call them my friends.