A dizzying pentatonic swirl of white noise: TVD takes in NAMM

The ringing in my ears from endless shredding, electronic drum pad fandangling, jazz fluting, and the brittle whooshing of hairsprayed rock locks ever so softly flapping against leather-studded trenchcoats in the breezeless Anaheim Convention Center is finally subsiding—so it must be time to recap …NAMM!

Considering there were 93,908 registrants for 2013 NAMM, held over four days from January 24 to 27, it was a dizzying pentatonic swirl of white noise, Whitesnake, and stage snakes.

So, I’m breaking my NAMM recap into sections: Stonehenge (ancient and mystical monuments), Tech Talk (gadgets and wizardry debuted at NAMM 2013 that musicians will hopefully find useful), Party Time! (fun stuff at NAMM), and You Go Girl! (repping women in music).



Zachary James with the Orange Micro Crush practice amp: Objects May Appear Larger Next to Small Amps

My guitarist and main man Zachary James (who plays both in my band, Alexandra & The Starlight Band, and his own band Zachary James & The All Seeing Eyes) is a proud Orange Amps endorsee, so of course we had to pay a visit to the Orange booth. Zachary is a classic British (-looking) rocker, and Orange Amps are classic, British, and rock. (Check out his artist profile.) Zachary has used his black Orange amp half stack on every kind of stage from punk rock dive bars to Lil Wayne’s I am Still Music Tour and loves his girlfriend. (His amp, that is.)


Orange Amps: Wall o’ Sound

The ancient Orange rune of Stone(r) Amps was rare magic indeed!


Speaking of magic (I suppose this should technically fall under Tech TalkOrange also debuted the world’s first fully automatic, portable, digital valve tester, the Orange DIVO VT1000, at this year’s NAMM: a new device that allows musicians, Sound Techs, or noodlers to quickly and easily match or test the health of their amp valves. Heart-healthy gadgets!


Ludwig: Ancient Builders Constructed this Monumental Structure

It won’t fit in your Kia Spectra, but this gargantuan million-piece Legacy Classic kit that served as the center piece for Ludwig was nothing sort of Spinal Tap epic.


Look Ma, No Wires!

Shure: Look Ma, No Wires!

One of my favorite new releases at NAMM 2013 was the brand new Shure GLX-D digital wireless system. The Senior Marketing manager Lena Juncaj (not pictured above) caught me fondly fondling the beauty of a mic above and was kind enough to give me the run down.

The mic has features like ” LINKFREQ Automatic Frequency Management” that “analyzes the RF spectrum, determines the best available frequencies, and automatically deploys frequencies to the transmitter and receiver” and “Locking TQG connection.”

All that tech talk aside, what I really loved is that you can charge the mic with a USB chord, or a CAR charger! As a musician that plays often out of town, the thought of charging my wireless while in the van was a big sell. I love multi-tasking. Also, as far as sound, the mics have a Beta58 option, which is my favorite mic out there.


EverTune: Lets you Pull a Pete Townshend

Our friend Dave Weiderman over at Guitar Center gave us the heads up to check out EverTune booth. Basically, this product makes your guitar Never. Ever. Go. Out. Of. Tune. As you can see, our friend at EverTune above is demonstrating a portable travel guitar that the shredder who uses it routinely breaks in half, snaps back together, and doesn’t have to tune. This basically works through a combination of spells, witchcraft, or according to the site, “a passive, all mechanical system based on trigonometry and some rudimentary physics.”


The Recording Academy, AKA NARAS, AKA the Grammys, also had a booth at NAMM. This is actually a really useful membership for musicians, and I think I’m definitely going to join myself. Just a few examples of perks: regional networking and educational meetings, seminars on recording, singing, producing, and other topics, social activities including holiday and Grammy Awards parties, discounts on tons of music-related companies (such as $25 NAMM badges), oh and um…VOTING ON THE GRAMMYS! I’d kinda like one of those—can I vote for myself?



Ernie Ball, Giddyup! Zachary James with Ernie Ball A&R Kevin Scoles

Everyone working at the Ernie Ball booth (Zachary’s favorite strings, I might add) was dressed up like cowboys, with costumes rented from Warner Brothers! These were legit outlaw-slinky string slingers. Badass.

Cort Guitars: Don’t be a Kiss-Axe

TVD Editor and fellow Kiss-enthusiast Jon Meyers, this goes out to you! An axe-shaped axe created from the metal minds of Cort guitars and Gene Simmons.


Holophone: Retro-futuristic Mics to Match Any Outfit

Holophone also unveiled two new single-channel microphones at NAMM, the Big O omnidirectional mic and C+ cardioid mic. I am clearly a fan of rainbows, so what I like about these mics is their funky design and interchangeable cases and pop-filters…to match your ever-changing nails, hair, and outfits, of course.



Daisy Rock: Myself with Daisy Rock Founder & President Tish Ciravolo

Daisy Rock guitars will forever hold a place in my heart. One of the first “serious” bands I started singing in back in 2004, The Holograms, was sponsored by Daisy Rock! Our bassist had a big old glittery pink bass.


Trish showing off the new Lady Bug short scale model at NAMM 2013 and Zach with his Fantasy Guitar

Hey, Daisy Rock isn’t just for ladies, though! Zachary James thoroughly enjoyed the glammy purple-glitter Star guitar and seriously wants this thing full size. Founder and President Tish Ciravolo was also honored at the first annual She Rocks Awards held by the Women in Music Network.

So, I’ll conclude this NAMM recap with….You go girls! Until next year!

To find out more about the NAMM show, visit namm.org.

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