PHOTOS (from top): Spurred on by Monster's quick wit, "booth babes" Bart Townsend and Bill Goldy (plus visitor) dissolve into laughter. Wonderment at the strangeness of the neck on Blur guitar. Javier Reyes listens intently.
One large packing crate filled with guitars, amps, and my (desperately awaited) tools arrived at Townsend Machine in New Jersey yesterday. Who knows what adventures they encountered on their road trip from California, but everything survived transit, safe from the evil clutches of airline baggage handlers.
We four horsemen gathered too. My body is back. 80% of my hearing. Half my spirit, perhaps. The other half flickering and blurry but stumbling toward NJ from the desert solitude.
Okay, NAMM...what did we learn?
Most important to me, our booth was a place of laughter and learning. An atmosphere of exchange, discovery, and wonder — fueled by hilarity and great conversations.
If we were better marketers, we'd probably be pimping Facebook with arm-around-the-shoulder look-at-who-I-had-dinner-with publicity photos. But sadly my Nikon SLR was destroyed in transit (airline baggage handlers), so what we have instead is an amalgamation of action snapshots from cell phones and iPads.
I think it is better this way.
The value of the show is the amazing discussions taking place person-by-person, second-by-second. Eyes opening, a snapped head turn, a collision in the aisle, a string of questions. An invitation to play. Hesitancy and uncertainty yielding to exploration and a smile: "How can something that looks so...weird...feel so...intuitive?!"
PHOTOS: Tosin Abasi and Rick Toone try to figure it all out. We collaborated intensely to create a tool that will allow him to extend his playing. Results are as yet unknown, but Tosin's parting comment was: "I think it will shred." A flashed grin, scribbled notes, and a pending tour date. Go!
Just like my lutherie, this entire NAMM adventure was exploration and risk. The value of the human experience is to learn, grow, and share. We tread this earth but once.
I would like to thank my booth mates — Ola Strandberg, too — for making our little space a destination, an oasis of curiosity that invited and welcomed repeat visitors, content to settle in for a while to discover.
Most especially, I would like to thank Bart Townsend and Bill Goldy for making the adventure possible. Cindy Vonschmidt and Tricia Toone for managing logistics and travel. Monster for his humor, psychological insights, and cute little Mesa-Boogie Walkabout that thunders with a mighty voice.
Next we will begin to discuss specifics. If any of you have photos or videos from the booth, drop me an email.
PHOTO: Me & Monster. He is one of the funniest men alive. Swamp ash T2.