JANUARY 19-22nd 2017


Review/Photos by: Char Tupper
Gallery: http://www.metaltitans.com/concertpics/the-namm-show-2017/

It is time for the MetalTitans annual visit to the NAMM show, the place to believe in music. Once again, it was another great year of guitars, basses, drums, and everything in between. A lot of artist signings including Nicko McBrain, Mick Thompson, Corey Taylor, DJ Ashba, Brian “Head” Welch, even some of the regular artists that make an appearance every year, like Rudy Sarzo, Carmine and Vinnie Appice, and countless others ranging from all genres in the music scene.  This convention is a great place to meet and get stuff signed by musicians from all generations, which is one of the top reasons I enjoy going. My one “bonus” this year was the rare chance to meet one of metal’s legendary drummers, Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden. I was very fortunate to catch him outside a booth he happened to be discussing business with. My friends and I managed to snag a photo with him after he was done and get to talk with him, an extremely humble and sincere person, I look forward to their next tour, and being able to say to myself “Wow, I met Nicko!”, not something everybody can say.

This is the 4th year for MetalTitans covering the convention, so it was safe to say, I knew my way around this event, like making sure I visited the usual booths, but took time to explore new and unique ones that caught my eye. I took my time through the usual booths like Dean Guitars, ESP, and Schecter, these 3 booths are thee booths to visit if you are into metal or rock. They showcase new custom pieces, variety of artist signings and guitar clinics, it is great for all metal heads out there looking to get a more “up close” glimpse at their favourite artists in action. All these booths were all very similar to the past couple of years, other than some new signature models that were new releases for the 2017 NAMM Show. The Dean Guitars booth didn’t necessarily have any “new and exciting” guitar models to release, but more so exclusively showcasing the new beer from one of their most successful sponsored bands, Megadeth. The beer is called “A Tout Le Monde”, it is a Belgian style beer that Dave Mustaine partnered with craft brewer, Unibroue. The imagery for the new beer was showcased on one of the Dean Guitars signature body styles, which attracted a lot of people to the booth. ESP sadly didn’t have much to show, of course they had a signature series section for Metallica, as well as countless other artists on the roster, but nothing “exciting” per say.  They also showcased a “custom” section, still nothing like when I went to the ESP booth in 2014 with 10+ unique and out of this world designs, versus doing unique “colour combos” that they had this year, somewhat disappointing when you compare. Schecter had the usual designs, however a few new signature series, like the Abbath “Ravendark” guitar, which was a pretty sharp looking guitar, and I don’t even play instruments. Loved the gloss black with the mother of pearl Raven in the neck of the guitar, suiting to Abbath, any black metal die-hard guitar player would be thrilled to add this to their collection.

I will make honorable mention, I visited a booth I have never normally stopped at, but, this year, their booth display grabbed my attention and sucked me in. The booth was Zemaitis Guitars, a guitar company that started back in 1935 by Tony Zemaitis from London, UK. For numerous years, he made his guitars by hand with his signature engraved metal plates, which were originally added to the guitars to reduce hum, which proved to be a huge success. When Tony passed away, his wife and son helped carry the torch of his legacy to keep the Zemaitis Guitars alive in the industry, and today they continue to build quality work like that of Tony. A lot of the guitars are built overseas in either Japan or Korea, and these guitars show a lot of craftsmanship in the engravings, leather work, and more. This all being said, I had never seen a guitar company so unique, so bold, the designs all stood out from one another, but not only the guitars, the booth was flawlessly executed to showcase the guitars. A lot of them had large wooden frames with either black, blue, silver backdrops to contrast the instrument, which was beautifully done, it grabbed my attention.  To put it simply, if you have not visited the booth before, next year go pay Zemaitis Guitars a visit, it is the true art with strings. You will not be disappointed with what you see.  

Overall, the NAMM experience, like every year, is a blast, getting to experience all the new instruments in and around NAMM, but also getting to experience the signings, the guitar clinics, even the after show events that take place, it is an all around amazing convention. It should be in every music lover’s “to do list” of things to experience, it is the “holy land” of music gear, it is where we all believe in music afterall. Thank you NAMM for another great year, and I look forward to my next and 5th year of covering the event.