On Thursday, January 15th, we drove down to southern California to go to the 2009 NAMM show. What an amazing two days we had at the show on Friday and Saturday. We saw old friends, met new friends, and made many new business contacts for guitar making, plus enjoyed seeing people we already enjoy wonderful working relationships with. We were amazed at how few steps we would take and then would run into someone else we knew.
This photo shows James with Eric Schoenberg at the Luthiers’ Consortium booth shared with Todd Taggart’s Allied Lutherie booth. We have been invited to join the Luthiers’ Consortium at the show for a few years but so far have not dived into this opportunity. Some of the guitar makers in the Consortium build Schoenberg Guitars for Eric, and some of the builders sell guitars through Eric’s Schoenberg Guitars shop in Tiburon, California.
Eric Schoenberg is a wonderful story in itself, or in himself, but I’m not going to tell it here, not at this time anyway. Suffice it to say that Eric has a handful of builders making his beautiful Schoenberg guitars, and James is one of them. You can learn more about Eric and Schoenberg Guitars at the Schoenberg Guitars site.
At NAMM we enjoyed talking with other hand builders, guitar wood suppliers, amp and pedal makers, strings makers, and a multitude of other music biz people. There is just no end to what you see and whom you meet there. In fact, we also enjoyed meeting some performing greats such as Leland Sklar, Monte Montgomery, and Jeff Baxter. We caught Monte performing both Friday and Saturday at the Alvarez booth. We talked with him on Friday, and on Saturday I just happened to have my Nikon with me, so I got some nice shots of Monte performing. We also have shots of Leland (and he got fun shots of us too). Later we came across Swedish jazz guitarist Andreas Oberg performing at the La Bella Strings booth and I got some good photos of him.
We saw our friend Carl Verheyen perform at the Vox booth on Saturday and enjoyed an extended visit with him on Sunday on our way back to northern California. James and Carl spent some time talking about details on the Nouveau Nylon guitar James is making for him.
We came back so jazzed and inspired in terms of our guitar making and also our music. Some of these conversations will stick with us for a very long time. I notice I have been practicing guitar and singing more lately, and the shop is on fire, if you know what I mean.
James has been to NAMM many times, but this was my maiden voyage. I loved every second. We will be there next year, so if you’re there, look for our Russell Guitars badges, and we’ll talk guitars, music, and creativity.