NAMM, 2018

Sadly, my heart was just not into NAMM this year, as we lost our eldest dog Auggie last Sunday (Facebook friends, thanks for your sympathies).

But I needed an excuse to get out of the house, and had a business meeting with the team building the new Timberline harp guitars, so made the trek.  It was a good day, especially after a surprise hook-up with pal Joe Morgan (who visited the show friend Chris Jenkins).

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I only attended on Saturday, so missed Thursday’s special harp guitar concert with Travis Bowman, Muriel Anderson and Don Alder.  But I ran into all 3 on Saturday.  Don was at the Timberline booth (he’s endorsing them) and we had a good catch-up chat.

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Before the crowds hit, I was able to check out the brand new upgrade (available in a couple months) – made from locally sourced Indonesian acacia with tamarind binding and arm bevel, gloss finish.  Beautiful looking and sounding. Price TBD, but under $2k!

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Endorser Jamie Dupuis (it was his request almost 2 years ago that instigated the project), with the standard $999 model (with his own custom electronics).

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At the Ernie Ball booth…the closest I could get to Andy McKee all day (not true, I caught him later at the Tonewood Amp booth).

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The Museum of Making Music didn’t have their small exhibit space this year; instead, they ran a small concert stage.  Muriel had played the day before, and now at noon I caught Travis Bowman, our feature at HGG15 last October.  He played 6-string, his Dyer harp guitar, and also 1 Eagles tune on the Steve Klein harp guitar on loan from the Carlsbad exhibit.

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After a quick hello to Travis, time to head upstairs to the newly laid out guitar area.  As luck would have it, Tim Bertsch was coming down the escalator.  As a passionate fellow Knutsen owner/player, I was anxious to give him a copy of the new all-Knutsen CD.

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Upstairs, along the far wall was a new 6-builder “Luthiers Beyond Limits” exhibit.  Naturally, I found Steve Klein there.

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Steve Klein & Tim Bertsch, with a new Jim Worland-built Klein electric.

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Speaking of “no limits”…Michi Matsuda does it again!  His 3rd harp guitar (which sold during the weekend).

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Yes, the first modern harp guitar with double course octave sub-basses!  It was only 4 weeks ago that I blogged about the newly discovered doubled-basses Knutsen harp guitars (which Michi had not seen) – and was wondering who would be first to try it.  It is, of course, a brilliant idea.

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After experimenting with the two octaves on the same nut (same scale length), he decided that the higher octave strings sounded better when shorter…ergo his dramatically staggered – but still weight-balanced – tuner/nut array.  It was too noisy to demo, but with my ear against the arm I got a sense of the effect.  Now I’m anxious to really explore this!

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In another nearby curtained off area, NAMM repeated their successful “Boutique Luthiers Showcase.”  There, I found new acoustics by former Kathy Wingert apprentice Isaac Jang, met Davide Serracini from Rome, who built that triple neck for (and gave me a CD of) Luca Stricagnoli that has been burning up YouTube.  There was just one harp guitar there, this sculptural electric by Canadian Mike Sankey (whom I didn’t meet – he posted his own photo, shown below).

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It was good as always to run into other guitar friends (Rick Turner, Stan Werbin, Harry Fleishman, Calum Graham, Adam Werner, Adrian Bellue, to name a few).  But I was antsy to get home to Jaci and our now-“only child” Maezi.  With the preciousness and bittersweetness of life and death weighing on my mind, it was a delightful surprise that the last thing I spotted in the lobby on my way out was someone’s beautiful reproduction of the animated guitar from the recent Coco, a beautiful Pixar film touching on these very themes.  I was in tears at the end of that exquisite film, and here they come again…

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  1. Tim Bertsch Says:

    Hello Gregg!
    It was great to catch up!
    Thank you kindly for your Knutsen CD!
    I am enjoying it immensely!
    Sending all that resonates positively!
    Namaste!

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