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First time at NAMM....any recomendations?


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I've been to three NAMM shows and have lovingly caressed some tunes on the Bosendorfers at each show, and have never received a visit from the booth police. Maybe it's because I was playing classical and stride and it was music to their ears.
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Here's my recap of my first NAMM show :


I drove down really late on Friday night, slept for a few hours at a friends house in Alhambra, and then left to Anaheim around 9:30. After a short drive w/ traffic (love the LA traffic!) I parked about two blocks away and walked to NAMM


One good thing about getting there on Saturday is that there was no line for my pass.


I first walked into the Roland booth. I played the new V-Combo. Looks wise, I think it looks better than in does in pictures with a nice grey shade. The acoustic piano sample sounded nice, the organ sounded like ever other roland organ I've played, and I thought the ep's were ok. I think the action is also better then let's say, an electro 2. I don't think I'd every buy one due to the action. I heard some of Roland's new mini PA's - they sounded good but it's just too hard to tell with all the racket going on.


I then walked into the next few rooms and from 11:00 to about 12:00 it actually wasn't too crowded. However, once it got to about 12:00 on it was packed with what seemed like everyone who was on or tried out for "rock of love."


The next thing I checked out was the Nord Piano. I asked the guy how much it would list for and he said $2600. It sounded like the best nord piano I've heard and played but I felt like the action was still too light compared to a real piano. At that price, it's really high and not really worth the price IMHO.


I then tried the Infinite Response keyboard. Even at their "piano weighted" keyboard, I still found it too light. I could use it, but it didn't seem much different than a non-weighted keyboard. Plus, at $3k I didn't see much value in it for myself.


I tried the Studiologic Numa Nano and I think that keyboard is going to be a hit. Basically, there was NOBODY in that booth but they had the nano running through a laptop. It felt pretty good to me with more of a meaty feel than the Nord I had just tried.


I then went to a meet and greet w/ drummers Stanton Moore (of Galactic, his own trio, etc) and the Meter's drummer, Zigaboo. What a study in contrast - there was me and one other guy who wanted to meet w/ them while there were like a line around the the booths to meet w/ these rock guys. Go figure. Stanton was really cool. We talked Hammonds for awhile and his new trio albums coming out. He then asked for my Hammond contact for his organ player, the great Robert Walter. I wish I could have gotten a pic of us two holding out our iphones lol.


I then went downstairs to try the Ventura TX5. The Brazilian rep and Jason couldn't have been nicer. I think the ventura was nice but it had some interesting quirks. First, there was no 11 pin output. The drawbars were also shorter than regular drawbars. The ventura was very easy to use however but it sounded like a simulator. Funny part was when I was playing I met one of the Keyboard editors. He asked me about my thoughts on the ventura and then I continued to test it out. While I was playing, I thought I saw him w/ a video camera....in fact it was a flip hd. I had to tell him not to upload it on youtube because I didn't want it to hinder my endorsement. I saw the Epoch too but it was a non working prototype. Right now, they're only designed w/ an unweighted action. He said that they might be interested in a 76 weighted version.


I then went to the Hammond booth and met w/ my reps that I have just talked to on the phone. I got to play the 2101 mk2, the 3300, and the new b3. I loved playing the real B3 connected to the 122. What a sound!!


Another highlight was seeing and meeting Joey De Francesco. He was playing w/ his usual drummer, Byron Landham. They were playing w/ not a "diversi" but a Key B Duo played through a special Joey D. special model amp that was probably about 3/4 feet high? It sounded really good and I even got a chance to test out both the duo solo and the plus. I then talked to Jon Fisher for a bit and he said that Motion Sound is going to be distributing the Duo's. He also said that the motion sound amp Joey was using might list for $1200-1600 but that there were only two models in existence. The did have the 360/1 there but it looked different than on the website. It seemed more like a home model.


By this time, it's about 4:00 and I'm pretty tired of fighting through crowds. I checked out some acoustic pianos (wow these feel nothing like a keyboard!!!!) and then went across to the Yamaha Booth.


I loved the Cp1/Cp5/Cp50. The only downside to all of these is the size and bulk. I was surprised at how light the touch is of the cp1 and cp5. I thought the cp50 was actually heavier in touch than both the cp1 and cp5. I might be in the market for a cp5 if I can stomach the weight of the unit.


All in all, I had a great time. I think I'll try to make it a point to go next year as well. I could have gone Sunday but decided to relax w/ some friends.








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