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Winter NAMM Show 2020 Review: Part 1

 

Last week, three of the TNAG UK team headed west for the biggest event in the musical instrument world calendar, the Winter NAMM show. Spread over the huge Anaheim Convention Center across four days, the biggest brands in the world of music use the show to launch their new products.

This year's Winter NAMM Show left us all feeling hugely inspired and excited for the future of Luthier built instruments, with prominent areas such as ‘The Boutique Guitar Showcase’ and the extraordinary booths of our builders around the show carrying the torch for not only the very best in the building of these fine instruments but for inventive and captivating ways to display them! 

From the moment we landed at the show, there was a palpable feeling of anticipation and expectation. To see so many faces old and new under one roof, presenting a diverse range of truly staggering pieces and with such a communal sense of drive and passion that permeated the main hall and beyond, this year was an unprecedented triumph for the small workshop builder and made us so proud to be a part of.

Greenfield Guitars

We started our NAMM journey this year at The Boutique Guitar Showcase, which become something akin to a home away from home as we traversed the sea of instruments and noise in the main hall. And right in the centre of their stunning display sat a trio of instruments from one of the worlds greatest modern Acoustic Guitar builders, Michael Greenfield. 

On either side of the stand, we saw a sensational pair of Andy Mckee's brand new signature model with Michael, which we were lucky enough to see in action when he came by to demonstrate in front of a crowd that very quickly amassed outside the stand, subsequently blowing away each and every one of us. 

In-between these gorgeous new instruments was a breathtaking example of Michael's Harp Guitar, built in Mahogany for the back and sides with an Italian Spruce top which culminates in a startlingly clear and articulate instrument that, even to a total newcomer, encourages and elevates musical and inspired interaction. 

Nik Huber Guitars

Just around the corner from our much loved social hub of BGS was Nik Huber and his team, with an array of instruments that ranged from the styles, shapes and materials that we have always adored in the builds through to some new and innovative designs that, in the lead up to the show had been kept very much under the radar! 

In regards to these new editions, we saw an as-yet un-named model featuring a Jazzmaster style tremolo and bolt-on construction with all the versatility and playability we love about Nik's guitars. 

He also walked us through a new custom hardware option, using exciting new materials and techniques to enhance the response and feel of the instrument while simultaneously adding less weight to the overall build! 

Rick Turner Guitars

It's a huge part of the NAMM show for brands to release new models and ideas in front of the huge audience that perpetually moves in and around the booths, and this year saw the long awaited release of a stunning new silhouette from the legendary Rick Turner. 

We had the chance to sit down with Rick and run through the exciting specs of this fresh edition to the historic lineup, some of the magnificent guitars we've had in from him recently as well as touching on what the year has in store for Rick Turner and The North American Guitar, in both the UK and Nashville showrooms. 

Santa Cruz Guitar Company

'Welcome home!' was the sound that greeted us as we found our way to the beautiful booth put together by the ever-wonderful Richard Hoover and his lovely team at Santa Cruz Guitars. 

Richard took the time to walk us through some of the exquisite custom builds that were on display, from the roots of the FTC through to one of the most outrageously high spec OM models we've ever seen, featuring a set of ancient Sitka Spruce paired with a very rare set of sustainable, reclaimed Brazilian Rosewood for the back and sides. 

Its always an immense pleasure to spend time with Richard, and in the company of such a magnificent array of instruments it only gets better. 

Macmull Custom Guitars

We've had an amazing journey with Macmull Custom Guitars since the summer of 2019, and having been in constant communication ever since it was a real joy to meet and spend time with the good folk behind some of our favourite electrics. 

The stand was situated on the far side of the main hall, in amongst the loud and garish, but still didn't fail to deliver the feel and comfort of a friends living room, albeit a friend with a jaw-dropping collection! 

The guys at Macmull have been incredibly busy over the past few months, and brought to the show some remarkable new designs and custom features, from the all-new 'Americana' headstock through to the 'Neo' version of the classic 'Heartbreaker' model, changes in pickups and some gorgeous finishes, there was a lot to cover and made for a fantastic catch up. 

Maestro Guitars

Since we first began to represent Maestro Guitars here in the UK, we've been blown away by the consistency and quality of the instruments they produce and the inspired choices they offer at a wide range of price points. 

With the NAMM Show, it was a treat to see Ho Zen and his team put together some real show-stopping pieces alongside exciting additions to the core lines and the continuing evolution of what Maestro are capable of. 

Spending time with Ho Zen and going through the details of their delightful collection of instruments gave us some valuable and intriguing insight into the models themselves along with the thought and process behind what makes each of their guitars so inspiring both visually and sonically. 

We had an absolutely phenomenal time at this years Winter NAMM Show, and look forward to sharing all of the interviews and latest news from so many of our superb luthiers and builders.

If you want to know more about any of the luthiers or instruments we saw at the show, please don't hesitate to get in touch on phone at 0207 835 5597 or by email at hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com.  

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