Nashville in July is typically steamy, scorching, and movin’ a
little bit slow. That more relaxed atmosphere is reflected to
some extent in the pace of Summer NAMM, held July 21–23
at the Nashville Convention Center in the heart of Music City’s
storied Lower Broadway district. Less frantic and enormous than
Winter NAMM or Europe’s Musikmesse, Nashville NAMM invites
conversation and interaction with new and old friends in the industry.
And, most important to the gang here at Premier Guitar
gives us even more time for investigation of gear goodies from bigtime
manufacturers and off-the-beaten-path upstarts alike.
In many ways, the little guys were the stars of Summer
NAMM. South Carolina’s B.A. Ferguson guitars showed us how
inspired, unique, great-playing guitars can be built from sustainable
and repurposed materials. A brand-new California company
called HeliArc Guitars showed off their resonator-inspired
aluminum electrics. And the fast ascendant mad scientists from
EarthQuaker Devices added another bunch of intriguing pedals
to a line that’s become the talk of stompbox nuts everywhere.
Regional stars shined bright in Nashville, too. Tennessee’s Mario
Martin showed off several beautiful Fender-inspired solidbodies
crafted from lightweight, resonant paulownia wood, while
Mississippi’s Juliet Collective brought some of the most creative
stompboxes at the show.
More experienced hands did their thing at Nashville, too. A stroll
through the Martin and Korg USA booths demonstrated how restless
those very established companies remain. Electro Harmonix’s
Ravish Sitar pedal deliciously reaffirmed that there’s almost nothing
the New York-based stompbox pioneers won’t try. And there were a
few milestones to celebrate, too, as Santa Cruz Guitars did with its
head-turning 35th Anniversary Cowgirl.
We found a lot
of other cool stuff down in Nashville, too. You
can check out just about all of it via the dozens of videos we’ve
made available at premierguitar.com (they’re marked here with
play-button icons). We’re guessing you’ll be hard pressed to find
something that doesn’t stoke your gear lust, because regardless of
what anyone might say about Summer NAMM being a smaller,
more relaxed show, it’s brimming with wares that we’ll check out
in even greater detail in the review pages of Premier Guitar
premierguitar.com in the days to come. In the meantime, enjoy
these snapshots of our sweet times in the sweltering south.