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Thread: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

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    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Default NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Just back from a day at the show and some pretty exciting new things coming along in the mandolin world.

    My last meeting of the day was with Eastman. The big surprise there is a new short scale octave mandolin they said literally came in the day before they left. It's A shaped with really nice smaller F holes and it looked great in a natural stained finish and comes in (don't quote me) somewhere in the $850-875 range. No estimated date when these come to market but I think some of the retailers are going to flip over this one. It sounded *great,* and I was really impressed with it.

    Also new from Eastman was a few mandolins finished in an antique varnish, so sort of a distressed look, very nicely done. Submitting this on a laptop and my pictures are on my iPhone and aren't great but I may post later. Always hard to take photos at the show due to the strange lighting. Both of these items are brand new and just shown at the show this weekend. I had a promise from them that they'd be submitting detailed news releases in the future for these with some photos that are better than I can take with an iPhone and what you can get in the lighting at the show.

    Had a nice meeting with Sami, my contact at Weber and Breedlove. She's great, and showed me the 20th anniversary models that are a limited edition that will be coming out sometime this year. I don't have that exact date. Lots of nice instruments on display, in particular, an F with oval hole mandocello that sort of made your teeth rattle when you played it. I plan to visit with her more on Friday.

    Talked to Wayne at Gold Tone about their new mandocello that's getting discussed quite a bit of late. One of the snags is related to a new CITES ruling that came out sometime between the completion of a shipment and the enforcement date, so he said there is literally a huge batch that is in limbo at the moment out of the county that they are unable to get to the U.S. He did say that they are committed to doing a giveaway some time this year on the Cafe so stay tuned for that. I know some of you are going to be tempted to ask me a ton of questions about the cello. Might as well save it because I didn't really delve into too much else, other than to meet with them. They're following what's going on here.

    Other surprise for me was just how nice the new Kentucky F line mandolins are and how good they sound. In particular, the sort of plain brown finish model was really a beauty up close. They sound strikingly good, even in the noise of the show. Believe most of the retailers on the Cafe are carrying these now and have for some time. It's pretty clear these are going to sell well.

    What else? Lunch with Amy and Kali of Straight Up Strings. We always get together for a meal and coffee whenever we can and they're great company. Roger Siminoff is apparently at the show but is not with them as they run the SUS business now.

    Headed off to hang out with Adrian of Northfield in a bit and try some of his instruments in his hotel room. He has a couple of folks over from China. We're grabbing street tacos at a joint several miles away from the little white Disney, Barbie-like princess dining joints that abound this area across the street from Disneyland.

    Superb work and workmanship from the Collings both, no surprise there, but nothing new to announce that I saw. Plan to visit them more on Friday.

    There was one other prominent mandolin supplier I met with today at the show but I have a general rule that if I don't have anything positive to say about someone I just keep my mouth shut. So in a roundabout way maybe I actually did.

    I know a picture is word a thousand words but most of the ones I took are worth maybe 100 so may or may not post but anyone else here is welcome to.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Addendum: few people I saw today.

    - Fletcher Brock, just cruising the show. Said 90% of his work these days is building octaves which is no surprise.
    - Saw the guys from Peghead Nation. Always fun to meet up with them.
    - George Gruhn sighting. Didn't talk to him.
    - Greg Rich. He's retiring in May and I think I can safely say he's sick of NAMM Shows and their noise.
    - Lots of 50+ year old guys with balding heads in black spandex and white face make-up, pot bellied and their butt crack showing. Always a jarring experience.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Thanks for the news!

    A short-scale Eastman OM with f-holes at $850-875 you say? (oops, I quoted you). That sounds like a veeeery interesting instrument.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Andy Manson is there with a mandolin and mandocello. You should find him. Somewhere in the Custom Lutherie section.
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Best NAMM report EVER!!!

    "Lots of 50+ year old guys with balding heads in black spandex and white face make-up, pot bellied and their butt crack showing. Always a jarring experience."

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Quote Originally Posted by indexless View Post
    Best NAMM report EVER!!!

    "Lots of 50+ year old guys with balding heads in black spandex and white face make-up, pot bellied and their butt crack showing. Always a jarring experience."
    I like:

    "There was one other prominent mandolin supplier I met with today at the show but I have a general rule that if I don't have anything positive to say about someone I just keep my mouth shut. So in a roundabout way maybe I actually did."

    Heh heh...
    I was supposed to be at NAMM today, but a little family health issue kept me up here in Fresno...
    All is well, and it's fine to live it vicariously through you, Scott...
    Keep having fun...

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Andy Manson is indeed here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Scott,
    Are you able to take some pictures of the instruments you talked about in your report? If not, no prob. Thanks for a great report.
    Tony Huber
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Scott,
    Have not seen Greg in a long while. Is he still the poster boy for Good Will clothes? For those that have not seen Greg at a large event, it is something to be seen.
    Tony Huber
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Few pictures. Just too hard to get decent shots at the show.

    This is the headstock on the limited edition 20th anniversary Webers that will come out this year. Don't have the date.
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    The next two shots are the Gold Tone mandocello.
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    This is the matte finish Kentucky, back and front. Not great shots and they don't do it justice. I was really pleased with the sound and the general feel and vibe of these. Pretty impressive new roll-out on all of these. Much better photos over at FolkMusician.com. Very F-9ish minus the hefty price tag.
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    This actually came by email from Collings while at the show, a common thing for companies to do, to highlight what they are showing off. Can't beat this photography. I did see and play this one briefly and it is nothing short of a work of functional art for making music. Their words and descriptors:

    MF5 Custom

    This stunning MF5 features highly figured Red maple back and sides with a silky Adirondack spruce top for clear powerful tone that will cut through the noisiest of trade show environments. Custom features include brushed silver Waverly tuners, a masterfully inlaid fern in the peghead and a floating tortoise-style pickguard.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    You are the man, Scott. Thanks.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Tichenor View Post
    Lots of 50+ year old guys with balding heads in black spandex and white face make-up, pot bellied and their butt crack showing. Always a jarring experience.
    So true you made me smile!

    I know you're focused on mandolins, but was curious what you're seeing in tenor guitars, if any?
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    To be honest, I love the look of the Kentucky matte finish. I would love to hear the sound of it.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Back to take pix of the new Eastman octave. Played it a bit and confirmed I'm pretty enamored with what they've done here.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    These two octaves were my favorites of the Weber batch. I tend to lean more towards liking A model octaves than F, just my preference. I got to take the gloss one, the second one below, in a sound booth so could actually hear it. Sounded great.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Gratuitous photo of one of the Coffin Case girls, always a part of NAMM. Chatted with her briefly and even though she plays the attitude in the photos she had a great personality and would chat with everyone that posed for pictures with her. No jokes, please. We've heard them.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    So true you made me smile!

    I know you're focused on mandolins, but was curious what you're seeing in tenor guitars, if any?
    Haven't seen many tenors but not particularly looking. Don't think Collings even brought one or if they did, I missed it.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Quote Originally Posted by red7flag View Post
    Scott,
    Have not seen Greg in a long while. Is he still the poster boy for Good Will clothes? For those that have not seen Greg at a large event, it is something to be seen.
    Spend not a further moment worrying if Greg Rich still buys and wears some of the most (my opinion) hideous clothes on the planet.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Something interesting at D'Addario. Just stopped to see if they'd made any changes to string packaging. Some employee is holding and playing an Eastman mandolin and asks me if I play. "Yes, I run the Mandolin Cafe." He said the company has been super pleased with the long running discussion on their recent beta test and said they follow it pretty religiously. So, if you ever wonder if vendors are following and reading... they are, indeed. Nice chat with the guy.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    One of the unexpected highlights of the day, a chance to meet and chat briefly with legendary builder Andy Manson, originally from England but now making his home in Portugal. Everything on display for him is actually owned by a collector in LA except for this mandolin which he said is for sale and can be purchased here. $8K... no idea if that's flexible price. I can attest it sounded quite good and played well and it's easily one of the most stunning mandolins I think I've ever seen it the category of being given an art treatment.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    yeah, I've been drooling over that particular Coffin Ca—I mean, Andy Manson mandolin. He just posted photos of a mandocello in a similar design vein; did he not have that one along?
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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    I'd really love to play that one. So cool. Thanks for looking him up at the show.
    the billyhawks http://www.thebillyhawks.com

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Only the mandolin at the show was not owned by a local LA collector. Sweet guy, Andy. He's vegetarian, I'm not, but I've been to this place two times that is because they have great food. Tempted to ask him to join me tonight for dinner.

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    Default Re: NAMM 2017 Anaheim

    Scott, What an enjoyable report! Almost felt like being there, so thank you.

    I wondered what the show was like this year without my dearly departed cousin and friend, Don Young, co-founder and President of National Guitars, who passed this past spring. He was always a big splash at the show with the National-resophonic fans. He looked forward to this event each year for months! He would be smiling at your "new in mandolins" report.
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