‘A Wonderful Gathering:’ Summer NAMM’s Unique Strengths On Full Display in Nashville in 2018

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Current Issue
  • July 2018
• Created: July 26, 2018

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This Summer NAMM reflected the positive business conditions we find ourselves in,” observes NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond. “To borrow a phrase from the Fishing Musicians, ‘the fish were biting, and those that were on the river were catching their limits.’”

The data backs up Lamond’s positive take on this year’s Nashville gathering: NAMM reports 15,010 attendees in 2018 (compared to 14,284 in ’17 – a 5% increase) and both total brands on hand (1,600) and the number of exhibiting companies (over 500) kept in line with last year’s strong showing. Additionally, retail dealers increased 5%, year over year, with total buyers seeing a 24% growth.

But as many have long noted about the annual Nashville convention, the value of attendance is not borne out by numbers alone.

“Personally, I found the conversations, especially with the younger generation of industry participants who are adding so much value with their energy and creativity, to be priceless,” says Lamond. “Ideas were shared, deals were made, plans came together and relationships that drive the industry were strengthened. I cannot imagine a more productive three days in my annual calendar.

“While we’ll always have our challenges (my memories of the Great Recession are still fresh in my mind!), I believe this is a completely different part of the business cycle. We find ourselves in a period of growth and that requires different tactics. I’m optimistic and excited to see our members who were at Summer NAMM implement the ideas and strategies learned at NAMM U, TEC Tracks and the Retail Summit. I suspect they will see positive results in the coming months.”

The Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) presented the second annual Guitar Ambassador Award to guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel at its 2018 VIP summer reception in Nashville. The award was accompanied by a donation to Guitars for Vets. Guitars for Vets, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2007, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free guitar instruction, guitars, and guitar accessories to Veterans. Emmanuel assigned his award honorarium to them.

“Last year we started something new, The GAMA Guitar Ambassador Award,” said GAMA president, Brad Smith. “One of the most influential ways to get someone to play guitar is to see an artist with the instrument in their hands. There you see the passion, the inspiration and the joy.” Of the award and Tommy Emmanuel, Smith said, “We couldn’t ask for a better person to receive the award this year for all the right reasons: the technical expertise, the accessibility, the sharing, and the charm.”

Upon accepting the award, recipient Tommy Emmanuel said, “I am so honored to be here and I sure do appreciate this.” Discussing the importance of Guitars for Vets, Emmanuel stated, “When I heard about Guitars for Vets I was incredibly moved and I wanted to be involved in any way I could. You get a guitar in the hands of someone who has never played music before, their

lives will change. When that happens it’s one of the greatest things you can give somebody and it’ll help them get over the stress of combat, things that we in this room don’t know much about. I just want to say thanks to the more than 2,000 volunteer guitar teachers who every week give vets a lesson for free. It’s something that is a great thing about humanity and how we reach out and love each other through music.

The guitar is one of those instruments that bonds people, that brings people together and all of us in this room and all of us out there, we’re all one family because of music and because of our love for the guitar.”

NAMM Congratulates the 2018 Top 100 Dealers and Announces ‘Best Of’ Categories

On Friday night at Summer NAMM, the industry’s highest achievers were celebrated with Top 100 Dealer Awards and recognized the enterprising music product retailers who received ”Best of” awards for their excellence in several areas, including the coveted ”Dealer of the Year” award.

The annual awards event honors retailers who demonstrate exceptional commitment to their stores, neighborhoods and customers, and share in a vision of creating a more musical world through their local communities.

“While there are thousands of great NAMM member retail stores out there, a theme that emerges with this year’s Top 100 is an unwavering commitment to helping people of all ages begin their musical journey and then keep them actively engaged in music making for the long haul. We pay tribute to all music retailers who sit in the heart of their communities, inspiring and creating more music makers through their efforts,” affirmed Joe Lamond.

The following are the “Best Of” winners for 2018 and the recipient of “Dealer of the Year”:

Dealer of the Year – Andertons Music Co., Guildford, Surrey UK

Best Customer Service – The Candyman Strings & Things, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best Emerging Dealer/Rookie of the Year – Ish Guitars, Inc., Syracuse, New York

Best Marketing & Sales Promotion – Cosmo Music Co. Ltd., Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Best Online Engagement – Andertons Music Co.

Best Store Design – Midwood Guitar Studio, Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Store Turnaround – Five Star Guitars, Beaverton, Oregon

Music Makes a Difference – Big Music Co. Sydney, Australia

To determine the “Best of” category winners, a panel of independent judges reviewed and made selections from the Top 100 finalists. Each finalist was evaluated for effectiveness in marketing, customer engagement and innovation in retail.

Yamaha Teams Up with Veterans for Live Music Event in Nashville to Highlight National PTSD Awareness Day

Yamaha joined veteran’s group Guitars for Vets (G4V) on the evening of June 27th to hold a live music performance in Nashville to highlight National PTSD Awareness Day, as well as G4V’s program of rehabilitation from post-traumatic stress disorder through music.

Students and graduates of the G4V program’s Nashville chapter made up the bulk of the performing musicians at this free event at Nashville’s Benchmark Bar & Grill, including chapter coordinator Brandon Branham. The ensemble was joined by guest guitarists Bobby Tomlinson, Isaac Matthews, and G4V ambassadors Sonny Moorman and Ali Handal, along with Yamaha Drum Artist Brian Fullen. G4V co-founder Patrick Nettesheim and Yamaha Corporation of America president Tom Sumner, both guitarists, also joined the group onstage. G4V provides veterans suffering from PTSD with lessons on the guitar and a forum to play as a means to heal and cope. Since its inception in 2007, G4V has grown to support 80 chapters in 40 states, operated by over 300 volunteers. Each student in the program is presented upon graduation with his/her own guitar pack, the crown jewel of which is a new Yamaha acoustic guitar. Graduates describe their guitars and the music they play as a way to ease their pain, give them focus, build their self-esteem and strengthen their sense of purpose.

Yamaha has been supplying G4V with guitars since 2012 at dealer cost, making it practical for G4V to expand to its current scope. To date, through this cooperative effort, over 2,000 new guitars have been awarded to grateful veterans as they graduate from the PTSD rehabilitation program, along with an additional 100 guitars donated outright by Yamaha.

“We started as just two guys with guitars visiting our brother and sister veterans in a Milwaukee VA hospital, and since then hundreds of us have found the strength to band together across the country,” said Nettesheim. “Joining forces with Yamaha has greatly extended our reach, giving us the resources to support more chapters and bring relief through music to more veterans; these people onstage tonight stand as proof that this relief works.”

National PTSD Awareness Day is observed annually on June 27 as a day to recognize the effects post-traumatic stress has on the lives of those affected by it, including roughly 800,000 veterans. Historically, those who serve in our military have been especially susceptible: roughly 20 percent of service members deployed in the past six years have developed PTSD, and since the Vietnam War, more servicemen and -women have committed suicide than have actually died in battle. For more information on Guitars for Vets, visit guitars4vets.com

Voices from the Show Floor

“Summer NAMM is always good for us. It’s the perfect opportunity to work with our dealers to plan a successful second half of the year, and we’re also able to meet new dealers and establish stronger relationships for the coming years. Generally the Summer show starts off a bit slow and gains momentum by days 2 and 3, but this year we actually had the most activity in our booth on day 1.

“Our CT-X portable keyboards began shipping coinciding with the show, so our dealers were able to experience the CT-X’s new AiX sound source for themselves. After test-driving CT-X our dealers are definitely anticipating a profitable holiday season, as are we. We expect the trend we’ve seen over the last few years to continue, great overall results but starting a bit later in the season.”

Richard Formidoni

Product Marketing Manager

Casio America, Inc.


“Dealers seemed to be positive, those that come to NAMM are usually there to do business, but this year seemed to have a more positive outlook. Overall traffic seemed up. Our new MAX bass amplifiers were well received by all.

“Personally I have a good feeling about heading into the fall selling season, expectations are high and we are ordering accordingly.”

Fred Poole

General Manager

North American Sales

Peavey Electronics


“The overall ‘vibe’ at NAMM this year felt extremely positive to me. Everyone I spoke to said their businesses were moving in a positive way, they were excited to be at the show and find new products for the holiday season.

“I love the fact that Summer NAMM has become such a wonderful gathering event. Almost all the Top 100 dealers are in attendance and they are there to grow partnerships and build relationships. We all like doing business with people we know and like and being in Nashville in a smaller venue lets you have the time to grow these friendships. To me the show is invaluable and quite frankly one of my favorite weeks of the year.

“I felt an overall optimism at the show by both manufacturers and dealers that the economy is good, they are growing and are forecasting a strong Q3 and Q4.”

Crystal Morris


Gator Cases


“The Yamaha team had a very successful run at Summer NAMM in Nashville this year. We always like the summer show because it allows us to spend more time with our dealers than we can at the January NAMM Show.

“We kicked off the show on Tuesday night with our traditional opening night reception with the AIMM group. It’s a good start because we spend a lot of time with AIMM throughout the show. Wednesday we helped out our good friends at Guitar For Vets (G4V) by helping out at an evening event at the Benchmark in downtown Nashville. We try to promote the good work G4V does every chance we get, and with June 27 being Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Day, it was a great opportunity to shed some light on veteran’s issues.

“The Summer NAMM show itself was a success. We released some key new products that received great response, including our lightweight Crosstown HW3 drum hardware that was one of the show’s hit products… We also helped our retail partners generate content at the show on some of our other new products like the P515 digital piano and the DTX402K electronic drum kit. Traffic at the show was pretty similar to last year on Thursday and Friday, but the industry day on Saturday was much busier than previous years.”

Tom Sumner


Yamaha Corporation of America


Best & Worst In Show

Worst Awareness/Best Re-affirmation of the Goodness of Humanity

I certainly won’t argue that leaving my wallet lying for all the world to see on my seat as I departed the airplane wasn’t the slickest move. I raced 100 or so yards back to the gate – all the while imagining the hassles involved with trying to navigate Summer NAMM without any ID, credit/ATM cards, money – only to find a kindhearted fellow-passenger waiting to return my property to me.







Best Real-World Demo

In addition to a lively atmosphere and tasty eats, Marshall Amplification’s event at Tin Roof in Nashville provided live music performed at skull-shattering volume. “The Sound of Rock,” indeed!






Worst Breakdown

While it only lasted a few minutes, being trapped in the broken elevator at the Renaissance only 20 minutes before a fairly important meeting was temporary cause for panic.

Best Suckerpunch

On Thursday morning, while giving some newcomers to the third floor mezzanine directions (via pointing) to their destination, NAMM’s Samantha Price landed a pretty solid right straight to my face! Poor Samantha felt terrible about the incident, but in truth it was not only the funniest incident of this year’s Show, but also helped to wake me up!






Worst Inadvertent Scheduling Conflict

Like many others, the annual trip to Nashville is one of my favorite work-related jaunts. Unfortunately, I had to cut this year’s visit short by a whole day. See you next year, Music City!

The Anaheim show found me sharing a morning elevator ride with Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and at Summer NAMM, former lead guitarist for my beloved Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Ricky Byrd, travelled up two floors with me!





 Best Elevator Companion

The Anaheim show found me sharing a morning elevator ride with Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and at Summer NAMM, former lead guitarist for my beloved Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Ricky Byrd, travelled up two floors with me!






Best Display of Patriotism

The live bald eagle at Gibson’s Thursday evening BBQ was truly impressive. As cool as it was to stand so close to such a raptor, it was just as cool to see Gibson exhibiting at the Show.



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