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NAMM 2019 Day 3 Recap & Wrap-Up

It’s Saturday, the biggest, and final, day of the 2019 Winter NAMM Show. Though today is our last day at the show, there’s no shortage of music and gear at the Anaheim Convention Center, and we took our time exploring the show floor and talking to representatives from some other amazing musical instrument brands that have partnered with Taylor in the past. Add in a few great performances on the Taylor stage, and you have a NAMM weekend that ranks among the best we’ve ever had as a company.


The Show Floor

Things remained busy on the various floors of the NAMM Show, and vlogger Gabriel O’Brien and I ventured out into parts of the convention center we hadn’t yet explored. That took us to the pro audio section of the show, where companies like Shure and Audio-Technica were showing off their latest developments in recording tech. We stopped in to chat with the Audio-Technica about a new mic holder with a sturdy, flexible gooseneck arm that allows for perfect placement of a mic on an acoustic guitar every time. Likewise, Shure had new plug-and-play microphones on display, which are perfect for home recording acoustic guitars.


The Taylor Suite

A block away from the convention center and significantly more peaceful than the actual Taylor room at the show, we set up a secret video set in a suite at a neighboring hotel. Throughout the show, we were joined in the Taylor suite by artists including Orianthi and Paul Ill. Today, we were treated to a short display by singer-songwriter James TW, who was more than happy to test out a new Grand Pacific Builder’s Edition 517 for us. Later, guitarist and Youtuber Ryan “Fluff” Bruce stopped by to test out our new round-shoulder dreadnought and give us his thoughts.


The Performances

Saturday’s performance lineup delivered a three-part musical tour de force. Our first set showcased Nashville guitar wizard Daniel Donato (on a Builder’s Edition 517e), who upped the ante by inviting fellow guitar slinger/vocalist Zane Carney to join him for a “Nashville-style” songfest, with each trading off on tunes, mixing originals and covers, including some epic back-and-forth soloing on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Each song proved to be a sizzling musical conversation between the two as they traded improvised leads and complemented each other with aplomb. Along the way, Donato gave props to Andy Powers for his V-Class bracing designs, which he said expand the dynamic capabilities of an acoustic guitar, giving players new sonic terrain to explore.

Next up, bluegrass/Americana duo Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley wowed the crowd with a blazing set of their own. Hensley, a virtuosic flatpicker, nearly set the fretboard of his Builder’s Edition 717 on fire, while Ickes, one of the world’s most acclaimed dobro players, wove sweetly slurring resonator flavors masterfully into the mix, with Hensley on lead vocals. The two mixed originals with covers that they made their own, like their take on the blues classic “One Way Out” and a mind-blowing jam on the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil.” Hensley told the crowd he hasn’t been able to put his rosewood/spruce 717 down since he got it, adding that Taylor “really knocked it out of the park” with the new Grand Pacific design.

Closing things out was Americana singer-songwriter Jake Smith, a.k.a. The White Buffalo, who churned out a brawny set with his trio. The band’s fire burned hot, fueled at times by the intensity of Smith’s deep, gravelly vocals, sometimes quietly, as on his fingerpicked ballad “Into the Sun,” and on other tunes by the pummeling pub-rock swagger of his rhythm section.


That’s all, folks!

Thank you for following along and joining us for what turned out to be one of our most successful NAMM Shows ever. Stay tuned to the Taylor blog, our Youtube channel, and our social accounts for more video from the show and clips of all the new gear we released this year.