NAMM-in’ it up, 2016

It was that time again: time to dust off the leather jacket and the ear plugs to make the pilgrimage to gear Valhalla—NAMM, the annual cacophonous convention celebrating and showcasing the music industry’s latest wares—everything from your standard rock accoutrements of electric guitars, basses, drums, amps, cables, and mics… to the wild and weird, including bouzoukis, accordions, and synthesizers surrounded by succulents.

By synthesizers surrounded by succulents, I really just mean the Moog booth. The Bob Moog Foundation had a killer selection of vintage modular synths and rare prototypes on display, including an original 1967 RA Moog modular and an Aries modular synthesizer.

It was basically like the hippest Echo Park succulent AND synthesizer aficionado invited you into their apartment to scope their rare gear collection among desert decor.

Another highlight and personal favorite of ours was the Orange amps booth. Husband Zachary James is a proud Orange endorsee and owner of a black AD-30. Here he is, looking very British and tall, in front of the very British and tall stack of Orange amps behind him.

Orange also debuted the O Bass above, brainchild of Orange technical director and lead designer Adrian Emsley, whose inspiration came from his self-confessed love of vintage gear.

The O Bass first made an appearance in an early form as a demonstrator piece at the 2014 winter NAMM show, hidden from public view in the Orange booth. However, having been leaked on a number of videos on the internet, they were inundated with requests to put it into production and debuted ’em this year.


We also always have to stop by the PMI Audio booth—we are huge fans of their boards and have one in our studio.


Pictured above is their sick Trident 88 that was on display, an eight-buss analog console and in the lineage of the revered Series 80 mixing desks. These boards have a great sound—everyone from Bowie (RIP, God) to Bolan was using these boards—they have the ability to be pushed hard and sound BIG—a hallmark of the series 80s consoles and a tradition that this board carries forward. 

Speaking of BIG sound, here’s a flying V guitar that they just invented for elves. OK no, they’re novelty reproductions of classic guitars. Kewl.


OK, REALLY speaking of big sound, here is Alex Van Halen’s gargantuan Ludwig 4 kick-drum set. This thing was a beast.


We closed off the night to the rapturous sounds of the legend himself, Mac Rebennack aka Dr. John, at the Grand Plaza for The Imagine Party, put on by The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. We are massive fans of him and are completely inspired by his swampy, jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll infused, iconic sound.

He played a mind-melting set, including some of our favorite classic tunes, “Such a Night,” “Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya,” some sick covers such as the New Orleans classic “Aiko Aiko,” and also some tunes off his 2012 Grammy-award winning record with Dan Auerbach, Locked Down, including “Big Shot.”

We were also lucky enough to hang out with Dr. John on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus where he was jamming and recording with Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center students. Pretty epic way to cap off an insane day—it don’t get much better than the Dr. himself.

Thanks NAMM—until next year!


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